Allianz NHL Division 2 – Clare 1-22 Wexford 2-19

Bonnar delight as Lyng seals Model comeback

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday March 15 2010

A share of the spoils was probably a fair result in yesterday’s top-of-the-table clash at Cusack Park in Ennis. Clare did most of the hurling in the opening half and led by 10 points at one stage before the visitors put in a storming second-half performance to earn the draw. Man of the match, Diarmuid Lyng, earned Wexford the valuable league point when, with the last action of the game, he landed a huge free from inside his own half, close to the left sideline.

Afterwards, Wexford team manager Colm Bonnar expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance. “I’m happy enough that we got a draw out of it,” Bonnar commented. “We worked hard but we gave Clare a 10-point lead in the first half. But we regrouped and, in fairness, worked very hard to get that draw. “I suppose it was a fair result in the end because Clare left a few scores behind them on the day.” Clare did spurn two golden opportunities for goals in either half and if the first chance was taken by the in-form Darach Honan to raise a green flag instead of a white one on 29 minutes, he would have put his side 12 points ahead. As it turned out, a point was the outcome leaving the Banner 1-13 to 0-6 ahead, but a storming first-half finish by the Leinster side saw them rack up 1-4 in a five-minute period to leave them 1-14 to 1-10 adrift at the break.


The second Clare goal chance occurred in the 62nd minute when, after a good delivery by Colin Ryan, wing-forward Sean Collins saw his shot sail over the bar with the goal at his mercy. After half-time, Wexford upped the ante again and with Colm Farrell and Harry Kehoe dominant at midfield, they began to gnaw away at the lead. A goal by Lyng in the 56th minute levelled matters and when the same player pointed five minutes later, the Slaneysiders were ahead for the first time since the third minute. In an exciting finish, Clare regained the advantage through points by Collins, Honan and Ryan, while Lyng shot two more before the end, the last-gasp free just before the whistle being the all-important score.

Like Bonner, Clare team manager Ger O’Loughlin was relatively pleased with his side’s performance. He started with seven of the Clare U-21 team who achieved All-Ireland success last September, but there was probably a certain amount of inexperience on the field that allowed them to lose such a convincing lead. “We were on the back-foot, big time in the second half,” conceded the former All-Star. “But you’d take the draw in the end, it was a fair result and we’d be hoping that we’d learn from this game. I’d say both teams learned from it.”

Scorers — Clare: D Honan 1-6; C Ryan 0-9 (7f); J Conlon 0-2; B O’Connell, N O’Connell (0-1f), J Clancy, P Vaughan, S Collins 0-1 each. Wexford: D Lyng 1-9 (5f, 1 ’65); R Jacob 1-3; H Kehoe 0-3; T Waters, S Banville, A Shore, C Farrell 0-1 each.

Clare — P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, D O’Donovan; N O’Connell,J McInerney, P Donnellan; M Murphy, B O’Connell; S Collins, J Clancy, D McMahon; D Honan, J Conlon, C Ryan.

Subs: B Bugler for N O’Connell (49), F Lynch for B O’Connell (53), D Barrett for Murphy (64).

Wexford — N Carton; E Doyle, P Roche, K Rossiter; M Travers, C Kenny, R Kehoe; C Farrell, H Kehoe; D Lyng, T Waters, A Shore; R Jacob, S Banville, J Berry. Subs: T Mahon for Waters (54), P Nolan for R Kehoe (66), P Atkinson for Berry (68).

Ref — D O’Driscoll (Limerick)

Allianz NFL Division 1 – Kerry 2-16 Galway 1-9

Kerry defeated Galway by 2-16 to 1-9 in Round 4 of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 1 on Sunday at Pearse Stadium Galway.

Kerry have the hunger back

Galway 1-9 Kerry 2-16

By Brendan O’Brien for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 15, 2010

CRISIS? What crisis? Ten days ago, novenas were being offered up for Kerry’s season after two opening league defeats and a loss of key personnel from the panel. Now look at them. Two wins in the space of a week and suddenly Kerry are beginning to morph into something like the ominous force with which we are more accustomed. And the victories are only the bare bones of the story. Men like Colm Cooper, Declan O’Sullivan and Marc O Sé have only just recently returned to active service after an extended winter in hibernation and they have hit the ground running. Cooper may have maintained his scoring averages last season, but there was no doubting that he wasn’t playing with the same verve or confidence. The same can’t be said now.

His body language was so much better yesterday and, with O’Sullivan at his best and Donaghy making life a misery for Finian Hanley, Kerry were always going to be in with a shout of racking up a score. “Training never lies,” said Jack O’Connor. “Declan O’Sullivan was going really well in training Wednesday night and I had the feeling that he would cut loose. He scored a great goal and that gave everyone confidence to play after that.” The win wasn’t built just on their stars but on younger colleagues like David O’Callaghan and Kieran O’Leary as well. The pair lack the bulk of established county men but played like they will be around long enough to remedy that. Add in the equally impressive Adrian O’Connell at wing-back and the hunger shown by each and every one of his five subs and Jack O’Connor had every reason to be satisfied with the competition for places. “Overall, we are happy. Whether we can replace the great players that are gone I don’t know, but these players want to play, they want the shirt and they are mad for road.”

A word of warning. It would be unwise to go overboard about a win against Galway who, by Joe Kernan’s admission, are building from scratch and this was the worst of their four displays thus far. The Armagh man described the display as a reality check and the suspicion is that the players just aren’t there to launch a concerted bid for a first All-Ireland title since 2001 although, to be fair, they are missing some big names. As a game, it was a slow burner. The first quarter was tepid enough with six of the first nine scores coming from dead balls and the boot of either Michael Meehan or Cooper. Kerry had played slightly more of the football by that point but it was a superb Galway move that finally engineered some daylight between the sides on the scoreboard after 20minutes. Wing-back David Reilly broke up a Kerry move and fed Garry Sice whose burst of pace along the left sideline left three men in his wake and his long ball into the square was palmed to the net by Meehan.

The Caltra man squeezed in between goalkeeper Brendan Kealy and Tom O’Sullivan to poke the ball home but he paid for his determination with injury and was carried off minutes later. Joe Kernan must have been cursing his luck. With Sean Armstrong already sidelined and Padraig Joyce yet to return, Meehan’s was an absence he could ill afford and Galway went 34 minutes before recording their next score. The initial prognosis was that Meehan had damaged both lateral and cruciate ligaments but it will take an MRI scan today to determine the full extent of it. For Kernan, it will have been a sleepless night. As it is, Galway’s chances disappeared with Meehan. O’Connor said as much afterwards but it bodes ill for theConnacht side if they are so dependant on any one player, no matter how good.

Aided by a second-half wind, Kerry had scored 2-6 by the time Galway had recovered from the loss and the result was a lock for the visitors with almost 20 minutes still to play. Their first goal, a Declan O’Sullivan run and finish on the hoof, was the pick of the afternoon while Cooper’s green flag owed everything to O’Leary’s clever ball across the square from out wide. Kernan reshuffled his deck midway through the half and the repositioned Paul Conroy did manage three points from centre-forward but it was all too little and much too late. As Kernan said himself, it had been men against boys.

Scorers for Galway: M Meehan 1-4 (0-3f), P Conroy 0-3, D Blake 0-1, F Breathnach 0-1.

Scorers for Kerry: C Cooper 1-7 (0-5f), Declan O’Sullivan 1-1, D O’Callaghn 0-3, B Sheehan 0-3 (1f), A O’Connell 0-1, A Maher 0-1.

Subs for Galway: C De Paor for Meehan 22, F Breathnach for Coleman 43, D Meehan for Reilly 46, D Cummins for Clancy 60.

Subs for Kerry: A Maher for Scanlon 56, B Sheehan for O’Callaghan 56, Darran O’Sullivan for O’Leary 56, G O’Driscoll for Quirke 66, P O’Connor for Declan O’Sullivan 66.

Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)

Team News

Galway (NFL v Kerry): E O Conghaile; D O’Neill, F Hanley, D Burke; G O’Donnell, D Blake, D Reilly; B Cullinane, P Conroy; G Sice, J Bergin, N Coleman; M Meehan, N Joyce, M Clancy.

Allianz NHL Division 1 – Tipperary 2-17 Galway 0-14

Tipperary defeated Galway by 2-17 to 0-14 in Round 3 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 1 on Sunday in Semple Stadium Thurles.

