All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Round 3 Qualifier – Tipperary 0-21 Offaly 1-12

Tipperary defeated Offaly by 0-21 to 1-12 in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Sunday in Portlaoise.

No nonsense as Tipp do the business

Tipperary 0-21 Offaly 1-12

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 19, 2010

TIPPERARY may not have found the net in this All-Ireland qualifier at Portlaoise yesterday, but a primary goal was accomplished nevertheless. “It was about getting over the finishing line and back into the All-Ireland quarter-final,” said manager Liam Sheedy, a man who knows a thing or two about goal-setting. “Offaly are a fabulous team — they bring great passion and great heart. We were conscious of that coming into this game, we were anxious to try and get a bit of a headstart.”

That’s the thinking when you’re hotly fancied to win — a good start, lift your own players and deflate the opposition. That’s exactly what Tipperary got, and it all stemmed from the toss of a coin. So often you see teams on windy days winning the toss, then immediately ceding the advantage to the opposition — not Tipperary captain Eoin Kelly yesterday. From the moment referee John Sexton looked at the upturned coin on the back of his hand and nodded to Eoin, this game was decided. The wind would be in their sails from the throw-in, and from that throw-in everything Tipp did was professional and business-like. There was very little fancy stuff, no-one trying to create and score the perfect goal, just route one, straight down field stuff.

Having seen Offaly take Galway to the wire on two occasions, Tipperary were taking no chances. The plan was to keep it simple, use that wind to keep the scoreboard ticking over and go into the dressing room with a good lead. Then come back out and fight like dogs to defend it. Not that it was all about the elements. “The wind never won a game,” man-of-the-match Brendan Maher pointed out. “It was important to get a good start whether you were playing with it or against it, and that was our aim. We said we’d go out in the first half and do what we had to, then regather at half-time and take it on from there. The first half performance did set it up, thankfully we got a good lead and we were able to hold onto it.”

That was the game, in a nutshell. With Eoin Kelly on fire at full-forward, razor-sharp in everything he did, they led by six points after 19 minutes (0-7 to 0-1), had extended that to nine at the break (0-14 to 0-5). They had a whole array of scorers, including two from midfielder Maher, two more from flying wing-forward Gearoid Ryan, and one each from centre-back Conor O’Mahony (a free from just outside his own 45m line, an indicator of the strength of the wind), David Young (the second midfielder), centre-forward Shane McGrath (an experiment that worked), and corners Noel McGrath and Larry Corbett.

Offaly did show signs of the team that had drawn with Galway in the Leinster semi-final before bowing out narrowly in the replay. Sharp-shooter Shane Dooley had three pointed frees, big Joe Bergin and Derek Molloy with the other two scores. They also had nine wides, proof that they weren’t being overrun in the possession stakes, and suggestive of a challenge to come on the changeover, with the wind now at their backs. Disappointingly for their fine following, however, that charge never came.

With wing-back Declan Fanning sitting deep to offer extra protection to the full-back line in front of Dooley and Bergin, Tipp managed to nullify the inside threat of Offaly, and while the men from the midlands were starting to get the scoreboard moving, every time they got a point Tipperary almost instantly replied. Joe Bergin point for Offaly, Gearoid Ryan reply; Shane Dooley free, two from Eoin Kelly — on and on, Tipperary always keeping that nine-point half-time gap, even extending it to 10 in the 61st minute, with Kelly still their greatest threat inside. This was Tipp’s last stop in the backroads of the qualifiers, a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final secured, back in the meat of championship action. Their opponents? Galway, coached by former Tipperary star John McIntyre.

“A tough test,” said Maher. “But we are looking forward to it. Any game you play in this championship is tough, but we’re in the right end of it now, back in a quarter-final, back where we wanted to be .” They did allow Offaly in for a goal at the end, Shane Dooley finally finding a bit of space behind what had been a vigilant defence, which put a bit of a gloss on the final scoreline. In truth, however, and from the moment Kelly won that toss, this was never really a true contest.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, D Young; G Ryan, S McGrath, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly. Subs used: S Callanan for Patrick Maher (56 mins), S Hennessy for Young (61), P Bourke for N McGrath (62), C O’Brien for B Maher (67), J O’Brien for S McGrath (69).

Tipperary Scorers: E Kelly 0-11 (0-8f, 0-1 ’65’), G Ryan 0-3, L Corbett, B Maher 0-2 each, C O’Mahony (0-1f), S McGrath, N McGrath 0-1 each.

OFFALY: J Dempsey; D Franks, P Cleary, J Rigney; D Kenny, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; B Murphy, D Hayden; B Carroll, J Brady, D Molloy; C Parlon, J Bergin, S Dooley.

Subs used: K Brady for Cleary (20-23 mins, blood sub), G Healion for Parlon (44), D Currams for J Brady (50), K Brady for Hayden (60), O Kealey for Molloy (64).

Offaly Scorers: S Dooley 1-7 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65’), J Bergin 0-3, D Molloy, D Hayden 0-1 each.

Referee: John Sexton (Cork).

Plus points for Sheedy as Tipp gain momentum

TIPPERARY 0-21 OFFALY 1-12

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Independent newspaper

All-Ireland SHC Qualifier

Monday July 19 2010

TIPPERARY never had to hit the heights against Offaly in Portlaoise yesterday as they set up a mouth-watering All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Galway. The venue for that titanic tussle next Sunday will be confirmed by GAA chiefs later this afternoon and Tipp can look forward to it with some optimism after back-to-back championship victories. Although still defensively sound, Tipp don’t look as powerful a unit as last year but they are sure to improve again next weekend after doing no more than enough to move comfortably past a below-par Offaly challenge. There was none of the fire from the Faithful County that almost saw them shock Galway in the Leinster semi-final as Tipperary led from start to finish in front of 13,888 spectators.

Offaly’s misery was compounded four minutes from time when sub Kevin Brady, who had only been on the pitch five minutes, was sent off for pulling across the legs of Shane McGrath. Tipp captain Eoin Kelly won the pre-match toss and his decision to play with the aid of a stiff breeze blowing into the Town End paid rich dividends. Brendan Cummins put the Offaly defence under immense pressure with booming puck-outs and at the break Tipp led comfortably by 0-14 to 0-5. For the most part, manager Liam Sheedy’s changes worked well as David Young forged a solid midfield partnership with former All-Ireland minor winning captain Brendan Maher, who was his team’s most impressive performer. Re-homed at centre forward, Shane McGrath’s natural inclination was to drift back towards the centre of the field but the Ballinahinch man still put in a useful shift. Gearóid Ryan, making just his second full championship start, hit three points in another solid display.

Kilkenny boss Brian Cody may well have afforded himself a wry smile last night as this time next week one of the main pretenders to the Cats’ throne will have fallen by the wayside. Sheedy doesn’t have the luxury of scanning the wider landscape and the Portroe man was happy with another victory. “It was about getting over the finishing line again today and back into the quarter-final. Offaly are a fabulous team — they bring great passion and great heart. We were very conscious of that coming into the game,” he said. “We were anxious to try and get a bit of a head start. In fairness to the lads, they struck some fabulous scores in the first half. That’s where we set our platform for the victory. We only had four wides in the first half.”

Offaly boss Joe Dooley has completed three years at the helm and has overseen definite progress. Talk on his future is “for another day I think” but the general feeling is that he will stick around. “We’re in a much, much different position than we were in last year,” he said. “We’re setting standards higher for ourselves and that’s the way it has to be.” They’re not yet at the level of Tipperary who were steady, rather than spectacular, yesterday. Lar Corbett had a sight of goal in the first minute, the closest Tipp came to a green flag, and they went on to lead by 0-10 to 0-2 after 24 minutes. Offaly, who registered nine first-half wides, hit just 1-5 from play, and the goal was a consolation score from Shane Dooley in stoppage time.

Scorers — Tipperary: E Kelly 0-11 (7f, 1 ’65), G Ryan 0-3, B Maher 0-2, C O’Mahony (f), D Young, S McGrath, N McGrath and L Corbett 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 1-7 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), J Bergin 0-3, D Hayden and D Molloy 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY — B Cummins 7; P Stapleton 7, P Curran 7, M Cahill 7; D Fanning 8, C O’Mahony 7, Pádraic Maher 7; D Young 7, B Maher 8; G Ryan 8, S McGrath 6, Patrick Maher 6; N McGrath 7, E Kelly 7, L Corbett 6. Subs: S Callanan 6 for Patrick Maher (57), S Hennessy 6 for Young (62), P Bourke 5 for N McGrath (63), C O’Brien n/a for B Maher (67), J O’Brien n/a for S McGrath (69).

OFFALY — J Dempsey 7; D Franks 6, P Cleary 6, J Rigney 6; D Kenny 6, R Hanniffy 7, D Morkan 6; B Murphy 7, D Hayden 6; B Carroll 5, J Brady 4, D Molloy 6; C Parlon 5, J Bergin 7, S Dooley 6.

Subs: G Healion 6 for Parlon (45), D Currams 5 for J Brady (50), K Brady 0 for Hayden (61), O Kealey n/a for Molloy (65).

