Allianz NFL Division 1 – Mayo 0-16 Cork 0-11

Mayo defeated Cork by 0-16 to 0-11 in the last round of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 1 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday.

Mayo stroll through to league decider

From the web site

Mayo clinched their place in the Division 1 final following a 0-16 to 0-11 defeat of Cork at Páirc Úi Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon. Indeed, the game proved to be a dress rehearsal for the league decider as the Westerners only required a point to pip Dublin to the second place in the league final against the Rebels, who had guaranteed their place with a game to spare. Cork’s defensive options were limited prior to throw-in when Anthony Lynch and Michael Shields cried off with injuries, while Mayo’s top scorer in the league, Enda Varley, failed a fitness test on Saturday. Mayo made a lively start, with Alan Dillon slotting over three early points to help the Westerners to a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. Fintan Goold got both of Cork’s points in the opening ten minutes.

Cork boss Conor Counihan had vowed that his side would not allow their standards to slip despite having nothing to play for and he was true to his word. The Rebels levelled the game at 0-5 apiece, with Donncha O’Connor getting his name on the scoresheet after a four-week layoff through suspension. John Hayes added two more points and the Rebels led by two points in the bright sunshine on Leeside. However, Mayo finished the half with a bit more urgency and Chris Barrett, their corner back, showed the way with a fine point after a buccaneering run. Seamus O’Shea clipped over the equaliser from midfield just before the break.

Mayo kept up that momentum at the start of the second half, kicking three points without reply to take control of the game for the first time. Mark Ronaldson, Andy Moran and Conor Mortimer were all on target as Mayo upped the tempo having, no doubt, been made aware of Dublin’s dominance in Omagh at half-time. Cork had lost their team captain and talisman Graham Canty to an injury just before the break and the Rebels began to crumble at the back in the second half. Moran and Dillon added further scores before Aidan O’Shea gave the visitors a six points advantage as the competitive element of the game increasingly diminished going into the final quarter. Indeed, the game, played before a little more than 1,600 patrons in glorious sunshine, lost its competitive edge in the final minutes as Mayo eased to a comfortable win. Mayo are unlikely to have it so easy in two weeks’ time

Match Preview

Páirc Úi Chaoimh: Cork v Mayo, 2.30pm

Cork have little to play for on Sunday – they guaranteed their place in the final with a game to spare – so you would forgive the Rebels if they rolled over and allowed Mayo to sneak away from Leeside with the win or the draw they need to reach the Division 1 decider. However, such an attitude was never going to be allowed to develop amongst a group of Cork players which has become accustomed to winning over the last two years.

Their manager, Conor Counihan, has stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum gathered over the course of a successful league campaign and he has stressed that he will not accept a lowering of standards on Sunday. Counihan has made nine changes from the side that beat Derry in Round 6, but such is the strength in depth of the Cork squad, many would argue that their side is even more intimidating due to the return of some of their most experienced players after lengthy injury absences.

Team captain Graham Canty and veteran defender Anthony Lynch will make their first appearances since last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry, while first choice goalkeeper Alan Quirke is back between the posts. Donncha O’Connor and Colm O’Neill return from suspension and injury respectively to bolster the attack. Daniel Goulding, Paul Kerrigan and Pearse O’Neill are rested after terrorising defences for much of the year.

Mayo’s failures in recent years have been well documented and John O’Mahony will be very anxious for his side to progress to the league final. A win or a draw will suffice, although a defeat would not be the endgame if Dublin were to lose against Tyrone. The Westerners have enjoyed a superb campaign, tripping up just the once, against Dublin in Castlebar, on a day when their attack misfired badly.

O’Mahony has delayed naming his side until Sunday because Enday Varley, their top scorer in the league to date, and Ronan McGarrity are struggling with injuries and will need late fitness tests. Keith Higgins is also ruled out with a knee ligament problem. On the plus side, Alan Dillon should be available after missing the win over Monaghan last time out. Aidan Kilcoyne, Barry Moran and Tom Cunniffe are all back in the frame but are not expected to start due to a lack of match practise.