Allianz National Hurling League – Division 1, Round 3

Tipperary 2 – 17 Galway 0 – 14

By Cathal Ryan

A second half Tipperary blitz fired the Premier County to a comfortable victory over Galway in Sunday afternoon’s Division One National Hurling League encounter at Semple Stadium. Leading by four points at the break the Tribesmen were looking comfortable but a dismal second half display where they only manufactured one score in the entire half left the door open for Liam Sheedy’s men and Tipperary did not hesitate to seize the opportunity.  With Galway still ahead by a point in the 51st minute Shane McGrath soared like a salmon to claim a James Skehill puck out. Turning back inside he lay a hand pass to John O Brien who was loitering in space on the half way line and the Toomevara man attempted to use the breeze that was assisting to land a long range point. The strike lacked the purchase necessary to reach its intended destination but Skehill between the Galway framework didn’t deal with the incoming ball as he would have liked batting the ball back down in front of an inrushing Noel McGrath. The young Loughmore star got a boot to the sliotar and bundled the ball to the net.

This gave Tipperary the momentum to drive to victory. However in the early stages Galway were the stronger side and with the men in blue and gold struggling with the early pace they were relieved when John O Brien deflected an Eoin Kelly 65 to the net in the sixth minute to gain a foot hold in the match. The men from the west had already notched up a couple of points and produced a save worthy of any occasion from Tipperary’s Brendan Cummins prior to O Brien’s goal. The ball was delivered long from the middle of the field and when two defenders were drawn to contesting the high ball corner forward Iarla Tannian skipped in behind to pick up the breaking ball where he took one touch on the stick before lashing goal bound. Cummins reactions were phenomenal as he readjusted and deflected the ball to safety.

Back to back victories for the Premier County in the National Hurling League leaves them right back in contention and the next outing against Limerick should provide another opportunity to claim two more valuable points given Justin McCarthy’s recent troubles. The Tipperary management  will be delighted with the second half display as they dismantled Galway in every section of the game and will strive to maintain the work rate they produced to achieve this against Limerick. Meanwhile John McIntyre will be furious with the incompetent showing his side produced in the second half and he will be hoping to draft back in the Portumna contingent to his squad as soon as possible after the St. Patricks Day club final to put some structure to his side.
The Tribesmen did begin well and centre forward Cyril Donnellan got the first score of the match after a bustling run. A second was added in the third minute when wing forward Aidan Harte picked up on a breaking ball before floating over the score.

O Brien nipped in for his goal in the sixth minute and when Lar Corbett popped over Tipp’s first point in the eight minute it looked as though Tipperary were going to get on top. Things did not materialise in this fashion and McIntyre’s boys dominated the following ten minutes scoring six points with no response. Tannian began the route, Donnellan claimed his second score of the game before two frees from Ger Farragher, one from Aonghus Callanan and a second from Tannian put Galway back into the driving seat.  The Galway half back line was well on top at this stage of the game and Tipperary needed inspiration. Lar Corbett got a typical Corbett point latching onto a bouncing ball and sweeping it over off that trusty right hand side to score at a stage when it was much needed 22 minute into the contest. As an act of defiance from the very next play Ger Farragher responded with a long range strike to keep the Galway advantage intact.

Seamus Callanan then began to engineer some space for himself and notched up three points in the final eighteen minutes of the first half after some intricate play with team mates most notably Shane McGrath. But the Tribesmen matched score for score and marched in at the break with an advantage of 0-13 to 1-6. What happened that Galway side that looked free flowing and dangerous in the first period is a mystery as in the second half they never posed a threat. Slowly but surely Tipperary became more and more dominant with superb displays from Paddy Stapleton and Shane McGrath in particular driving the blue and gold machine forward.  Up front Noel McGrath picked a fine point as he back tracked from a defenders attention as well as his 51st minute goal, Lar Corbett scored two more points and was a constant thorn in the Galway side and substitute Timmy Hammersley who had a fine run in the Fitzgibbon Cup with WIT recently scored a two points to polish a commanding second half Tipperary display.

Tipperary: Brendan Cummins; Paddy Stapleton, Padraic Maher, Michael Cahill; Declan Fanning, Conor O Mahony, Shane Maher; Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath(0-1); Seamus Hennessy, Seamus Callanan (0-4), John O Brien (1-0); Eoin Kelly (0-5, 4F) Lar Corbett (0-4), Noel McGrath (1-1). Subs: Paul Curran for C. O Mahony (40), Timmy Hammersley (0-2) for S. Hennessy (47), Gearoid Ryan for J. O Brien (53), Paul Kelly for N. McGrath (62), Michael Webster for L. Corbett (70)

Galway: James Skehill; Fergal Moore, Shane Kavanagh, Damien Joyce; David Collins, Tony Og Regan, Conor Dervan; Ger Farragher (0-5, 4F) Niall Cahalan (0-1); Aonghus Callanan (0-2), Cyril Donnellan (0-2), Aidan Harte (0-1); Iarla Tannian (0-2), Joe Gantley (0-1), David Burke. Subs: Kevin Hynes for A. Harte (53), Donal Barry for C. Dervan (58), Eanna Ryan for C. Donnellan (64), John Lee for D. Collins (64).

Referee: John Sexton (Cork)

Sheedy stresses the positives as Tipp hit back Tipperary 2-17 Galway 0-14 By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper Monday, March 15, 2010 A CLASSIC example of the game of two halves, one which embarrasses a Galway side unbeaten in the National Hurling League prior to yesterday and, conversely, endorses the undoubted potential of Tipperary. The Westerners took the honours over the opening 35 minutes but were powerless to halt an inspired onslaught from their hosts after the break which produced an impressive return of 1-11 with just a single point in reply.  Galway manager John McIntyre did not speak to the media afterwards – an unusual if not unique occurrence for a man who works in the same line of business – the first words uttered by Sheedy after he was interviewed in the tunnel were highly appropriate in the circumstances.  “Talk is cheap I’m afraid. It all comes down to hurling,’’ he commented, when asked the inevitable question of what he had said to his players during the interval.

Consider the facts. Tipperary largely relied on what their manager accepted was a sixth minute ‘fortuitous’ goal, when John O’Brien got a touch to a ‘65 from Eoin Kelly that had fallen short. Against a Galway side which was much more industrious all over the field, they trailed at one stage by seven points. And, behind 0-13 to 1-6 at half-time, there was every possibility that the game could have continued in the same vein.  But, from the time they got their second goal, from Noel McGrath in the 51st minute – this time after ‘keeper James Skehill had brought down a high ball from O’Brien – it was virtually one-way traffic to the final whistle.  “In fairness to the lads we were disappointed with our first half performance, but there was a stiff enough breeze at pitch level. We didn’t attack the ball, we just didn’t play very well,’’ said Sheehy.  “But, they are a very honest bunch and they knew they could do better. We probably got the break with the goal in the second half. Once we got that we just pushed on.’’

Starting with David Burke in the left corner in place of Niall Healy – and with Fergal Moore swopping corners in the full-back line to mark Eoin Kelly – Galway quickly found their rhythm. After Cyril Donnellan opened the scoring, Iarla Tannian was denied a goal by a super point-blank save by Brendan Cummins and despite conceding that goal at the other end, they quickly recovered.  McIntyre would have been well pleased with the way his defence coped with the threat from a potentially stronger attack and it was noteworthy that Eoin Kelly didn’t see much ball (being limited to a single point, from a free in injury time). Shane Kavanagh and Tony Óg Regan hurled consistently in the central positions, Aonghus Callanan won some good possession when he roamed out from his the half-forward line and a good spread of scorers among the rest of the attack was complemented by Ger Farragher’s excellent free-taking.  In the context of Tipp’s vast improvement in the second half, it was noteworthy that both Lar Corbett and Seamus Callanan had been getting more involved nearing the break. And, they continued that improvement, along with more telling contributions from Noel McGrath, and over the last quarter, Eoin Kelly.

The defence was much more effective, especially after Pádraic Maher went to centre-back (where Conor O’Mahony showed the effects of a sickness before being replaced). And, newcomer Michael Cahill impressed with his high work-rate at midfield. However, it was his more experienced partner – Shane McGrath – who did the most to lift the Tipp challenge, with his dominance in the air and great striking. Galway didn’t throw in the towel by any means, but they looked disorganised and, inexplicably, their scoring just dried up.  Sheedy summed up well when commenting: “there were a lot of positives to take out of that second-half performance’’

Scorers for Tipperary: E. Kelly 0-5 (0-4 frees); L. Corbett and S. Callanan 0-4 each; N. McGrath 1-1; J. O’Brien 1-0; T. Hammersley 0-2; S. McGrath 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: G. Farragher 0-5 (0-4 frees); C. Donnellan, A. Callanan and I. Tannian 0-2 each; A. Harte, N. Cahalan and J. Gantley 0-1 each.

