TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Q-Final – Cork v Kildare

Cork will play Kildare in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Quarter-Final on Saturday August 22nd at 6:00pm in Nowlan Park Kilkenny.

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Q-Final – Kerry v Dublin

Kerry will play Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Quarter-Final on Saturday August 22nd at 4:15pm in Nowlan Park Kilkenny.

Bord Gais Energy GAA All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship S-Final – Clare v Galway

Munster champions Clare defeated Galway by 3-23 to 5-15 after extra time in the Bord Gais Energy GAA All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship S-Final on Saturday in Semple Stadium Thurles.

Magic moments as Clare prove extra special

Clare 3-23 Galway 5-15

By Diarmuid O’Flynn from the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, August 24, 2009

AH, friends, after a match such as this – nay, after living, breathing life theatre such as this, pity us poor scribes! Coming to the end of a hurling season that has never really taken off, those of us among the 5,741 live audience in Semple Stadium for this All-Ireland U-21 hurling semi-final, those who followed the drama on TG4, witnessed 80 minutes of non-stop action, yes, but we also witnessed so much more. There was another chapter added to the Cinderella hurling story of Clare who won their first Munster crown in this grade a few weeks ago; there was the quality of hurling from first ball to last by two superbly prepared teams; there was the individual genius on display at either end of the field, Galway’s Joe Canning adding to an ever-growing reputation with a 4-7 haul while Clare’s Darach Honan added light to an already bright afternoon.

Then there was the Clare support. With every under-pressure defensive clearance from the likes of captain Ciarán O’Doherty and centre-back Nicky O’Connell, with every winged score from the likes of John Conlon and Seán Collins, came a wall of sound from the thousands supporting the saffron and blue. On that note, and not for the first time at this grade in a big match, Galway were like an orphaned child, abandoned to their fate by a fickle hurling public, but they found their inspiration from within. And finally, of course, we had the fairytale ending, Clare surging to victory with three points from John Conlon, Darach Honan and Colin Ryan after yet another Joe Canning goal – his fourth of the match – had put Galway a point ahead with only four minutes remaining.

After all that, my friends, the Book of Superlatives rendered obsolete, where do you reach for description? The tone for the day was set in the first minute, a point from Clare wing-forward Seán Collins within 10 seconds which was quickly answered by Galway corner-forward Alan Dolan after a fine pass from Niall Quinn in the opposite corner. Already, then, we were seeing skill, awareness, intelligence, team play, and this was before either Joe Canning or Darach Honan entered the picture. Centre-forward Aodan Harte was next on the board, a point for Galway, Colin Ryan and Caimin Morey replying for Clare. Instantly Galway hit back, midfielder David Burke with a point, before big Joe registered his first of the game, a tap-over free (for him) from a mere 50m out on the left, putting Galway ahead 0-4 to 0-3 after nine minutes. Breathless stuff, but surely, we felt, they couldn’t sustain that pace for the full 60 minutes. Well, they did, and beyond. There isn’t space here to describe minutely, on a score-by-score basis, what happened thereafter; a further 23 scores for Clare, 16 for Galway, eight goals shared between them – where do you start? Where do you finish?

Suffice to say that at the first interval, courtesy of two goals from Joe Canning – one from an ordinary 22m free, the second from a penalty, for both of which he was the man fouled, the goal at his mercy on each occasion – Galway led by four points, 2-7 to 0-9. We could have had a couple of more goals, for both sides, but vigilant defence and some outstanding keeping from Donal Touhy (Clare) and Galway’s James Skehill (especially, and what a game he had overall, two absolutely breathtaking saves) kept the scores down. In that first-half, Galway had the assistance of the breeze; in the second, Darach Honan now operating on the edge of the square, Clare came back into it. The giant Clonlara youngster (son of former Clare star Colm) had already shown flashes of his potential from his earlier position in the corner – now, he set the game on fire. He scored 1-1 in the first four minutes of the second half, and every time the ball came near him – and just as was the case at the other end with Joe Canning – the buzz from the stands was palpable. Those scores lifted Clare and in the 46th minute, subs Conor Tierney and Conor McGrath combined to goal, the latter with the final touch and the Munster champions took the lead, 2-12 to 2-9. Back came Galway, however, and they were level again in the 58th minute at 2-15 to 3-12, level again at the end of normal time, 2-16 to 3-13.