Traditionally, Mayo have fared well against Cork in league competition, although the same cannot be said for the Championship. The last time the sides met in the Allianz GAA National League, on Leeside in 2007, the Connacht men emerged with a one-point win. How they would love a repeat of that scoreline on Sunday!

Despite the slew of changes Cork have made, they have a massive squad of players all battling for starting places for next summer’s Championship, which will guarantee that they will be competitive even though there is nothing riding on the result. For Mayo, a win over the Rebels, and more importantly a place in the league final, could be the sort of boost football in the county needs after years of heartache.

Team News

CORK (SF v Mayo): A Quirke; E Cotter, M Shields, A Lynch; K O’Connor, G Spillane, G Canty; A Walsh, D Kavanagh; F Goold, D O’Connor, K McMahon; C O’Neill, C Sheehan, J Hayes.

Allianz NFL Division 4 – Waterford 0-20 Clare 2-5

Waterford defeated Clare by 0-20 to 2-5 in Round 9 of the Allianz National Football League Division 4 on Sunday at Fraher Field Dungarvan.

Waterford rounded off a dream league campaign with a 0-20 to 2-5 defeat of fellow promotion chasers Clare in Dungarvan on Sunday. There was bitter disappointment for the Banner, who appeared to be on the cusp of promotion to the third tier until they lost to Limerick last week. However, Michael McDermott’s side once again failed to perform on the big day. Waterford will now play Limerick in the Division 4 final. Gary Hurney, the former dual star, was the star of the show for the Déise, scoring seven points (0-2f), while Liam O’Lonain was also in impressive form for the home side. Waterford led 0-11 to 1-3 at the break, with Gary Brennan netting for the Banner after 17 minutes. John Owens’ men completely dominated the second half before Clare saved face with a late, disputed penalty.

From the web site

Allianz NFL Division 4 – Limerick 1-22 Leitrim 0-9

Limerick defeated Leitrim by 1-22 to 0-9 in Round 9 of the Allianz National Football League Division 4 on Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s Limerick were promoted to Division 3 of the Allianz League after a 1-22 to 0-9 win over Leitrim at the Gaelic Grounds. Limerick completely dominated the game and led by 0-11 to 0-4 at half-time thanks to three points from Ian Ryan. They might have been further ahead had midfielder Jim O’Donovan not wasted two glorious goal chances. But Limerick did not have to wait for long after the break for the opening goal, as O’Donovan was foot blocked in the square and Seanie Buckley stood up to drive the penalty home. Leitrim, who were completely dependent on Declan Gilhooley and Michael Foley, managed just four points in the second half.

From the web site

Allianz NFL Division 2 – Tipperary 2-13 Westmeath 1-10

Grogan stretches Westmeath’s losing streak

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Tipperary 2-13 Westmeath 1-10

Monday April 12 2010

WESTMEATH slumped to a 14th successive league defeat yesterday as Tipperary won the battle of Division 2’s relegated teams at Semple Stadium. There was only pride to play for in Thurles but Westmeath’s long search for a league win now stretches back to the 2008 Division 2 final victory against Dublin. The Lake men lost all seven of their Division 1 games last season and yesterday’s six-point defeat ensured that Brendan Hackett’s team ended another season pointless. Tipp, despite making the drop back to Division 3, can look back on their campaign with some pride, having defeated Westmeath and Meath and claimed a draw against Down in Newry.

However, narrow defeats against Laois and Donegal cost the Premier County dear as boss John Evans now turns his thoughts towards next Saturday’s Cadbury All-Ireland U21 semi-final showdown with Donegal. A former U-21 star, Barry Grogan, was the hero for the seniors yesterday as his 1-7 haul, including 1-4 from play, proved decisive in front of fewer than 100 spectators. Local club hurling games and the already sealed fate of both sides before throw-in was reflected in the dismal attendance but the teams produced some decent fare. Westmeath scored a goal after six minutes when Philip Gilsenan, a late call-up in place of Fergal Wilson, collected an astute Martin Flanagan pass before blasting a fine shot past Paul Fitzgerald from 14 yards.