Subs for Tipperary: P. Curran for O’Mahony (41); T. Hammersley for Hennessy (47); G. Ryan for O’Brien (53); P. Kelly for N. McGrath (63); M. Webster for Corbett (injured, 71).

Subs for Galway: K. Hynes for Harte (54); D. Barry for Dervan (57); J. Lee for Collins and E. Ryan for Donnellan (65).

Referee: John Sexton (Cork)

tipp dispatch galway to a dark oblivion

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday March 15 2010

JUST what is it about Galway hurlers and their relationship with the bizarre?

They hurled beautifully throughout the first half in Thurles yesterday only to be replaced by ghosts in the second half where their performance was the worst for a very long time, lacking shape, direction and any sense of constructive coherence.  Alarmingly, there was an absence of heart too once it became apparent that Tipperary had moved their game to a level where they would easily take the two precious league points.
Ultimately, that was the biggest indictment of a Galway team that looked as if they couldn’t wait for the sound of the final whistle to rescue them from their excruciating misery.

Tipperary had so much possession and space in the second half that they must have wondered what had happened to the Galway team who were so effective up to half-time. There were several times in the second half when Tipperary players were allowed so much time on the ball that they could steady themselves before delivering their passes or get in their shots. It was pure embarrassment for Galway, which explains perhaps why manager John McIntyre made no comment afterwards. One suspects that he will have plenty to say when Galway return to training this week as there were so many alarming dimensions to their second-half collapse that the very foundations are in danger of cracking.

Tipperary outscored Galway by 1-13 to 0-1 from the 32nd minute on and also shot 11 wides in the second half. It illustrates the extent of their dominance on a day when Seamus Callanan, a pre-match replacement for Jody Brennan, and Lar Corbett scored four points each from open play. Eoin Kelly, Noel McGrath and John O’Brien added a further 2-6 while Timmy Hammersley, who came on in the 47th minute, marked his senior debut with two crisply struck points. He arrived at a time when Galway were still clinging to the lead but everything changed in the 51st minute when Noel McGrath bundled the ball to the net after Galway ‘keeper James Skehill had fumbled a long-range delivery.

Aonghus Callanan scored Galway’s only point of the second half in the 54th minute to cut the deficit to the minimum (2-9 to 0-14) but Tipperary kicked on to land a further eight points.  “Thank God, there are two halves in games,” remarked a delighted Liam Sheedy afterwards. “We got no rhythm going at all in the first half and, to be honest, we were lucky to be only four points behind at half-time. We had played against a fairly strong wind but everything wasn’t down to that — we were being out-hurled too.” Galway launched some excellent points and seemed totally at ease with themselves as five of their six forwards, plus midfielders Ger Farragher and Niall Cahalan, got on the scoresheet. The defence was sturdy too, apart from one moment of indecision which allowed John O’Brien to divert Eoin Kelly’s ’65 to the net in the sixth minute. Corbett pointed in the ninth minute but Galway’s response was to shoot six unanswered points.


They led by 0-13 to 1-4 after 32 minutes and would have been further ahead except for a great save from Brendan Cummins from Iarla Tannian. Callanan and Kelly cut two points off the deficit before the interval to leave Galway four clear (0-13 to 1-6) and well set up for the second half. Or so it seemed. In reality, they had presented no more than an illusion and once Tipperary settled into their powerful routine, Galway’s flimsy resistance was repeatedly exposed. Cummins, Paddy Stapleton, Padraic Maher and Declan Fanning secured Tipperary’s defensive bolts, Shane McGrath took charge at midfield and never relented, while Corbett and Callanan led the attacking charge with power and precision.

“We have a lot of positives to take from that second half. The lads got really stuck in and made things happen. They knew that the first-half performance wasn’t good enough and they really did empty the tank once they got going in the second half,” said Sheedy. This win puts Tipperary right back in contention for a place in the league final and while Galway have also won two of three games, the worrying aspect for them is that they could produce such a shockingly inept 35 minutes after being so efficient up to half-time. How any team — least of all one with big-time ambitions — could score just one point in 38 minutes of hurling on a dry, pleasant afternoon is one of those sorrowful mysteries which Galway must attempt to address. It will have to be done from a premise of humility as none of them could feel remotely happy with their second-half performance.

It was far more serious than being merely out-hurled. There was also a mental opt-out once Tipperary increased the tempo of their hurling. There were times when it looked as if they had several extra players on the pitch, thanks to their off-the-ball running and positioning.  In contrast, Galway were cumbersome and flat-footed, looking altogether like men who had undergone a heavy training session yesterday morning. Of course that wasn’t the case. The return of the Portumna contingent will strengthen Galway but clearly there’s something woefully suspect about their mentality. It wasn’t that Tipperary had to do anything outstanding in the second half.  Granted, they improved on their first-half efforts but could never have expected that it would be enough to dispatch Galway into such deep and dark oblivion.

Scorers — Tipperary: E Kelly 0-5 (4f); L Corbett, S Callanan 0-4 each; N McGrath 1-1; J O’Brien 1-0; T Hammersley 0-2; S McGrath 0-1. Galway: G Farragher 0-5 (4f); C Donnellan, I Tannian, A Callanan 0-2 each; A Harte, N Cahalan, J Gantley 0-1 each.

Tipperary — B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Maher, B Maher; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, S Maher; M Cahill, S McGrath; S Hennessy, S Callanan, N McGrath; E Kelly, J O’Brien, L Corbett.
Subs: P Curran for O’Mahony (41 mins), T Hammersley for Hennessy (47), G Ryan for O’Brien (53), P Kelly for N McGrath (63), M Webster for Corbett (71).

Galway — J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; D Collins, T Og Regan, C Dervan; G Farragher, N Cahalan; A Callanan, C Donnellan, A Harte; I Tannian, J Gantley, D Burke.
Subs: K Hynes for Harte (54), D Barry for Dervan (57), E Ryan for Donnellan (65), J Lee for Collins (65).

REF — J Sexton (Cork)

McGrath goal turns tide in Tipperary’s favour

By Tom Humphries at Semple Stadium for the Irish Times newspaper

NHL DIVISION ONE: Tipperary 2-17 Galway 0-14

A GAME that fits all too snugly into the cliché. Galway, vibrant and inventive in the first half, led by less than they should have. Tipperary looked as if they had spent the last week coalmining. Half-time. Whatever was said was said. Galway scored just once after the break. A game of two halves. Sorry.

“Words are cheap, at the end of the day it is hurling that counts,” said Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy when asked afterwards about his interval oration. “In fairness, we were disappointed with the first-half performance, but there was a stiff enough breeze down there. Even allowing for that, we didn’t attack the ball at all. Thankfully, there was a second half!” The first half had seemingly exposed a shyness about Tipperary which one assumed was long gone. Galway moved the ball into space unimpeded and having cantered into a two-point lead were surprised to find themselves hauled back when a crafty Eoin Kelly 65 was deflected smartly into the net by John O’Brien. Game on, we thought, but we were wrong. Galway stretched their limbs and pulled away again.

Iarla Tannion was making hay in the corner and his points might have been supplemented by a wonderful goal when he took one touch on a dropping ball and then pulled. Brendan Cummins produced a save, however, which drew a warm ovation from the crowd of 6,080. With Ger Farragher prompting from the middle and the spaces opening up all around, the game had the feel of a rout. Yet, Tipp just kept themselves in Galway’s rear-view mirror. Lar Corbett, venturing out the field scavenging for all which wasn’t reaching his full-forward office, was instrumental in keeping his side in touch with a few wonderful points. “We were lucky to be within four points at half-time,” said Sheedy afterwards. “We were lucky to get the goal, I mean, the goal was a great flick by Johnno, but we were not in a position where we were expecting a goal. “We got the break then in the second half with the goal. A lot of positives to take out of that second half.”

