Annual Munster Council Convention

The annual Munster Council Convention will take place on Friday March 5th at 8:30pm in the Listowel Arms Hotel in Listowel.

Mass will take place at 6:15pm followed by a meal before convention for all delegates.

Corn Uí Mhuirí Football Final – DLS Macroom vs. St. Brendan’s Killarney

DLS Macroom will play St. Brendan’s Killarney in the Corn Uí Mhuirí Football Senior “A” Football Final on Sunday March 7th at 2:30pm in Knocknagree.

Allainz NFL Division 2 – Down 0-14 Tipperary 1-11

Tipperary salvage a point

From the web site

Down 0-14 Tipperary 1-11

NFL Division 2

Barry Grogan converted a pressure free in the third minute of stoppage time to earn Tipperary a point from their visit to Pairc Esler. For long stages, it looked as if Down were about to exact revenge for last season’s defeat in the NFL Division Three final, but in the end, they failed to drive home the advantage.

All credit to Tipp, who battled courageously after falling behind in the early stages, and it would have been an injustice had they started off on the long journey south with nothing to show for their efforts. Down showed some excellent movement and good ideas in an opening quarter that they almost totally dominated. Too often, however, they over-played the ball and tried to pick a pass too many.

But the territorial advantage they enjoyed, thanks to the ball-winning of Ambrose Rodgers and the artistry of Martin Clarke, helped them open out a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 20th minute John Clarke, Conor Laverty, along with frees from Martin Clarke and Paul McComiskey, found the target, with Conor Sweeney responding with a couple of Tipp scores. The last 10 minutes of the half, however, belonged to the resurgent Munster men.

George Hannigan and Seamus Grogan took over at midfield, and the strong running of centre forward Philip Austin had the Mourne defence in real trouble. They hit 1-4 in that closing period, Sweeney, Austin and wing back Christopher Aylward all on target. And a minute before the end of the half came the goal that dramatically gave them the lead. Barry Grogan floated a long free into the danger area, and when Down failed to clear, Brian Mulvihil poked the ball to the net from close range to send Tipp in with a 1-6 to 0-8 interval lead.

After falling further behind to Aylward’s second point, Down regrouped and got themselves back in front through John Clarke 12 minutes into the second half Down were forced to increase the workrate to match the industry their opponents had displayed right from the start. But Seamus Grogan continued to win vital Tipp possession in midfield, keeping his side very much in the game.

Benny Coulter’s emergence as an influential figure saw John Clarke and younger brother Martin ease the home side three points clear, the latter sending a screaming volley just over, clipping the crossbar as it went. But once again, John Evans’ men dug deep, and scored the last three points of the game, all from placed balls, with Grogan showing an ice cool temperament to slot the leveller.

Down: B McVeigh, D McCartan, B McArdle, D Rafferty, K McKernan, J Colgan, C Garvey, A Rodgers, K King, C Maginn (0-1), M Clarke (0-5, 1f), P McComiskey (0-2, 2f), C Laverty (0-3), J Clarke (0-3), B Coulter.

Subs: P Fitzpatrick for King, S Kearney for Maginn, M Poland for Laverty, R Murtagh for McComiskey

Tipperary: P Fitzgerald, N Curran, C McDonald, A Morrissey, C Aylward (0-2), R Costigan, C McGrath, G Hannigan, S Grogan, B Mulvihill (1-0), P Austin (0-1), J Cagney, C Sweeney (0-5, 4f), B Coen, B Grogan (0-3, 3f).

Subs: S Hahessy for Cowen, S Carey for Cagney, P Acheson for Austin, A Rockett for S Grogan

Referee: J Curley (Meath).

Down 0-14 Tipperary 1-11

From the web site

Down’s dream start to their Division Two campaign was ended when they were held 0-14 to 1-11 by Tipperary at Páirc Esler on Saturday night.  Barry Grogan gave the Premier County their first point of the 2010 campaign when he landed a late free to level the game.

Johnny Evans’ side led 1-6 to 0-8 at the break after Down had dominated the early stages of the game. They led by five points at one stage thanks to scores from Martin Clarke and Paul McComiskey.   Tipp’s goal came on the stroke of half-time as the ball was deemed to have crossed the line after a Grogan free deflected past Mourne goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh.  Tipp hit the last three points of the game with Grogan firing the leveller three minutes into injury time.

Allianz NFL Division 4 – Waterford 0-10 Longford 1-7

Waterford and Longford played out a draw in Round 4 of the Allianz National Football League Division 4 on Sunday in Fraher Field Dungarvan.

Allianz NFL Division 4 – Clare 2-12 Leitrim 0-17

Clare defeated Leitrim by 2-12 to 1-17 in Round 4 of the Allianz National Football League Division 4 on Sunday in Cusack Park Ennis.

Allianz NHL Division 1 – Tipperary 1-14 Kilkenny 0-13

Tipperary defeated Kilkenny by 1-14 to 0-13 in Round 1 of the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 on Sunday March 7th in Semple Stadium Thurles.

Allianz National Hurling League – Division 1

Tipperary 1-14 Kilkenny 0-13

By Cathal Ryan

It was a case of third time lucky on Sunday afternoon when a crowd of 20,254 flocked to the hurling Mecca of Semple Stadium, Thurles to see a repeat of last year’s epic All Ireland and National Hurling League Finals between Tipperary and Kilkenny. A fresh easterly breeze was cancelled by the spring sun and with the Thurles venue in its usual perfect condition everything was set up for an early season blockbuster between these two great rivals. It was deep into first half stoppage time when the Premier County struck the crucial blow through talismanic corner forward Eoin Kelly. Noel McGrath brought down a long ball to the deck before rising and stepping inside the defender then laying off a pass to Kelly who swivelled and creased the sliotar past PJ Ryan in the Kilkenny goal. This was preceded moments earlier by a squandered opportunity to net for the Cats when Aidan Fogarty slipped for the only time in the match behind the Tipperary cover but his strike just rebounded off Brendan Cummins and was cleared to safety.

Tipperary maintained the advantage throughout the second half and in the closing stages a great catch from Hugh Maloney was laid off to fellow substitute Jody Brennan who raised the white flag with a right handed strike.
Tipperary will be delighted to bounce back from last week’s disappointment against Dublin and especially against the team that denied them of the success they craved last season. Liam Sheedy can be particularly pleased with the display of the full back line where Padraic Maher in particular was immense and beat any opponent that crossed his path. In contrast Kilkenny will note areas that need improvement but particularly in the number of wides they hit. It was most un-Kilkenny like to see that eleven wides were struck against just five for their opponents from a usually extremely efficient scoring machine.

The game started slowly and after a number of line balls it was Eoin Kelly who broke the deadlock with a free in the third minute. The Mullinahone man added a second free moments later but this was soon followed by a three point Kilkenny haul that saw them take the lead through a Richie Hogan free and points from Michael Rice and John Tennyson.  It took 17 minutes before the men in blue in gold finally scored a point from play and it came from a John O Brien strike that was drove from all of 60 yards. Two further Hogan frees were dropped over the bar and Shane McGrath responded to draw Tipp level.
Then in the 29th minute Fogarty was presented with his goal scoring opportunity only to miss. The Kilkenny disappointment was then compounded in stoppage time when Kelly found the back of the net to leave the half time score at 1-6 to 0-6.

