Allianz Hurling League Division 1B – Limerick 1-19 Antrim 0-19

Breen goal sparks Limerick’s late comeback

By John Reddington for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Limerick 1-19 Antrim 0-19

After walloping Antrim by 32 points in last July’s qualifiers, Limerick were unbackable favourites in this Division 1B league opener but the hosts were hugely relieved to emerge with victory at the Gaelic Grounds. Despite lining out without their Loughgiel contingent, the Glensmen took the fight straight to their opponents and, had they pressed home their advantage earlier, might have been out of sight by half-time. However, they faced a different Limerick after the break and, once the hosts started to contest every ball, they chewed into the lead and got their breakthrough when sub Dave Breen bagged the game’s only goal with 15 minutes remaining.

Neil McManus opened the scoring, Séamus Hickey’s equalised and Shane McNaughton restored the visitors’ lead after before Graeme Mulcahy and Hickey put Limerick in front. After McManus and Declan Hannon exchanged frees, a second McManus free and Stephen Beattie had Antrim ahead. Shane Dowling tied the game up again but McManus, Conor Carson, KB McShane, Beattie and two McManus frees found the target before Hannon broke the sequence. McManus’s penalty, tipped over by Aaron Murphy, and Matthew Donnelly stretched Antrim’s advantage to eight but Hannon and Dowling’s free reduced the half-time gap to 0-13 to 0-8.

Hannon replied to McManus’s free and then added three before McManus struck one back. After Paul Browne, Hannon’s sideline cut and Hickey had the sides level, sub Paddy Doherty put the Glensmen back in front but Breen pulled to the net immediately after. Despite Karl Stewart’s reply, James Ryan, Hannon, Browne and Niall Moran tied up the result before PJ O’Connell and McManus’s free ended the scoring.

Scorers for Limerick: D Hannon 0-9 (4f, 1 s/l), S Hickey 0-4, D Breen 1-0, S Dowling (1f), P Browne 0-2 each, G Mulcahy, J Ryan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Antrim: N McManus 0-10 (5f, 1 pen), S Beattie 0-2, S McNaughton, C Carson, KB McShane, M Donnelly, P Doherty, K Stewart, PJ O’Connell 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: A Murphy; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahony; J Ryan, P O’Brien; D Hannon, S Hickey, P Browne; G Mulcahy, K Downes, S Dowling.

Subs: D Breen for P O’Brien (ht), S Tobin for K Downes (57), Niall Moran for S Dowling (62), A Breen for G Mulcahy (68).

ANTRIM: R McGarry; A Graffin, C Carson, B McFall; S McCrory, N McAuley, C McKinley; M Donnelly, C Laverty; S Beattie, K Stewart, E McLoskey; N McManus, KB McShane, S McNaughton.

Subs: M Gethens for B McFall (inj 32), C McFall for S Beattie (45), P Doherty for KB McShane (47), PJ O’Connell for C Laverty (53), D McClean for E McLoskey (61).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A – Waterford 2-15 Clare 1-17

Ryan revels in perfect timing

Report from the Irish Examiner newspaper

Clare 1-17 Waterford 2-15

Jubilant Waterford manager Michael Ryan couldn’t help putting it to the press that they had got it wrong in their assessment of his team’s chances in Cusack Park yesterday. “First question from me,” he asked jokingly of the congregated journalists. “Did any of ye get a prediction right?” There were no takers as a fancied Clare side were ousted by an injury-time Jake Dillon free to settle a thriller in which the teams had enjoyed parity on 11 occasions. The decisive result also made it two wins out of two for Ryan against former Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald and land a psychological blow ahead of the counties’ Munster quarter-final in June. They may yet meet in a relegation final before that but with three home games from four to come for Waterford they may elect not to deliver on their side of the bargain.

With the fourth official having signalled for two additional minutes, referee John Sexton could have blown up for full-time prior to Brendan Bugler’s high foul on Shane O’Sullivan in the 73rd minute. He may have also played more time as play was stalled for two long injury periods in the second half but Dillon’s composure was faultless as he swept over the winning free. It confirmed a vital victory for a Waterford team that had been favourites for the drop prior to arriving at Cusack Park. “The spirit in the camp has been absolutely magnificent,” said Ryan. “I smile when I hear stories about things not being well in our camp. “We know the spirit in our camp is fantastic and all that really matters are the 30 or 40 guys in our group and they’re working really hard.”