Into extra-time then, in a match that no-one deserved to lose, and surely, surely, they couldn’t keep this up? But maintain it they did. Clare it was setting the early pace, going five points clear after Darach had again goaled after a powerful long-striding ground-devouring solo run. That should have signalled the end for Galway, would have signalled the end of most any other side, but Galway had Joe, and Joe had other ideas. An over-shoulder pass to Aodan Harte set up the comeback, a sideline cut from 45m right (his second such), and they were back to within two points at the third break, 3-19 to 4-14. After the restart Conor Tierney extended the Clare lead to two with his second point, but again came Joe, his final goal, and a score worthy of winning any contest – a long free from the brilliant Skehill was doubled on one-handed from the midst of the crowd by treble-teamed Joe and it whizzed to the net. Galway now went one point ahead and it was Clare’s turn to show character. After Conor McGrath had nonchalantly slotted over the equaliser, from distance, fittingly, it fell to the other man of the afternoon, Darach Honan, to score the next. Blocked into the right-side corner, nowhere to go, he kept his patience, turned, twisted, made just enough room for himself to squeeze into space, squeeze off an angled drive – point. Colin Ryan added the insurance point a couple of minutes later. A just result, just about, and Clare had so many heroes on the day, including Ciarán O’Doherty, with two goal-saving hooks in extra-time, but oh, what drama, what drama!

Scorers for Clare: D. Honan 2-4; C. Ryan 0-8 (0-4 frees, 0-2 65’s); C. McGrath 1-1; J. Conlon 0-3; C. Tierney 0-2; S. Collins 0-2; N. O’Connell (free), C. O’Donovan, C. Morey, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: J. Canning 4-7 (2-0 pens, 1-3 frees, 0-1 65, 0-2 s/l); A. Harte 1-2; E. Forde 0-3; D. Burke, A. Dolan, N. Quinn, 0-1 each.

Subs for Clare: C. Dillon (Gunning 20); C. McGrath (O’Connor 30); C. Tierney (Morey 44); P. Kelly (Collins inj. 79).

Subs for Galway: K. Killilea (Dolan 40); B. Daly (Linnane 47); G. Burke (Keehan 52); J. Ryan (S. Quinn inj. 69); S. Óg Linnane (Forde 80).

Referee: C. McAllister (Cork)

All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final – Cork v Roscommon

Cork defeated Roscommon by 0-15 to 0-12 in the GAA All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final on Saturday in O’Moore Park Portlaoise.

More glory for steely Rebels

Cork 0-15 Roscommon 0-12

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, August 24, 2009

THE happy relationship between Cork and the All-Ireland junior football grade shows no signs of ending, after Mossie Barrett steered another band of Rebel footballers to national glory in Portlaoise on Saturday. Victory maintained Cork’s dominance at this level, securing their fourth title of the decade and the third in the space of five years. The latest success was a merited one, albeit after a tough test from the Connacht champions. The win shared neat similarities with Cork’s triumph over Louth in the semi-final, as they needed to be calm and composed to eke out the right result. After a series of strolls through the Munster championship, Cork have been rigorously tested on the All-Ireland stage and their manager Barrett praised his side for grinding out the victory.

He said: “It’s a great feeling after such a battle. There’s no such thing as an easy All-Ireland and we knew that at half-time. Roscommon played very well against the wind in the second half and there’s a bit of relief at winning. “It’s as sweet as any of the ones we’ve won previously. A lot of the lads from previous teams have progressed on to senior and I’d see no reason why these lads can’t either. There’s great potential there.” For all of Roscommon’s persistence, Cork had the necessary touch of panache and class when required. They wobbled slightly at the start of the game, trailing 0-2 to 0-0 after 10 minutes and it was notable how Roscommon were bossing the midfield exchanges in the air and on the ground. Yet Cork never panicked and as the match progressed they strung together the incisive moves to forge ahead.

In each half Cork had an attacker whose contribution left a deep imprint on the game. In the opening period Robert O’Mahony was the go-to guy at full-forward. The St Finbarr’s man was a bundle of tricks and pace, and whenever he evaded the Roscommon backs, his shooting was spot on. He sent four balls over the bar in the first half and that was central to Cork’s 0-8 to 0-4 interval lead. In the second half wing-forward Daniel O’Donovan hit the high notes, illustrating his point-kicking prowess by supplying rousing scores at crucial stages. He kicked over two mighty points from placed balls, hit a fabulous shot with his weaker leg just after the interval and then applied the finishing touches to Cork’s success when lofting over a beauty in injury-time. There were other admirable facets to Cork’s game as well. Wing-forward Colm O’Driscoll was typically industrious throughout, while midfield duo Andrew O’Sullivan and Chris O’Donovan refused to wilt in that rocky opening and their influence grew as the game progressed. The defence had some leading exponents as well; John McLoughlin was neat and tidy in his corner-back play, while Richard O’Sullivan burned up and down the right flank to great effect all afternoon.