The second period began much brighter with the Cats racking up two scores in a minute from the impressive John Mulhall and James Stephens man Eoin Larkin. Just a minute later Lar Corbett latched onto a ball and burst through the heart of the Kilkenny defence before firing over the bar when it seemed he had goal on his mind. Both sides traded scores but the Premier never relinquished the lead and the unusually ineffective Kilkenny forward line never managed to carve any real goal threat until substitute Michael Grace got blocked courageously by the outstanding Paul Curran with only two minutes remaining.  This along with an altercation between the two managers on the sideline lifted the crowd and Tipperary responded with the Brennan point and another from Noel McGrath to seal a four point victory and banish some of the demons of last year for this Tipperary outfit.

Tipperary: Brendan Cummins; Brendan Maher, Padraic Maher, Paul Curran; Declan Fanning, Conor O Mahony, Shane Maher; Thomas Stapleton, Shane McGrath (0-2); Noel McGrath (0-1), Benny Dunne, John O Brien (0-1); Eoin Kelly (1-7,6F), Michael Webster, Lar Corbett (0-2). Subs: Hugh Maloney for B. Dunne (43), Jody Brennan for T. Stapleton (51), Seamus Callanan for J. O Brien (58), Paul Kelly for M. Webster (65).

Kilkenny: PJ Ryan; Canice Hickey, Brian Hogan, John Dalton; Tommy Walsh (0-1), Jackie Tyrrell (0-1), JJ Delaney; John Tennyson (0-2), PJ Delaney (0-1); John Mulhall (0-3), Michael Rice (0-1), Willie O Dwyer; Richie Hogan (0-3, 3F), Eoin Larkin (0-1), Aidan Fogarty. Subs: Michael Grace for M. Rice (44), Paddy Hogan for R. Hogan (60).

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

Sweet revenge for Tipp

Mar 07, 2010

From the web site

Tipperary gained a measure of revenge for last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Kilkenny with a 1-14 to 0-13 win over the Cats in a refixed Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division One clash at sun drenched Thurles on Sunday. Over 20,000 patrons, who were given free entry to Semple Stadium after the game had been twice postponed due to the weather, were treated to a thrilling encounter which had all the intensity of a Championship clash.

The only goal of the game came from the stick of the Kilkenny captain, Eoin Kelly, who found the back of the net in first-half injury time. The Mullinahone man took the goal brilliantly after a quick pass from team-mate Noel McGrath. However, Kilkenny could have goaled themselves seconds earlier, when Aidan Fogarty broke clear of the Tipperary defence, but Brendan Cummins, the Premier County goalkeeper, advanced off his line and blocked the shot.

Battle lines drawn as Tipp take first blood

Tipperary 1-14 Kilkenny 0-13

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 08, 2010

ONLY the league? Yes it was only the league, but there were so many subplots to this game yesterday in Semple Stadium. A couple of weeks ago, it was to have been the glamour NHL opener, under lights in Thurles, but twice it had been postponed due to bad weather. In the meantime, however, Tipperary lost heavily to Dublin, meaning that this game took on a new significance for the hosts. Where before it was going to be a novelty, a Saturday evening floodlit repeat of the cracking 2009 league and All-Ireland finals, now it became an early opportunity for Kilkenny to do what this team has done so many times over the last few all-conquering years to so many other teams in the league, and lay down yet another marker.

Kilkenny themselves were weakened by the absence of over half a dozen starters from last September, but all the better for that – beat Tipp now, a full-strength but wounded Tipp, in their own house, and the cute Cats wouldn’t just be vastly reducing the league play-off chances of their closest rivals, it could also have longer-term repercussions. None of this was lost on the hurling public which explains why, even on a chilly March 7, there was a real championship feel to Thurles yesterday. Sun shining, clear skies, fast pitch, a loud and fully committed crowd of 20,254, the two top teams of 2009 faced off.

It wasn’t just the teams getting stuck into each other either. Liam Sheedy is always an animated figure during a game so it was no surprise to see the Tipp manager up and down the sideline yesterday urging on his charges, swapping banter with the officials. Brian Cody, however, usually maintains his reserve until the championship, and even then, only gets really involved in the bigger games. But yesterday he too was animated from early on, remonstrating with referee Barry Kelly from Westmeath, cajoling the men in stripes; then, near the end of the match with Tipperary just two points ahead, a shemozzle near the sideline involving several players developed into something more as Cody and Sheedy too became very much up close and personal. It was a confrontation that ended with the Tipp manager giving his opposite number a push to the chest. “When the match is close like that, it’s high tempo stuff,” said Sheedy.

“We’re managers – maybe they (the players) watch our body language, but for us, it’s Tipp and Kilkenny, the second round of the league. If we lost today it probably finished our involvement in the league. It was important to get the two points, get back on the road. In a lot of ways it was backs to the wall.” For Cody, however, the sideline battle was a lot more than just a minor momentary confrontation – “It was a battle for anyone out there, it was a flat-out game and huge commitment from both teams.” Spot on, Brian. From the first minute it was obvious that this was a different Tipp team to that which suffered so badly in Parnell Park last week. Two early pointed frees from the on-song Eoin Kelly saw them into an early lead and from there to the break it was toe-to-toe, two heavyweights laying into each other. Six points apiece it was into injury-time, when Eoin Kelly landed the only real body-blow of the match, and a sucker punch it was. A pass from John O’Brien gave the Tipp captain possession just inside the 20m line, several defenders inside him, but a swivel, a thunderbolt shot, and Tipperary had a one-goal lead.

All through a hotly-contested second half, that goal stood between them, and it was still there at the death, when young Noel McGrath notched the insurance point. Defences dominated, true, both sextets doing well, Padraic Maher (Tipp) and Jackie Tyrell (Kilkenny) the main men on either side, but this was nevertheless a vastly entertaining contest for all that. Game of the league so far, without question, certainly one worth waiting for.

Scorers for Tipperary: E. Kelly 1-7 (0-6 frees); S. McGrath 0-2; L. Corbett 0-2; N. McGrath, J. O’Brien, J. Brennan, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: J. Tennyson 0-3; J. Mulhall 0-3; R. Hogan 0-3 (frees); E. Larkin, M. Rice, T. Walsh, J. Tyrell, 0-1 each.

Subs for Tipperary: H. Moloney (Dunne 43); J. Brennan (T. Stapleton 53); S. Callanan (O’Brien 59); P. Kelly (Webster 66).

Subs for Kilkenny: M. Grace (Rice inj. 46); P. Hogan (R. Hogan inj. 61).

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).