Waterford’s young tyros were impressive. Pauric Mahony may not yet be fully fit but he was among the six starting forwards that had all scored by the 51st minute. It was an afternoon of redemption for Brian O’Halloran, a player who had suffered the indignity of being withdrawn after 22 minutes in the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary. Here the Clashmore/Kinsalebeg man was in sumptuous form, bagging two points either side of the half. Clare will be haunted by their wide count of 12 and a couple of second-half goal chances that went begging. Substitute Colm Galvin was counting his lucky stars when Stephen O’Keeffe inexplicably hand-passed to him in the 43rd minute. He then appeared to be tripped by the Waterford goalkeeper but still managed to get a shot away, a passage of play which eventually resulted in a Clare 65.

Fifteen minutes later and, with the sides level, Stephen Daniels put in a vital block on Shane O’Donnell. In the end, Tony Kelly was the only player who forced O’Keeffe to pick the sliotar out of his net, in the 24th minute when the left flank of the Waterford defence had been sucked in by John Conlon whose pass laid on the goal for Kelly. Waterford had opened their goal account in the 16th minute when Seamus Prendergast took advantage of a lethargic attempt by the Clare defence to clear their lines.

With a massive gap behind the full-back line and Pat Donnellan losing his balance, the veteran of the Waterford attack make it 1-2 to 0-2. A beautiful O’Halloran point a couple of minutes later was followed by the visitors’ second goal when a crafty ground stroke by Gavin O’Brien around his body went straight into the path of the onrushing Dillon, who elected not to raise the ball either in beating Patrick Kelly. Seven points behind, Kelly’s goal helped Clare to repair most of the damage by the break, when they trailed 1-7 to 2-5.

O’Donnell’s 42nd minute point put Clare ahead, 1-11 to 2-7, for only the second time in the game. It turned out to be the first of five brief occasions they enjoyed a one-point advantage in the second half. With two minutes left, Waterford broke the pattern and went ahead via Dillon before Tony Kelly responded to level matters going into dramatic injury-time.

CLARE: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, J McInerney, D McInerney; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; C Ryan, S Morey; F Lynch, T Kelly, E Barrett; J Conlan, S O’Donnell, P Collins.

Subs for Clare: N O’Connell for O’Connor, C Galvin for Barrett (both h-t); A Cunningham for Collins (54); S Collins for Lynch (58); J Clancy for Cunningham (inj 64).

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Daniels, S Fives, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, K Moran; S O’Sullivan, D Twomey; B O’Halloran, S Prendergast, P Mahony; G O’Brien, J Dillon, B O’Sullivan.

Subs for Waterford: D Fives for Twomey (h-t); J Barron for O’Brien (43); R Barry for Mahony (57).

Scorers for Clare: C Ryan 0-9 (5f, 1 65); T Kelly 1-3; S Morey 0-2; F Lynch, S O’Donnell, C Galvin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: J Dillon 1-5 (0-3f); S Prendergast 1-1; B O’Halloran 0-4; P Mahony 0-3 (all frees); D Fives, B O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

Team News

CLARE: Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara), James McInerney (Newmarket-on-Fergus), David McInerney (Tulla); Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Pat Donnellan (O’Callaghan Mills). Pat O’Connor (Tubber); Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Fergal Lynch (Clooney-Quin), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Enda Barrett (Newmarket-on-Fergus); John Conlon (Clonlara), Shane O’Donnell (Eire Óg, Ennis), Padraig Collins (Cratloe)

Waterford SH team to play Clare in the Allianz Hurling League on Sunday in Ennis.

1. Stephen O’Keeffe Ballygunner

2. Shane Fives Carrigtwohill

3. Liam Lawlor Fourmilewater

4. Noel Connors Passage

5. Jamie Nagle Dungarvan

6. Michael Walsh Stradbally

7. Kevin Moran (CAPT.) De La Salle

8. Shane O’Sullivan Ballygunner

9. Dean Twomey De La Salle

10. Brian O’Halloran Clashmore/Kinsalebeg

11. Seamus Prendergast Ardmore

12. Jake Dillon De La Salle

22. Gavin O’Brien Roanmore

14. Pauric Mahony Ballygunner

15. Brian O’Sullivan Ballygunner

Dr. Harty Cup Final – Dungarvan Colleges 2-21 Templemore 1-11

Duggan hails ‘cream of crop’