The goal which started the swing in the second half came off a piece of opportunism from young Noel McGrath who chased in after a high ball which spun off James Skehill’s stick and on to the grass from where McGrath kicked it home. That was eight minutes or so into the second half and Tipp had three points posted already as a declaration of their intent. Suddenly, Galway were trying to find the right gear . . . and failing. John McIntyre had spoken during the week about his side’s tendency to lose focus. They provided him with a perfect demonstration yesterday. The Galway manager didn’t make himself available for comment after the game, but his voice could be heard ricocheting around the locked Galway dressing room for some time after the finish.

Still, those who remember a similar dressing down in Pearse Park last spring will figure it always gets better when the Portumna contingent return and when John Lee eases into championship form. Lee made a brief appearance yesterday following his Fitzgibbon heroics. McIntyre will know the loss of focus is a small crisis and there are good things on the way. As for Sheedy, things have changed since his side’s opening defeat to Dublin, but the objective remains the same. “You have to remember that all of this is preparation for a championship. It doesn’t change Tuesdays or Thursdays. “It can’t, though the lads fairly emptied the tank there by the end. We have played three weeks in a row and have another three in a row coming up. They are good competitive games, but it is championship we are looking at.”

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Maher, B Maher; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, S Maher; M Cahill (0-1), S McGrath, S Hennessy, S Callinan (0-2), J O Brien (1-1), E Kelly (0-7), L Corbett (0-3), N McGrath (1-2). Subs: T Hammersley (0-1) for S Hennessy 60 mins.

GALWAY: J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; D Collins, T Óg Regan, C Dervan; G Farragher (0-5), N Cahalan (0-1); A Callanan (0-2), C Donnellan (0-2), A Harte (0-1); I Tannion (0-2), J Gantley (0-1), D Burke. Subs: D Barry for A Harte 55 mins, KJ Lee for C Dervan 58 mins.

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

Team News

The Tipperary Senior Hurling team to play Galway in round 3 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League on Sunday, March 14th shows 4 changes from the team which started against Kilkenny last weekend. Paddy Stapleton, Michael Cahill, Seamus Hennessy and Jody Brennan come into the side in place of Paul Curran, Thomas Stapleton, Benny Dunne and Micheál Webster.

1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)
2. Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh)
3. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
4. Brendan Maher (Borris–Ileigh)
5. Declan Fanning (Killenaule)
6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)
7. Shane Maher (Burgess)
8. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)
9. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)
10. Seamus Hennessy (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
11. Jody Brennan (Upperchurch / Drombane)
12. John O’Brien (Toomevara)
13. Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone)       Captain
14. Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)
15. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

GALWAY: J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; C Dervan, T Regan, D Collins; G Farragher, N Cahalane; A Callanan, C Donnellan, A Harte; I Tannian, J Gantley, N Healy.

Allainz NHL Division 1 – Waterford 2-20 Limerick 2-10

Waterford defeated Limerick by 2-20 to 2-10 in Round 3 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 1 on Sunday in Fraher Field Dungarvan.

Early McNamara brace not enough for ‘tired’ Limerick

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Waterford 2-20 Limerick 2-10

Monday March 15 2010

Limerick manager Justin McCarthy does not seem to be going anywhere, not for the time being at least. On Saturday a statement released by the County Board indicated that although letters had been received from five clubs requesting a debate on the issue, no formal proposal was received and therefore the letters were sent back to the clubs. The ball would now appear to be back in the club’s court as they seek to oust McCarthy from the position. McCarthy himself will not make it easy for those who wish to see him out of the job. On this game, McCarthy said that it was “our worst display” of the league to date saying: “They were a bit tired. We trained hard during the week. I’m not making excuses but it could have been a factor.”

Limerick got off to a great start in this game in Dungarvan as they scored two goals in the first 11 minutes. Full-forward Paudie McNamara got the final touch on each occasion as he gave Waterford full-back Mark O’Brien a torrid first half. However, Waterford rallied and, led superbly by Eoin Kelly at midfield, they fought their way back into the game and were level by half-time, mainly thanks to a Kelly goal from a 21-yard free. The first half included 14 minutes of injury-time following a lengthy stoppage as Limerick goalkeeper Tadhg Flynn received treatment after a collision with Waterford corner-forward Eoin McGrath. Flynn eventually left the field in an ambulance and was replaced by debutant Barry Hennessy. Hennessy was given no chance for Waterford’s second goal, scored by centre-forward Kevin Moran four minutes after the interval. The Limerick defence failed to deal with a long delivery into the half-back line, Moran snapped up the loose ball before firing in the top corner. This goal was the highlight of an impressive third quarter for Waterford as they shook off the lethargic challenge of Limerick.

Following an unimpressive first half, Waterford manager introduced John Mullane at half-time for his season opener. Mullane looked very sharp throughout the second half, as did fellow substitute Seamus Prendergast, who notched three points from play as Waterford ran away from Limerick to score a facile victory. The game’s most impressive performer was Waterford wing-back Jamie Nagle who impressed with his neat stickwork as well as his ability to field Limerick puck-outs. The inability of the Limerick half-forward line to win primary possession was a feature of the game.

Scorers — Waterford: E Kelly 1-10 (1-0 pen, 0-8f, 0-1 ’65), K Moran 1-2, M Shanahan 0-3, R Foley, S Prendergast 0-2 each, J Mullane 0-1. Limerick: P McNamara 2-0, T O’Brien 0-3 (0-3f), N Quaid, A O’Connor (0-2f), B O’Sullivan 0-2 each, C Mullane 0-1.

Waterford — C Hennessy; E Murphy, M O’Brien, N Connors; A Kearney, S O’Sullivan, J Nagle; E Kelly, R Foley; T Connors, K Moran, S Molumphy; E McGrath, S Walsh, M Shanahan. Subs: S Prendergast for Connors, Mullane for McGrath, T Ryan for Molumphy, E Whelan for Walsh.

Limerick — T Flynn; D Flynn, D Kenny, S O’Neill; L O’Dwyer, A Brennan, D Madden; N Quaid, P Browne; B O’Sullivan, J O’Brien, C Mullane; G Mulcahy, P McNamara, A O’Connor. Subs: B Hennessy for Flynn, T O’Brien for O’Connor, P Harty for Mullane, R McKeon for Mulcahy, M Deegan for Madden.

Ref — J Ryan (Tipperary)

Clinical Déise cover all the angles

Waterford 2-20 Limerick 2-10

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 15, 2010

YESTERDAY’S encounter in Fraher Field, Dungarvan, came with more angles than a bagful of squares: Justin McCarthy, formerly of Waterford, back in the Déise with Limerick. Eoin Kelly, Dan Shanahan and John Mullane coming back into contention for Waterford. James O’Brien back for Limerick. And hanging over everything, that long-running stand-off on Shannonside between management and players.

We had a Division One NHL game as well, of course. Limerick had a goal inside twenty seconds thanks to Paudie McNamara’s neat catch and turn, and within six minutes they had another: Brian O’Sullivan dropped a ball into the square, and with McNamara distracting the Waterford defence, the ball went all the way to the net. Limerick 2-0, Wateford 0-1. “That’s the second week in-a-row we’ve conceded early goals,” said Davy Fitzgerald after the game. “Mark (O’Brien) settled after that but he’s a good player (McNamara), good in the air. We just don’t need that kind of start. No team does. Caught with two sucker punches, the crowd gets a bit edgy … but we settled after that.”

Waterford got on track thanks to the accuracy of Eoin Kelly and Kevin Moran’s industry, but were still two goals behind when the game changed decisively: matters came to a complete halt for almost a quarter of an hour halfway through the first half to allow the ambulance on to the field following a neck injury to Limerick goalkeeper Tadhg Flynn. The break in play did nothing for Limerick’s concentration, and they failed to score for the rest of the half. Waterford made light of the disruption with points from Kelly (two) and Moran cutting Limerick’s lead to four. The home defence was also getting on top as the half wore on, and with five minutes to the break Kelly goaled a 21-metre free. Moran added another point and the sides were level at the break – 1-7 to 2-4 – despite Limerick’s dream start.

“There were a few words,” said Fitzgerald of the half-time break. “Mainly I told them not to panic. We missed four or five goal chances and we’ve got to take those.” They did after the break, with 1-3 in five minutes. The goal came courtesy of Shane Walsh flipping a Brian O’Driscoll-style offload to Kevin Moran, and the game was as good as over. Limerick battled but Waterford could call on Seamus Prendergast and John Mullane to add cutting and class to their attack, and the home side weren’t flattered by a ten-point winning margin. They were able to rattle off 13 second-half scores and Limerick’s forwards found the going hard against an in-form Aidan Kearney and Jamie Nagle. “This was probably our worst display of the league so far,” said Justin McCarthy. “Our lads might have been a bit tired. I’m not making excuses but we trained hard during the week, and younger lads need to get used to that.