Seven minutes before half-time, George Hannigan’s well-taken goal helped Tipp to lead by 1-6 to 1-4 at the break and when Grogan finished soccer-style to the net six minutes after the restart, the hosts looked home and hosed. But Westmeath rallied and a run of five unanswered points, including two from the newly introduced Wilson, cut the gap back to the bare minimum. Tipp, though, hit back with five of the game’s remaining six points to claim another noteworthy victory, with just five weeks to go before Kerry visit Thurles for the Munster SFC quarter-final.

Scorers — Tipperary: B Grogan 1-7 (0-3f), P Austin 0-3, G Hannigan 1-0, B Fox 0-2, E Kearney 0-1. Westmeath: P Gilsenan 1-1, F Wilson 0-3 (0-1f), G Flanagan 0-2 (0-2 ’45s), D McDermott, S O’Donoghue, D Duffy, P Greville (0-1f) 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY — P Fitzgerald; A Morrissey, P Codd, N Curran; E Kearney, R Costigan, C Aylward; G Hannigan, L O’Gorman; B Fox, R O’Dwyer, B Mulvihill; P Austin, K Mulryan, B Grogan. Subs: J Cagney for Mulvihill (h/t), B Coen for O’Dwyer (h/t), B Jones for Morrissey (h/t), H Coghlan for O’Gorman (50), C Morrissey for Aylward (70).

WESTMEATH — S Gallagher; C Jordan, D O’Donoghue, J Gaffey; D McDermott, S O’Donoghue, M Ennis; D Duffy, G Flanagan; J Smyth, P Greville, A Fennell; P Gilsenan, M Flanagan, A Finnan. Subs: G Glennon for Duffy (h/t), F Wilson for Finnan (48), G Hoey for Fennell (48), D Healy for Hoey (59).

Ref — S Doyle (Wexford)
Tipperary going down with bang not whimper

From the Irish Times newspaper

Tipperary 2-13 Westmeath 1-10: MAN-OF-THE-match Barry Grogan scored 1-7 for Tipperary (1-4 from play) as the Premier County boys marked their relegation to Division Three with a clear-cut win over their fellow relegation victims at Semple Stadium yesterday. A sixth-minute goal by late replacement, Philip Gilsenan, gave Westmeath an early edge. However, Tipperary soon asserted themselves and George Hannigan’s 28th-minute goal set them up for a 1-6 to 1-4 lead at the interval.

Grogan’s goal five minutes after resuming looked to have sealed Tipperary’s win but Westmeath stormed back with five unanswered points to cut the lead to 1-9 to 2-7 with 19 minutes to play. Tipperary looked in trouble but recovered with three points in four minutes from Philip Austin, Eoin Kearney and Brian Fox, and then coasted to the finish. Grogan’s quality finishing was crucial to the Tipperary win but Brian Fox, George Hannigan, Christopher Aylward, Philip Austin and Kevin Mulryan were other key figures.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; A Morrissey, P Codd, N Curran; E Kearney (0-1), R Costigan, C Aylward; G Hannigan (1-0), L O’Gorman; B Fox (0-2), R O’Dwyer, B Mulvihill; P Austin (0-3), K Mulryan, B Grogan (1-7). Subs: J Cagney for Mulvihill; B Jones for Morrissey; B Coen for O’Dwyer; H Coghlan for O Gorman; C Morrissey for Aylward.

WESTMEATH: S Gallagher; C Jordan, D O’Donoghue, J Gaffey; D McDermott (0-1), S O’Donoghue (0-1), M Ennis; D Duffy (0-1), G Flanagan (0-2); J Smyth, P Greville (0-2), A Fennell; P Gilsenan (1-1), M Flanagan, A Finnan. Subs: G Glennon for Duffy; F Wilson (0-2) for Finnan; G Hoey for Fennell; D Healy for Hoey.

