McGrath Cup Football S-Final – Clare 1-10 Waterford 0-10

New recruit vital in Clare win

by Brendan Larkin for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clare 1-10 Waterford 0-10

DAVID O’CONNOR, one of the players from outside the county recently called onto the Clare panel, scored the crucial goal in this mundane McGrath Cup semi-final at Ardmore yesterday. Banner manager Micheal McDermott has injected new talent into his squad under the rule which allows players to represent the county of their parents, and the policy has worked well with this victory setting up a decider with Kerry on Saturday night. In a game that won’t be remembered for the purity of its football, both sides enjoyed periods of dominance. But a combination of some excellent defending and poor shooting meant scores were at a premium.

Waterford made the better start with a brace of points from frees by Michael Donnelly as Clare struggled to find momentum. The visitor’s approach work was good, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent defending by Tomas O’Gorman and Shane Briggs in particular meant they went without a score for 13 minutes. Niall Browne eventually opened their account with a point. The former Kildare underage star was another making his first appearance in a Clare jersey and his height and strength in midfield allowed the visitors enjoyed a lot of possession in that area.

Waterford endured a scoring drought until Kieran Power kicked a great point from 40 metres. That helped the hosts regain the initiative for the remainder of the half and they finished strongly with three points in a row, the best of which was a Patrick Hurney effort, to lead 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time. Both sides used their bench for the second half, Clare bringing on O’Connor, and he made an immediate impact. After Alan Cloghessy levelled the scores for the third time with his third point, O’Connor was on the end of a great move involving Cloghessy and Rory Donnelly, to slip home the decisive goal. Waterford needed a similar store to stay in contention. But while they enjoyed plenty of possession, they couldn’t break down a solid Clare defence in which goalkeeper Joe Hayes, Barry Duggan and Gordon Kelly gave nothing away. Both sides swapped points to keep the game alive, before Hayes saved well from substitute Michael O’Gorman.

Scorers for Clare: D. O’Connor 1-0; A. Cloghessy (2 frees), C. O’Connor 0-3 each; D. Tubridy 0-2 (1 free); N. Browne, D. Donnelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: M. Donnelly (frees), P. Hurney (0-1 free) 0-3 each; S. Fleming 0-2; K. Power, P. Whyte 0-1 each.

CLARE: J. Hayes; L. Healy, B. Duggan, M.McMahon; Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes; C. O’Connor, C. Ryan; D. Daly, D. Tubridy, N. Browne; R. Donnelly, T. Ryan, A. Cloghessy.

Subs: G. Fannin for G. Kelly (33); D. O’ Connor for C. Ryan (half-time); D. O’Brien for T. Ryan (56); D. O’Neill for C. O’Connor (65).

WATERFORD: T. Walsh; K. Connery, T. O’Gorman, J. Hurney; E. Walsh, S. Briggs, J. Phelan; B. Phelan, T. Prendergast; M. Donnelly, K. Power, B. Wall; JJ Hutchinson, P. Hurney, P. Whyte.

Subs: M. Aherne for K. Power (half-time); S. Fleming for Hutchinson (half-time); W. Hennessy for Whyte (56); M. O’Gorman for Prendergast (55); J. Veale for Donnelly (65).

Referee: J. O’Mahony (Tipperary)

McGrath Cup Football S-Final – Kerry 2-11 Cork 1-11

Kerry shade the shadow boxing

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kerry 2-11 Cork 1-11

THERE was a distinct pre-season air to the first Cork and Kerry football instalment of 2011 at Dr Crokes’ home in Killarney yesterday. The McGrath Cup hardly sets the pulse racing in either camp and this semi-final clash was a tame affair when placed against the fire and brimstone ties of recent summers. The bragging rights, such as they were, belonged to Kerry, thanks to a resurgent second-half performance, yet they were not ecstatic in victory, just as Cork were hardly crushed by the defeat. The teams will square off in a fortnight in a National League opener and there are favourable prospects that their paths will cross during the summer. Those are the games on which Jack O’Connor and Conor Counihan will be judged. For O’Connor the prospect of a final date with Clare next Saturday was the primary source of his satisfaction as he gets another chance to survey nascent talents.