REF — J Sexton

Offaly fall short

From the Irish Examiner newspaper

Sunday, July 18, 2010 – 05:03 PM

All-Ireland SHC Round 3 Qualifier

Tipperary 0-21 Offaly 1-12

Team captain Eoin Kelly claimed 11 points as Tipperary overcame Offaly in Portlaoise to book an All-Ireland SHC quarter-final berth. Liam Sheedy’s charges looked very impressive throughout and led by 0-14 to 0-5 at the interval, with seven of their players on target. Tipperary pressed on and were 0-17 to 0-7 ahead by the 42nd minute, watched by 13,888 spectators. A valiant Offaly side could not curb Kelly’s influence, and Shane Dooley’s injury-time goal was mere consolation. They also lost substitute Kevin Brady to a late dismissal. The victory for Tipperary sets up a quarter-final clash with Galway next weekend, and Kelly and company will take a good deal of momentum into that game.

Tipp hit the ground running at O’Moore Park, keen to kick from their high-scoring win over Wexford in the first phase of the qualifiers. And they showed great precision in the opening half, converting 14 of their 18 scoring chances to move comfortably ahead on the scoreboard. Free-taker Kelly was in good form from placed balls, knocking over four efforts. He was on target in the opening 10 minutes, along with Conor O’Mahony and Gearoid Ryan, as Offaly fell 0-3 to 0-0 behind. Shane Dooley opened the Faithfuls’ account in the 14th minute, but with a strong wind behind them, the Premier County side cantered ahead. Scores from Kelly, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett sent them 0-7 to 0-1 clear by the end of the opening quarter.

Offaly pressed hard through the likes of Joe Bergin, Dooley, Derek Molloy and Brian Carroll, but scores were at a premium for the midlanders. A fourth point from the stick of Kelly opened up a 0-10 to 0-2 lead in the 23rd minute, before Offaly found some rhythm thanks to points from Molloy and Dooley. However, Tipperary gained the upper hand once more before the break, with Shane McGrath, Gearoid Ryan, David Young and Kelly on target to open up a nine-point gap. Bergin collected his second point from two early Offaly attacks, as the second half took on a more even feel. But there was no sense of complacency from Tipperary as they claimed three of the next four scores.

Offaly manager Joe Dooley introduced both Ger Healion and Daniel Currams and the shake-up had the desired effect. Midfielder Dylan Hayden set the Faithfuls off on this purple patch, connecting superbly for a rousing long range point in the 46th minute. Pointed frees arrived from Shane Dooley either side of a Kelly score, leaving the score-line at 0-18 to 0-10 as the game entered the final quarter. The high stakes saw the game get heated in the final stages, evidenced by an off-the-ball incident involving a number of players. Offaly substitute Kevin Brady was barely five minutes on the pitch when he was picked out of the bunch by referee John Sexton who gave him a straight red card. Kelly and Bergin swapped scores in the closing five minutes with Tipp’s victory now beyond doubt. With their Championship challenge at an end, Offaly managed to sign off with the game’s only goal, scored by corner forward Dooley in the second minute of injury-time.

Scorers: Tipperary: E Kelly 0-11 (0-8f, 0-1 ’65’), G Ryan 0-3, L Corbett, B Maher 0-2 each, C O’Mahony (0-1f), S McGrath, N McGrath 0-1 each.

Offaly: S Dooley 1-7 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65’), J Bergin 0-3, D Molloy, D Hayden 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, D Young; G Ryan, S McGrath, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly.

Subs used: S Callanan for Patrick Maher (56 mins), S Hennessy for Young (61), P Bourke for N McGrath (62), C O’Brien for B Maher (67), J O’Brien for S McGrath (69).

OFFALY: J Dempsey; D Franks, P Cleary, J Rigney; D Kenny, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; B Murphy, D Hayden; B Carroll, J Brady, D Molloy; C Parlon, J Bergin, S Dooley.

Subs used: K Brady for Cleary (20-23 mins, blood sub), G Healion for Parlon (44), D Currams for J Brady (50), K Brady for Hayden (60), O Kealey for Molloy (64).

Referee: John Sexton (Cork)

Team News

The Tipperary team to play Offaly in Phase 3 of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship qualifiers on Sunday next at Portlaoise shows 2 changes in personnel from the team which started the last game against Wexford. Paddy Stapleton and Paul Curran come into the team in place of Conor O’Brien and Seamus Callanan. There are a number of positional switches, the most notable of which see regular midfielder Shane McGrath named at centre forward and man of the match against Wexford, David Young named to replace him at midfield.

The team is

1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon Grange)

2. Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh)

3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone)

4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Declan Fanning (Killenaule)

6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)

7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)

9. David Young (Toomevara)

10. Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons)

11. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)

12. Patrick Maher (Lorrha and Dorrha)

13. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

14. Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)

15. Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone) Captain.

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifier Round 3 – Cork 0-12 Wexford 0-5

Cork defeated Wexford by 0-12 to 0-5 in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Sunday at Wexford Park.

Cork gathering momentum

Wexford 0-5 Cork 0-12

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 19, 2010

CORK’s backdoor rehabilitation continues to progress in a brisk manner after they fashioned their latest success in Wexford Park yesterday. Conor Counihan’s men were convincing victors over Wexford in an All-Ireland SFC qualifier round 3 clash that was ruined by the wretched weather. It was a day of cascading showers and gusting winds in the south-east, which resulted in this clash bearing the look of a mundane March league encounter rather than a July championship game crackling with intensity. The conditions seriously impaired on the efforts of both teams to engage in flowing passages of play, yet despite both teams having tackled adverse weather last weekend in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Pearse Stadium before churning out qualifier round 2 victories, it was Cork who adapted in a superior fashion here. This tie had the capacity to trouble Cork, with Wexford in buoyant form after their Salthill heroics. But Cork’s greater nous proved integral in helping them claim honours, as they played smart football in controlling the exchanges and retaining possession both with and against the wind. They produced blistering opening periods to both halves as they led 0-5 to 0-0 by the 17th minute and then scored the first four points of the second-half as well. Those bursts of power had the twin effect of draining the life out of Wexford’s challenge and quelling the roar of the Model supporters.

“We just showed a bit of a grip there in the second-half when it was needed and things were shaky,” manager Conor Counihan said afterwards. “With the home crowd getting behind them here, it was important we dug in and the lads did that. It was never going to be a high-scoring game in those conditions, scores were hard to come by. Between the swirling wind and the rain, it made it very difficult. We took some poor decisions in the first-half and there’ll be plenty work to be done. But you’d have to be pleased overall.” This match was far more beneficial to Cork than the staggeringly lopsided clash with Cavan. They had to dig deeper to deliver the right result and this battle will stand to them as they prepare to renew acquaintances with Limerick next week.

Defensively Cork were excellent, restricting the space available to Wexford’s livewire inside attackers Ciarán Lyng and Matty Forde. Jamie O’Sullivan stuck tenaciously to Lyng throughout, Michael Shields was similarly tight on Forde and limiting that pair to a single point from play went a long way towards securing the victory for Cork. Outside them Redmond Barry was never allowed to pull the strings creatively by Paudie Kissane and on the opposite flank of the defence Graham Canty was an immense presence. Canty epitomised Cork’s shrewd use of possession throughout as they limited turnovers of the ball and used the open space of the wings rather than ploughing into traffic in the middle. Cork’s injury woes are showing signs of abating. John Miskella survived 70 minutes of tougher combat and embellished his display with a trademark second-half point that arrived after a series of patient passes in defence. Aidan Walsh’s hamstrings held up importantly around the middle and he notched the score of the day with a serious thump from distance in the first-half. And Nicholas Murphy had a huge impact at midfield when introduced in the second-half at a time when Cork’s challenge creaking. Cork found it difficult to make much headway in attack for long stages. The weather was a clear impediment in this regard and Wexford’s best performers on the day were in their backline, with both Graeme Molloy and David Murphy impressing.

Even with the wind at their backs Cork endured a 15-minute scoring drought in the first-half and their struggles were even more pronounced in the second-half as 30 minutes passed between Miskella striking Cork’s 11th point and Ciaran Sheehan popping over their 12th and final score of the day. But Cork’s forwards did work exceptionally hard with Patrick Kelly in particular processing a huge amount of possession from wing-forward. In the scoring stakes Ciaran Sheehan grabbed two skilful points while both Kelly and Daniel Goulding located their A-game’s when it came to converting placed balls in the testing wind. As they only trailed 0-7 to 0-3 at the interval, Wexford were entitled to face into the second-half in a state of confidence that could stage an upset. But they were left reeling as Cork produced a lightning scoring blitz after half-time to lead 0-11 to 0-3 by the 44th minute.

It was the type of thunderous opening that Wexford badly needed and the stark reality was their play was too sub-standard in the second-half. They failed to carve open the Cork defence to give their forwards the latitude to score and too much possession was coughed up from going into contact around the middle. Cork were content to soak up the Wexford pressure as they had established enough of a buffer on the scoreboard. The outcome was inevitable from the midway point of the second-half with Cork able to start planning for next week and Wexford left to reflect on another qualifier exit.

WEXFORD: A Masterson; J Wadding, G Molloy, B Malone; A Flynn, D Murphy, A Doyle; E Bradley, D Waters; C Morris, R Barry, C Byrne; C Lyng, M Forde, S Roche. Subs used: B Doyle for Byrne (25 mins), PJ Banville for Roche, P Naughter for Waters (both 54), D Carter for Molloy (68), B Brosnan for Lyng (70+2).

Wexford Scorers: A Flynn, E Bradley, C Lyng (0-1f), M Forde, B Brosnan 0-1 each

CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, J O’Sullivan; G Canty, P Kissane, J Miskella; A O’Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, P O’Neill, P Kelly; D Goulding, C Sheehan, C O’Neill. Subs used: P Kerrigan for Goold (35+1 mins), N Murphy for O’Connor (half-time), D Kavanagh for Murphy (59, blood sub), N O’Leary for Kissane, J Hayes for O’Neill (both 67), F Lynch for Kelly (70+2).