Fitzgerald has a visit from in-form Cork to look forward to next week: “If we play like that against Cork we’ll be well beaten. I’ve no illusions about that.” McCarthy and his management team may face their biggest challenge in the committee room, given the Limerick County Board’s statement on Saturday night acknowledging the urgent need to arrange its next meeting. Meanwhile Gary Hurney has withdrawn from the Waterford senior hurling panel. The big full-forward played two weeks ago against Galway in the Deise’s NHL defeat in Salthill but has now left the panel. Waterford football boss John Owens may invite Hurney, a noted footballer, onto the county football panel. *A minute’s silence was held in honour of the late Pat Fanning of Mount Sion and Waterford, former President of the GAA, who died yesterday.

Scorers for Waterford: E. Kelly 1-10 (0-5 fs, 0-1 65); K. Moran 1-2; M. Shanahan 0-3; R. Foley, S. Prendergast 0-2 each; J. Mullane 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: B. O’Sullivan 1-1; T. O’Brien 0-4 (fs); P. McNamara 1-0; N. Quaid A. O’Connor 0-2 (fs) each; C. Mullane 0-1.

Subs: S. Prendergast for Connors, 25; J. Mullane for McGrath, HT; T. Ryan for Molumphy, 54; O. Whelan for S. Walsh, 64.

Subs: B. Hennessy for Flynn, 18; T. O’Brien for A. O’Connor, 32; P. Harty for Mullane, 47; R. McKeogh for Mulcahy, 64; M. Deegan for Madden, 70.

Referee: J. Ryan (Tipperary)

Team News

Limerick Senior Hurling Team Allianz National Hurling League v Waterford

1. Tadhg Flynn Ahane

2. David Lynch Na Piarsaigh

3. Des Kenny Ballybrown

4. Shane O Neill South Liberties

5. Lorcan O Dwyer Pallasgreen

6. Andrew Brennan Caherline

7. Dean Madden Bruff

8 Nicky Quaid Effin

9. Paul Browne Bruff

10. Brian O Sullivan Kilmallock

11. James O’Brien Bruree

12. Cathal Mullane Killeedy

13. Graeme Mulcahy Kilmallock

14. Paudie McNamara Murroe Boher

15. Alan O Connor Ballybrown

16. Barry Hennessy Kilmallock

17. Kieran O Rourke Bruree

18. Mark Deegan Hospital/Herbertstown

19. Cian Hayes Kildimo

20. Peter Harty Patrickswell

21. Thomas O Brien Patrickswell

22. Anthony Owens South Liberties

23. Richard McKeogh Kildimo

24. Sean Herlihy Monagea

Allianz NHL Division 3A – Kerry 3-30 Meath 3-10

Kerry defeated Meath by 3-30 to 3-10 in Round 3 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 3A on Sunday at Austin Stack Park Tralee.

Brick builds platform for Kerry’s dismissal of Royals

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Kerry 3-30 Meath 3-10

Monday March 15 2010

The gulf in class between Kerry and visitors Meath was obvious from 10 minutes into this mismatch, played at Austin Stack Park in Tralee yesterday as Shane Brick inspired the Kingdom to their third win on the trot. Kerry scored 1-5 without reply between the 10th and the 15th minutes, with Gary O’Brien scoring the goal in the 14th minute. Shane Brick added three points with Darragh O’Connell and O’Brien getting one apiece. Brick continued to plunder points from frees and from play while O’Brien struck for his second goal in the 18th minute as Kerry led 2-14 to 1-6 at the interval. Kerry introduced youngsters Colm Harty and James Flaherty for the second half and both scored as the Kingdom continued their fast and slick striking. Wing-forward Mikey Boyle added five points from play and O’Connell bagged three excellent efforts. Brick brought his tally to an impressive 0-15 as the Kingdom cruised to victory.

Scorers — Kerry: S Brick 0-15 (0-6f, 0-2 ’65’s),G O’Brien 2-1, M Boyle 0-6, M Conway 1-1, D O’Connell 0-4, JM Dooley, J Flaherty, C Harty 0-1 each. Meath: N Hackett 1-2 (0-2f), S Clynch 0-4 ( 0-1f, 0-1 ’65), P Durnin 1-1, J Keena 1-0, P Keogh, Garvey, N Horan 0-1 each.

Kerry — J B O’Halloran; C Harris, A Healy, A Keane; J McCarthy, L Boyle, J Casey; M Conway, J Griffin; M Boyle, S Brick, D O’Connell; J M Dooley, G O’Brien, S Nolan Subs: C Harty for J M Dooley (h-t), J Flaherty for S Nolan (h-t), J Godley for G O’Brien (55), N Young for C Harris (60), J Fitzgerald for J McCarthy (60).

Meath — S Quinn; M Foley, E Fitzgerald, B Coughlan; M Horan, S O’Donoghue, J Boyle; P Keogh, S Clynch; P Garvey, N Horan, P Durnin; J Keena, N Hackett, K Keena Subs: D O’Donoghue for J Keena (33), M Lynch for M Horan (48), P Fagan for M Foley (62), G Murphy for K Keena (62), D Muldoon for B Coughlan (68).

Ref — M O’Connor (Limerick).

Team News

The Kerry Senior Hurling team to play Meath is as follows:

1. John Brendan O’Halloran Kilmoyley 2.Colin Harris Kilmoyley 3. Aidan Healy Abbeydorney 4. Andrew Keane Crotta O’Neills 5. James McCarthy Kilmoyley 6. Liam Boyle Ballyduff 7. Tom Murnane Kilmoyley 8. Mike Conway Lixnaw 9. John Griffin Lixnaw 10. Michael Boyle Ballyduff 11. Shane Brick, Capt Kilmoyley 12. Darragh O Connell Abbeydorney 13.John Mike Dooley Causeway 14. Gary O’Brien Ballyduff 15.Shane Nolan Crotta O’Neills

Substitutes as follows: 16. Nicky Leen Ballyduff 17John Fitzgerald Causeway 18. David Fitzelle Kilmoyley

19. James Flaherty Lixnaw 20. Jason Casey Ballyheigue 21.Niall Young Kilmoyley 22. Colm Harty Causeway

23. Brian O Leary Abbeydorney 24. Eoin Sheehy Kilmoyley 25.Ronan Kenny Ballyheigue

26. Sean Young Kilmoyley 27. James Godley Kilmoyley 28. Richard Nolan Crotta O’Neills

29. Padraigh Monson Causeway 30. Sean Maunsell Kilmoyley 31. John Egan Ardfert

Allainz NHL Division 1 – Cork 0-18 Kilkenny 1-13

Cork defeated Kilkenny by 0-18 to 1-13 in Round 3 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 1 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Beware the tides of March

Cork 0-18 Kilkenny 1-13

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 15, 2010

A THIRD win for unbeaten Cork in the National Hurling League, a second defeat for Kilkenny – is hurling witnessing a turning of the tide? Not so fast lads, not so fast. On the surface you might think so, but consider the circumstances. Kilkenny are indeed reigning National League and All-Ireland champions, have been supreme for the last four seasons, but, even after losses to Tipperary and Cork in consecutive weeks, any thought that they might be struggling is nonsensical. They came to Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday still without the services of Michael Kavanagh, Noel Hickey, Cha Fitzpatrick, Derek Lyng, Michael Fennelly, Henry Shefflin, Martin Comerford and TJ Reid. Michael Rice – their leading forward last week – was ruled out by injury, Eoin Larkin is still working his way back to full fitness after coming back from injury, and Eddie Brennan only came on as a late sub, making his first appearance of the new year. Then, there was the little matter of a 27 points humiliation at Nowlan Park last year to be avenged by Cork, who were roared on by a partisan home crowd of over 10,000.Finally, compounding all Kilkenny’s problems, after a bit of a skirmish between several players just before half-time, corner-forward Michael Grace received a red card (harshly as he wasn’t any more culpable than several others), reducing the Cats to 14 for the remainder of the game.

