M Donnelly Interprovincial Football S-Final – Munster v Connacht

Munster defeated Connacht by 1-16 to 1-13 in the GAA M Donnelly Interprovincial Football Championship Semi-Final on Saturday at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick. Munster will now play Ulster in the Final.

O’Sullivan praises Munster resolve

Munster 1-13 Connacht 1-10

By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, October 26, 2009

BETTER for sponsor extraordinaire Martin Donnelly that he attended the other inter-provincial football semi-final in Crossmaglen. The paltry attendance of 350 at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night was symptomatic of the ills of a competition struggling to survive. It means its future – and the Clareman’s involvement – will be up for debate after the final in London in a fortnight, when Munster defend their title against Joe Kernan’s Ulster. Despite unfavourable weather and a lack of atmosphere this was still a competitive tie. And, therein lies the primary reason why the once mighty Railway Cups remain part of the GAA calendar in its 125th year – the enthusiasm of a majority of inter-county players in overcoming obstacles like the clash with club fixtures. Connacht manager John O’Mahony highlighted another difficulty, with players availing of the ‘break’ to overcome injury problems. “With no International Rules this year I thought we would have a few more players available to us,’’ he said. In contrast, manger Gerard O’Sullivan pointed out that Munster had three sessions and a match against UCC. O’Mahony added: “it is frustrating, but I would have to say I was very pleased with the effort and commitment of the squad. There is a core of players who are always ‘willing’ and there is always the few that are unavailable as well. We are at each other’s throats all year, so from the point of view of the different counties coming together it is a good exercise. It’s a social exercise if nothing else.’’

O’Sullivan admitted to being ‘happy enough’ with the display from a team comprising six Cork players, four from Waterford, two each from Tipperary and Limerick and sole Kerry representative Padraig Reidy. O’Sullivan said: “Every one of the players contacted wanted to play. It was unfortunate that at the moment the Kerry championship is on and it would be unfair to ask to them to get stuck into training again,’’ he stated. “We were up six points at half time, and I felt if we did not give away easy frees we would hold out. But, we did give away the frees which brought them back into it.’’ That Munster interval advantage (1-9 to 1-3) came about mainly as a result of a dominant second quarter during which Cork forward Donncha O’Connor hit five points and late replacement Pa Ranahan from Limerick netted a tremendous goal. While the visitors were slow to start, they went in front with an eighth minute goal from Sligo’s David Kelly after his penalty kick was saved by Paul Fitzgerald. This was the player who lost the opportunity of putting Kerry out of the championship in the qualifiers, but on this occasion he finished the ball to the net at the second attempt. Earlier, Paul Conroy was denied a Connacht goal by the upright and, before O’Connor brought Munster level in the 18th minute, Waterford players Gary Hurney and Liam O Lionnáin each wasted goal chances.

The second half was more closely contested, with Connacht substitutes James Glancy, Matthew Clancy (2) and Declan Meehan all pointing to reduce the deficit to a mere three with eight minutes remaining. However, after Clancy missed a scoreable free, Donncha O’Connor scored for Munster and they were able to hold on for a merited victory. Gerard O’Sullivan says that while the Munster management would like to ‘extend’ their panel for the final, they owe a loyalty to the players who have given them a commitment. “We can only take 24 to London, but there might be room for one or two more.’’ Meanwhile, the Corkman is adamant that the competition has a future, commenting: “all they need to do is tweak the dates a small bit, maybe play the semi-final before the League and the final around the St Patrick’s weekend”.

Scorers for Munster: D O’Connor 0-6 (0-1 free, 0-1 sideline); P Ranahan 1-0; C O’Neill 0-3 (0-1 free); G Hurney 0-2; P Kelly and L O Lionnain 0-1 each.

Scorers for Connacht: D Kelly 1-3 (0-2 frees); M Clancy 0-3 (0-2 frees); M Breheny, P Gardiner, D Meehan and J Glancy 0-1 each.

MUNSTER: P Fitzgerald (Tipperary); T O’Gorman (Waterford), J McCarthy (Limerick), P Reidy (Kerry); R Costigan (Tipperary), M Shields (Cork), P Ranahan (Limerick); A O’Connor (Cork), P Kelly (do); M O’Gorman (Waterford), D O’Connor (Cork), P Kerrigan (do); G Hurney (Waterford), C O’Neill (Cork), L O Lionnain (Waterford).

Subs: S Walsh (Waterford) for Kerrigan (50); G Quinlan (Clare) for Hurney (54); J Ryan (Limerick) for Kelly (58).

CONNACHT: D Clarke (Mayo); C Harrison (Sligo), N Maguire (Sligo), J McKeon (Leitrim); P Gardiner (Mayo, capt), D Blake (Galway), G Bradshaw (do); J Bergin (do), N Coleman (do); M Breheny (Sligo), B Moran (Mayo), P Conroy (Galway); S Kilbride (Roscommon), A O’Shea (Mayo), D Kelly (Sligo).