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Our Lady’s Templemore (Tipperary) 1-11 Dungarvan Colleges (Waterford) 2-21

A powerful Dungarvan Colleges outfit cruised to a second successive Harty Cup final victory in front of a bumper crowd at Sean Treacy Park yesterday. An estimated 3,000 spectators were present to watch the Waterford amalgamation run riot in the second half, on a perfect afternoon for hurling in Tipperary town. A relatively dry sod and glorious sunshine proved very much to Dungarvan’s liking in the second half as they outscored Our Lady’s Templemore by 2-13 to 1-3. The sides were level at 0-8 apiece at the break but whatever coach and Tipperary native Darragh Duggan said to his players at the break had the desired effect as they upped the ante to win by 13 points.

Duggan revealed: “We just explained that they were going to get nothing soft from Templemore — they had to wake up. Templemore outsmarted us in a number of positions in the first half with quick line balls and quick frees. We weren’t taking our chances. Half time came at the right time for us and as the game opened up in the second half, I think we benefited big time.” Dungarvan cut loose on the restart and after Ryan Donnelly netted in the 35th minute to put his side five points clear, there would only be one winner. Seven minutes from time, Donnelly goaled again from close range and while John Joe Ryan bagged a consolation goal in the 56th minute for Our Lady’s, their long wait for a first Harty Cup success since 1978 goes on.

Duggan derived no pleasure from the downfall of a Tipperary team in the Harty final for a second successive year but admitted: “My heart is with the boys at the moment. Sometimes you get rewards and sometimes you don’t but for the last two years, they’re after getting exactly what they deserve. There might be better teams out there that we haven’t played yet but as far as I’m concerned, these guys are the cream of the crop.”

Whether or not there is a team outside of Munster to stop them remains to be seen. Operating under the Coláiste na nDéise name last year, Duggan’s charges were stopped in their tracks by Kilkenny CBS in the All-Ireland quarter-final. But on this season’s evidence, Dungarvan are as good, if not better, than last year’s side. They fielded 10 of the Dungarvan CBS side that won the Corn Phádraig Munster senior B title recently and there were seven survivors from the team that started last year’s Harty final against Nenagh CBS.

Within Munster, there has been nothing to match them over the last two years but other teams have expressed private disquiet at the fact that Dungarvan are an amalgamation of Dungarvan CBS and St Augustine’s. It should be remembered, of course, that it takes more than raw talent to win titles and Dungarvan have worked incredibly hard. They had eight players on the scoresheet yesterday and a watertight defence has conceded just one goal in their last three games. Our Lady’s, even with dual All-Ireland minor medallists John McGrath and Colin O’Riordan at midfield, struggled to make an impact after half time. They will take comfort though, from the fact that Nenagh bounced back from last year’s Harty Cup final defeat to finish the season as All-Ireland champions.

Scorers for Our Lady’s Templemore: J McGrath 0-5 (4f), JJ Ryan 1-0, D Carey 0-2, D McEnroe, T Nolan, Jamie Bergin & C O’Riordan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dungarvan Colleges: P Curran 0-8 (5f), R Donnelly 2-1, C Dunford, C Breathnach & T Bourke (3f) 0-3 each, C Curran, M Harney & D Lyons 0-1 each.

OUR LADY’S TEMPLEMORE: SP Guerins (JK Brackens); D Brereton (Loughmore-Castleiney), J Ryan (Toomevara), James Bergin (JK Brackens); P Hogan (Templederry), B Kennedy (JK Brackens), M Campion (Drom & Inch); J McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), C O’Riordan (JK Brackens); D McEnroe (JK Brackens), D Carey (Templederry), T Maher (Loughmore-Castleiney); T Nolan (Drom & Inch), JJ Ryan (Clonakenny), Jamie Bergin (Drom & Inch).

Subs: B O’Connell (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Jamie Bergin (51), J Fogarty (JK Brackens) for Brereton (55), E Moloney (Drom & Inch) for Maher (55), T Brett (JK Brackens) for Carey (55).

DUNGARVAN COLLEGES: L Power (Abbeyside); K Looby (St Oliver’s/Ballinameela), B Looby (Abbeyside), M Cronin (Ardmore); T Bourke (Clashmore), K Daly (Dungarvan), T Devine (Modeligo); C Curran (Brickey Rangers), M Harney (Ballydurn); C Breathnach (An Rinn), P Curran (Dungarvan), S Keating (Ardmore); D Lyons (Dungarvan), C Dunford (Colligan Emmets), R Donnelly (Dungarvan).