Reigning champions or not, then, the odds were seriously stacked against Kilkenny but they battled Cork right to the wire and lost absolutely nothing in defeat. A side on the slide? Hardly, a fact reflected in the post-match reaction of manager Brian Cody, a man not given to accepting defeat very easily. “There were a lot of good things from our point of view. We were disappointed to lose, as ever, but we were reasonably happy with the performance.” Cody was happy with a number of new players particularly, not least goalscorer John Mulhall. The manager admitted: “He was very good, he’s been showing food form for us. He’s a newcomer to the panel and he has a lot of positives to his game. John Dalton had a very good game at corner-back, he cleared a pile of ball. The attitude was good, the spirit was good because it was a big ask to play the whole of the second half with 14 men. We were genuine to the very end.” That’s the word, exactly – genuine. Talent is always a given with Kilkenny, but under the baton of Cody, and no matter what 15 take the field, we’ve come to expect nothing less than 100% genuine effort.

Cork were fired up yesterday, raced into a four-point lead after eight minutes through John Gardiner (65), Tom Kenny and corner-forward Patrick Horgan (2), who looked razor sharp. Eventually Kilkenny got into their stride and by the time of the Grace sending-off were back within a point, 0-8 to 0-7. Grace had two scores, both from play (as had the talented Mulhall), so his loss was always going to be felt. Nevertheless it was Kilkenny with first blood after the dismissal, Richie Power with his fourth point of the half after Niall McCarthy was wild with a pull on Tommy Walsh, leaving it tied at the break on 0-8 apiece.

The second half was much like the first, a dogfight resumed. It wasn’t pretty, made even less so by a pitch that was cutting up badly, but it was certainly entertaining, both sides showing fantastic commitment. With the loss of Grace, Kilkenny were forced to work extra hard, but Cork too – to their credit – were grafting, to the extent that at times they were outswarming Kilkenny at the renowned swarming game the Cats have perfected over the last four years. They needed to work that hard, however, as Kilkenny, through Mulhall’s opportunist goal after 14 minutes of the second half, edged into a lead they would hold until the 63rd minute. The introduction of Jerry O’Connor and Paudie O’Sullivan, however, made all the difference for Cork, and they scraped home.

“The spare man probably helped us,” admitted Cork boss Denis Walsh. “I think John Gardiner in particular would have been able to read the play and picked up a few scores (the wing-back was outstanding, man-of-the-match). We were under a bit of pressure, the lads that came in off the bench did a good job and that makes me enthusiastic going forward. Paudie O’Sullivan was very sharp, but we’ve seen that (in training). He was out with an operation on a knee injury for the last month or two but he was very sharp before that. We saw there today, coming in for 20 minutes, everything he touched he was sharp and he was unlucky he didn’t get a goal.” A good win then for Cork, plenty of encouragement, even if the twin tower concept (Aisake O hAilpín and Michael Cussen alongside each other for the last ten minutes or so) is still unproven. Plenty of encouragement for Brian Cody and Kilkenny also, however.

Scorers for Cork: J. Gardiner 0-7 (0-3 frees, 0-2 65s); P. Horgan 0-4 (0-2 frees); N. McCarthy 0-2; P. O’Sullivan 0-2; T. Kenny, C. Naughton, J. O’Connor, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: R. Power 0-7 (0-5 frees); J. Mulhall 1-3; M. Grace 0-2; E. Larkin 0-1.

Subs for Cork: J. O’Connor (M. O’Sullivan 48); P. O’Sullivan (Horgan 57); M. Cussen (B. O’Connor 50).

Subs for Kilkenny: E. Brennan (O’Dwyer 43); J. Ryall (PJ Delaney 56); S. Cummins (JJ Delaney inj. 68).

Referee: Dickie Murphy (Wexford).

Sublime Gardiner inspires Rebels to sink Cats

By Colm Keys for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday March 15 2010

When Denis Walsh emerged from the Cork dressing-room after last year’s humiliating 27-point defeat to Kilkenny — his first game in charge — the look on his face told everything. Visibly dazed by what had happened some 45 minutes earlier Walsh struggled for words to sum up just about the worst day a Cork hurling team had experienced in any lifetime. One by one the players had filed out in front of him, heads bowed by the absolute lack of mercy shown by the home firing squad. Kilkenny had long since left the premises, their message ruthlessly delivered after another winter of discontent on Leeside. It had been business with a personal touch for them.

It’s against that backdrop then, that the importance of Cork’s two-point victory can be placed in proper perspective. It may have little or no impact on the overall contour of the hurling season, but for now it restores battered pride. Kilkenny don’t come to places like Pairc Ui Chaoimh to lose and no other county can absorb such losses in key personnel like them. So, it was only natural that Walsh should skip out to the cameras for interviews with a smile on his face and then face further inquisition with a cheery sense of fulfillment.

Any attempt to play it down won’t have been heeded by the Rebel support in the 10,102 crowd, who savoured something so rare as the lowering of black and amber colours. It was their first such success over Kilkenny in almost six years. Was revenge for Nowlan Park foremost on their mind? “Well, it wasn’t for me really,” said Walsh. “Look at the facts, there was only seven of today’s 15 that started last year. From a Cork hurling point of view I’m sure their pride . . . these guys have been together a long time and the fellas we have brought in have blended in very well. “I left it to themselves from that point of view. I think we got our answer there today. They wanted to win the game in the last quarter of an hour. It was there to be won and we could have easily left it behind us too. But they gave the answer.”

For Kilkenny, it hardly represents a crisis, but who can remember the last time they lost back-to-back games in any competition? Predictably the whiff of gunpowder perfumed the air with every challenge. Cork were determined to lay down a marker — something Kilkenny do with the natural force of their hurling. It led to feisty exchanges, splintered hurls everywhere and a boiling over of tempers in added time at the end of the first half when Micheal Grace — who had just plundered two points — was red carded by referee, Dickie Murphy. There were enough bodies crashing into each other in the vicinity to suggest that one or two might have followed, but Murphy and one linesman were well placed and they delivered their judgment swiftly. From the restart, Niall McCarthy picked up a yellow for Cork and only the arrival of half-time brought order to the burgeoning chaos.

Neither manager had a clear view, with Walsh claiming ‘Arsene Wenger’ eyesight with a glint in his eye. With an extra body, the game was always going to be Cork’s to lose and they made sharp work of doing just that with an attack that failed to function in any meaningful way; only Paudie O’Sullivan’s arrival for the final 15 minutes brought any sort of cohesion and his two points secured a third successive Division 1 win. If O’Sullivan’s points were the security, it was the force of John Gardiner’s overall play that provided the inspiration. From early on, the conviction in Gardiner’s body language was obvious and he was a tower of strength across the Cork half-back line.

Behind him Donal Og Cusack was equally imperious; saving an early penalty from Richie Power and then stooping low to block John Mulhall on 21 minutes. But their early momentum was lost as poor interaction from their forwards cost them, undoing the good work by Gardiner, Shane O’Neill, Brian Murphy and Eoin Cadogan — who recovered from a shaky start on Richie Power — at the back. The sides went in level — 0-8 each — at the break, this time with the Cork crowd rising to their feet in unison just as the Kilkenny hordes had done some 12 months earlier. Mulhall was arguably Kilkenny’s success story. He went through more helmets than Victoria Beckham goes through footwear in an average day, but the end result was plenty of firebrand play and 1-3 to his name, with his 49th-minute goal squeezing beneath Cusack for a 1-10 to 0-11 lead.

The game had caught fire again by then and Cork had to roll up their sleeves and give chase. Gardiner continued to be Cork’s bulwark, more often that not finding himself as the extra man in Grace’s absence. “The spare man probably helped us in that regard. I think John (Gardiner) in particular would have been able to read the play and picked up a few scores, picked up few balls coming out when they were under a bit of pressure,” said Walsh. The wonder was that it was such a good game, given the condition of the Pairc Ui Chaoimh surface. It was heavily sanded and scarified and that’s understandable in the treatment process of any pitch.

But if the GAA had a quality control department, they would have pushed this game elsewhere. It wasn’t what supporters or players deserved for such a fixture. The arrival of Jerry O’Connor, and later O’Sullivan, sparked Cork and they finally got ahead again through a Gardiner pointed free on 65 minutes, his seventh of the afternoon, before Niall McCarthy and O’Sullivan applied the coup de grace. Cody wasn’t too nonplussed by the defeat. With six of their All-Ireland- winning side missing, in addition to ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick and TJ Reid, he has plenty to fall back on. “We wanted to win the game. We needed to win the game to stay in the league realistically,” he said. “There were a lot of good things from our point of view. It was a very genuine performance. We were disappointed to lose, as ever, but we were reasonably happy with the performance.” The day belonged to Cork though, just. After last year, it was simply a case of having to take ownership of it.