Kelly’s magic moment sees off Cats

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday March 08 2010

They swung the doors of Semple Stadium open under a flamed-up sky yesterday and the low-watt glow of early season gave way to blinding light. Maybe the best free show that sport has ever summoned saw Tipperary edging a game of authentic heat that sent the 20,254 attendance home, hungrily recycling the detail. It was, as Brian Cody later averred, “Championship-like stuff” that even drew the opposing managers into a sideline quarrel. With the game slipping into injury-time, some Tipp players reacted angrily to what looked a late pull by JJ Delaney on prostrate substitute Jody Brennan. In the tussle that followed, Liam Sheedy exchanged angry words with Cody before appearing to push the Kilkenny manager in the chest.

To be fair to Sheedy, he immediately sought Cody out at the final whistle and they seemed to have a conciliatory exchange. And neither manager, predictably, was much interested in exploring the incident thereafter. “Look, when the match is close like that, it’s high-tempo stuff,” said Sheedy, wariness travelling across his eyes. Cody adopted the same, impassive tone, declaring simply: “No, no, there was no battle on the sideline. Look, for anyone out there at all, it’s a battle. “T’was a flat-out game, huge commitment from both teams. You know in early March? T’was decent stuff.” It was too, the game essentially decided by a moment of utter brilliance from Tipp wizard Eoin Kelly on the stroke of half-time. Noel McGrath’s meandering left-wing run carried little obvious threat, until he hand-passed inside to the Mullinahone man.

You had to suspect not a single mind in the stadium was tuned to his wavelength as Kelly swivelled and struck the most breathtaking 20-metre finish. Certainly not PJ Ryan’s. The goalkeeper, who almost single-handedly kept Tipperary at bay in last year’s All-Ireland final, might as well have been trying to stop a sniper’s bullet. Kelly’s goal separated the teams at half-time, marginally flattering a Tipp team that had failed to get any discernible input from its half-forwards. This is an old ailment in the team that, at times yesterday, drew deep groans from their supporters.

Tommy Walsh, Jackie Tyrrell and JJ Delaney were imperious all day under high deliveries and maybe too many Tipp clearances lacked a message. But the sight of Kilkenny backs soaring for uncontested balls will require some explaining from the Tipp half-forwards. In their primary role of defence, the Tipp backs didn’t concede an inch, Paudie Maher maybe the pick of them in a full-back display that was a virtual nirvana of power and concentration. Kilkenny rarely threatened a goal, though Aidan Fogarty should probably have done better in the 31st minute, slipping in a back door to go one-on-one with Brendan Cummins only for the Tipp goalkeeper to make a miraculous save, the sliotar spooning up into the grateful hands of Paul Curran.

By then, Tipp should have had a goal too, Lar Corbett’s extraordinary pace catapulting him clear towards an unguarded Kilkenny ‘square’ only for his finish to skim Ryan’s crossbar. If Tipp weren’t exactly as fluid as a river in their hurling, there was no mistaking their hunger. As Sheedy surmised later: “It wasn’t a classic, but it was important for us (to win) after losing to Dublin. We were all severely disappointed after that game. These lads have set themselves high standards over the last two years in fairness to them, but they never really found their level at all that day.

“So we’re just delighted to be able to come back out today and try to rectify a few things. I think you saw that the lads really were hurting. I think some of that hurt might have come out in the jersey today.” Sheedy was, of course, ever mindful of the Kilkenny faces missing yesterday. The Ballyhale contingent would undoubtedly have stiffened their resolve and the loss of Michael Rice with a hamstring pull just 10 minutes after the resumption was a palpable blow. By then the game had settled into a tit-for-tat scoring pattern, both defences essentially bossing their opponents. Yet, Shane McGrath began to grow in prominence at midfield and the move of Micheal Webster to the ’40’ had opened a few doors.

With three minutes of normal time remaining, an exquisite Corbett point from under the old stand restored Tipp’s three-point lead. It sparked Kilkenny into one last furious assault on the Killinan-end goal. Conor O’Mahony deflected a Michael Grace shot out for a ’65’ and, as PJ Delaney’s delivery dipped towards his goal, Cummins fielded brilliantly from just under the crossbar. Soon after, JJ’s intemperate pull sparked that late flurry of indignation that so animated the two managers. When peace resumed, PJ Delaney lobbed for Kilkenny from play, but Tipp’s dander was clearly up now. They got the last two scores, the first from Brennan, the second a sublime Noel McGrath effort from under the old stand. Barry Kelly’s whistle drew a volume of whooping from the locals that said everything about the texture of the win.

“I wouldn’t be getting carried away,” counseled Sheedy. “We probably needed it that bit more than they did. But it’s only the beginning of March. Look, any team is going to have a job going through this league undefeated.” Tipp’s next opponents, Galway, are the only ones now left without a blemish on their spring arithmetic. Kilkenny travel to Cork and Cody is sanguine about the welcome imminent. “I thought this was a great old battle,” he smiled enigmatically. “The intent on both side obviously was serious. T’was a real battle. “It’s a great league, it’s so tight, only the top two teams going through. We’re down two points now and we obviously can’t afford to drop any more. Every game is serious. And next Sunday in Cork will probably be something similar to today.” Hardly a sin to hope.

SCORERS — Tipperary: E Kelly 1-7 (0-6f), S McGrath, L Corbett 0-2 each, J O’Brien, N McGrath, J Brennan 0-1 each.

Kilkenny: J Mulhall , R Hogan (0-3f) 0-3 each, J Tennyson 0-2, T Walsh, J Tyrrell, PJ Delaney, M Rice, E Larkin 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY — B Cummins; B Maher, P Maher, P Curran; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, S Maher; T Stapleton, S McGrath; N McGrath, B Dunne, J O’Brien; E Kelly, M Webster, L Corbett. Subs: H Maloney for Dunne (43), J Brennan for Stapleton (52), S Callanan for O’Brien (60), P Kelly for Webster (66).

KILKENNY — PJ Ryan; C Hickey, B Hogan, J Dalton; T Walsh, J Tyrrell, JJ Delaney; J Tennyson, PJ Delaney; J Mulhall, M Rice, W O’Dwyer; R Hogan, E Larkin, A Fogarty. Subs: M Grace for Rice (46), P Hogan for R Hogan (61).

REF — B Kelly (Westmeath).

Tipperary 1-14 Kilkenny 0-13

From the web site

Sunday, 7 March 2010 18:38

Padraic Maher and team captain Eoin Kelly were in fine form for Tipperary as they defeated reigning champions Kilkenny in this afternoon’s refixed Allianz NHL Division 1 clash in sunny Thurles. The hurling heavyweights met at third time of asking, after snowy conditions had forced the previous two scheduled games to be postponed, and they treated the 20,254 strong crowd, who were admitted free of charge, to a memorable encounter. Speaking after the game, Kelly, who scored 1-07 of Tipp’s tally, said: ‘After losing badly to Dublin last week, we needed to get two points on the board. It’s a competitive league and you have to win every game. ‘We worked very hard for this result and that work rate wasn’t there the last day. ‘We’re delighted to get the victory and are looking forward to facing Galway next week, they’re flying it at the moment. There’s tough games every week.’