Roscommon suffered from their full-back line malfunctioning early on, as they shipped scores that transpired to be fatal to their hopes of success. At half-time the match was slipping away from them but they stuck to their task manfully in the second half. Wing-back Cathal Dineen and midfielder Martin Reynolds led the fight, while in attack Paul Garvey and Darren McDermott figured prominently. The problem was that Garvey only prospered in the second half when switched to wing-forward, while McDermott was never serviced regularly enough to inflict damage on the Cork defence. The second half followed a repetitive trend, Roscommon clawing back Cork’s advantage to be within touching distance before the Rebels then pressed on the accelerator to shoot away again. By the 35th minute Roscommon only trailed 0-9 to 0-7, but Cork were 0-12 to 0-7 ahead entering the final quarter. Again Roscommon responded and by the 55th minute were only 0-14 to 0-12 adrift. Yet they needed a goal to seal their comeback and the assured Cork goalkeeper Paddy O’Shea never looked like being beaten.

For Cork captain Chris O’Donovan, it was a sweet success, as he secured another All-Ireland medal to accompany the U21 bauble he won back in May. “It’s an outstanding feeling. I’ve yet to come to this pitch and have an easy victory, but that shows the character of the lads we have. It’s very special to be captain of an All-Ireland winning Cork team as well, something you dream about when you’re a young fella. Hopefully this can be a stepping stone to greater things.” Defender Richard O’Sullivan echoed O’Donovan’s sentiments. “It’s fantastic. We played very well in the first half but even when they came back in the second half, we never panicked and stuck with it. They’ve been in a lot of All-Ireland finals recently, so they’re a good side. So it’s great to beat a team like that. To have an All-Ireland medal is a great feeling. I’m delighted.”

Scorers for Cork: D O’Donovan 0-6 (0-2f, 0-1 ‘45), R O’Mahony 0-4, C O’Driscoll 0-2, A O’Sullivan, V Hurley, J P Murphy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: D McDermott 0-5 (0-2f), P Garvey 0-3 (0-1f), D Keenehan, M Reynolds (0-1f), R Cox, C Dineen 0-1 each.

Subs for Cork: M Prout for Fehilly (50), P Cahill for Hurley (55), N O’Riordan for A O’Sullivan (57).

Subs for Roscommon: S Ormsby for McGarry (29), T Mahon for McCormack (h/t), B Mullen for Kelly (54).

Referee: Tomás Quigley (Dublin)

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All Ireland U21 ‘B’ Championship S-Final – Kerry v Kildare

Kerry defeated Kildare by 2-10 to 0-14 in the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All Ireland U21 ‘B’ Championship Semi Final on Saturday in Cloughjordan.

Hurling success for Kerry

From the web site

Kerry 2-10 Kildare 0-14

Former Wexford senior boss John Meyler was a happy man after Kerry qualified for the All-Ireland U-21 ‘B’ Hurling Championship final with victory against Kildare at Cloughjordan this afternoon. Despite Meyler admitting after the game that his side “hadn’t much preparation put in beforehand”, the Kingdom dug deep to qualify for another All-Ireland decider. Kerry led by 2-6 to 0-10 at the interval thanks to two goals from Dara O’Connell.

Very little could separate the sides for the majority of the opening half – they were locked level at 1-5 to 0-8 in the 22nd minute. Although Kildare broke two points clear thanks to the efforts of Paul Fitzgerald, Kerry finished strongly with O’Connell netting his second goal to open up a two-point interval. Kildare did well to battle back and take the lead on the restart, but Kerry showed the greater resilience as they held on to a two-point buffer at the death.

ESB GAA Hurling All Ireland Minor ‘B’ Championship Final – Kerry v Westmeath

Sublime Boyle breaks Westmeath hearts to seal title for Kerry

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday August 24 2009

A superbly drilled Kerry side saw off a gallant Westmeath outfit in this thrilling final, played in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, on Saturday afternoon. Kerry can thank the precocious Padraig Boyle for two sublime second-half efforts off the hurley and from play and with fellow wing- forward Patrick O’Keeffe firing over two more vital points, this proved enough to push Kerry clear in the final quarter. Westmeath had the wind in the opening half but it was Kerry who raced 0-5 to 0-1 in front with two points from Shane Nolan and one each from Padraig Boyle and Brian Leen. Westmeath fought back, however, with Barry O’Meara converting a succession of frees and then took the lead when Angus Clarke shot into the Kerry net in the 22nd minute. The Lake County led 1-7 to 0-9 at the interval but the second half was tension-packed with intense championship hurling from both sides.