Referee: S Doyle (Wexford)

Tipperary defeated Westmeath by 2-13 to 1-10 in the last round of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 2 at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

Tipperary earned a 2-13 to 1-10 victory over Westmeath in the battle of the relegated sides in Division 2. It was another dispiriting day for Brendan Hackett’s Westmeath, who fell to their seventh straight defeat of the campaign and were consigned to relegation in the league for a second successive year. Things looked up for the Lake men in the first half when Philip Gilsenan grabbed an early goal; however they didn’t retain the lead for long as George Hannigan found the back of the net for Tipperary to give them a two points, 1-6 to 1-4, lead at the break. Johnny Evans’ men increased their advantage in the second half with a goal from the boot of the prolific Barry Grogan. Tipperary drop down a division with their heads held high and safe in the knowledge that better days are on the way after the county’s first ever success at Munster U21 level recently.

From the web site

Allianz NFL Division 1 – Kerry 1-16 Monaghan 1-12

Kerry defeated Monaghan by 1-16 to 1-12 in the last round of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 1 at Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Sunday.

Kerry cloud has silver lining for relieved Farney

Kerry 1-16 Monaghan 1-12

By Colm Keys for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday April 12 2010

Sometimes you get what you deserve. When the final whistle sounded in a sun-kissed Fitzgerald Stadium, Monaghan stood helplessly, suspended briefly in their own place of purgatory. Had they done enough? Had they survived? Had their hooks and their crooks kept them in the top flight? For the previous 10 minutes, their fate had ebbed and flowed on events in Pearse Stadium where Derry’s commanding early lead was being eaten into by a resurgent Galway. The gap in Salthill closed to three around the same time as Darren Hughes belted over a thundering 47-metre free from the ground to reduce Monaghan’s deficit to three. With Tyrone so adrift of Dublin, their fate already looked assured, so it was between two. Then Kieran O’Leary surged and pointed for Kerry. Four points behind again. Derry themselves re-opened a four-point cushion and that’s how it ended, both sides locked on four League points with Tyrone, both sides with a scoring aggregate deficit of 11 points.

It took time for the news to seep through after that. Monaghan’s greater ‘score for’ aggregate had preserved them. The large travelling contingent on the stand, many clinging to radios, began to cheer when confirmation of the permutations were fully signed. The players breathed a collective sigh of relief. It was against their instinct to celebrate a defeat, particularly as they had been so comprehensively beaten. The Hull City manager Phil Brown did it with a song at the KC Stadium last season but Seamus McEnaney hadn’t the mike, the tan or indeed the neck to commit to it on the Fitzgerald Stadium surface! Still, they had picked a good time and better place to ‘overnight’ on the Sunday and McEnaney was nonetheless ebullient as news filtered through. It was a cause for celebration given how they have consistently punched above their weight.”

“The day we bet Tyrone in Inniskeen, I told the interviewers that day that it didn’t make any difference if it came down to the last game in Killarney for us to stay in Division One, by hook or by crook we were going to stay there,” he mused. “I think it’s very important for the future of Monaghan football and our travelling support here. We had a lot of long journeys. We had Mayo, we had Galway, we had Dublin, we had Kerry. That was a lot of time on the road. “The lads showed serious commitment but, never mind the last five months, what about the last 17 minutes with 14 men (Rory Woods was sent off for two yellow cards) and they stuck to their job and we got our just rewards. We beat Tyrone, we beat Derry and we’re entitled to stay up.”

They did indeed beat Tyrone and Derry, albeit at home, and that entitled them to some justice on a day when otherwise Kerry showed much of their old style and panache. Glorious days in Killarney like this are few and far between but they are made for football and in that regard they didn’t disappoint. The scintillating form of Paul Galvin and Kieran Donaghy here will ensure a giddy anticipation of the championship to come that wasn’t there a few months ago. Galvin, back after his two-month suspension, hopped off the ground all day and left his mark as much for the vision of his passes as the accuracy of the kicks that helped him amass three first-half points. When his influence waned slightly, Donaghy perked up. He looked slim and sharp and he too kicked with sublime accuracy to match Galvin’s tally.

But it was their hand in the Kerry goal on 51 minutes that really had the home support in the 6,314 crowd purring with appreciation. Galvin set the move in motion with a pinpoint delivery to Barry John Keane whose cross-field punt was tailor-made for a trademark Donaghy catch. The full-forward obliged, offloaded over the top to Bryan Sheehan who had the momentum and the proximity to close the deal on a 1-12 to 1-7 lead. It was textbook stuff that every coach should seek an action replay of, not just those tasked with facing the Kingdom at some stage later this year.