This was the sides’ first meeting since Kilkenny retained the All-Ireland title last September, and they lined out with eleven players who saw action in that game. Tipp had 13 in their starting line-up. The intensity was at Championship level in a very competitive opening half, full of strong running, hard pulling and well-taken scores. Padraic Maher and Eoin Larkin faced off in a fascinating individual tussle, as free-takers Richie Hogan and Eoin Kelly knocked over the opening points. Kilkenny’s John Tennyson was the standout player in centre-field but Tipp were proving more clinical in attack, as Kelly nudged the home side ahead along with John O’Brien. The 22-year-old John Mulhall looked the part in the Cats’ attack, as he did as a second half substitute in last week’s win over Offaly. Jackie Tyrrell also cleared a lot of ball from centre-back, while Aidan Fogarty went close to scoring the game’s opening goal, only to be foiled by advancing Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins.

Mulhall tied up the game in first half injury-time, but there was still time for Kelly to take a pass from Noel McGrath and fire home a splendid goal – moving Tipp 1-06 to 0-06 ahead. Kilkenny had the wind at their backs in the second period but despite Mulhall notching his third point, following a run along the right wing and a crisp strike between the posts, Brian Cody’s men were struggling to convert their scoring chances. They ran their wides total in double figures before Kelly landed a 57th minute free to keep Tipp ahead, with net minder Cummins hardly putting a foot wrong at the other end. The Premier County outfit maintained their goal lead up to the 70-minute mark. PJ Delaney added to the tension for the home supporters when he closed the gap to 1-12 to 0-13, but injury-time points from Jody Brennan and Noel McGrath closed out a good day at the office for Liam Sheedy’s side.

Positive signs for Sheedy’s Tipp

By Tony Considine for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 08, 2010

WHAT an outstanding advert for the National Hurling League this was. Just goes to show what can be achieved when there’s a bit of effort put into the marketing of a game, as there was for this one in Thurles yesterday, with free admission after the two previous efforts to play the game were called off due to bad weather. It was a fine sunny day, admittedly, with no other big hurling games on, but a crowd of over 20,000 proves that even in early March, the appetite is still there for hurling. It wasn’t a classic by any means, a lot of mistakes made by both sides, but you’d make allowances for that so early in the season; what stood out, however, was the effort and the commitment, and it made for great entertainment.

The only disappointing thing for me was that it finished too soon; when the board went up on the sideline, one minute of additional time, I thought to myself – a pity it isn’t 10, especially after the two managers, Brian Cody and Liam Sheedy, had just shown their teeth on the sideline! It isn’t often you see two managers getting stuck into each other, but that told you how important this game was. It was only handbags stuff, and nice to see them shake hands immediately after the game, but still, it was great while it lasted – that’s what I spoke of on Saturday, the bite that exists, all the time, between these two great hurling counties. It was a manly game, a fine sporting game with a bit of spice thrown in – exactly what the 20,000 came to see. Value for money or what?! But do you know something? I think if people had been asked to pay going out from this game, they would willingly have put their hands in their pockets.

Maybe the GAA should have done that, and maybe that’s something for them to consider in the future – free admission, but let people pay what they think the game was worth, on the way out. ! Somehow I don’t think that’s a runner though. Finally, before I get into the game itself, I want to compliment whoever made the decision to allow the kids onto the pitch after the game, let them puck around for a while, score a point at the town end just like their heroes. It’s gestures like this that keep the kids involved, with not a yellow vest in sight.

To the game: I said on Saturday that this meant more to Tipperary than it did to Kilkenny. Tipperary suffered that embarrassing loss to Dublin last week – and with all due respect to Dublin, embarrassing it most certainly was, not just beaten but badly beaten, nine points – where Kilkenny are still understrength, missing the likes of Noel Hickey, Cha Fitzpatrick, Derek Lyng, Michael Fennelly, TJ Reid, Eddie Brennan, Martin Comerford, Richie Power and of course, Henry Shefflin. This, then, was a game Tipperary had to win. On the day, it was a game they nearly lost, but you had to admire the way they fought for the win. Four points the final difference, and in a low-scoring game that’s more than enough; nevertheless you’d have to worry for Tipperary, they are still relying on just a few guys to bring them across the line.

Lar Corbett, Shane McGrath, Eoin Kelly (superb day up front), Brendan Maher, Paul Curran, Brendan Cummins, but head and shoulders above all, the full-back Pádraic Maher. We can see now why he got that All-Star last year, and I know it’s early in the year, but it will take a fair man to take that All-Star off him this year. Still only a young fella, but already such a leader. The weakness that Tipperary have, a huge weakness, is the half-forward line. They must get themselves some strong ball-winners in this area, guys who can put the hand up and catch the ball. Okay, they were up against a superb half-back line yesterday in Tommy Walsh, Jackie Tyrell and JJ Delaney, but they weren’t at the races, weren’t even able to contest. That’s a major challenge now facing Liam Sheedy, find ball-winning half-forwards. Another challenge, get a midfield partner for Shane McGrath, who did so much work on his own yesterday.

A lot of encouraging signs for them, however, especially the way they battled, ground out the result. It meant a lot to them to win this game, regardless of what team Kilkenny had out, and it showed, during and after the game. To Kilkenny, and – while he hates to lose – I don’t think Brian Cody will be too disappointed. Canice Hickey played well at corner-back, Brian Hogan again played well at full, the half-back line we’ve mentioned, Tyrell superb as the pivot (will he be there for the championship? I wouldn’t be surprised). John Tennyson did well in midfield, Michael Rice stood out at centre-forward, John Mulhall’s workrate was superb, but he needs to steady up a little on the ball. Overall, however, up front, rarely have I seen a Kilkenny team so ineffective, not even a hint of a goal, no conviction. It’s early days, but the signs for Tipp yesterday were positive, positive also for Kilkenny, who still have so many big guns to come back.

Past Meetings

Saturday evening’s game will be 60th League clash between Tipperary and Kilkenny with Tipp winning 28 times, Kilkenny 25 times and 6 draws in the previous 59 encounters.

Allainz NFL Division 1 – Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9

Kerry defeated Derry by 0-15 to 1-9 in Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League on Sunday at Austin Stack Park Tralee.

Kingdom put a spring in their step

Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9

By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 08, 2010

IN order of priority, Kieran Donaghy’s excellence at full-forward, outstanding free-taking from the returning Colm Cooper and a marvellous save from goalkeeper Brendan Kealy just before half-time were the primary factors in Kerry avoiding a three-game losing sequence in Tralee yesterday. Factor in the cumulative effect of Michael Quirke’s play at midfield, David Moran’s second-half improvement and the introduction of Marc O Sé and others and it accounted for a re-assuring outing in the Allianz NFL for manager Jack O’Connor. In contrast, Derry manager Damien Cassidy regretted errors in the first-half which he felt gave Kerry ‘an impetus’ and a poor ten-minute spell midway through the second-half.