“It was good to win as it means we have another game next weekend. That’s what fellas want. They don’t want to just train away so it’s good to have another game. We won’t really have too many sleepless nights if we don’t win the McGrath Cup. It’s a good way for trying to prepare for the league and get our panel in shape.” O’Connor will be heartened by the manner in which this game shifted towards his side in the second-half. Trailing by 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval, Kerry were forced to yield to Cork’s supremacy early in the second period. A beautifully struck point by Kevin McMahon in the 44th minute nudged Cork 1-10 to 0-9 ahead but for the heroics of Brendan Kealy in goal, Kerry’s situation would have been perilous. The Kilcummin netminder was in fine form all day, beating away an Alan O’Connor drive in the 26th minute and smothering a Fiachra Lynch shot in the 39th minute.

Kerry took over in key areas in the second-half. Tomás Ó Sé, efficiently controlling play, was a familiar sight at centre-back while optimism for the future was provided by the effectiveness of Jonathan Lyne alongside him. Further upfield it was Darran O’Sullivan who emerged as the offensive figurehead. His electric pace created early first-half points and in the second-half he began the move that led to a tidy goal by Donncha Walsh in the 48th minute. O’Sullivan signed off on an impressive day’s work when he was fouled for the 66th minute penalty that David Moran converted to seal Kerry’s victory. After a brief sojourn in defence, the Glenbeigh-Glencar man has returned to a familiar terrain.

“We played him in the backs the first day because we were stuck there”, remarked O’Connor. “He’s in a good patch of form at the moment. We are playing him more centrally so that when he does run, he’s going for the goals. It seems to be working.” Cork may have exited the competition but they could still reflect on useful workouts over the last three weekends. In the opening-half they looked on the brink of capsizing as Kerry’s midfield superiority paved the way for a 0-8 to 0-3 lead after 20 minutes. The introduction of Kieran O’Connor provided valuable experience in defence and they settled to the rhythms of the match. Denis O’Sullivan bombed forward from his right half-back berth at will while Fiachra Lynch inflicted some scoring damage.

The standout operator though was Mark Cronin, handed a starting jersey after sparkling substitute showings. In the first-half he curled over two points from play, landed two frees that he had earned himself and was impeded for a penalty in the 26th minute. Lynch rifled home a goal from that opening and Cork were full value for their three-point interval lead. Cork maintained that tempo early in the second-half yet failed to press home that advantage on the scoreboard. Selector Terry O’Neill pinpointed that phase as critical but was mindful that the inter-county arena is a new experience for these players. Cork’s big guns, who were in action in a challenge against Meath on Saturday, will be back in harness soon and could be augmented by some of the newcomers. “Three points in the second-half wasn’t going to be enough to win. We had 10 minutes there when we should have got a goal on the board and three points out of it. At this level you just can’t afford to miss those chances. We were disappointed but inexperience probably told during the period. “But you couldn’t say they didn’t put in a battling performance all round. We’d be very happy to have got three games over the last few weeks. It’s a long year ahead yet, we’re only in the third week of January now.”

Scorers for Kerry: D Geaney 0-5 (0-4frees), D Moran 1-1 (1-0 pen), D Walsh 1-0, Darran O’Sullivan 0-3, P Geaney 0-2.

Cork: F Lynch 1-2 (1-0 pen), M Cronin 0-4 (0-2 frees); D Goold (0-1 ‘45), K McMahon 0-2 each, G Spillane 0-1.

KERRY: B Kealy; P Reidy, Danny O’Sullivan, S Enright; J Lyne, T Ó’Sé, E Hickson; A Maher, S Scanlon; A O’Sullivan, Darran O’Sullivan, D Walsh; D Geaney, D Moran, P Geaney.

Subs: P O’Connor for Enright (28), G Sayers for A O’Sullivan (half-time), K O’Dwyer for Hickson (49), M O’Donoghue for D Geaney (59).

CORK: D Lordan; I Jones, G Spillane, E Cotter; D O’Sullivan, R O’Sullivan, AJ O’Connor; E Keane, A O’Connor; D Goold, T O’Neill, K McMahon; M Cronin, F Lynch, C O’Driscoll.