Cork Scorers: P Kelly 0-4 (0-3f), D Goulding 0-3 (0-2f), C Sheehan 0-2, G Canty, A Walsh, J Miskella 0-1 each.

Referee: Gearoid O Conamha (Galway)

Munster SHC Final Replay – Waterford 1-16 Cork 1-13

Waterford defeated Cork by 1-16 to 1-13 after extra time in the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final Replay on Saturday at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Shanahan settles epic

By Vincent Hogan for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday July 19 2010

Not a night for picking through the more intimate nuances of battle in Thurles. Just one to give thanks for the old game. This wasn’t the rouged and painted face of Waterford-Cork. It was a plain and ashen chapter in their charismatic rivalry and one that thundered through the senses for 90 epic minutes on Saturday night before decanting Waterford as kings of Munster. There will be some who won’t have warmed to the aesthetics, but then there are food critics who judge a plate on appearance, not taste. Who can account for the deluded? This was extraordinary. Played out in a suitably Biblical downpour, Waterford and Cork effectively left heavy deposits of themselves on Tom Semple’s field.

Only when Dan Shanahan skidded an 83rd-minute goal at the Killinan end, did Waterford reach a clearing. Yet even then, Cork came back, coursing frantically. The game had slipped into injury-time when Cathal Naughton unleashed a shot to the town-end goal only for Tony Browne to intervene with a remarkable block, the sliotar ricocheting off his helmet. “He took it on the head,” said an admiring Noel Connors later. “That’s Tony for you though, down to a tee.”

It was a game caught in a stylistic straitjacket, Waterford’s intelligent tactics again squeezing the life out of Cork. They dropped their half-forwards deep, flooding the puckout-zone and forcing their opponents down a warren of uninviting cul-de-sacs. Denis Walsh had described Cork’s first-half tally of 0-6 in the drawn game as “a disaster”. This time, their opening 35 minutes mined a paltry 0-4, with just a single score from play. And that from a midfielder. Cork were being squeezed to the point of suffocation. Yet they happened upon four goal chances too and, had they taken one, who is to say what direction the night might have taken. Aisake O hAilpin put a ball in the side-netting after slipping in behind Liam Lawlor; Connors flicked an almost certain goal from the path of an in-rushing Patrick Horgan; Eoin Murphy made a miraculous hook on Niall McCarthy bearing down on goal and Clinton Hennessy saved wonderfully from an in-rushing Michael Cussen.

At the other end, John Mullane was delivering another exhibition of routine greatness. Given the tightness of the contest, his tally of 0-7 from play over two games would constitute a momentous contribution. That Waterford lost him to a calf injury for extra-time, yet still prevailed, tells us something about their bench. Yet Cork lost their talisman for that period too, Ronan Curran limping to the dugout after putting in a heroic and dominant shift at centre-back. On reflection, Waterford should have closed the deal in normal time, Eoin Kelly spilling three successive wides in as many minutes with Cork — seemingly — on their knees. Their pressing game had Cork reduced to almost slavish service to O hAilpin on the edge of the ‘square’ and, though the giant Na Piarsaigh man won an ocean of ball, he was afforded little scope to use it. Curran and his opposite number, Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, were proving the dominant personalities of the evening. Yet, with a 0-8 to 0-4 lead at half-time, Waterford had given their opponents what Walsh would later describe as “a mountain to climb”.

That half ended with Richie Foley lofting a sublime sideline cut over the bar and Cork making room for an injured Shane O’Neill in the dug-out. Psychologically, the teams looked to be heading to tea on different planets. Yet Cork duly climbed that mountain. Cussen and Paudie O’Sullivan (two) threw over splendid points within eight minutes of the resumption and, when Ben O’Connor settled over a free in the 46th minute, the equaliser beckoned. What followed danced somewhere between fluke and genius. O’Connor’s delivery floated in a low arc over the clearly startled Hennessy, snapping into the top left-hand corner of the rigging. Without warning, Waterford now faced crisis. Yet, they responded with four unanswered points, the pick of them an extraordinary, over-the-shoulder Mullane score from somewhere out the Nenagh road.

They led by a point with seven minutes remaining when Cussen torqued onto a ‘Fraggy’ Murphy off-load only to be roped to the ground by Foley. With Horgan off the field, John Gardiner took the penalty and Shane O’Sullivan deflected his drive over. The teams flooded in to catch their breaths at the end of 70 minutes and, it would seem, the Waterford dressing-room was tranquil as a health spa. “I was as calm as could be,” reflected Davy Fitz later. “The one thing I said to them was ‘I know we’re going to win’. I believed in them. I looked them all in the eyes. They told me they weren’t tired.” Browne’s huge free would give Waterford the tiniest advantage at the end of the first period, then Big Dan came blowing through. Running slingshot onto Eoin McGrath’s clever handpass, he found himself isolated maybe 25 yards from Donal Og Cusack’s goal.

In the honeyed season of ’07, we’d have fancied him to nail it. Now, in the waning years? Probably not. Yet Shanahan smelt blood and lashed a treacherous shot towards the Killinan-end goal. Cusack dived full length and managed to make contact, but not with sufficient purchase to keep it from the net. The Heavens convulsed. Thereafter, Cork chased in desperation, knowing that the cup was no longer reachable through points. Naughton dropped two deliveries into the Waterford square, Browne and ‘Brick’ tossing them back out to where they came from. Then, the kill shot. Naughton again, barreling in off the left flank this time and rasping a shot for redemption. A white blaze coming to meet him. A body hitting the deck. Up in the press gantry, we needed the prop of slow-mo to make sense of it. And there, lying in the wet grass, we saw old Tony Browne. Eyes blinking. Greatness frozen in a simple, beautiful picture.

SCORERS — Waterford: E Kelly 0-8 (0-6f), J Mullane 0-3, D Shanahan 1-0, R Foley (0-1s-l), S Walsh, B O’Halloran, K Moran,T Browne (0-1f) 0-1 each. Cork: B O’Connor 1-5 (1-5f), P O’Sullivan, C Naughton, J Gardiner (0-1f, 0-1 ’65’) 0-2 each, M Cussen, W Egan 0-1 each.

WATERFORD — C Hennessy 8, E Murphy 8, L Lawlor 7, N Connors 9, T Browne 9, M Walsh 8, D Prendergast 7, S O’Sullivan 7, R Foley 7, K Moran 7, S Molumphy 7, E Kelly 7, S Prendergast 6, J Mullane 8, S Walsh 7. Subs: B O’Halloran 7 for S Prendergast (49), M Shanahan 6 for Walsh (60), J Nagle 6 for Lawlor (67), D Shanahan 7 for Mullane (70), E McGrath 7 for O’Halloran (80), K McGrath for Moran (83).

CORK — D Og Cusack 8, S Murphy 8, E Cadogan 6, B Murphy 7, J Gardiner 7, R Curran 9, S O’Neill 8, T Kenny 6, C Naughton 7, B O’Connor 7, M Cussen 8, N McCarthy 7, K Murphy 6, A O hAilpin 7, P Horgan 5. Subs: R Ryan 7 for O’Neill (33 mins), P O’Sullivan 7 for Horgan (h-t), L O’Farrell 6 for K Murphy (65), W Egan 7 for Curran (70).

REF — B Gavin (Offaly)

Waterford finally find extra gear to take title

By DERMOT CROWE at Semple Stadium for the Irish Times newspaper

Sunday July 18 2010

WATERFORD 1-16 CORK 1-13

A NIGHT to remember for Waterford hurlers. Eviscerated in the All-Ireland final two years ago, they simply refuse to lie down and go. This performance was perhaps testament to virtues less advertised, not so much the thrilling hurling for which they are renowned, but more the principles of manliness and endurance and sheer obstinacy. They stood toe to toe with Cork in rainy conditions and came through a hard and physical match. Finely balanced for long stretches, it finally swung Waterford’s way in the second period of extra-time when Dan Shanahan scored arguably the most important goal of his life. And he has scored a few.

The occasion had a surreal edge, with the evening throw-in a factor in contributing to a modest crowd of 22,763. Waterford’s renaissance is rewarded with a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals. To be there as Munster champions almost two years after the horror of September 2008 is a testament to the players, but also the management team headed by Davy Fitzgerald. Waterford led by just a point when the endlessly intriguing Shanahan, in his latest reincarnation, turned back time with his goal in the second period of extra-time. His low strike slithered along the wet grass into the Cork goal. Eoin McGrath popped a neat pass and the space opened up but he still had plenty to do. Shanahan seemed to shoot a bit soon but the ball found the corner and Waterford were four points up. They would not relinquish a lead like that.

Michael Walsh was immense, carrying on from the huge match he had the first day, and he inspired those around him in defying the Cork attack. Cork started Michael Cussen on him but by the half-hour the huge Corkman had been moved. Waterford led by four points at half-time in normal time, and could have won at the close of the second half. But Cork will also look back on the game with regrets, shooting 13 wides to Waterford’s six. They had four goal chances in the first 35 minutes and failed to score any of them. Apart from the outstanding Walsh, the two corner-backs Eoin Murphy and Noel Connors played huge games, and Cork forwards again struggled for scores. Both starting corner-forwards, as in the drawn match, were substituted. Paudie O’Sullivan came on and scored two good points and set up another, but otherwise only Cussen of the forwards managed to register from play. Cussen, like Aisake O hAilpin, made some odd contributions but did not command. Cork, having gone through extra-time, now face a massive physical challenge next weekend; they will be praying for a kind draw.