With Seamus Scanlon and later Mike Quirke ruling the skies and pulling down marks (nine between them), it was a matter of how much Kerry would win by. Throw in Tomas O Se’s competitive return — his second-half point rose the most audible cheer of the day — and Kerry were close to full strength. They lost Colm Cooper to an eye injury after only seven minutes, were denied a clear penalty when Sheehan was clearly tugged on 15 minutes and were unlucky to concede a goal just before half-time when a dubious penalty, taken by Conor McManus, was parried by Brendan Kealy but only into McManus’ path for a simple rebound. A 0-9 to 1-4 interval lead was precarious but Kerry always had too much in hand and had the measure of Monaghan’s forwards once Tommy Freeman limped off injured and later Woods, his replacement, walked. To their credit, Monaghan never let the game get away from them as it might have on such a day, Damien Freeman and Dermot McArdle adding steel to their defence for the second half.

Late on, Declan O’Sullivan picked up a straight red card for an apparent incident with Monaghan midfielder Dick Clerkin but neither side will dwell on it for long, if at all. For both, it was mission accomplished. “I think this league in many ways has been better for us than last year’s league because we have found out more about players,” acknowledged Jack O’Connor afterwards. “This has been a massively competitive league. There were one or two teams in it last year that weren’t competitive. Every team this year certainly gave a great account of themselves.”

Scorers — Kerry: B Sheehan 1-4 (2f), K Donaghy, P Galvin 0-3 each, Darran O’Sullivan 0-2, C Cooper, D Bohan, T O Se, K O’Leary 0-1 each. Monaghan: C McManus 1-3 (2f ), R Woods, D Hughes (1f), P Finlay (1f) 0-2 each, C Hanratty, D Clerkin, D Freeman all 0-1 each.

Kerry — B Kealy; M O Se, T Griffin, T O’Sullivan; D Bohan, T O Se, K Young; S Scanlon, A Maher; Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, P Galvin; C Cooper, K Donaghy, B Sheehan. Subs: B J Keane for Cooper (7 mins), M Quirke for Maher (47), A O’Connell for Bohan (55), B Guiney for T O’Sullivan (64), K O’Leary for Darran O’Sullivan (70).

Monaghan — S Duffy; N McAdam, J P Mone, D Mone; D Hughes, V Corey, C Walshe; D Clerkin, P Finlay; S Gollogly, D Malone, K Hughes; Ciaran Hanratty, C McManus, T Freeman. Subs: R Woods for Freeman (7), M McElroy for Malone (27), D Freeman for McAdam (ht), D McArdle for K Hughes (ht), F Caulfield for Gollogly (56).

Ref — M Condon (Waterford)

Last gasp point ensures Farney survival

From the web site

Kerry retained their Division 1 status thanks to a 1-16 to 1-12 defeat of Monaghan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Sunday. Despite the four points defeat, Seamus McEnaney’s Monaghan will also play in the top flight in 2011 after finishing level on four points with Derry and Tyrone at the foot of the table. In the end, a late point saved Monaghan as they were locked on the same scoring average (-11) as Derry, but their slim advantage in the points scored column saved them from the drop. Bryan Sheehan scored 1-4 for the Kingdom who led by 0-9 to 1-4 despite dominating the first half. Sheehan, the Kerry captain, hit the back of the net at the start of the second half before Monaghan were reduced to 14 men after Rory Woods was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Paul Galvin, back in the Kerry team after serving an eight-week ban, started at wing-forward rather than at centre-back, and the Finuge man proved how invaluable a player he is for the Kingdom with two early points from play. Paul Finlay responded with two points from placed balls for the Farney men, but they were dealt a serious blow when attacking talisman, Tommy Freeman, was forced off with an ankle injury in the opening quarter. Colm Cooper and Sheehan got their names on the scoresheet to give the home side a 0-5 to 0-3 lead by the 22nd minute. However, the gloss was taken off Kerry’s bright start when Cooper had to be substituted after suffering an unfortunate head injury. Galvin’s influence on the game increased as Jack O’Connor’s men took complete control of the game to lead by 0-9 to 0-4.