Scorers`– Cork: J Gardiner 0-7 (0-3f, 0-2 ’65’), P Horgan 0-4 (0-2f), P O’Sullivan, N McCarthy 0-2 each, T Kenny, C Naughton, J O’Connor 0-1 each. Kilkenny: R Power 0-7 (0-4f), J Mulhall 1-3, M Grace 0-2, E Larkin 0-1.

Cork — D Og Cusack; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, S Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, B Murphy; T Kenny, C Naughton; B O’Connor, M O’Sullivan, N McCarthy; K Murphy, A O hAilpin, P Horgan. Subs: J O’Connor for O’Sullivan (48), P O’Sullivan for Horgan (57), M Cussen for B O’Connor (60).

Kilkenny — P J Ryan; C Hickey, B Hogan, J Dalton; T Walsh, J Tyrrell, J J Delaney; J Tennyson, P J Delaney; J Mulhall, W O’Dwyer, E Larkin; M Grace, R Power, A Fogarty. Subs: E Brennan for O’Dwyer (43), J Ryall for P J Delaney (55), S Cummins for J J Delaney (67).

Ref — D`Murphy (Wexford)

Team News

CORK (SH v Kilkenny): D. Óg Cusack; S. O’Neill, E. Cadogan, S. Murphy; J. Gardiner, R. Curran, B. Murphy; T. Kenny, C. Naughton; B. O’Connor, M. O’Sullivan, N. McCarthy; K. Murphy, A. O h-Ailpin, P. Horgan.

Allianz NFL Division 4 – Clare 1-19 London 1-8

Clare defeated London by 1-19 to 1-8 in Round 5 of the Allianz National Football League Division 4 on Sunday in Ruislip.

Allianz NFL Division 2 – Tipperary 1-9 Meath 0-10

Tipperary defeated Meath by 1-9 to 0-10 in Round 4 of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 2 on Sunday in Semple Stadium Thurles.


Allianz National Football League, Division 2 – Round 4

Tipperary 1-9 Meath 0-10

By Cathal Ryan

In the opening game of a double header in Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon Tipperary gained an invaluable victory over last year’s All Ireland Semi Finalists Meath in a bid to stay afloat in Division 2 of the Allianz National Football League. The home side scored the only goal of the game when referee Tom Lynch appeared to change his mind after initially directing for a free out only to then decide to award a penalty on second thought as Peter Acheson was being man handled in the square after a great catch in a crowded area. Barry Grogan stepped up and dispatched the spot kick with precision and power to the right of Royal’s keeper Paddy O Rielly in the 54th minute.

John Evans men had to withstand heavy pressure late on as the importance of the victory showed in the grit and determination that was displayed by the Tipperary defending. In particular Cian Ward who looked a classy kicker when allowed any time or space caused concerns for the Tipperary defence.

This victory leaves Tipperary on three points after four matches and knowing that their fate in division two is very much in their own hands. The delight in the Tipperary camp was evident at the final whistle as the scalp of one of last year’s All Ireland Semi Finalists is just what the doctor ordered to drive the side forward. Meath and manager Eamon O Brien will be very disappointed as they had earmarked making an assault at promotion this year and with only two victories from four that hope seems to be diminishing.

Cian Ward opened the scoring in the 3rd minute through a free won by robust full forward Joe Sheridan. But Tipperary came to terms with the pace of the game very soon and a wonderful sideline kick from Barry Grogan drew the home side level. With the breeze behind them as they scored into the town end of the stadium Tipperary looked to press home the advantage of the elements. Industrious centre forward Philip Austin scored two good points from play in the 7th and 11th minute as well as getting through a mountain of work around the field.

Then three consecutive frees highlighted a purple patch for the Premier County as two were converted by Barry Grogan and one by Conor Sweeney to leave them 0-6 to 0-1 up after 23 minutes. The Meath team could sense they needed to act as this game could get away from them and responded with two points in two minutes through Shane McAnarney and Cian Ward. Both sides traded a further score to leave the half time score at 0-7 to 0-4 in favour of the Tipp men.

Meath now playing with the breeze looked to stamp their authority on proceedings early in the second half and two Cian Ward points along with one from Shane O Rourke closed the gap before the 54th minute penalty award that regained the advantage that Tipperary would not relinquish again. Shane O Rourke and Cian Ward again tagged on points late on but Meath didn’t do enough to close the gap after the penalty. The work rate and commitment of Tipperary won the day and this side continues to show improvement under John Evans in Division 2.


Tipperary: Paul Fitzgearld; Ciaran McDonald, Niall Curran, Paddy Codd; Christopher Aylward, Robbie Costigan, Ciaran McGrath; George Hannigan, Seamus Grogan; Peter Acheson, Philip Austin (0-2), Brian Mulvihill; Conor Sweeney (0-1,1F), Brian Coen (0-1), Barry Grogan (1-5, 1-4F,1S/L). Subs: Stephen Hahessy for C. Sweeney (h/t), John Cagney for B. Mulvihill (51), Alan Rockett for S. Grogan (56), Sean Carey for P. Austin (62), Liam O Gorman for B. Coen (68).

Meath: Paddy O Rourke; Niall McKeigue, Eoghan Harrington, Chris O Connor; Seamus Kenny, Michael Burke, Anthony Moyles; Nigel Crawford, Mark Ward; Shane McAnarney (0-1), Cian Ward (0-5, 1F, 1S/L), Jamie Queeney; David Bray, Joe Sheridan, Stephen Bray (0-1). Subs: Ollie Lewis for J. Sheridan (h/t), Shane O Rourke (0-2) for J. Queeney (48), Peadar Byrne (0-1) for S. McAnarney (55), Niall Mooney for D. Bray (70).

Referee: Tom Lynch (Kerry)


Evans hails charges as Tipp hold nerve to rock Royals

Tipperary 1-9 Meath 0-10

By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 15, 2010

IT mattered little to the Tipperary management that they secured their first victory in the National Football League yesterday in Semple Stadium by beating a Meath side which performed well below the standard normally expected from the Royals. At the finish, it was almost a struggle for the home side to hold on to a lead which dwindled after the concession of three points in the final ten minutes, but Tipp coach John Evans’ assertion that they ‘deserved’ to win was endorsed by a disappointed Eamonn Barry. “It’s big for these lads,’’ said a jubilant Evans afterwards. “You put Down and Meath in front of these guys and it’s huge from where we have come. We held our nerve and we stayed in the game the whole way. We had to hold the ball and make Meath work and that is what we did.” For his part, the Meath manager accepted the inadequacies in his team’s display and agreed that the Tipperary goal in the 55th minute proved decisive.

The first-half was a drab affair, with Tipperary the more impressive, benefiting from a tight-marking defence and a more resourceful attack. Philip Austin used his speed to good effect at centre-forward and Barry Grogan’s accuracy from frees was vital. While Meath had a slight wind advantage, they made surprisingly little progress up front despite the fact that Nigel Crawford and Mark Ward saw plenty of the ball at midfield. Cian Ward was rarely involved at centre-forward and Joe Sheridan was even less effective at full-forward. After Cian Ward had given Meath the lead from a third-minute free, Barry Grogan had the hosts quickly level with a terrific score from a sideline ball and in another 15 minutes they were 0-4 to 0-1 in front. However, they were fortunate not to concede a goal in the ninth minute, when ‘keeper Paul Fitzgerald saved from Sheridan. At the break, they were in front by 0-7 to 0-4 and they were still leading by three points when the goal came, from a Grogan penalty. Interestingly, the referee first indicated a free out despite the fact that Peter Acheson seemed to be fouled after making a high catch, but he reversed his decision and pointed to the spot. Tipp added two more points and after that it was a case of holding out, with team captain Robbie Costigan at centre-back one of their stars on the day.

Scorers for Tipperary: B. Grogan 1-5 (1-4 frees, 0-1 sideline); P. Austin 0-2; C. Sweeney and C. Coen 0-1each.

Scorers for Meath: C. Ward 0-5 (0-2 frees, 0-1 sideline); S. O’Rourke 0-2; S. McAnarney, S. Bray and P. Byrne 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: P. Fitzgerald; C. McDonald, N. Curran, P. Codd; C. Aylward, R. Costigan (capt.), C. McGrath; G. Hannigan, S. Grogan; P. Acheson, P. Austin, B. Mulvihill; C. Sweeney, B. Coen, B. Grogan.