Yet the breakthrough might have been theirs. The match, as usual, was on a knife-edge seven minutes from the end of normal time when Waterford coughed up a penalty. Richie Foley dragged down Cussen and John Gardiner stepped forward. Waterford led by a point. Gardiner shook his shoulders and rifled the ball hard and high. But Clinton Hennessy deflected the ball over. There were still chances to provide a winner but three efforts from Eoin Kelly all went wide and one from Cussen fell short. The most damning of those was the third from Kelly, a free in the first of two minutes of injury-time. Even in the greasy conditions he had the range, but the shot tailed to the right and Cork escaped. Extra-time just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Waterford did all the early running and against a first half breeze built up a 0-8 to 0-4 lead with no wides. Cork gathered themselves at the interval and came out in higher gear. John Mullane, who failed to see out the match, had a chance to stretch Waterford’s four-point advantage, hitting the upright, and Cork punished it with three scores from O’Sullivan and Cussen. Eleven minutes in Cork took the lead for the first time with a goal from Ben O’Connor that won’t win any beauty contests but, nonetheless, it rallied his team. A free from 35m on the right side looked likely to put Cork level for the first time; instead the wet ball lobbed into the far corner of Hennessy’s goal.

Mullane, who scored three points from play, then raced down the sideline, pursued by Eoin Cadogan, and he sent over the point of the match. Shane Walsh, quiet until then, made a huge leap and pointed. Waterford were up by two and some of the steam had hissed out of Cork. Not quite. O’Connor had his fourth free and then Cathal Naughton, the only Cork scorer from play in the first half, finished exquisitely. Level again approaching the hour mark. From there to extra-time, though, there were only two more scores. Kelly scored his eighth point and then, with six minutes remaining, came the Cork penalty. Sean Og O hAilpin didn’t start after failing to recover from a hamstring injury and Shane O’Neill, who had been hurling well, went off injured before half-time. In the first half Cussen, now at left corner-forward, fielded over Connors, and Hennessy saved brilliantly. Earlier Connors cleared off the line from Patrick Horgan. O hAilpin hit the side-netting and Niall McCarthy looked poised to goal but was bottled up by Murphy. Misses like those are usually a harbinger of things to come, and they were.

Scorers — Waterford: E Kelly 0-8 (6f); J Mullane 0-3; D Shanahan 1-0; R Foley (lineball); B O’Halloran, S Walsh, K Moran, T Browne (1f) 0-1 each. Cork: B O’Connor 1-5 (1-5f); P O’Sullivan, C Naughton, J Gardiner (0-1 ’65’; 0-1 pen) 0-2 each; M Cussen, W Egan 0-1 each.

Waterford: C Hennessy; E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne, M Walsh, D Prendergast; S O’Sullivan, R Foley; S Molumphy, K Moran, E Kelly; S Prendergast, J Mullane, S Walsh. Subs: B O’Halloran for Prendergast (48); M Shanahan for Walsh (60); J Nagle for Lawlor (67); D Shanahan for Mullane (inj 70); E McGrath for O’Halloran (80); K McGrath fro Moran (83); S Casey for M Shanahan (91).

Cork: D Óg Cusack; S Murphy, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S O’Neill; T Kenny, C Naughton; B O’Connor, M Cussen, N McCarthy; K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan. Subs: R Ryan for O’Neill (36); P O’Sullivan for Horgan (h/t); L O’Farrell for Murphy (65); W Egan for Curran (70);

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)

Evergreen Browne stars on Déise day to remember

Waterford 1-16 Cork 1-13 aet

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 19, 2010

SINCE his debut senior season in 1991, Tony Browne has starred in many big occasions for Waterford hurlers. Never before, however, can he have produced a display as stellar as in this, the Munster final replay, in rain-splashed Semple Stadium on Saturday evening. Tony celebrated his 37th birthday on July 1, but in the dying seconds of extra time, he was the man outlasting everyone else, defying time, defying the elements, defying Cork. Just six days ago he scored the injury-time goal that earned Waterford this replay. Now, as Cork came forward in wave after wave of attack, themselves in search of an equalising goal, it was Browne who was stepping into man every threatened defensive breech.

Three clearances in one minute alone, the 88th of the game, the third of those a fine catch of yet another high centre as Cork looked to capitalise on their two giants up front, Aisake Ó hAilpín and Michael Cussen. The final say was the most crucial of all; showing great patience, fantastic control, Cork worked the ever-dangerous Cathal Naughton into position for a final shot. It was a rocket, hit right on the meat from well within goalscoring range, but it never reached its intended target as Tony put his body on the line and took the full force of the shot on his helmet. The ball rebounded to safety, and Cork were finally overcome.

“An amazing game,” said Browne. “And to go to extra-time — nip-and-tuck the whole way. It was an honour to be involved in that type of game and to see our younger lads working like that. They never gave up and kept going at it. There was just such an atmosphere there that we were never going to lose it. It was another Cork/Waterford classic, and I’m shattered. !But what a fantastic win for Waterford.” The pity is that this game, yet another terrific advert for hurling, didn’t have the day it deserved, didn’t have the crowd it deserved, didn’t have the respect it deserved from those who made the decision to play it on a Saturday at 7pm.

Not since 1983, (with Cork justifying their red-hot favourites tag and blowing Waterford away for the second year in a row), has there been such a pathetically small crowd (22,763) for what is one of the biggest annual events on the GAA calendar. What a slight it was to these two great warrior-laden teams to schedule this game for the shadows, to stage it at a time and on a day when interest was bound to be down. There was Tony Browne himself, there was John Mullane with three invaluable points from play; there was Eoin Kelly with eight; Shane Walsh, Kevin Moran, young Brian O’Halloran and Richie Foley from a sideline, all coming up with a score each.

There was Shane O’Sullivan with another magnificent midfield display, Brick Walsh with an almost superhuman performance at centre-back, keeper Clinton Hennessey with a point-blank save from Michael Cussen, corner-backs Noel Connors and Eoin Murphy with goal-saving interventions. And there was big Dan Shanahan, on only in extra-time but with the game-deciding goal, in the 83rd minute, beating Donal Óg Cusack with a fine shot to the corner after sublime work by Kelly and another sub, Eoin McGrath. “I was a bit pissed off that I didn’t get on near the end of normal time,” said Shanahan. “But I did my bit when I came on. I know where the net is — when I get my chance, I take it.”

For Cork, heroes also, in defence especially, none more so than Shane O’Neill and Ronan Curran. With both of those off the field for extra-time, however, O’Neill injured in the 35th minute, Curran in the 70th, it was a bridge too far for the Rebels. They worked so hard, created four clear goal-scoring chances (including a penalty won by Cussen, John Gardiner’s shot deflected over by Shane O’Sullivan), but 13 wides, against just six by Waterford, hurt their cause. Ultimately, however, what cost Cork, what saved Waterford, was Tony Browne. Cork came up against Father Timeless.

Quick summary of the game: At half-time it was Waterford leading by four points, 0-8 to 0-4, Cork having had seven wides to none for the Déise, missed three goal-scoring opportunities; second half, and courtesy of a freaky Ben O’Connor goaled free from 21m in the 46th minute, out on the right touchline, a searing shot that streaked past Hennessey, it was Cork in the lead for the first time (1-8 to 0-9) and looking more likely winners. Four points in a row, however, showed the true character in this Waterford team, and as the game came to a close, they were now the ones looking most likely. So it proved, in extra time with Dan Shanahan’s goal, Tony Browne’s defensive heroics.

Last word to Browne: “It’s a great feeling now because we have a bit of silverware on the table, but we’ve done this before. There are some great teams waiting in the wings, we’re just hoping to get to another All-Ireland final and maybe do ourselves proud this time. There’s a hard road ahead.” Certainly, but what is they say about old dogs?

CORK: D Óg Cusack; S Murphy, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner (0-2, 0-1 penalty, 0-1 65), R Curran, S O’Neill; T Kenny, C Naughton (0-2); B O’Connor (1-5f), M Cussen (0-1), N McCarthy; K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan.

Subs: R Ryan for O’Neill (35), P O’Sullivan (0-2) for Horgan (half-time), L O’Farrell for K Murphy (66), L McLoughlin (0-1) for Curran (end of normal time, injured),

WATERFORD: C Hennessy; E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne (0-1f), M Walsh, D Prendergast; S O’Sullivan, R Foley (0-1 sideline); S Prendergast, K Moran (0-1), E Kelly (0-8, 0-6f); S Molumphy, J Mullane (0-3), S Walsh (0-1).

Subs: B O’Halloran (0-1) for S Prendergast (49), M Shanahan for S Walsh (61), J Nagle for Lawlor (68), D Shanahan (1-0) for Mullane (end of normal time, injured), E McGrath for Molumphy (80).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)

Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Tipperary 2-17 Cork 0-21

Tipperary defeated Cork by 2-17 to 0-21 after extra time in the Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Wednesday at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Premier go the extra again to deny Rebels

Tipperary 2-17 Cork 0-21

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FOR the second year running extra-time was necessary to facilitate an outcome to a Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC tie between Tipperary and Cork last night in Páirc Ui Chaoimh, and once again it was Tipperary who prevailed in this semi-final after a marathon battle. There were 3,598 patrons present to witness another absorbing clash, where the excitement and quality grew in tandem as the action unfolded. The impressive manner in which they enhanced their display in extra-time entitled Tipperary to bear the mantle of victors, with their megawatt names like Noel McGrath, Seamus Hennessy and Padraig Maher shining brightly when the play was at its fiercest and most critical stage. They will look forward in expectation to a final date against Clare in a fortnight on their own Thurles turf, in a clash that will evoke vivid memories of the teams meeting in the 2008 decider that concluded in a blaze of controversy.