Subs: J Glancy (Leitrim) for Kilbride (35); M Clancy (Galway) for Breheny (40); D Meehan (Galway) for Bradshaw (46); S Davey (Sligo) for Conroy (57).

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)

The Munster Football Team to play Connacht in the Martin Donnelly Interprovincial Championship is as follows –

1 Paul Fitzgerald Tipperary

2 Tomas O Gorman Waterford

3 Johnny McCarthy Limerick

4 Padraig Reidy Kerry

5 Maurice O’Gorman Waterford

6 Michael Shields Cork

7 John Miskella Cork

8 Alan O Connor Cork

9 Robbie Costigan Tipperary

10 Patrick Kelly Cork

11 DonnchaOConnor Cork

12 Paul Kerrigan Cork

13 Gary Hurney Waterford

14 Colm O Neill Cork

15 Liam O Lionnain Waterford

16 Joe Hayes Clare

17 Ger Quinlan Clare

18 Pa Ranahan Limerick

19 Paul O Flynn Cork

20 Aidan Walsh Cork

21 Sean O Sullivan Kerry

22 Ian Ryan Limerick

Launch of M. Donnelly Interprovincial Championships

GAA Press Release

2 October 20009

Ulster and recently appointed Galway football manager Joe Kernan travelled to London this week to unveil the GAA’s plans to host this year’s M Donnelly Inter-Provincial Football Final in the British capital on Sunday November 8. The GAA has confirmed that defending champions Munster will face Connacht at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on October 24 when new lights at that venue are used for the first time. On the same day, Crossmaglen will host the meeting of Ulster and Leinster. The winners will proceed to a Ruislip decider two weeks later. GAA President Críostóir Ó Cuana thanked Irish Ambassador His Excellence Bobby McDonagh and his wife Mary for hosting this week’s launch event and expressed hope that the Ruislip final will provide a fitting acknowledgement of Britain and London’s role in the GAA over such a prolonged period.

He said: “We had a wonderful launch in the Irish Embassy in London and for that we thank the Irish Ambassador Bobby McDonagh. It was an event that exemplified everything that is good about the GAA in Britain and underlined the terrific work that is ongoing not only in London but all over the country. “I look forward to a wonderful weekend that will showcase the best of Gaelic football and if our launch event is anything to go by it should be an event to remember.” The GAA President was joined by Kernan and Munster football manager Ger O’Sullivan who will both hope to be involved in the final next month.

Kernan will oversee the Ulster challenge for the second consecutive season and the 2002 All-Ireland winning manager stresses that he derives as much satisfaction from managing his provincial team as he did playing for it during the 1970s and ‘80s. “There are three what were then Railway Cup medals in my house and I am proud to be able to say that I represented Ulster for nine years under the guidance of Seán O’Neill and Brian McEniff,” said Kernan. “Seán was a superb player and he brought great drive to the set up and we all know Brian’s commitment to the competition so when I got the call from Tom Daly asking me would I be interested I was thrilled. “Even when I took on the Galway job I outlined my intention to see this through and given the fact that we are tied with Leinster on 19 wins this is a big year for Ulster in this competition.” Kernan revealed that work had already started in South Armagh in an effort to raise interest in their semi-final clash with Leinster. Although injury will deny the former All-Star the services of Seán Cavanagh and Marty McGrath, he is not surprised by the interest levels of those he has contacted to date. “There is no International Rules Series this year meaning that this is the only forum for people to see inter-county players in a representative setting for the remainder of 2009. “I remember speaking to the Ulster players last year at the Carrickdale Hotel after we had lost to Munster on a wet day in Cork and the one thing that struck a chord with me was Davy Harte’s determination to try and win a medal in this competition as it’s one he doesn’t have. “The decision of the GAA to bring it to London with Martin Donnelly’s support will come as a boost to the huge amount of Irish people in England and adds to the competition but for the time being our only focus is on the semi-final and trying to book a final date.”

For Munster manager O’Sullivan targeting back to back titles with a line up that includes a spread of players from across the province is the priority. “As a province Munster have only won this competition three times since 1982 and we have not retained it over that period so you could hardly call us kingpins,” explained O’Sullivan. “Last year we had a great spread of players on the winning team and that was a real source of satisfaction and I have got a great response from players who were approached this year and it’s obvious to me that they value their involvement in this competition greatly.” O’Sullivan, a selector with Conor Counihan points to Tomás Ó Sé’s role in the 2008 success at a time when his partner was expecting a child as further evidence of the special place the medal holds in players’ collections. He added: “Everyone who has been approached from the 2008 panel has been delighted to be asked and the fact that the final will take place in London adds further to the attraction. “It will be a chance for the Cork lads on the team to get their heads down and concentrate on football at this level again and I’m personally honoured that Conor gave me the chance to fill this role last year when the province came calling.”

M Donnelly Inter-Provincial Football Championship 2009 Fixtures

Saturday October 24

Semi-finals

Ulster v Leinster, Crossmaglen 2.30;
Munster v Connacht, 7.30.

Final

Sunday November 8

Ruislip 2.0