Subs: K O’Connor for AJ O’Connor (21), D O’Connor for O’Driscoll (52), N Murphy for O’Neill (57), J Sexton for Lynch (inj) (63), B Shanahan for Jones (69)

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

Team News

KERRY TEAM FOR MCGRATH CUP SEMI FINAL

Jack O’Connor has announced The Kerry team for The McGrath Cup Semi-Final vs. Cork

1. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)

2. Padraig Reidy (Scartaglin)

3. Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)

4. Shane Enright (Tarbert)

5. Jonathan Lyne (Legion)

6. Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht) Captain

7. Eamon Hickson (Annascaul)

8. Anthony Maher (Duagh)

9. Seamus Scanlon (Currow)

10. Alan O’Sullivan (Tuosist)

11. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar)

12. Donnacha Walsh (Cromane)

13. David Geaney (An Daingean)

14. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)

15. Paul Geaney (An Daingean)

16. Tomás Ma An tSaoir (An Ghaeltacht)

17. Gary Sayers (Keel)

18. Barry O’Grady (Ballyduff)

19. Kevin Dwyer (Waterville)

20. Michael O’Donoghue (Spa)

21. Danny O’Sullivan (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)

22. Colin O’Mahony (Ballydonoghue)

23. Pa McCarthy (Austin Stacks)

24. Padraig O’Connor (Legion)

Waterford Crystal Cup Hurling Q-Final – Waterford 1-12 CIT 0-11

Davy delighted with Déise attitude

by John Murphy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Waterford 1-12 Cork IT 0-11

FOR the opening half of this Waterford Crystal hurling quarter-final at Walsh Park yesterday the students of Cork IT were calling the shots and looked odds-on to topple the champions. All would change however in a dramatic second-half and, inspired by Richie Foley, the hosts ground out a hard-earned — but deserved — victory. Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald said: “We had to work hard for our win, but I was more than pleased about the way the players took on board the tricky situation in which they found themselves at half time. We simply didn’t turn up in the first half and CIT were good value for their six points lead at the break. I can take a lot of encouragement from the attitude of my players on the turnover, and even when we were reduced to 14 with the sending off of Maurice Shanahan it was then that they really showed their mettle. I liked that, I liked it a lot.”

Cork IT dominated the opening spell, with Ryan Clifford from frees and Pat O’Connor from play firing them to a 0-9 to 0-3 half time lead. The wayward shooting of Foley hadn’t helped the home side’s cause in that spell, but it was his virtuoso second-half display that decided the outcome. Waterford’s man of the match finished the day with 1-8. Gavin Crotty and Foley (free) cut the gap inside 60 seconds of the restart, and when Foley goaled from a 20 metre free there was only the minimum between the sides. Waterford lost Maurice Shanahan to a red card in the 55th minute but Fitzgerald’s side seemed to find inspiration from their numerical disadvantage.

CIT failed to score in the closing quarter of an hour, and with Waterford rampantly dominant in the closing stages there was only going to be one result. Foley, now lording things in middle of the field, rifled over four unanswered points to sign and seal a well deserved victory for his side.

Scorers for Waterford: R Foley (1-8, 6f), G Crotty, S Prendergast, M Shanahan (0-1f), B O’Halloran (0-1) each.

Scorers for Cork IT: R Clifford (0-5, frees); P O’Connor (0-3), T Murphy (0-2), L McLoughlin (0-1).

WATERFORD: C Hennessy; J Maher, L Lawlor, C Ryan; D Fives, M Walsh, J Nagle; S Molumphy, B O’Halloran; S Prendergast, R Foley, M Shanahan; G Crotty, S Walsh, S Casey.

Subs: F McGrath for Ryan, P Mahony for Crotty, E Murphy for Casey.

CORK IT: T Quaid (Limerick); S Kearney (Waterford), J O’Callaghan (Cork), J Herlihy (do); S McDonell (do), R Cashman (do), C Leahy (do); L O’Loughlin (do), S White (do); P O’Connor (Clare), C Casey (Cork), M Bowles (do); T Murphy (do), M O’Sullivan (do), R Clifford (do).

Subs: N Kelly (Cork) for McLoughlin, S O’Brien (Cork) for Bowles; S Corcoran for Casey.

Referee: T Ryan (Tipperary)

Waterford Crystal Cup Hurling Q-Final – Cork 3-17 UCC 1-22

Nash nicks winner as Cork plan for future

by Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cork 3-17 UCC 1-22 (aet)

SUBSTITUTE KEEPER Anthony Nash was the hero for Cork in this Waterford Crystal senior hurling quarter-final in semi-frozen Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday, a rifled penalty goal in injury-time of extra-time giving them a one-point victory in a highly entertaining match. This was largely a Cork development team, several teenagers in the starting 15, a host of players making their debut, while over half the UCC team were also from Cork — ideal circumstances for Cork manager Denis Walsh. Several players caught his eye, on both teams, prompting Walsh to declare: “William Egan played well for UCC, as did James Nagle when he came back on, and Paul Haughney in extra-time. We had a few players who played well for us — Graham Callanan (midfield) was dominant after a shaky start, which was very encouraging. Conor Lehane missed a few frees but his response told us something, he showed well then in general play, and that’s very important.”