Cork will look back on this match with grim regrets. The win was within their grasp in normal time after a perfect scoring streak in the final quarter. They trailed 1-11 to 0-10 as the game turned towards its final straight but a run of seven points on the trot utterly transformed the complexion of this tie in favour of Ger Fitzgerald’s charges. Spurred on by sterling defensive work from James Nagle and William Egan, Cork were rampant at this stage and a listless Tipperary team seemed incapable of summoning a response. However they roused themselves in the 58th minute when Ciaran Haugh flighted a ball forward, which was gathered by Kieran Morris and after he turned to race towards goal, the Cork rearguard interrupted his movement illegally. Hennessy stood up to assume the pressure of the 20-yard free and the stark realisation that a goal was the solitary outcome that could save Tipp did not perturb him, as the Kilruane McDonagh’s player blasted to the net.

In extra-time Tipperary seemed emboldened by their last-gasp act of salvation. Noel McGrath was in sparkling form around midfield and his prominence turned the match in Tipperary’s favour. McGrath swept three points between the posts in the first-half of extra-time and coupled with a pair of points in a vibrant display by sub Sean Carey, Tipperary were 2-16 to 0-18 ahead by the 70th minute. Cork attempted to mount a rally in the closing 10 minutes but the Tipperary defensive unit were in miserly form. Robert O’Driscoll, Daniel Kearney and Ryan Clifford all split the posts with points yet it was a goal that Cork craved to ignite their challenge. Tipperary had stamped their authority on the game early as they manufactured a 0-6 to 0-4. Seamus Hennessy hit three points from open play, a ‘65 and a exquisite sideline cut. The services of Cork goalkeeper Darren McCarthy were required twice in this period and he acquitted himself superbly.

Cork’s improved as the game progressed. Eoin Keane was a tower of strength at the edge of the square, Daniel Kearney ensured they were competitive in the scraps around the middle third for possession and Ryan Clifford’s shooting from placed balls was extremely high. But it was Tipperary who edged 1-8 to 0-7 ahead at the interval with the goal supplied by their most dangerous attacker in the half, Michael Heffernan. Patrick Maher made the hard yards in along the left wing and when he off-loaded across, Heffernan’s delightful whip in the air gave Darren McCarthy no chance. Tipperary maintained that position of supremacy in the second-half and there was a sense that they were able to keep Cork at arm’s length. But Tipperary were not exactly scaling the heights in their play and with the match there to be seized, Cork took command in the final quarter. McCarthy made another inspirational save to deny O’Dwyer and Cork’s string of scores set them on course for victory. But Hennessy’s goal and Tipperary’s greater strength in extra-time ultimately proved the crucial factors.

Scorers for Tipperary: N McGrath 0-6 (0-4f), S Hennessy 1-3 (1-0f, 0-1 ‘65, 0-1 sideline), M Heffernan 1-2, S Carey 0-2, P Maher, P Murphy, J O’Dwyer, B Maher 0-1 each.

Cork: R Clifford 0-9 (0-8f), M Bowles 0-3, W Egan (0-1f, 0-1 ‘65), L O’Farrell, D Kearney 0-2 each, R White, R O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: J Logue; K O’Gorman, J Coghlan, M Cahill; J Barry, Padraig Maher, B Maher; S Hennessy, A Ryan; D Maher, Patrick Maher, P Murphy; N McGrath, J O’Dwyer, M Heffernan. Subs: T Butler for D Maher (26), S Carey for Ryan (44), K Morris for O’Dwyer (50), C Hough for Barry (55), B O’Meara for Murphy (58), J O’Neill for Morris (78)

CORK: D McCarthy; S McDonnell, E Keane, C O’Sullivan; J Nagle, W Egan, L McLoughlin; D Kearney, S O’Farrell; M Collins, D Roche, M Bowles; R White, L O’Farrell, R Clifford. Subs: P Gould for Collins (26), C Lehane for White (59), M O’Sullivan for Lehane (60), S Corry for S O’Farrell (66), F Keane for Roche (68), R O’Driscoll for Gould (70)

Referee: Ger Hoey (Clare)

Match Updates

Follow the match with live updates from 7:30pm on www.twitter.com/tipperarygaa or www.facebook.com/tipperarygaa.

Team News

The Tipperary U-21 hurling team to play Cork in the Munster U-21 hurling semi-final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Wednesday night, July 14th includes 7 senior hurling team panellists and will be captained by centre back Padraic Maher:

The team is:

1. James Logue (Ballingarry)

2. Kevin O’Gorman (Thurles Sarsfields)

3. John Coghlan (Moyne Templetuohy)

4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. James Barry (Upperchurch Drombane)

6. Paudie Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) Captain

7. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)

8. Seamus Hennessy (Kilruane MacDonaghs)

9. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

10. Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha and Dorrha)

12. Paddy Murphy (Nenagh Éire Óg)

13. Adrian Ryan (Templederry Kenyons)

14. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)

15. Michael Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)

CORK : D McCarthy, S McDonnell, E Keane, C O’Sullivan, J Nagle, W Egan, L McLaughlin, D Kearney, S O’Farrell, M Collins, D Roche, M Bowles, R White, L O’Farrell, R Clifford

Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Clare 1-15 Limerick 1-12

Clare defeated Limerick by 1-15 to 1-12 in the Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Wednesday at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

O’Connor inspires Banner in thriller

Limerick 1-12 Clare 1-15

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Thursday, July 15, 2010

REIGNING Munster and All-Ireland U21 champions Clare stay on course to retain their titles, but only after a hugely entertaining battle against Limerick in this Munster semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds last evening. Most of the kudos for Clare’s success will go to their two outstanding inside-forwards Darach Honan (1-3, all from play) and Conor McGrath (0-9, 0-4 from play), and understandably so – the scorers are always the guys to catch the eye, and mightily as their two markers tried all hour (Patrick Begley on Honan, Brian Cleary on McGrath), those two were well-nigh unmarkable last night. The foundation for this success, however, goes much further back the field, to a superb keeper in Donal Touhy (two brilliant saves) to an inside defensive line that was alert, snappy and decisive in everything they did, and to a half-back line that became a veritable wall as the game progressed.

Midfielder Pat Vaughan switched to the right wing early on with Nicky O’Connell and did well; centre-back Caimin Morey was a rock in the centre, and it was his mighty catch in a crowded Clare parallelogram, all four of Limerick’s 6’4″ giants parked in the area for Thomas O’Brien’s last-minute lobbed free, that saw Clare safely home. Most of all, however, there was Patrick O’Connor from the renowned Tubber club, at left-half-back; whether in the air (where he grabbed several successive Limerick second half puckouts) or on the ground, O’Connor was supreme – a master-class in wing-back play. With no breeze to speak of, dark clouds overhead but the rain holding off, it was Limerick with the better start, three points on the board courtesy of senior star Thomas O’Brien (0-2) and the flying Seanie Tobin!, before Clare had their first, a pointed free from McGrath in the 11th minute.

It was Limerick again with the next three points, midfielders O’Brien and Paul Browne (another senior) and Tobin again. It was looking like a tame surrender of their championship belts by Clare, but the last ten minutes of the half saw a complete turnaround, and it was the deadly duo, Honan (0-2) and McGrath (0-2), along with substitute corner-forward Eoin Hayes, doing all the scoring, leaving it tied at the break, 0-6 each. Where the first half went first one way for 20 minutes, then the other for ten, the second half was blow for blow, the teams swapping points six times up to the 53rd minute, at which stage it was still tied, 0-12 each.

A superb point from Browne in the 55th minute edged Limerick ahead, much to the delight of their huge following, and then, ironically and unfortunately, given how well both sides were defending, the game’s first major, and it was an own goal, Clare corner-back James Gunning making accidental contact with the ball (though under fierce pressure from James O’Brien) and booting to the net. That could have signalled disaster for Clare, instead it inspired, and within the minute, after a great cross from John Conlan, Honan had the ball buried at the other end. One point lead restored, 1-13 to 1-12, from there Clare drove on, points from Honan and McGrath closing it out. Great game, pity there had to be a loser, but no argument about the winner.

Scorers for Clare: C McGrath, 0-9 (5f); D Honan 1-3; P Vaughan, E Hayes, N O’Connell (65), 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: T O’Brien, 0-5 (1f, 2‘65s); P Browne, 0-2; S Tobin, 0-2; D Hannon, M Kiely, K Owens (0-1 each); D Nash (Clare, own goal).

CLARE: D Touhy; D Nash, C Chaplin, J Gunning; N O’Connell, C Morey, P O’Connor; S Golden, P Vaughan; S Collins, J Conlan (capt), K Heagney; F Kennedy, D Honan, C McGrath.

Subs: E Hayes for Kennedy (inj 6); K Moynihan for Heagney (46).

LIMERICK: B Hennessey: B Cleary, P Begley, C Hayes: P O’Brien, P O’Loughlin (capt), N Quaid; T O’Brien, P Browne; J O’Brien, C Madden, D Hannon; M Kiely, S Tobin, G Mulcahy.

Subs: K Owens for Madden (30); S Madden for Kiely (54). Blood sub: J Riordan for Cleary (58/59).

Referee: C McAllister (Cork)

Team News

LIMERICK : B Hennessey, B Cleary, P Begley, C Hayes, Padraig O’Brien, P O’Loughlin, N Quaid, T O’Brien, P Browne, James O’Brien, C Madden, D Hannon, M. Kiely, S Tobin, G Mulcahy.