Barry O’Meara extended Westmeath’s lead with an early second-half point but Kerry then took over and five unanswered points took the Kingdom two clear at the three-quarter stage. However Westmeath fought back and two more points from O’Meara and another from substitute Conor Thompson saw them regain the lead with 13 minutes remaining. Kerry responded in the style of champions though, with points from Sean Weir, O’Keeffe and the score of the game from 15-year-old Boyle that gave Kerry the cushion they managed to hold on to despite a late Westmeath flourish.

Scorers — Kerry: S Nolan 0-6 (0-4f) P Boyle 0-4 (0-1f) P O’Keeffe 0-3, B Brosnan (0-2 ’65s), S Weir 0-2 each, A O’Leary, C Harty, S Dunne, B Leen 0-1 each. Westmeath: B O’Meara 0-9, (0-2 frees) A Clarke 1-0, S Boylan 0-2 (0-1 free) S Donaher, C Thompson 0-1 each

Kerry — N Leen; T Maunsell, M O’Regan, B Murphy; A O’Leary, B Brosnan, J Bowler; C Harty, S Weir; P Boyle, S Leen, P O’Keeffe; S Dunne, S Nolan, B Leen. Subs: L Fitzell for B Leen, S Dowling for S Leen, C McCarthy for J Bowler.

Westmeath — C Scally; A Shields, D Gavin, D Healy; C Boyle, A McGrath, J Cassidy; S Boylan, C O’Brien; G Flynn, A Clarke, S Donaher; E Kincaid, B O’Meara, B Laide. Subs: C Thompson for P Laide, T Doyle for A Shields, D Gavin for G Flynn.

Ref — J O’Mahony (Limerick)

Westmeath edged out by hungry Kerry

Kerry 0-21, Westmeath 1-13

From the Westmeath Examiner newspaper

Westmeath’s Shane Donaher tries to get away from Kerry’s Sean Weir during Saturday’s All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Hurling final in Cloughjordan. Short the services of many keys players from their memorable Leinster Championship run earlier this year, Westmeath minor hurlers fell at the last fence for the second year running. They lost to a fit and focused Kerry outfit in a very entertaining decider.

With injuries and a bereavement to add to the non-selection of two players who had failed to show for the semi-final win over Armagh, it was a depleted Lake County side who took the field at the well-appointed County Tipperary venue last Saturday, but there was still enough class in the maroon and whites’ squad to suggest that the cup could be won. However, the Kingdom lads’ destruction of Meath in the penultimate round was ominous and the green and golds proved to be a very useful team, roared on by a significantly larger number of fans than their opponents, given that the county had their Under-21 hurlers in action in the curtain-raiser. At the end of a ding-dong struggle, the Kerry lads just about deserved their win, with eight players contributing a very creditable total of 21 points between them, many of the scores of a very high quality. Undoubtedly, this is a trophy that slipped from Westmeath’s grasp and it is truly an enormous pity that not all players showed the competition the respect it deserved. Those who did and wore the maroon jersey with pride will be bitterly disappointed not to have garnered an All-Ireland medal, when Celtic Crosses in hurling are such a rarity in the Lake County.

Westmeath had whatever advantage was accruing from a mainly crossfield wind but it was the Kingdom lads who were the livelier in the early exchanges. They opened the scoring in the second minute with a well-taken point from Shane Nolan, after initial hesitation. Barry O’Meara soon equalised from a 30-metre free, but the winners raced into a four-point lead by the tenth minute with points from Padraig Boyle (a terrific score from 55 metres), a brace of Shane Nolan frees (from 45 and 25 metres respectively) and team captain Brian Leen (a neat point under pressure). Westmeath’s Barry O’Meara almost snuck in for a goal during this perid of Kerry dominance, but the Crookedwood lad was bundled out of it by a tight-marking Kerry defence. O’Meara then made amends with a great point from a tight angle but a lovely point from Shane Dunne put the Munster side 0-6 to 0-2 at the midpoint of the first moiety.