When asked how many of the team from yesterday would be there come league action next month, Walsh said: “We’ll be trying to decide the panel at the end of January, which is what we did last year — we think we have two or three fellas from this squad today who will make that panel.” Only two or three? “Yes, unless you have a better calculator than us! We can only have a panel of 26; we had 34 last year, so we’ve had to cut eight already, and if we want to bring in another three now that means we have to cut three more.”

What they found out yesterday was that there will be a real battle for the number seven jersey left vacant with the surprise cut of Seán Óg Ó hAilpín at the end of last season, with both William Egan (UCC) and Ray Ryan (Cork) impressing at left-half-back for their respective sides. Additionally, Graham Callanan used his power to great effect in midfield, while alongside him Brian Lawton showed good qualities in the air. Up front, young Conor Lehane, though inconsistent from placed balls, showed some superb touches in general play, while the pace and precision of corner-forward Brian Hartnett were to the fore for his two goals. In the other corner, an equally light and young Jamie Coughlan showed well.

The game itself was pretty evenly balanced. UCC started well, were four points to two ahead after 13 minutes; five minutes later it was Cork in front, 1-5 to 0-4, the speedy Hartnett with the goal, Lehane with the three points. Next it was UCC’s turn, a run of 1-6 without reply (centre-forward Kevin Keehan with the goal) putting them in good shape, helping them to a 1-11 to 1-6 half-time lead. The second-half was dominated by Cork, Hartnett’s second goal helping them to a two-point lead with only minutes remaining, yet it took a long-range Jamie Coughlan free for Cork to take the game to extra-time. For most of the additional period it looked like the game was heading the way of UCC until Nash stepped forward to convert what was, in truth, a very softly-awarded penalty.

Scorers for Cork: B Hartnett 2-0, J Coughlan 0-7 (0-3 frees, 0-2 65s), C Lehane 0-6 (0-4 frees), A Nash 1-0 (pen), G Callanan, B Lawton, B Cooper, J Wall, 0-1 each.

Scorers for UCC: K Keehan 1-3 (0-3 frees), P Haughney 0-5 (0-1 free), D Brosnan 0-4, S Bourke 0-4 (0-2 frees), G Mulcahy 0-2, D Kearney, J Cassin, W Egan (free), M Carroll, 0-1 each.

CORK: M Coleman; P O’Leary, C Fogarty, S Murphy; C Joyce, M Ellis, R Ryan; G Callanan, B Lawton; T Murray, B Cooper, C Lehane; J Coughlan, S Harnedy, B Hartnett.

Subs: A Nash for Coleman (35), C McCarthy for Murray (45), E Murphy for Harnedy (45), M Cussen for Hartnett (57), B Johnson for Lawton (62).

Extra-time: G Moylan for O’Leary (80); J Wall for Lehane (80); P O’Mahony for Joyce (80).

UCC: L O’Flynn (Cork); W Kearney (Cork), P O’Loughlin (Limerick), C O’Sullivan (capt. Cork)); P Mahony (Waterford), J Nagle (Cork), W Egan (Cork); D Kearney (Cork), B O’Sullivan (Limerick); S Bourke (Tipperary), K Keehan (Galway), D Brosnan (Cork); P Haughney (Cork), J Cassin (Kilkenny), G Mulcahy (Limerick).

Subs: D O’Sullivan (Waterford) for Nagle (35), D Roche (Cork) for D Kearney (35), T Ryan (Waterford) for Haughney 49), M Carroll (Cork) for Keehan (55), S O’Farrell (Cork) for B O’Sullivan (61).

Extra-time: D Kearney (Cork), B Collins (Cork), B Cleary (Limerick), T Geaney (Cork), J Nagle (Cork) and P Haughney (Cork) started in place of W Kearney, C O’Sullivan, P Mahony, W Egan, J Cassin and S Burke; Cassin for Brosnan (80).

Referee: P Casey (Waterford)