Subs: D Gartland (Ardmore) for Dunford (48), J Mullanney (Stradbally) for K Looby (59), S Daly (Abbeyside) for Donnelly (59).

Referee: Ger Hoey (Clare)

Match Preview

The 2013 Dr Harty Cup has thrown together the novel final pairing of Dungarvan Colleges and Our Lady’s Templemore. The two teams will meet in the final this Sunday at 2.30 pm in Tipperary Town to decide who takes home the most famous trophy in Colleges sport.

Templemore have had a rollercoaster ride to the final. They overcame Midleton CBS by a point in the quarter final in what was a game that could have gone either way and then required a replay to beat Ardscoil RIs. Indeed the Limerick school struck the crossbar in the final minute of the second game; a goal at this stage would have seen them into the final. However to suggest that Templemore have enjoyed a lucky ride is far from true, they have displayed an incredible work ethic coupled with no lack of skill and thoroughly deserve their place in the final. The mercurial talent of John McGrath has been evident for all to see but this team has many potential stars. In the semi-final goalkeeper Seán Patrick Guerins was called on to make two exceptional saves, this allied with his assuredness between the sticks mark him out as an exceptional keeper. The number 3 and 6 positions are vital if a team is to be successful and in Jason Ryan and Joseph Nyland, Templemore have two of the best in the competition. Colin O’Riordan at midfield carries the dual threat as an exceptional ball winning and at times free scoring midfielder, while up front John Joe Ryan has the ability to torment any defence. The Tipp outfit have surpassed many people’s expectations of them in reaching the final but they will hope to continue to upset the form book and claim a first title since 1978.

The amalgamated Dungarvan Colleges outfit that consists of players from Dungarvan CBS and St. Augustine’s are seen by many as favourites to lift the Harty cup again this year. On route to the final they have accounted for Blackwater CS and Thurles CBS. While their progression has not been as dramatic as that of Templemore, the Dungarvan outfit have been extremely efficient in accounting for two genuine contenders in the knockout stages of the competition. In their semi-final against Thurles they trailed early on but showed great resilience to come back and hold on for a thrilling victory. The progression to a second successive final owes lot to the lethal marksmanship of Patrick Curran, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the provinces top forwards at under age level. The hard running of Christy Breathnach in the half forward line is a real scoring threat and the highly skilled Michael Harney is another player who knows where the posts are. However the strength of this Dungarvan side is the half-back line of, Tadhg Bourke, Kevin Daly and Tom Devine. Those who attended the semifinal victory over Thurles witnessed a master class in half-back line play.

The Harty Cup has served up some memorable finals over the years and this year’s final promises to join the list of classic finals. Dungarvan V Templmore, Curran V McGrath, it could very well be decided in the final minute.

Our Lady’s Templemore Results to date

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-18 West Limerick Schs. 1-18

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-13 Charleville CBS 0-14

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-19 Blackwater C.S. 1-18

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-12 Abbey CBS Tipperary 0-7

Our Lady’s Templemore 2-5 Midleton CBS 0-10

Our Lady’s Templemore 0-14 Ardscoil Ris 1-11

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-13 Ardscoil Rís Limerick 0-14

Dungarvan Colleges results to date

Dungarvan Colleges 3-13 Doon CBS 1-13

St. Flannan’s Ennis 0-16 Dungarvan Colleges 2-9

Dungarvan Colleges 3-12 St. Caimin’s Shannon 0-11

Dungarvan Colleges 5-18 Gaelcholáiste Mhuire A.G. 2-8

Dungarvan Colleges 0-14 Blackwater C.S. 0-10

Dungarvan Colleges 1-12 Thurles CBS 0-12

Our Lady’s Templemore Panel

The Our Lady’s Templemore panel for the Dr. Harty Cup is as follows –

John McGrath – Loughmore\Castleiney

Tommy Maher – Loughmore\Castleiney

Denis Brereton – Loughmore\Castleiney

Joseph Nyland- Loughmore\Castleiney

Bill O’Connell – Loughmore\Castleiney

Jason Ryan – Toomevara (Captain)