Seamus Qualter’s charges then took control and rattled off three unanswered points. Sandwiched between a great brace from Stephen Boylan (a fine score from play and a 60-metre free), Barry O’Meara maintained his outstanding freetaking form with a converted 40-metre free. His opposite number, Shane Nolan was also on form from placed balls and he rifled over a 30-metre free in the 21st minute. The only goal of the contest arrived in the 23rd minute, a lovely pass from Barry O’Meara picking out Aonghus Clarke and the Under-16 star from Castletown-Geoghegan took a few steps goalward before unleashing a piledriver to the top of the Kerry net. Shane Donaher chipped in with an opportunist point after picking up the sliotar from Stephen Boylan’s long-range free, to put the losers two points to the good. However, this lead was quickly wiped out by Kerry points from Patrick O’Keeffe and a Padraig Boyle free (the change of freetaker indicative that the number 10 had a goal on his mind, but the ball flew over the bar). In the second last minute of normal time, Barry O’Meara converted a routine free to leave Westmeath ahead at the break by the narrowest of margins, 1-7 to 0-9.

Westmeath increased their lead within 25 seconds of the resumption of play, a stumbling Aonghus Clarke doing well to pick out Barry O’Meara who applied a neat finish over the Kerry crossbar. However, the winners clicked into immediate action and fired over four points in as many minutes to take a two-point lead. Four different scorers popped up – Patrick O’Keeffe (a wonderful effort), Shane Nolan (despite being heavily pressurised), Alan O’Leary (timing his run from defence to perfection) and Padraig Boyle (a great individual score). Indeed, it could have got worse for the losers when Shane Dunne’s ‘goal’ was disallowed for a chop en route to goal and Cathal Scally saved a weak shot from Shane Nolan, when a goal looked certain. In the 12th minute, Sean Weir got his name on the scoresheet with a great long-range strike. Westmeath badly needed a score to settle the nerves and it duly arrived from the ever-reliable Barry O’Meara from a 30-metre free. Substitute Conor Thompson then chipped in with an opportunist point after a period of scrappy play and when Barry O’Meara converted a tricky free, it was all to play for with a quarter of an hour remaining, with the sides tied.

Soon afterwards, Cathal Scally blocked Shane Nolan’s half-volleyed shot at the expense of a ’65’ which was expertly converted by Brendan Brosnan. Alan McGrath, who was carrying an injury into the game and operating at full forward rather than his conventional role as defensive pivot, almost got through for a much-needed Westmeath goal before an unmarked Patrick O’Keeffe slotted over a fine Kerry point from 45 metres. Barry O’Meara (a 35-metre free) and Sean Weir (after cleverly shortening his grip on the hurley) then swapped points. A terrific piece of individual stickwork freed Padraig Boyle to rifle over a lovely point, but Barry O’Meara’s frees were keeping the losers in touch and he whipped over his seventh placed ball with five minutes of normal time remaining.

The Kingdom boys were only two points to the good but they wrapped up the title in fine style in the closing minutes. A fabulous point from a tight angle by Colm Harty was followed by another successful Brendan Brosnan ’65’ and a converted free from 25 metres by Shane Nolan. Shane Dunne then came very close to netting for the winners and Westmeath’s wholehearted attempts to eke out a face-saving goal were thwarted when Nicky Leen pulled off a great save from Aonghus Clarke’s goalbound rasper, with Alan McGrath unable to bundle home the rebound in a massed goalmouth. Moments later the Kingdom lads were celebrating a rare but deserved title in the small ball game.

Kerry: Nicky Leen; Tommy Maunsell, Mark O’Regan, Bryan Murphy; Alan O’Leary (0-1), Brendan Brosnan (0-2, both from ’65’s), Jason Bowler; Colm Harty (0-1), Sean Weir (0-2); Padraig Boyle (0-4, 0-1 from a free), Stephen Leen, Patrick O’Keeffe (0-3); Shane Dunne (0-1), Shane Nolan (0-6, 0-4 from frees), Brian Leen (0-1). Subs: Luke Fitzell (for B.Leen, 54 mins), Sean Dowling (for S.Leen, 60 +1 mins), Chris McCarthy (for Bowler, 60 +1 mins).

Westmeath: Cathal Scally; Patrick Laide, Diarmuid Garvin, Derek Healy; Cormac Boyle, Adam Sheils, Jordy Cassidy; Stephen Boylan (0-2, 0-1 from a free), Colin O’Brien; Aonghus Clarke (1-0), Glen Flynn, Shane Donaher (0-1); Enda Kincaid, Alan McGrath, Barry O’Meara (0-9, 0-7 from frees). Subs: Thomas Doyle (for Sheils, half-time), Conor Thompson (0-1) (for Kincaid, 40 mins), David Fennell (for Laide, 45 mins), David Higgins (for Flynn, 51 mins).

Referee: Jason O’Mahony (Limerick)