Just as Paddy Bradley returned to action with the northerners after a five and a half month absence, Kerry went into the game with their strongest panel to date, with Tom and Darran O’Sullivan having their first outings, along with Cooper. Additionally, Marc O Se (at half-time), Anthony Maher and nominated team captain Bryan Sheehan were brought in as substitutes. But, as events turned out, the real benefit came over the last 20 minutes, when it mattered most. Derry had the backing of the wind from the start – the Kerry boss commented later that it was as hard to play ‘with as against’ – and the visitors didn’t take long to realise that it wasn’t that much of an advantage.

They had two points on the board inside nine minutes (from Bradley and younger brother Eoin), but their scoring return from majority possession over the first quarter was minimal. By half-time they had racked up 11 wides and other than a well-worked goal from Eoin Bradley in the 16th minute, the best they could offer was four points in the second quarter, one of them a superb score from midfielder Fergal Doherty. Kerry struggled until Michael Quirke began to assert himself in the middle and Declan O’Sullivan foraged successfully for possession. After drawing level by the 13th minute, they led briefly with points from Killian Young and Kieran Donaghy. After the goal they added on a further two points. Notably, as Donaghy remarked afterwards all of their scores came from play, whereas Derry were confined to three frees against the wind!

With the wind limiting the flow of ball into the forwards – where Donaghy won his aerial battle with Kevin McCloy – Kerry weren’t over-impressive in defence. Eoin Bradley’s strong play forced a re-arrangement which brought Pádraig Reidy to full-back and an off-form Tommy Griffin to right-half, but it didn’t achieve much. Instead, Derry undid a lot of good work outfield through their bad finishing (with Doherty on top at stages and Mark Lynch forceful at centre-back).

Understandably, Kerry were relieved to be only a goal behind at the break (1-6 to 0-6), but it could have been different had not Kealy made a great save from a Doherty pile-driver in the last minute, when he managed to push against the underside of the crossbar. A major a boost for the All-Ireland champions, it denied Derry the six-point lead which could have made a significant difference to the outcome. While Kerry resumed with two quick points, these were negated by two Bradley frees and it took Kerry a bit of time to get their game properly organised. Moran, placed by Donaghy, might have had a goal but slipped and Donaghy went close with a half-shot which replacement ‘keeper Martin Dunne did well to deflect outside the post.

But, given the way the defence was tightening up, the growing influence of Quirke and later Moran and outstanding free-taking from Cooper from a variety of distances, Kerry were in the mood for a takeover. Level by the 54th minute (through Moran), Declan O’Sullivan had them back in front in another minute. And after that, Derry didn’t look capable of saving the game. “It’s a boost – and it lifts morale,’’ said a delighted Kerry manager.

Scorers for Kerry: C. Cooper 0-5 frees; K. Donaghy and D. Moran 0-3 each; D. O’Callaghan, K. Young, Declan O’Sullivan and B. Sheehan (free) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Derry: P. Bradley 0-5 frees; E. Bradley 1-1; B. Mullan, F. Doherty and G. O’Kane 0-1 each.

Subs for Kerry: M. O Se for Griffin (second half); A. Maher for Scanlon (47th); B. Sheehan for Darran O’Sullivan (55th); K. O’Leary for O’Callaghan (62nd).

Subs for Derry: M. Dunne for Gillis (injured, 27th minute); S.L. McCormack for Kielt (57th); J. Kielt for McGuigan (62nd); J. Diver for McLoughlin (67th).

Referee: G. O Conamha (Galway)

Allianz NFL Division 1 – Cork 1-19 Galway 1-17

In-form Rebels forced to dig deep to edge out Galway

Cork 1-19 Galway 1-17

By Bob Lester for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 08, 2010

THOSE looking for entertainment at sandy Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday got plenty of it. With some fine open play, lots of energy and 38 scores, it was manna for spectators. However, numerous mistakes and ball errors by both sides would not have impressed either Cork coach Conor Counihan or Galway counterpart Joe Kernan. Cork, under the cosh in the second-half despite holding a nine-point advantage at one stage, held out against gritty Galway for their third league victory in-a-row. But Counihan couldn’t have been too impressed. “In the second-half we gave them far too much space, didn’t close them down. But we had a lot of young players out there and we only played well in patches. There’s lots of bottle in this Galway side, Joe (Kernan) has given them steel and a new spirit. We got the points, but Galway will take a lot more out of the game than we will.”

Certainly Cork nearly paid for their complacency, though it was not evident in the opening half. It was a point apiece after the opening five minutes, the hard-working Paudie Kissane for Cork and the nifty Nicky Joyce replying for Galway. However, the Tribesmen were looking sharper and more composed early on and it was no surprise when Sean Armstrong put them ahead with a 45. But the centre-forward was then forced out of the contest with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Cillian De Paor and the Galway attack missed the big centre-forward’s presence.

With Ken O’Halloran making a good debut between the posts and Ray Carey and new boy Eoin Cotter solid in the full back line, Cork again took command as a couple of points from Paddy Kelly, who had an excellent outing, and one apiece from Paul O’Flynn and Donncha O’Connor put them 0-5 to 0-2 clear after 17 minutes. Despite Barry Cullinane and Paul Conroy winning some good ball around midfield, Cork still looked comfortable. The supply of quick ball to the dangerous Michael Meehan and Joyce wasn’t great and Galway struggled for scores. Two Meehan points left the minimum between the sides after 21 minutes, but Cork cut loose again and finished the half in super fashion with some sublime scores.

Paul Kerrigan could have had a goal, settled for a point. But a goal did come in the 29th minute and it was a beauty. It started with Alan O’Connor, who found Colm O’Neill in space. He put the flying Pearse O’Neill motoring and the big midfielder showed composure in smashing the ball high to the net. Said Galway boss Kernan: “We dominated the early exchanges, but that goal cost us. It was annoying the way the red sea just split us wide open and let O’Neill in though, in fairness, he took it beautifully. We were very naive in the opening half and gave too much ball away.” Cork drove on from O’Neill’s goal, all the forwards bar Daniel Goulding finding the target. Indeed Cork should have had a second goal in injury time only for excellent Galway full-back Finian Hanley taking Kerrigan’s shot off the line.

Cork led 1-10 to 0-6 at the break and looked comfortable. And the lead got even better after the restart. It took Paul O’Flynn just eight seconds to stretch the advantage with a super point and when Pearse O’Neill drove on for another the game looked done and dusted. With a nine-point cushion all Cork needed was to stay composed and keep possession. Instead they were sloppy, gave away far too many frees and how Joyce and Meehan, who was torturing Michael Shields, punished the transgressions as Cork’s lead was whittled down to just four points, 1-13 to 0-12, by the 51st minute. Fine points from Colm and Pearse O’Neill again gave the hosts a seven-point cushion after 58 minutes but Galway struck again, making it an uncomfortable ride to the finish. Cork were caught with a sucker punch on the hour when another Galway raid opened up a now fragile defence and, as Ken O’Halloran watched Meehan’s goal attempt come back off the upright, he could do nothing to prevent sub Gary Sice gleefully putting the rebound into the net. Just four behind now, Galway were sniffing an unlikely win as mistakes began to unlock a now shaky Cork defence. Point for point now, but when sub John Hayes saw red following a second booking Cork began to look real edgy. Wing back David Reilly made it even nervier for Cork with a fine point and Galway even had a chance to win it at the death only for substitute Danny Cummins to blast his shot over the bar with a goal on.