Tommy Nolan – Drom\Inch

Jamie Bergin – Drom\Inch

Michael Campion – Drom\Inch

Kevin Ahearn – Drom\Inch

Kevin Hassett – Drom\Inch

Emmet Moloney – Drom\Inch

Joey Maher – Drom\Inch

Colm Kinane – Drom\Inch

Robert Ryan – Drom\Inch

Colin O’Riordan – JK Brackens

Sean Patrick Guerins – JK Brackens

James Bergin – JK Brackens

Jack Fogarty- JK Brackens

Dean Mcenroe – JK Brackens

Brian Kennedy – JK Brackens

Tommy Brett – JK Brackens

JohnJoe Ryan – Clonakenny

Paul Bergin – Clonakenny

Dylan Carey – Templederry Kenyons

Padraig Hogan – Templederry Kenyons

Matt Stapleton – Borris-Ileigh

Jacque Dowling – Erril\Rathdowney

Gary Russell – Moyne\Templetouhy

Shane Ryan – Moyne\Templetouhy

PJ Bourke – Upperchurch\Drombane

Dungarvan Colleges Panel

Laurence Power – Abbeyside

Kealan Looby – St Olivers/Ballinameela

Brian Looby – Abbeyside

Jack Mullanney – Stradbally

Tagdh Bourke – Clashmore

Kevin Daly – Dungarvan

Tom Devine – Modeligo (Captain)

Cormac Curran – Brickey Rangers

Colin Dunford – Colligan Emmets

Ryan Donnelly – Dungarvan

Michael Harney – Ballydurn

Eamon Crotty – Abbeyside

Darragh Lyons – Dungarvan

Seamus Keating – Ardmore

Patrick Curran – Dungarvan

Gavin Power – Dungarvan

Christy Breathnach – An Rinn

David Gartland – Ardmore

Michael Cronin – Ardmore

Sean Daly – Abbeyside

Kieran Barron – St Marys Touraneena

Aaron Donnelly – Dungarvan

Jack O’Donnell – Brickey Rangers

Michael Shine – St Olivers/Ballinameela

Conor Prunty – Abbeyside

Cian Culloo – St Olivers/ Ballinameela

Carthach Barry – Brickey Rangers

Cormac O’Grady – Brickey Rangers

Conor Tobin – St Marys Touraneena

Ross Browne – Colligan Emmets

Jack Morrissey – Dungarvan

AIB GAA Football All Ireland Junior Club Championship Final – Ballinasloe (Galway) 0-14 Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry) 0-10

Ballinasloe shrug off jersey cock-up

By Daragh Ó Conchúir for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Ballinasloe 0-14 Kenmare 0-10

A day that got off to a most inauspicious start improved beyond measure for Ballinasloe, who donned the jerseys of Dublin club Na Fianna, to mark their return to intermediate football as All-Ireland JFC champions. One of the most storied clubs in Galway tradition, lying second in the county’s SFC roll of honour with 20 titles, Ballinasloe have fallen on very hard times in recent years. They relished a return to the spotlight and thrived in it, refusing to be affected by the potential mood-sapper of not being able to perform at Croke Park in their own jerseys.

“We just left them behind us” said a smiling Ballinasloe manager, Séan Riddell. “It was unfortunate but we used it as a bit of banter inside. We said ‘This is probably lucky’. Lads were having a joke saying ‘What Dublin team won the All-Ireland and never played in it?’ “But the lad that forgot the jerseys never forgets anything, and he was in bits. All the lads, they didn’t care. If we had to go out in pink jerseys today, we didn’t care. We had a mission and we really wanted to do it today.”

That was evident as they were the dominant unit, apart from the opening and closing ten minutes of the game, a fact conceded by Kenmare trainer, Enda Crowley. “It’s been a fairytale story but there was no fairytale ending” said Crowley. “It just didn’t happen. The better team won on the day. They blew us out of it in the first half and we were only able to get back into the game the last ten or 15 minutes of the second half. “The last day we took to it like ducks to water. I don’t know was it nerves or was it the occasion but something did affect our players today because‘cos we are better than that. We showed that in the last three games but we didn’t perform today.”