It was looking increasingly bleak for the sizeable travelling Monaghan support, but their spirits were significantly raised when they were awarded a penalty before the break. Conor McManus stood up and saw his strike saved well by the Kerry goalkeeper, Brendan Keally, but the Monaghan corner forward reacted quickest and fired the rebound to the back of the net. The goal completely changed the outlook of the game and Kerry led by just 0-9 to 1-4 despite dominating the first half. The Kingdom started the second half well and Darran O’Sullivan opened the scoring, before Tomás Ó Sé, making his seasonal debut at centre-back, crept up from defence and slotted the ball over the bar from 40 yards out. Kerry added the goal their dominance deserved when BJ Keane sent a high, diagonal point into Kieran Donaghy on the edge of the square and the Kerins O’Rahillys man found team captain Sheehan, who hit the back of the net. Monaghan were dealt another hammer blow minutes later after Rory Wood, who scored two points after replacing Tommy Freeman in the first half, was dismissed on second yellow card. Kerry were in control in the closing stages, but a late, late Monaghan point guaranteed they will play Division 1 football next year.

Match Preview

Tralee: Kerry v Monaghan, 2.30pm

The relegation permutations at the foot of the Division 1 table are endless, but the winner of this game is guaranteed to maintain their top flight status next year. This time last year, the Kingdom were on the way to winning the Allianz GAA National League title, while the Farney men were denied by Cork in the Division 2 decider. Twelve months is a long time in football!

Monaghan, however, were always expected to struggle in the top tier and have surprised many observers with some of the superb performances they have put in after losing in the first two rounds. They turned their season around with a win over Tyrone in Round 3 and gave themselves every chance of survival with a victory at home to Derry. However, there is no escaping the fact that Monaghan have been beaten heavily on the road three times this year and Tralee is not the place you would choose to go desperately searching for two points to avoid the drop.

Dublin, however, can do them a favour if they beat Tyrone, which would guarantee their survival no matter the outcome in Tralee. Farney manager Seamus McEnaney will be keen to ensure that their fate remains in their own hands, but it is a big ask to topple the reigning champions in their own back yard.

Monaghan’s two wins to date in the league have come against Ulster opposition and they have lost three times to the Kingdom during McEnaney’s reign. However, they have always competed well against Kerry and only lost to them by a point in the 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final, before a goal separated the sides a year later in the Qualifiers.

Monaghan hope to have captain Vincent Corey back, having featured as a half-time sub in the defeat to Mayo, while JP Mone and Rory Woods are both continuing to return to full fitness. Damien Freeman is also available having missed a chunk of the campaign to concentrate on looking for employment. Owen Lennon, Gary McQuaid and Mark Downey are all ruled out because of injury.

Kerry, the reigning champions, should, in reality, be safe from the drop by now, but a lapse in concentration in injury time against Tyrone saw Colm Cavanagh steal in for a winning goal that has thrown them into a relegation dogfight.

Jack O’Connor’s side should be refreshed and ready for a real battle after spending a week at a training camp in Portugal, where, according to reports, Paul Galvin was deployed at centre-back in intra-squad practise games. Galvin is available after serving an eight-week ban and could slot back into the number six jersey in place of Aidan O’Mahony (suspended) with Mike McCarthy unlikely to return to the fold this year.

O’Connor is expected to have Tomás Ó Sé available after the wing-back experienced a scare with a calf muscle injury, although David Moran is ruled out after breaking a thumb in a training match in Portugal.

However, O’Connor still has an embarrassment of attacking riches available to him, with Colm Cooper, Declan O’Sullivan and Kieran Donaghy all capable of doing serious damage to the Monaghan defence. The odds are stacked against Monaghan, given their poor record on the road and their head-to-head record against Kerry, so the Kingdom will be expected to emerge safely from the drop zone, although the Farney men could join them if Dublin oblige by beating Tyrone.