Scorers for Cork: P. O’Neill 1-2, D. O’Connor and C. O’Neill (0-3 frees) 0-4 each, P. Kelly 0-3 (frees), P. O’Flynn and D. Goulding 0-2 each, P. Kissane and P. Kerrigan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway : N. Joyce 0-7 (0-5 frees), M. Meehan 0-6 (0-3 frees), G. Sice 1-0, S. Armstrong (45), C. De Paor, D. Reilly, D. Cummins 0-1 each.

Subs for Cork: J. Hayes for O’Flynn (47); C. O’Driscoll for O’Leary (58); F. Goold for A. O’Connor (66) J. Masters for C. O’Neill (70).

Subs for Galway: C. De Paor for Armstrong (inj 10m); G. Sice for Dunleacy (41); M. Clancy for Healy (55); D. Cummin for Joyce (65).

Referee: M. Condon (Waterford).

Cork hang on for narrow win

From the web site

Mar 06, 2010

Cork maintained their 100 percent record in Allianz GAA Football National League Division One with a 1-19 to 1-17 defeat of Joe Kernan’s Galway at Páirc Úi Rinn on Saturday night. The Rebels led by 1-10 to 0-6 at the break and appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win when they extended their advantage to nine points in the 38th minute. However, the Tribesmen, with the aid of a lucky Gary Sice goal, staged a comeback in the final ten minutes and might even have salvaged a draw had Danny Cummins not wasted a glorious goal chance deep into injury time.

Cork started the game with great intent as wing-back Paudie Kissane moved forward from defence to slot over the first point of the game after four minutes. Nicky Joyce and Sean Armstrong hit back to give the Tribesmen the lead, but manager Kernan’s plans were thrown into disarray just ten minutes into the game when Armstrong was forced off the field with a hamstrung injury. Cork’s forwards then clicked into gear after a stuttering start, as their midfield began to take over and supply a slick attack with quality ball. Paul O’Flynn’s free was the first of four successive points for the home side, while Donncha O’Connor struck points off both feet to leave the Rebels 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after 17 minutes. Michael Meehan stopped the rot for Galway with a brace of points, before the Caltra man had a fisted effort on goal saved by Cork’s debutant goalkeeper, Ken O’Halloran. Cork broke straight up the field and Paul Kerrigan pitched in with his first score of the night after a scorching run.

Cork’s goal after 29 minutes bore all the hallmarks of the football Conor Counihan has encouraged his team to play during his two fruitful years in charge. Alan O’Connor’s long ball into the full-forward line was collected by corner forward Colm O’Neill, who offloaded first time to the onrushing Pearse O’Neill. The giant Aghada man barely broke stride as he launched a rocket into the top corner of the Galway net. Nicky Joyce, who started the game despite picking up a shoulder injury in training on Tuesday, kicked two points from placed balls just before the break, but Donncha O’Connor had the last say as his third point of the night and a further Colm O’Neill effort gave the Rebels a 1-10 to 0-6 half-time lead.

Cork started the second half with a bang. The buccaneering Pearse O’Neill again found space in attack and fed Paul O’Flynn through on goal, but the late addition to the Rebels’ attack blazed over when the goal was at his mercy. Pearse O’Neill added another point a minute to give Cork a nine-point lead. Credit to Galway, however, as they kicked four points without reply to fight their way back into the game. Joyce hit three of those scores, with the first of that purple patch a real beauty after he had beaten his marker, Eoin Cotter, to the ball. Daniel Goulding halted Galway’s revival when he lashed over the bar after the ball had broken somewhat fortuitously for him in the full-forward line. The Éire Óg man had a similar opportunity nine minutes later, but again he opted to kick over the bar after he had raced clear of the Galway defence. In between Goulding’s efforts, Joyce kicked his seventh of the night, while Michael Meehan kicked a brilliant score after substitute Sice had picked him out with a precise pass.

Again, Cork seemed to find an extra gear with ease and hit three points in a row – including another trademark Pearse O’Neill effort – before Galway hit back with a lucky goal in the 60th minute. Michael Meehan’s fisted effort struck a post and fell into the path of the unmarked Sice, who prodded the ball into the empty net to leave his side trailing by four points. Cillian de Paor then struck his first of the night to further reduce the gap. Donncha O’Connor, the experienced Ballydesmond man, hit a vital point for Cork and Paddy Kelly added another to extend their lead to five. Cork’s John Hayes, a second half substitute, was sent off following a second yellow card for a late tackle. However, Galway set up a grandstand finish when Michael Meehan and David Reilly kicked injury time points. Trailing by two points in the third minute of injury time, Cummins had a great chance to level the game, but he blazed over the bar from a tight angle after Sice had played him in with a clever pass.

Match Preview

Cork will look to maintain their winning ways in Division One when they entertain Joe Kernan’s Galway under the lights at Páirc Úi Rinn on Saturday night. The Rebels have made an impressive start to the league, beating Monaghan and Kerry to move to the top of the table alongside Mayo and Dublin. However, Conor Counihan, as is his wont, will not be getting carried away with the early season success just yet. Cork were were lucky to escape from Scotstown, Monaghan with two points after a decidedly rusty performance, and although their forward play against Kerry was slick for this time of the year, it should be noted that the Kingdom were missing most of the team that played in last year’s All-Ireland final.

Eoin Cadogan is suspended following his sending off against Kerry with his place going to his clubmate, Eoin Cotter, who will make his National League debut at corner back. The defensive trio of Anthony Lynch, Graham Canty and John Miskella remain sidelined through injury. Bishopstown’s Ken O’Halloran is another league newcomer between the posts with Alan Quirke still out injured, despite reports to the contrary. In attack, Nicholas Murphy continues at number 14, where he will have Colm O’Neill and the in-form Daniel Goulding for company in the full-forward line. Galway boss Kernan will hope to continue his side’s recovery from the jolt they received on the opening day against Mayo. The Tribesmen were considerably better in beating Monaghan the following week, but Cork will provide another stern test of exactly where the Tribesmen stand in the current pecking order.

Kernan has made five changes from the side that beat Monaghan. Nicky Joyce has overcome a shoulder injury he picked up in training on Tuesday night to start in the full-forward line, but Tomás Fahy is ruled out with an ankle injury and is replaced by David Reilly in defence. Fiachra Breathnach is also ruled out with a calf injury while Cormac Bane is another to miss out, with Damien Dunleavy and Conor Healy coming into the half-forward line. Eoin O Conghaile, from the Leitir Mór club, starts between the posts ahead of Adrian Faherty. Barry Cullinane comes back into the team to partner Paul Conroy at midfield in the final change from the side that beat Monaghan, with Joe Bergin moving into full-forward. Galway are without their Corofin contingent who have been given another week off to recover after the defeat to St Gall’s in the All-Ireland Cub semi-final last week, while Pádraic Joyce won’t appear in the league as he continues his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury.