Kenmare had most of the early possession but Darragh McCormack scored at the other end from Ballinasloe’s first attack, in the fifth minute. That came from his left and he followed up with a point. The Galway men got a grip around midfield as they resolved to break the ball, and people like Pádraic Cunningham, who landed a super first half score, hoovered up the breaks. Ballinasloe led 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time and it was one-way traffic as they increased the margin to seven points, when Paul Whelehan landed their ninth successive score in the 41st minute. Paul O’Connor had been a very real threat early on for Kenmare but was starved of possession after the opening quarter. He did end a 25 minute scoreless period for Shamrocks from a free and as Ballinasloe retreated into their shells, the margin reduced to a goal. Stanley Harrington had a shot from a tight angle smothered by Nathan King – who had made a stunning finger-tip save from O’Connor in the first half – and when Whelehan landed a late point for Ballinasloe, the celebrations could begin in earnest.

Scorers for Ballinasloe: D McCormack, P Whelehan, K Kelly (2fs) 0-3 each, P Cunningham 0-2, D Burke, J Shaughnessy, L Lynch (f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kenmare: P O’Connor 0-5 (1f), DJ Brennan 0-4 (3fs), S O’Leary 0-1.

Ballinasloe: N King; E Fenton, D Nevin, J Shaughnessy; N Hynes, K Kelly, S Kenny; L Lynch, L Tierney; D Burke, P Cunningham, G Canavan; D McCormack, M Colohan, P Whelehan.

Subs: C Casey for Kenny (53); S Cogavin for Colohan (56).

Kenmare: H Murphy; D Crowley, T O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan; A O’Callaghan, S O’Leary, A Crowley; S Dolton, J Wharton; R O’Sullivan, M Crowley, A O’Leary; DJ Brennan, P O’Connor, K O’Sullivan.

Subs: S Duncan for A Crowley (21); P O’Dwyer for R O’Sullivan (26); S Harrington for Dalton (45); S O’Brien for Harrington (54).

Referee: C Branagan (Down)

Match Preview

AIB All-Ireland Junior Football Club Final Preview

Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry) v Ballinasloe (Galway), Croke Park, 2pm

Although Sunday’s AIB All-Ireland Junior club final is over two weeks later than initially planned due to the Kenmare Shamrocks-Castleknock saga, the third tier club showpiece has been given a fitting place in the schedule as the curtain-raiser for the M. Donnelly Interprovincial final at Croke Park.

After three games in Munster, Kenmare no doubt had planned to negotiate their semi-final hurdle at the first attempt. However, what started out as a regular All-Ireland Junior club semi-final turned into a gripping trilogy that reached a far wider audience.

Just 15 days after finally overcoming their Dublin rivals, Kenmare are back in Croke Park – and this time there’s silverware on the line as they face Galway’s finest in Ballinasloe. That 1-17 to 1-12 victory over Castleknock in the second replay finally separated the sides after 220 minutes of extraordinary action that took place in Mitchelstown, Cashel and finally Dublin 3.

In their three games in Munster, Kenmare enjoyed 23 (Kilmacthomas, Waterford), seven (Rockchapel, Cork) and six-point (Cappamore, Limerick) winning margins, before they met the seemingly immovable force that was the Dublin side in the All-Ireland series.

In keeping with the tone of their campaign to date, captain and full-forward Paul O’Connor was Kenmare’s star man in the second replay, scoring 1-8, including 1-5 from play, to sink Castleknock. O’Connor, a member of the Kerry panel from 2005 to 2010 and a three-time senior All-Ireland winner, has now scored a remarkable 2-43 in six games.

It’s comforting for Kenmare to know that they already performed so well at HQ, and with no real signs of stage fright. As well as Paul O’Connor, Mark Crowley and Alan O’Leary showed well in attack that night, while Hughie Murphy, Dara Crowley, Seánie O’Leary, Jimmy Wharton and Kevin O’ Sullivan have been their most consistent performers throughout a stellar campaign.

All the while, Ballinasloe have been waiting patiently for the Castleknock-Kenmare saga to conclude. Ballinasloe have scored 9-34 in three Connacht championship games without conceding a single goal. An excellent campaign started by beating Clifden after a replay in the Galway Junior Championship final, 2-16 to 4-9. Then they breezed past Leitrim Gaels in the Connacht quarter-final, and beat The Neale (Mayo) in the semi-final before winning a first-ever provincial title with a 4-11 to 0-9 win over Roscommon side Oran in the Connacht final. They continued that impressive record in the semi-final by beating Armagh’s An Port Mór by 2-7 to 1-10.