CLARE: TBC

Munster GAA / Toyota competition

The winners of the Munster GAA / Tourism competition pictured at the Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final.

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifier Round 3 – Wexford v Cork

Wexford will host Cork in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on July 17th or 18th.

Munster SHC Final – Waterford 2-15 Cork 2-15

Waterford and Cork finished level in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final on Sunday in Semple Stadium Thurles on a final scoreline of 2-15 to 2-15.

Browne has last say in Waterford’s grand finale

Cork 2-15 Waterford 2-15

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 12, 2010

IS there no separating these two magnificent hurling teams? Ten times now in the last eight years Waterford and Cork have met in championship and after this latest chapter in Thurles yesterday, yet another absorbing contest in yet another superbly entertaining Munster final, the score now stands at four wins each and two draws. In that period on both sides there have been changes in personnel, in management, in tactics (evident yesterday); a constant, however, has been the entertainment value. Sure, there have been better games than this one, but the quality was all still there, the net-bursting crowd-lifting goals, the impressive point-scoring, and of course the late, late dramatics.

Waterford, a goal behind entering the final minute of the four indicated for injury-time; then the most experienced player on the park stealing forward from his wing-back position to hammer home the rebound of a 20m free — ah Tony Browne, what a true trooper you are. ! And even still it wasn’t over, the massed Cork supporters at the town end having their cheers choke in their throats as Michael Cussen’s last-gasp effort from the subsequent puckout tailed wide of the posts. The tactical change was most evident in the first half, at the end of which Waterford led by the slimmest of margins, 0-7 to 0-6. No free-wheeling, free-scoring approach here, gone are the days when, as once famously noted by Cork midfielder Tom Kenny, it was simply a case of “Giving two kids a ball and just letting them play away.”

With Davy Fitz having taken over from Justin McCarthy in Waterford since the teams last meeting, in 2007, this game was always likely to be a lot more tactical. So it was proving in that opening half, time and space at a premium, runners everywhere as Cork keeper Donal Óg Cusack looked for openings for his puckouts (still managed a very good return, in an overall display of goalkeeping excellence), both teams hunting in packs and putting huge pressure on whoever had the ball. Understandable then that in that opening period all the stars were wearing single-digit-numbered jerseys — Noel Connors and Eoin Murphy outstanding in the corners for Waterford, Shane O’Neill and Brian Murphy likewise for Cork, though John Mullane at full-forward for Waterford and Aisake Ó hAilpín on the edge of the square for Cork, both looked dangerous.

Both half-back lines were on top, however, the Cork trio of Gardiner/Curran/Ó hAilpín especially so, nothing conceded from play, Seán Óg even storming upfield to notch a rare championship point. Brick Walsh and Declan Prendergast were going well in the Waterford half-back line but Niall McCarthy was doing well in the possession stakes for Cork, as were midfielders Cathal Naughton (two fine points to boot) and Tom Kenny, though Shane O’Sullivan (superb 70 minutes) and Richie Foley were also doing their share for the Déise. Not a lot of scores then in that half but a riveting contest nevertheless, massive intensity — no way were they going to be able to maintain that pace for the full 70 minutes. Thus it proved, and from very early in the second half the scores began to flow. Points initially, Waterford first gaining the initiative, three points from their two talismanic figures up front, Eoin Kelly (2) and John Mullane putting them four clear (0-10 to 0-6), Cork then hitting back through Tom Kenny, Ben O’Connor and John Gardiner (2).

And then, in six minutes, bang, bang, bang, three absolute netbusters. In the 63rd minute, Waterford full-back Liam Lawlor having been taken off before he was sent off for persistent fouling, Aisake finally got a bit of freedom, tore in on goal, barrelled a defender out of his way, and blasted to the net from close range — Cork in the lead, 1-12 to 0-13. Two minutes later it was Ben O’Connor racing in on Clinton Hennessey, courtesy of a sublime handpass from Kieran Murphy, and again, a rocket to the roof. This Waterford team is steel-cased, however, and the recovery was led by the mighty Eoin Kelly. First a long-range pointed free, then the first Waterford goal, an absolute piledriver from about 20m after Kelly had been picked out brilliantly by another Waterford stalwart, Micheál ‘Brick’ Walsh. That set up the grand finale, that late 20m free by Kelly after John Mullane’s stick was flicked as he attempted to control a long centre, Eoin Cadogan save, Tony Browne’s strike. Such theatre, such spectacle — and we get to see it all again next Saturday.!

Scorers for Cork: B. O’Connor (1-5, four frees); A. Ó hAilpín (1-0); J. Gardiner (0-3, one free, one 65); C. Naughton (0-2); B. Murphy, S. Óg Ó hAilpín, T. Kenny, N. McCarthy, M. Cussen (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: E. Kelly (1-8, six frees, one 65); J. Mullane 0-4; T. Browne (1-0); S. O’Sullivan (0-2, one s/l); K. Moran (0-1).

Subs for Cork: R. Ryan for S. Óg Ó hAilpín (inj 45); M. Cussen for J. O’Connor (inj 47); P. O’Sullivan for K. Murphy (inj 55); P. Cronin for Horgan (63).

Subs for Waterford: S. Prendergast for E. McGrath (46); J. Nagle for Lawlor (50); K. McGrath for Foley, D. Shanahan for S. Walsh, M. Shanahan for Moran (all 60).

Referee: J. Ryan (Tipperary)

Browne’s late goal forces replay in Munster final

From the GAA.ie web site

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The rivalry may have been in cold storage for three years, but it has still lost none of its drama after Cork and Waterford finished level at 2-15 apiece in the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship final in Thurles on Sunday afternoon. With the game in its fourth minute of injury time, Cork looked to be set for a first provincial victory since 2006, but Waterford saved themselves when Tony Browne reacted quickest to fire home the rebound after Eoin Kelly’s 20m free had been saved. Prior to that, goals from Aisake Ó hAilpín and Ben O’Connor had turned the game for Cork, who had trailed by four points early in the second half before the introduction of Michael Cussen at centre-forward brought about a change in tactics for them, which swung the momentum in their favour.

For Waterford, Eoin Kelly’s tally of 1-8 proved vital, especially the goal which got the Déise back into the game after they had trailed by five points following Cork’s double-whammy, while John Mullane also scored some fine points.

While Ronan Curran was excellent at centre-back for Cork, their full-forward line short-wired at times, especially in the first half, with Ó hAilpín’s goal the only score that the three starters in the inside line managed. In fact, Ben O’Connor was the only Cork forward to score in the opening half, and even he was struggling as a few chances from frees were wasted. With Kelly and Mullane motoring well, Waterford were the better side in the first period, but poor shooting was letting them down too. Two points was the most either side led by in the first half, with the scores level on four occasions and the fare was tame overall. Mullane was closest to a goal, shooting wide from a tight angle after Stephen Molumphy set him up, while shortly before half-time Dónal Óg Cusack saved Eoin Kelly’s shot comfortably.

A 65 from Gardiner meant that Cork trailed by just a point, 0-7 to 0-6, at half-time but a good start to the second half from Waterford pushed them four clear, Kelly getting two points while Mullane got one. Two from Gardiner ensured Cork stayed in contention though and when Ben O’Connor converted a free and Cussen scored with practically his first touch, the sides were level at 0-12 each in the 51st minute. Kelly then put Waterford back in front but less than a minute later Cork led for the first time since the fourth minute as O’Connor flicked the ball into Aisake Ó hAilpín’s path and the full-forward finished. It got better two minutes later when captain Kieran Murphy found Ben O’Connor in space and he kept his composure to finish well past Clinton Hennessy for a 2-12 to 0-13 lead.

A Kelly free kept Waterford in touch and then the same player beat Cusack with a brilliant shot from just outside the 20 and there was only a point in it. Points by Brian Murphy and Niall McCarthy gave Cork breathing space and that gap remained as the game moved into injury time, following Kelly and O’Connor exchanging frees. Then, Waterford were awarded a 20m free in the final minute and despite Kelly’s shot being blocked, Browne was on hand to fire the loose ball home and ensure we would be back for a replay.

CORK: D Óg Cusack; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, B Murphy (0-1); J Gardiner (0-3, 0-1f, 0-1 65), R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín (0-1); T Kenny (0-1), C Naughton (0-2); B O’Connor (1-5, 0-4f), J O’Connor, N McCarthy (0-1); K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín (1-0), P Horgan.

Subs: R Ryan for S Óg Ó hAilpín (45, injured), M Cussen (0-1) for J O’Connor (47), P O’Sullivan for K Murphy (56), P Cronin for Horgan (63)

WATERFORD: C Hennessy; E Murphy, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne (1-0, M Walsh, D Prendergast; S O’Sullivan (0-2, 0-1 sideline), R Foley; S Walsh, K Moran (0-1), E Kelly (1-8, 0-6f, 0-1 65); S Molumphy, J Mullane (0-4), E McGrath.

Subs: K McGrath for Foley (29-33, blood), S Prendergast for E McGrath (47), J Nagle for Lawlor (50), D Shanahan for K Moran, M Shanahan for S Walsh, K McGrath for Foley (all 59).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

Guinness® celebrate a summer of Waterford hurling

GAA PRESS RELEASE

Hurling Rising

Waterford Hurling Legends Paul Flynn, Fergal Hartley and Cork’s Diarmuid O’Sullivan will take to the stage on Thursday 8th July in Masons Bar for the Waterford Guinness Hurling Supporters event

Guinness, official sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, are asking fans all over the country to join them in celebrating the hurling championship at exclusive Guinness Hurling Supporters Events, in association with Today FM, around the country this summer.