Team News

Cork: K O’Halloran; R Carey, M Shields; E Cotter, P Kissane, G Spillane, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, P O’Neill; P Kerrigan, D O’Connor, P Kelly; D Goulding, N Murphy, C O’Neill.

Galway: E O Conghaile;; D O’Neill, F Hanley; G Bradhshaw, D Reilly, D Blake, G O’Donnell; B Cullinane, P Conroy; C Healy, S Armstrong, D Dunleavy; M Meehan, J Bergin, N Joyce.

Dr. Harty Cup Hurling Final Replay – Thurles CBS v Ard Scoil Ris

Thurles CBS and Ard Scoil Ris played out a cracking draw after extra time in the Dr. Harty Cup Hurling Final Replay on Saturday at MacDonagh Park Nenagh. Final score – Thurles CBS 4-15 Ard Scoil Ris 2-21.

Thurles CBS 4-15 Ard Scoil Rils 2-21

Round-up by Ed Donnelly

Thurles CBS captain Denis Maher – lining out at full-forward due to injury scored a goal in the first minute. However, Ard Scoil Ris were the sharper team for the first 20 minutes and helped by a long range goal from Cathal McInerney, they raced in to a 1-8 to 1-2 lead. Thurles CBS responded with four unanswered points coming up to half-time and by the interval, Ard Scoil Ris led by 1-9 to 1-6.

Thurles CBS kicked off the second half with a goal by substitute Kevin Slattery after 33 minutes to draw level before taking the lead in the 53rd minute when a long range free by Pat Ralph ended up in the net. Ard Scoil Ris were now down to 14 men after Cathal McInerney had been sent off but they dug deep and found the scores to equalise and had a chance to win it late in injury time which went narrowly wide. Final score after normal time was Thurles CBS 3-10 Ard Scoil Ris 1-16.

Extra time was equally dramatic. Ard Scoil Ris were now back up to 15 men and took the lead thanks to a brilliant individual goal by centre-forward Declan Hannon. Thurles CBS earned a penalty four minutes later which Denis Maher dispatched to the net and by half-time in extra time, Ard Scoil Ris led by two points, 2-20 to 4-12. Thurles CBS scored the first three points of the second half of extra time and looked set for victory but just on the stroke of full-time, Declan Hannon scored a long range point for Ard Scoil Ris to ensure that no one went home as losers after an enthralling match where the attendance of 3,090 stood as one at the final whistle to applaud the efforts of two outstanding hurling teams.

Dr Harty Cup Final Replay

Thurles CBS 4-15 Ard Scoil Ris 2-21 (AET)

By Cathal Ryan

In a pulsating encounter at MacDonagh Park Nenagh on Saturday afternoon Thurles CBS and Ard Scoil Ris yet again could not be separated after extra time of a fantastic Dr Harty Cup Final replay. After last Sunday’s bruising encounter both sides exceeded the very high levels that were set in the first encounter bringing even more intensity with no little skill to make this game one which will live long in the memory in front of a crowd in excess of 3000. Declan Hannon scored yet another late and dramatic equaliser for the Limerick school with a 60 yard strike off his right hand side with pressure being applied from defenders as for the third time in this Harty Cup Final saga Ard Scoil Ris levelled proceedings deep into stoppage time to keep the tie alive.

With eight minutes to go in normal time Thurles seemed to have sealed the their second Harty Cup success in as many years when Pat Ralph floated a long range free deep into the Ard Scoil Ris square and as Shane Dowling dropped back onto the line he made a despairing reach to pluck the sliotar from under the crossbar only for the ball to agonisingly clip the tips of his fingers and drop to the net. This left the Tipperary men three points clear but this Ard Scoil Ris side once more showed their never say die attitude and one minute into stoppage time last week’s saviour John Fitzgibbon latched onto a ball played into the inside forward line. The Adare starlet shrugged off the attention of would be tacklers to strike sweetly off his left hand side under the MacDonagh Park stand to send this rip roaring final to extra time.

Both sides looked weary as proceedings finally came to an end with there being many casualties to cramp in extra time. Some of the Thurles players looked jaded and their management team will have to work hard to lift a side that was within touching distance of victory. The reintroduction of Aidan McCormack to their side for round three of this epic will go a long way in helping as the classy forward has missed the first two encounters through a harsh suspension picked up in the semi final.

The Ard Scoil Ris management will be delighted with the spirit and persistence of their side who have found scores when needed the most in injury time at the end of both games to keep themselves alive in the contest. However as Thurles regain a player from suspension the Shannon-siders will lose one of their co- captains Cathal McInerney who saw red for an off the ball incident five minutes into the second half that will mean he will miss the third chapter of this contest. There were many positional changes before throw in on both sides but when the action did get underway it was the men in black with yellow trimming who pounced first through a point from forward Mark Ryan. The Thurles response was as fast as it was emphatic. In the following play a long ball broke in behind the Limerick sides full back line and Denis Maher who had started at full forward glided on to the loose ball and cracked a left handed drive to the net.

This didn’t upset the first time finalist’s rhythm and they replied with scores from a John Fitzgibbon free and Shane Dowling who had began this game at centre forward in a change with Declan Hannon. Again the Mid Tipperary men responded in similar fashion through a Mike O Brien free and a score from Tommy Doyle who was only introduced as a substitute in the first clash but started this one and had a fantastic game. From this the tenth minute the Limerick boys owned the next quarter of an hour scoring 1 – 5 without reply. The goal came from a speculative ball dropped in from Cathal McInerney and Aidan Stakelum in the Thurles goal didn’t deal with the heavy pressure applied from Mark Ryan in the 13th minute.

With five minutes remaining in the half the men in blue and gold did bring themselves back into the encounter with four scores, two frees from Mike O Brien and points from play from Pat Ralph and Tommy Doyle. At half time the score stood at 1-9 to 1-6 in favour of Ard Scoil Ris. With only two minutes on the clock in the second period Thurles scored a superb team goal that was finished with a flick to the net from substitute Kevin Slattery. Niall Kennedy scored a lovely point for Ard Scoil Ris before McInerney was dismissed after an altercation with Mike O Brien.

The game ebbed and flowed with some great scores and immense intensity from both sides and there was never more than a point between the sides from this point until the 52nd minute when Ralph’s free found the net to put Thurles ahead by three heading into the final stages. But a free from Hannon and one from Fitzgibbon dragged the margin back to one before Fitzgibbon took centre stage to bring the side’s level and force extra time on a score of 3-10 to 1-16. As the audience in attendance caught breath both sides retreated to the dressing rooms for a much deserved break. Upon return to the field it was Ard Scoil Ris who drew the first decisive blow. Declan Hannon who was by now restored to the forward line shimmed around the last defender and planted the ball in the onion sack.