Sunday’s game will be a whole new experience for the Galway champions while Pat O’Connor’s Kenmare side know exactly what it’s like to prepare for a big game in Croke Park. Ballinasloe captain Keith Kelly, who takes their frees and is the team’s key man at centre-back, has been here before with the Galway minors, winning an All-Ireland medal on the side that beat Derry in the final in 2007. Nathan King, Liam Lynch, Paul Whelehan, Keith Kelly and Gary Canavan are their other players to watch.

Tickets for this Croke Park double header are priced at €10 for Adults, €5 for Juveniles with all proceeds going to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Tickets can be purchased through or other usual outlets.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A – Kerry 2-10 Westmeath 0-13

Kerry get early boost as Westmeath edged out

By Mortimer Murphy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Kerry 2-10 Westmeath 0-13

New-look Kerry gained a valuable brace of league points after a deserved win over youthful Westmeath in this Allianz Division 2A opener in Tralee yesterday. It was a game decided by Kerry’s ability to score goals at vital junctures but in truth both sides were guilty of bad wides, Kerry amassing 12 while Westmeath managed 10 and also spurned two great goal chances. The first half skirmishes resulted in a one-point interval advantage for Westmeath (0- 8 to 1-4) with Aodan Boyle blasting the ball to the net in the 17th minute for Kerry’s goal after connecting with a Darragh O’Connell free. Kerry, buoyed by the introduction of John Griffin, started the second half well and it was in this opening five minute spell that Shane Nolan goaled and also added two points to give Kerry a four point lead.

They were always in control thereafter. The Kerry defence was superb with Tom Murnane outstanding at full back and with John Griffin and Daniel Collins dominant around the middle, the Westmeath attack never threatened except for the efforts of the Damian McNicholas. Nolan and Seanie Maunsell gave Kerry a six-point lead with just ten minutes left, too much of a gap for Westmeath to bridge though late points from McNicholas (two) and free from Eoin Price kept the home crowd on edge.

Scorers for Kerry: S Nolan 1-7 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ’65), A Boyle 1-1, P Boyle and S Maunsell 0-1 each

Westmeath: D McNicholas 0-4, N O’Brien 0-4 (0-1 free), E Price 0-2 (0-1 free), C Jordan, S Power and J Shaw 0-1 each

KERRY: B Rochford, R Horgan, T Murnane, P O’Keeffe, T Barrett, D Dineen, D O’Connell, D Collins, B Brosnan, B O’Leary, G O’Brien, W O ‘Dwyer, P Boyle , A Boyle , S Nolan

Subs: J Griffin for B Brosnan (29), S Maunsell for G O’Brien (46)

WESTMEATH: P Collins, M Keegan, A McGrath, T Gallagher, E Price, C Jordan, P Gilsenan, R Greville, S Power, J Boyle, J Clarke, A Clarke, D McNicholas, N O’Brien, J Shaw.

Subs: B Leharte for J Boyle (45), D Fennell for N O’Brien (54), C Glennon for J Shaw (65)

Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick)

Team News

The Kerry Senior Hurling Team to play Westmeath in the Allianz Hurling League Div 2A in Austin Stack Park on Sunday next at 1 pm is as follows:

1. Bernard Rochford Killeagh (Cork)

2. Rory Horgan St Brendans

3. Tom Murnane Kilmoyley

4. Patrick O’Keeffe Glenflesk

5. Tommy Barrett Causeway

6. Darren Dineen St Brendans

7. Darragh O’Connell Abbeydorney

8. Daniel Collins Kilmoyley

9. Brendan Brosnan Lixnaw

10. Brendan O’Leary Abbeydorney

11. Gary O’Brien Ballyduff

12. Willie O’Dywer Mullinavat (Kilkenny)

13. John Egan St Brendans

14. Aidan Boyle Ballyduff (Captain)

15. Shane Nolan Crotta O Neills

16. PJ Gorman Ballyduff

17. Brian O’Leary Abbeydorney

18. Pat Joe Connolly Ballyduff

19. Sean Maunsell Kilmoyley

20. Padraig Boyle Ballyduff

21. Sean Dowling Kilmoyley

22. Colm Harty Causeway

23. Jason Leahy Causeway

24. Mikey O’Halloran Ballyheigue

25. Cyril Lynch Crotta O’Neills

26. John Griffin Lixnaw


Manager: Tom Howard

Trainer: Fergie O’Loughlin

Selectors : Padraig Regan, (Kilmoyley); Mike Burke (Causeway); Noel Browne (Ballyduff)