The Waterford event is the third of four Guinness Hurling Supporters Events to take place around the country. Galway kicked off proceedings last week in The Skeff, Eyre Square, on Tuesday 29th June followed by the Kilkenny Guinness Hurling Supporters Event in Langtons on Friday 2nd July. Masons will host the Waterford event this Thursday 8th July, followed by the Cork event in the Groves, Blackpool on Friday 9th July ahead of the much anticipated Munster Final.

Each event is broadcast live on “The Last Word” on Today FM from 6.30pm to 7pm. After the live broadcast ends, the rest of the evening is streamed live on www.todayfm.com. Doors open at 5.30pm.

Hosted by The Last Word presenter, Matt Cooper, the Waterford Guinness Hurling Supporters event night will be a relaxed preview of the Munster Final, with a mixture of expert analysis, fan interaction, and video footage, as the panel and fans look forward with optimism to the upcoming game.

A Guinness Hurling Supporters event will also be held in the square in Thurles on the day of the Munster Final, when MC Marty Morrisey will host a panel of former Cork and Cork hurling legends. There will be further events happening around the country in the lead up to the All Ireland hurling semi-finals and final.

“The Guinness Hurling Supporters Events really inspire the fans to really get behind their county and their team, and to look forward to the big game with optimism,” said Guinness Brand Manager, Barry Fitzpatrick.

“Not only do these supporters events give fans across the country the chance to have their say in the company of some of the former greats of the game, both in person at the event, they can also check out the latest news and what’s going on via the Guinness Hurling Facebook page.”

The events are free and open to everyone over the age of 18.

For further information and to register for the events check out

www.facebook.com/guinnesshurlingireland

www.todayfm.com or email guinnesshurling@ihurling.com

Guinness® celebrate a summer of Cork hurling

PRESS RELEASE:

Hurling Rising

Cork Hurling Legends Donal O’Grady, John Allen, Joe Deane and Waterford’s Dave Bennett will take to the stage on Friday 9th July in The Groves Bar, Blackpool for the Cork Guinness Hurling Supporters event

Guinness, official sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, are asking fans all over the country to join them in celebrating the hurling championship at exclusive Guinness Hurling Supporters Events, in association with Today FM, around the country this summer.

The Cork event is the final one of four Guinness Hurling Supporters Events to take place around the country. Galway kicked off proceedings last week in The Skeff, Eyre Square, on Tuesday 29th June followed by the Kilkenny Guinness Hurling Supporters Event in Langtons on Friday 2nd July. Masons Bar in Waterford will host the next event on Thursday 8th July, followed by the Cork event in the Groves, Blackpool on Friday 9th July ahead of the much anticipated Munster Final.

Each event is broadcast live on “The Last Word” on Today FM from 6.30pm to 7pm. After the live broadcast ends, the rest of the evening is streamed live on www.todayfm.com. Doors open at 5.30pm.

Hosted by The Last Word presenter, Matt Cooper, the Cork Guinness Hurling Supporters event night will be a relaxed preview of the Munster Final, with a mixture of expert analysis, fan interaction, and video footage, as the panel and fans look forward with optimism to the upcoming game.

A Guinness Hurling Supporters event will also be held in the square in Thurles on the day of the Munster Final, when MC Marty Morrisey will host a panel of former Cork and Cork hurling legends. There will be further events happening around the country in the lead up to the All Ireland hurling semi-finals and final.

“The Guinness Hurling Supporters Events really inspire the fans to really get behind their county and their team, and to look forward to the big game with optimism,” said Guinness Brand Manager, Barry Fitzpatrick.

“Not only do these supporters events give fans across the country the chance to have their say in the company of some of the former greats of the game, both in person at the event, they can also check out the latest news and what’s going on via the Guinness Hurling Facebook page.”

The events are free and open to everyone over the age of 18.

For further information and to register for the events check out

www.facebook.com/guinnesshurlingireland

www.todayfm.com or email guinnesshurling@ihurling.com

Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final – Clare 1-16 Waterford 1-11

Clare defeated Waterford by 1-16 to 1-11 in the ESB Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final on Sunday in Semple Stadium.

O’Halloran lifts Clare

CLARE 1-16 WATERFORD 1-11

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday July 12 2010

DAVID O’HALLORAN’S second-half goal proved crucial as Clare were crowned ESB Munster minor hurling champions for the first time since 1989 yesterday, WRITES Jackie Cahill. The Banner County produced a strong second-half performance to deny Waterford back-to-back provincial crowns at this grade for the first time in Deise history. Davy Fitzgerald and Jamesie O’Connor were members of the last Clare minor team to win the Munster title 21 years ago and Banner supporters will hope that this latest success can spawn more senior glory.

It should be noted, however, that Waterford were playing for the second time in just five days after beating Cork in a semi-final replay last Wednesday night. Deise boss Jimmy Meaney felt that this was a factor in his team’s display but he also generously admitted that Clare fully deserved their success.

When the sides met at Walsh Park in April, Waterford ran out 1-21 to 0-16 winners, but Clare had certainly learned the lessons from that defeat . Conditions were ideal in Thurles, with barely a hint of a breeze, but the first half was relatively low-scoring as the half-time whistle blew with the teams level at 0-6 apiece.

Eight minutes into the second half, Clare struck a decisive blow when O’Halloran netted a tremendous goal to give his side a 1-8 to 0-9 lead. But back came a dogged Waterford as Eamonn Murphy scored a brilliant solo goal in the 45th minute, after running past a number of would-be challengers. Last year’s champions were now back to within a point but Clare stepped on the gas and six unanswered points in a seven-minute spell made the game safe.

Scorers — Clare: D O’Halloran 1-3 (0-1f), N Arthur 0-6 (0-5f, 1 ’65’), D Keane 0-3, T Kelly 0-2, S O’Halloran, J Shanahan 0-1 each. Waterford: E Murphy 1-2, P Mahoney 0-4 (0-4f), P Prendergast, J Dillon, S Roche, C Heffernan, C Curran 0-1 each.

CLARE — R Taaffe; H Vaughan, P Flanagan, S Morey; E Boyce, K Lynch, S O’Halloran; C Galvin, T Kelly; C Malone, P Collins, J Shanahan; D O’Halloran, N Arthur, D Keane. Subs: A Mulready for Malone (48), C O’Connell for Collins (59).

WATERFORD — D Duggan; J Barron, S O’Keeffe, L Egan; R Barry, D Fives, E Madigan; P Prendergast, G O’Brien; P Mahoney, E Murphy, J Dillon; S Roche, C Heffernan, M O’Neill. Subs: C Curran for O’Neill (40), C Chester for Roche (51), T Curran for Heffernan (55), S Lawless for Prendergast (59).

Ref — D Copps (Cork)

Another Clare boost as 21-year wait ends

Waterford 1-11 Clare 1-16

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 12, 2010

A POWERFUL second-half display saw Clare claim a first ESB Munster minor hurling championship crown since 1989 at Semple Stadium yesterday. Davy Fitzgerald and Jamesie O’Connor were minors when Clare last ruled the province at this grade, but a 21-year wait for glory was ended in magnificent style. It should be noted, however, that Waterford were playing for the second time in just five days after beating Cork in a semi-final replay last Wednesday night. Déise boss Jimmy Meaney felt this was a factor in his team’s display but he also generously admitted that Clare fully deserved their success.

For Clare, this landmark success offers further proof of a real upsurge in the Banner County’s fortunes in the underage ranks, coming as it does after last year’s All-Ireland U21 win. Appearing in this first provincial minor final since 1999, Clare grabbed their chance with both hands to claim just their third Munster crown at this grade. In the process, Waterford were denied back-to-back Munster minor crowns for the first time in the county’s history and must now regroup through the back door in the hunt for All-Ireland glory.

When the sides met at Walsh Park in April, Waterford ran out 1-21 to 0-16 winners, but Clare had certainly learned the lessons from that defeat and were well prepared for yesterday’s rematch. Conditions were ideal in Thurles, with barely a hint of a breeze, but the first-half was relatively low scoring as the half-time whistle blew with the teams level at 0-6 apiece. They were level four times in that opening half as Waterford clawed back a 0-4 to 0-6 deficit with two Paudie Mahoney frees to restore parity at the midway point.

Eight minutes into the second-half, Clare struck a decisive blow when David O’Halloran netted a brilliant goal and from there until the finish they led. Paudge Collins and the impressive Daire Keane were involved in the build up before O’Halloran dIspatched a fine finish at the Killinan End. It was 1-8 to 0-9 clear now, and Clare followed up with scores from O’Halloran and free-taker Niall Arthur to lead by four, the biggest advantage of any team until that point. Back came a dogged Waterford as Eamonn Murphy netted a brilliant solo goal in the 45th minute after running past a number of would-be challengers. Last year’s champions were now back to within a point but Clare then stepped on the gas and six unanswered points in a seven-minute spell made the game safe.

Clare joint-manager Donal Maloney admitted that this was a huge victory for his team, coming as it did less than 24 hours after the senior team suffered a 13-point mauling against Dublin at Croke Park. Maloney said: “The conveyor belt is starting to move — that’s the key thing. We had some barren years there with little or nothing at underage. We have to be patient but maybe in three or four years we’ll have a really strong senior team.” Maloney added: “It’s been quite a year for us. The fact that it’s our second term really stood to us because we took a lot of learning out of last year. Everything that went wrong for us last year, we tried to put it right. You can’t do anything without brilliant players and we have exceptional players.”