Subs: S. Hahessy for Sweeney (ht); J. Cagney for Mulvihill (52); A. Rockett for S. Grogan (57); S. Carey for Austin (63); R. O’Dwyer for Coen (69).

MEATH: P. O’Rourke; E. Harrington, N. McKeigue, C. O’Connor; S. Kenny, M. Burke, A. Moyles; N. Crawford, M. Ward; S. McAnarney, C. Ward, J. Queeney; D. Bray, J. Sheridan, S. Bray.

Subs: O. Lewis for Sheridan (ht); Shane O’Rourke for Queeney (49); P. Byrne for McAnarney (55); N. Mooney for D. Bray (injured, 69).

Referee: Tom Walsh (Kerry)


Tipperary 1-09 Meath 0-10

From the web site

Barry Grogan to the fore as Tipperary see off the Royal challenge

Sunday, 14 March 2010 15:54

Tipperary registered their first win in the Allianz NFL Division 2 by overcoming Meath at Semple Stadium today. Tipp built a 0-07 to 0-04 half-time lead, with Barry Grogan and Philip Austin doing most of the damage. John Evans’ charges blazed an early trail and following a brace of points each from Grogan and Austin the hosts led by 0-05 to 0-01 after 21 minutes. Meath edged back thanks to scores from Shane McAnarney and Cian Ward, but wind-assisted Tipperary took control once more to lead by three points at the break.

Cian Ward and substitute Shane O’Rourke had points for the Royals as they rallied impressively but a Grogan penalty, following a foul on Peter Acheson, helped Tipp stay in command. That put them 1-08 to 0-07 up. Brian Coen nosed Tipperary five points in front, but Meath fought back well with scores from substitutes Peadar Byrne and O’Rourke, and Ward cut the deficit to two points a minute into injury-time. However, resilient Tipp held out to add a victory to their opening league point gained from a draw with Down last weekend.


Royal County give up football for Lent

by Fergal Lynch from the Meath Chronicle newspaper

Tipperary 1-9 Meath 0-10

The purgatory of lent continued at Thurles on Sunday where Meath’s apparent abstinence from football reached a new low following their NFL Div 2 defeat by Tipperary. After a dire performance against Westmeath and unconvincing displays against Armagh and Down, Meath’s Lenten sacrifice of NFL points continued unabated as Tipperary fully deserved their victory. The game hinged on a strange refereeing decision by Kerry official Tom Lynch when he awarded Meath a free out in the 55th minute, but then changed his mind and handed the hosts a penalty. Just why he awarded the spot kick is anyone’s guess. Peter Acheson appeared to over-carry the ball when surrounded by several Meath players and Lynch confirmed that by signalling for a free out. However, he then moved to the 13-metre line and spread his arms to signal a penalty, much to the chagrin of the Meath players. Barry Grogan brilliantly tucked the penalty beyond Paddy O’Rourke to give Tipperary a 1-8 to 0-7 advantage.

Despite the injustice of the penalty, Meath can have no complaints about the result. They were simply not good enough and once again displayed far too many inadequacies for a side that reached the All-Ireland SFC semi-final last year. Ever since Eamonn O’Brien took over as coach from Colm Coyle he has always praised his players’ heart, spirit and commitment, but those attributes were in very short supply at Semple Stadium. Seamus Kenny, Mickey Burke, Nigel Crawford, Paddy O’Rourke and Niall McKeigue in the second-half had decent outings, while substitutes Shane O’Rourke and Peadar Byrne had a positive influence towards the end.

However, Meath were rudderless. They appeared bereft of any decent game plan and when the long ball into Joe Sheridan in the first-half didn’t work the response was to replace him with the hard-working Ollie Lewis. Meath ended up with too many soldiers and not a general in sight willing to take control of the game and make the big decisions. Several decent attacking moves broke down because of poor decision-making. Wrong options were taken and eight wides were kicked. Eight efforts off target isn’t abnormally high, but many of the opportunities were very scorable and Meath never looked comfortable with only Cian Ward looking to take the big scores. There was no urgency about the play. Many passes were directed backwards and when Meath were on the attack, the moves frequently broke down because of poor passing or a lack of pace in attack.

That lack of pace up front made Tipperary’s task a lot easier. They were rarely stretched and coped quite comfortably with everything that was thrown at them. When Tipperary did launch attacks they were very productive with Grogan, Philip Austin and Brian Coen impressing against a Meath defence that still has problems at full-back and centre-back. Even when Meath were on the precipice of defeat, they didn’t show that traditional Royal power of recovery. One supporter remarked that when Meath of old were down by four points with six minutes remaining, they would end up winning by five. Not this time. Instead the Meath response to trailing in the final quarter was timid. There was a distinct lack of camaraderie on the field and there was never the sense that the visitors could launch a comeback.

It is becoming repetitive, but Meath are proving to be incapable of launching sustained passages of pressure. It took them 25 minutes to find their first score from play and while six of the nine scores came from play that return isn’t good enough against the likes of Tipperary. There is no doubting that Tipperary are an improving side having gained promotion in successive years, but they should be a team that Meath are capable of beating. Meath rarely looked set for victory despite a close-range free from Cian Ward giving them a third minute lead. Tipperary took over after that with a sublime sideline from Grogan opening their account. With a decent wind at their backs Tipperary pushed on with Austin (two) and frees from Grogan and Conor Sweeney boosting them to a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. All Meath could muster was a Sheridan shot that was well saved by Paul Fitzgerald.

After Anthony Moyles had carelessly surrendered possession Eoghan Harrington was harshly adjudged to have fouled Sweeney and Grogan duly put five points between the sides. Meath eventually found their scoring boots with Shane McAnarney pointing on the run before Cian Ward and Stephen Bray kicked great scores either side of a goal effort by the O’Mahonys man that hit Ciaran McDonald on the back. A careless foul by Burke on Grogan allowed Tipperary take a 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead, but Meath would still have fancied their chances with the wind in their favour for the second-half. Tipperary had a penalty appeal turned down immediately after the restart when Harrington looked to have fouled Austin. Meath countered with Cian Ward closing the deficit.

McAnarney fouled Grogan which restore Tipperary’s three-point cushion, but when Cian Ward and Shane O’Rourke pointed to narrow the gap to 0-7 to 0-8 at the end of the third-quarter Meath looked capable of kicking on. Instead they got a kick in the teeth with the poor penalty decision and never recovered. Grogan’s penalty was followed by a Coen point and although Meath closed the gap to two points through Byrne, O’Rourke and Ward, they never looked like getting in for the goal that would have kept their promotion hopes alive.

Tipperary – P Fitzgerald; C McDonald, N Curran, P Codd; C Aylward, R Costigan, C McGrath; G Hannigan, S Grogan; P Acheson, P Austin (0-2), B Mulvihill; C Sweeney (0-1, free), B Coen (0-1), B Grogan (1-5, 1-0 penalty, four frees, one sideline). Subs – S Hahessy for Sweeney half-time, J Cagney for Mulvihill 51 mins, A Rockett for S Grogan 57m, S Carey for Austin 63m, B O’Dwyer for Coen 68m.

Meath – P O’Rourke; E Harrington, N McKeigue, C O’Connor; S Kenny, M Burke, A Moyles; N Crawford, M Ward; S McAnarney (0-1), C Ward (0-5, one free, one sideline), J Queeney; D Bray, J Sheridan, S Bray (0-1). Subs – O Lewis for Sheridan half-time, S O’Rourke (0-2) for Queeney 48 mins, P Byrne (0-1) for McAnarney 55m, N Mooney for D Bray 70m.

Referee – Tom Lynch (Kerry)

Team News

The Tipperary Senior Football team to play Meath in Sunday’s GAA Allianz Football National League in Thurles is:

1. Paul Fitzgerald (Fethard)

2. Ciaran McDonald (Aherlow)

3. Niall Curran (Mullinahone)

4. Paddy Codd (Killenaule)

5. Christopher Aylward (Clonmel Og)

6. Robbie Costigan (Cahir) Captain

7. Ciaran McGrath (Loughmore/Castleiney)

8. George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers)

9. Seamus Grogan (Aherlow)

10. Peter Acheson (Moyle Rovers)

11. Philip Austin (Borrisokane)

12. Brian Mulvihill (Moyle Rovers)

13. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)

14. Stephen Hahessy (Carrick Swan)

15. Barry Grogan (Aherlow)