However when only two minutes later Thurles received a penalty that was dispatched by Denis Maher you began to sense that another draw was on the cards. At the interval of extra time the challengers to the thrown led by two points 2-20 to 4-12. Mike O Brien scored two super points on the restart and added another from a free six minutes into the second period of extra time and this was how it remained until Hannon equalised and set up a third meeting between two sides who rightfully were applauded and cheered for from every corner of the ground on the final whistle for an incredible afternoon of hurling.


Thurles CBS: Aidan Stakelum; Pa Dunne, Cathal Carroll, James Bourke; Philip Looby, John Meagher, Cathal Barrett; Stephen Maher, Pat Ralph (1-2,1-0F); John Bergin, Brian Campion, Tommy Doyle (0-3); Conor Hammersly, Denis Maher (2-0,1-0 Pen)(capt), Mike O Brien (0-10,7F). Subs: Kevin Slattery (1-0) for B. Campion (25), Cian Treacy for C. Hammersly (49), Niall O Brien for J. Bergin (57), C. Hammersly for C. Treacy (66), J. Bergin for N. O Brien (70), Ailbe Power for S. Maher (75).

Ard Scoil Ris: PJ Hall; Mark Carmody, Eoghan McCarthy, Alan Dempsey; Cathal McInerney(co-capt), Declan Hannon (1-5,4F), Martin Moroney; Sean O Brien (co-capt), Niall Kennedy(0-2); Adrian Breen, Shane Dowling(0-2), Brendan O Connor; Mark Ryan(1-1), Kevin Downes (0-1), John Fitzgibbon (0-8, 6F). Subs: Jamie Shanahan (0-2) for M. Ryan (38), Ciaran Keogh for A. Breen (54), Kevin Keane for B. O Connor (55), A. Breen for C. Keogh (63), M. Ryan for K. Keane (75).

Referee: David Copps (Cork)

Cadbury Munster U21 Football Championship – Limerick 1-10 Clare 0-10

Limerick defeated Clare by 1-10 to 0-10  in the first round of the Cadbury Munster Under 21 Football Championship on Wednesday at Cooraclare.

Joyce-Power caps Treaty fightback

Limerick 1-10 Clare 0-10

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FOR the majority of last night’s Cadbury’s Munster U21FC quarter-final in Cooraclare, Limerick full-forward Cormac Joyce-Power’s role entailed aiding his colleagues out the field. But, when stationed close to goal late on, his impact was decisive in settling this game. As his side trailed 0-8 to 0-9 in the final stages, the Limerick senior player made his telling contribution. In the 52nd minute he touched down a pass from Bobby O’Brien into the path of Seamus O’Carroll, collected the return and neatly tucked a shot into the bottom corner of the net. Suddenly Limerick were in the ascendancy for the first time since the fourth minute and Clare, who had hitherto controlled proceedings, were in the uncomfortable position of being on the backfoot.

O’Carroll tacked on another point for Limerick, and although Clare full-forward Gary Leahy maintained the high standards of accuracy that had characterised his freetaking all night, with a point in the 58th minute, it was Joyce-Power who had the final say. He seized possession in open space around the middle in the 52nd minute before striding forward to hit a marvellous long-range effort between the posts to seal Limerick’s advance to a last four meeting with Tipperary next Thursday night in Semple Stadium. That strong late finish capped a wonderful recovery from Limerick as for much of the night they looked listless against a forceful and energetic Clare side. A frozen Gaelic Grounds pitch meant Limerick had to cough up home advantage as the tie was switched to the West Clare venue early yesterday and Clare looked adapted better to familiar surroundings in the first-half.

Limerick struck two early blows with points from Eoghan O’Connor and Tony McMahon inside the first four minutes, but thereafter in the opening half Clare’s rearguard was a watertight unit. Clare had levelled the match by the 7th minute thanks to a pair of fine frees by Gary Leahy and they were also thankful to goalkeeper Peter O’Dwyer who made a smart block to deny O’Carroll a 9th minute goal. The lively nature of the opening stages bore portents for an engaging encounter, yet the play became bogged down around the middle for the remainder of the first-half. Shooting was wayward on both sides with Limerick having reason to bemoan the fact that the foothold O’Brien and Joyce-Power gave them around the middle never materialised into a stream of scores.

Instead Clare grew into the game with Sean Collins, who has been starring at variety of levels in hurling of late, starting to acquit himself brilliantly with the big ball and his Cratloe clubmate Liam Markham also shining. Up front Clare had a pair of forwards with an eye for a score in Leahy and Padraig McMahon, and they each notched a brace apiece between the 22nd and 31st minutes to leave Clare 0-6 to 0-2 ahead at the break.

Clare got an early fillip in the second-half when Shane Brennan curled a beautiful shot between the posts, but Limerick mounted a strong response as they eradicated the sloppy handling of their first-half play. O’Connor emerged as a prolific scoretaker up front and the promptings of centre-back Eoin Joy also underpinned their revival. O’Connor (2) and O’Carroll whittled down Clare’s advantage to 0-7 to 0-5 by the 39th minute. Yet Clare seemed to have weather that storm when Brennan and substitute Michéal Malone chipped in with a point apiece to provide them with a four point cushion, 0-9 to 0-5, entering the final quarter. Their vocal home support sensed Clare were on the cusp of a satisfying success, which was all the more admirable considering the absence of Kilmurry-Ibrickane stars Darren Hickey and Mark McCarthy.

At that juncture it was extremely difficult to see Limerick turning things around but they managed to do that in remarkable fashion. O’Connor was on target from open play and placed ball, and when Joy charged through in the 51st minute to blast over, they were only a point adrift. Limerick never let that steam of momentum drop and Joyce-Power bossed the match in a significant fashion late on to propel the Treaty side forward.

Scorers for Limerick: E O’Connor 0-5 (0-3f), C Joyce-Power 1-1, S O’Carroll 0-2, T McMahon, E Joy 0-1 each.

Clare: G Leahy 0-5 (0-3f), S Brennan, P McMahon (0-1f) 0-2 each, M Malone 0-1.

LIMERICK: B Scanlon; D Quaid, M McCormack, E Fitzgibbon; J Riordan, E Joy, B Treacy; B O’Brien, T McMahon; D Ward, J Kelly, P Sheehan; E O’Connor, C Joyce-Power, S O’Carroll.

Subs: E McEniry for Sheehan (39), J Martin for Ward (62).

CLARE: P O’Dwyer; M Moloney, D Ryan, S Cormican; M O’Loughlin, L Markham, S Tierney; C Ryan, M Hallinan; S Collins, S Brennan, P McMahon; E Lyons, G Leahy, C Cormican.

Subs: S Crotty for Lyons (43), M Malone for C Cormican (43), I White for Hallinan (50), C Dickson for Tierney (58).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry)

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