Waterford manager Meaney reflected: “We felt good coming into it but time is what’s required to recover from games and maybe we didn’t have enough time. I’m not going to use it as an excuse — Clare played very well and took their scores. “I didn’t feel that Wednesday’s game was going to impact on us as much. But some of our performances did seem quite flat. It was a tough ask to play on Wednesday and then be ready again for today. We just seemed a little bit flat as the game wore on.”

Scorers for Clare: D O’Halloran 1-3 (0-1f), N Arthur 0-6 (5f, 1 65), D Keane 0-3, T Kelly 0-2, S O’Halloran & J Shanahan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: E Murphy 1-2, P Mahoney 0-4f, P Prendergast, J Dillon, S Roche, C Heffernan & C Curran 0-1 each.

Subs for Clare: A Mulready for Malone (48), C O’Connell for Collins (59).

Subs for Waterford: C Curran for O’Neill (40), C Chester for Roche (51), T Curran for Heffernan (55), S Lawless for Prendergast (59).

Referee: D Copps (Cork).

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Round 2 – Offaly 1-18 Limerick 1-13

Offaly defeated Limerick by 1-18 to 1-13 in Round 2 of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifiers on Saturday in Tullamore.

Offaly put Treaty out of their misery

Offaly 1-19 Limerick 1-13

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 12, 2010

THE fading sunlight in O’Connor Park on Saturday evening provided the backdrop as the Limerick hurlers finally bid their farewells to championship 2010. A season that has been laced with controversy and rancour concluded with the predicted defeat to a more seasoned Offaly team in this phase two qualifier. The bald statistics of the audit for this campaign will paint a depressing picture of results, with seven straight league defeats having preceded two championship losses. 2010 will be a year the Limerick hurling cognoscenti will want to scrub from the memory banks.

But Limerick’s band of young players left this encounter with little shame. Their display was brave and defiant, as they provided their hosts with a severe test. With seven minutes left they trailed by two points and had the locals shifting anxiously in their seats. Ultimately Offaly settled those nerves and reeled off four points to close out the game. The match had been a contest, albeit one where Offaly always looked to be the masters of their destiny. The Faithful men never replicated their firework displays in the two-game saga against Galway and this was a victory they had to grimly dig out. But there was an unmistakable sense that Offaly were afflicted with the condition that has plagued several teams facing Limerick this season. The expectation that they would win at a canter seemed to weigh down upon them and Offaly found the role of heavy favourites to be ill-fitting.

They are a county that is traditionally attached to the tag of plucky underdog and manager Joe Dooley revealed his unease at that pre-match talk. He revealed: “It was one of those games where we were at home and we were expected to win well. We’d the favourites tag and we don’t do that, that well as a county. There is something about the Offaly psyche that says we’re better as the underdogs it seems. “It was a bit hairy as Limerick did put it up to us. But I thought we showed huge character when they got it back to two, to pull away to win by six. It could have been easy to drop the heads there, but the lads kept at it which I was very glad to see.”

Limerick boss Justin McCarthy was fulsome in his praise of his players afterwards and their unstinting refusal to cave in at any stage. Kieran O’Rourke embellished his reputation as a specialist man-marker by managing the considerable feat of keeping Shane Dooley scoreless from play. Lorcan O’Dwyer and Bryan O’Sullivan hurled with authority in the half-back line, and the pace and touches of Thomas O’Brien enabled him to chalk up 1-7. The manner in which Limerick set their team out clearly indicated a desire to stack their defence but similar to the Munster semi-final against Cork, it compromised their attacking ambitions.

O’Brien’s freetaking was the scoring sustenance they relied on for long stages and Graeme Mulcahy was well-policed on this occasion. Limerick’s forwards could have done with the scoring threat that Bryan O’Sullivan and Paul Browne would offer. They also benefited from some errant marksmanship by the Offaly attack. The hosts led 1-8 to 0-7 at the interval, but Offaly should have been much further ahead as they spurned two gilt-edged goal opportunities. They amassed 15 wides during the game and Derek Molloy’s opportunist 11th minute goal enabled them to keep Limerick at bay for long stages. The excellence of Shane Dooley has been at the core of Offaly’s drive this season but it was another corner-forward who provided their attacking spark on Saturday night. Cathal Parlon was in sublime form as he clipped over five tidy points while captain Brian Carroll had an influential second-half.

Limerick were determined throughout the second-half and even when Offaly went seven points clear, (1-15 to 0-11) by the 57th minute the Shannonsiders hauled them back to two points with a quick scoring burst. O’Brien grabbed their goal after a well-worked team move with ten minutes left but the manner in which Offaly finished the game illustrated their greater experience and nous. Rory Hanniffy, Paul Cleary and Derek Morkan were at the forefront of a resilient defence that ensured Limerick were never going to generate enough scores to spring an upset. The challenge ahead of them next weekend against Tipperary is significant, as Dooley conceded afterwards. “Tipperary were the team to avoid but we’ve to face them now. I saw them against Wexford and they were very impressive. They’re getting stronger as the year goes on but we’ll have a crack off them and see what happens.”

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley (0-5, frees), C Parlon (0-5), D Molloy (1-2), B Carroll (0-3), B Murphy (0-2), J Brady, J Bergin (0-1 each).

Scorers for Limerick: T O’Brien (1-7, four frees, two ‘65), J V O’Brien (0-2), N Quaid, G Mulcahy, C Mullane, P Russell (0-1 each).

Subs for Offaly: K Brady for Hayden (52), G Healion for Molloy (66).

Subs for Limerick: C Mullane for Moore (34), A Brennan for J O’Brien (ht), M Noonan for McKeogh (48), P Russell for Owens (60).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

Offaly set up Tipperary clash

From the Breaking News.ie web site

Offaly 1-19 Limerick 1-13

Four unanswered points in the closing seven minutes gave Offaly victory against Limerick and a shot at Tipperary in phase 3 of the SHC qualifiers. Offaly looked for long stretches of this Tullamore clash to be on course for the win. However, they were met with a late onslaught from Justin McCarthy’s young Limerick side who bagged 1-2 inside a five-minute spell to cut the deficit to two points with just eight minutes remaining. But closing scores from Cathal Parlon (0-2), Shane Dooley and Joe Bergin dashed any hopes of a major Championship upset at O’Connor Park.

Offaly led by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time, thanks to a 12th minute Derek Molloy goal, with Thomas O’Brien and James V O’Brien keeping Limerick in touch. Limerick had gained the early initiative with fine points by the aforementioned O’Briens, inside two minutes, getting the underdogs off to a solid start. Both sides were producing fast flowing hurling despite the heavy underfoot conditions. Offaly responded to the visitors’ early burst as scores from Dooley and Parlon tied the contest at 0-2 apiece Indeed, the hosts were unlucky not to snatch a fifth minute goal, but Limerick keeper Tadhg Flynn pulled off a fine save from a Joe Bergin shot.

Offaly did bulge the net, seven minutes later, when Bergin’s initial shot was blocked by Limerick defender Kieran O’Rourke, and Molloy pounced on the resulting break to slot to the net from 13 metres out. Offaly strung together some fine scores from play from Parlon, Molloy and Brendan Murphy to claim a 1-8 to 0-5 lead by the 32nd minute. Thomas O’Brien bagged his fifth point inside two minutes of the restart, but Offaly were beginning to win the breaking ball at midfield, and capitalised with Brian Carroll hitting two points from play to push 1-10 to 0-8 ahead in the 40th minute. Thomas O’Brien and substitute Cathal Mullane cut the deficit to a goal with 12 minutes remaining, but Offaly hit back with four unanswered points, seemingly doing just enough to keep ahead.

As the showers turned to glorious sunshine, the game suddenly upped in intensity, with points from Nicky Quaid and Peter Russell either side of Thomas O’Brien’s goal cutting the deficit to two points with eight minutes remaining. O’Brien did well to create enough space for himself to fashion a shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper James Dempsey. But Offaly dug deep with Parlon, Dooley and Joe Bergin pointing them home and into phase 3 of the qualifiers. This win for Joe Dooley’s men eliminates the need for a hurling qualifier draw tomorrow evening, and the confirmed fixtures are Offaly v Tipperary and Antrim v Dublin. The phase 3 games will take place at neutral venues to be decided by the GAA on Monday.

Scorers: Offaly: D Molloy 1-2, C Parlon, S Dooley (0-5f) 0-5 each, B Carroll 0-3, B Murphy 0-2, J Brady, J Bergin 0-1 each

Limerick: T O’Brien 1-7 (0-4f, 0-2 ’65’), JV O’Brien 0-2, N Quaid, G Mulcahy, C Mullane, P Russell 0-1 each

OFFALY: J Dempsey; D Franks, P Cleary, J Rigney; D Kenny, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; B Murphy, D Hayden; D Molloy, J Brady, B Carroll; C Parlon, J Bergin, S Dooley.

Subs used: K Brady for Hayden (53 mins), G Healion for Molloy (66).

LIMERICK: T Flynn; K O’Rourke, C Hayes, S O’Neill; L O’Dwyer, B O’Sullivan, P Browne; T O’Brien, D Moore; James O’Brien, James V O’Brien, N Quaid; G Mulcahy, A Owens, R McKeogh.

Subs used: C Mullane for Moore (34 mins), A Brennan for James O’Brien (half-time), M Noonan for McKeogh (47), P Russell for Owens (61).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)