Corn Uí Mhuirí Senior A Football Semi-final – P.S. Chorca Dhuibhne Dingle 2-9 St. Brendan’s College Killarney 0-8

P.S. Chorca Dhuibhne Dingle defeated St. Brendan’s Coll. Killarney by 2-9 to 0-8 in the Corn Uí Mhuirí Senior A Football Semi-final on Sunday at Milltown.


Allianz Hurling League Division 1 – Cork 1-20 Offaly 1-15

Cork defeated Offaly by 1-20 to 1-15 in Round 1 of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 on Sunday at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Rebels hit the ground running

From the GAA.ie web site

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cork 1-20 Offaly 1-15

Cork pulled through to a five-point victory in the end over Offaly, but it took them all their time to overcome the dogged visitors in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, winning by 1-20 to 1-15. The Rebel men led by just a point at the break, 1-12 to 1-11, with Offaly having shown particularly strong resistance in the first half. However, Cork’s physical power proved too much in the second half and they ultimately were able to restrict the Faithful side to four points in that period, paving the way for what was ultimately a comfortable enough win. Cork got off to the perfect start, putting the ball in the net within 50 seconds as Tom Kenny fired home with an angled shot from the wing.

However, Offaly responded well with two points from Shane Dooley and a neat solo effort from Shane Kelly to get level. However, Cork always seemed to be able to move up a gear when needed and a Pat Horgan brace either side of an effort from the impressive Pa Cronin restored Cork’s lead and left Offaly constantly battling to keep up. But keep up they did as Colin Egan fired to the net to draw his side level at 1-4 apiece. Both sides traded scores for the next few minutes to keep the teams level before Cathal Naughton put Cork in front with a fine clipped effort.

Cork finished the half strongly but the superb work of Offaly’s Brian Carroll kept his side well in contention and there was just a point between the teams at the break as Cork led 1-12 to 1-11. Horgan had a great goal chance for Cork at the start of the second half but his effort was deflected over the bar to put two between the sides again. Offaly had one fine chance for a goal early in the second half but Anthony Nash’s save from Dooley proved crucial and at the time, gave Cork the fillip they needed to go on and win the game.

Still, Cork never were able to fully shake off Offaly but the Leinster side found things much tougher in the second period, only scoring four points as Cork slowly but surely squeezed them out of the game. A point from Cronin left a goal between the teams with a quarter of an hour or so to go and further points from Ben O’Connor and Brian Murphy put Cork too far clear for Offaly to catch them. Cork could have made the scoreline more impressive towards the end but Cian McCarthy’s penalty was saved and the Munster men settled for a five-point win.

Team News

The Cork Senior Hurling team to play Offaly in the Allianz Hurling League (Round 1) on Sunday at 2.30pm in Páirc Uí Chaoimh will line out as follows:

1. Anthony Nash
Kanturk

2. Stephen McDonnell 3. Eoin Cadogan 4. Shane Murphy
Glen Rovers                  Douglas                    Erins Own

5. John Gardiner 6. Mark Ellis 7. Ray Ryan
Na Piarsaigh                    Millstreet                Sarsfields

8. Jerry O’Connor 9. William Egan
Newtownshandrum                  Kilbrin

10. Tom Kenny 11. Pa Cronin 12. Cathal Naughton
Grenagh                           Bishopstown           Newtownshandrum

13. Ben O’Connor 14. Paudie O’Sullivan 15. Pat Horgan
Newtownshandrum                Cloyne                     Glen Rovers

Subs:

16. Martin Coleman Ballinhassig
17. Eoin Dillon Milford
18. Conor O’Sullivan Sarsfields
19. Ronan Curran St. Finbarrs
20. Brian Murphy Bride Rovers
21. Lorcan McLoughlin Kanturk
22. Cian McCarthy Sarsfields
23. Niall McCarthy Carrigtwohill
24. Kieran Murphy Sarsfields


Allianz Hurling League Division 1 – Waterford 3-16 Dublin 2-19

Waterford and Dublin played out a draw in Round 1 of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 on Sunday at Walsh Park Waterford. The final score was Waterford 3-16 Dublin 2-19.

Dubs reeled in by dogged Déise

Waterford 3-16 Dublin 2-19

By John Fogarty for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

THIS game wasn’t the only thing drawn in Walsh Park yesterday. Battle-lines were etched by both managers as to who got the better point or, to be more precise, who made the better one about the share of the spoils. Anthony Daly was reasonably happy to come away with a point after last year’s thrashing here. As was Davy Fitzgerald although the home manager’s argument seemed the more believable. Unlike Dublin, Fitzgerald’s side didn’t have an eight-point lead in the 33rd minute. Neither did Waterford go 28 minutes without a score. Their 25-point aggregate total was broken more evenly over the two halves and then there was the fact he was without 10 of the team that started last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. Still, Fitzgerald knew Waterford should have won this game.

With 15 minutes left, they were five points in the ascendancy, scoring an unanswered haul of 2-7, the second goal coming from man-of-the-match Richie Foley after Seamus Prendergast, who had bagged the first of the two just before the break, was fouled by Stephen Hiney. A David O’Callaghan point in the 58th minute ended Dublin’s drought before he banged home a goal on the hour mark after collecting CianMcCormack’s miss-hit point attempt. That reduced the difference to a single point but Dublin were rallying and a couple of Conal Keaney frees along with a Liam Rushe point in reply to a Prendergast score and a long Jamie Nagle lob drew the sides level in the 69th minute.

Nagle then drew a free which Foley converted from beyond the half-way line and that appeared to be that before Keaney gathered a Stephen Hiney pass and split the posts to even the honours. Exhilarating stuff on a day when Fitzgerald was claiming the moral victory considering he was without so many players. “I know Anthony said I was playing mind games during the week. I was asked a question how many was there and I answered it. I’d love to have them boys there but I have to say I’m very proud of the lads. We totally dominated that second-half. “We shouldn’t have let Dublin back into the game but fair play to them they kept fighting. At the end of the day, it beats losing.”

Daly was just as content. “I’m not apologising to anybody for getting a draw. We could have been well clear at half-time, but a combination of things only had us four points ahead. “There’s a bit of a wind there and we knew Waterford were always going to come back. We looked dead and buried, but they showed great character. “We’re training very hard and hopefully that comes into it. They didn’t chuck it in (in) fairness and we got a break to get us back into it.” Two minutes before the break, one wondered just how furious Fitzgerald would be in the Waterford dressing room. Four minutes later and with Diarmuid Kirwan calling the half to a close, it was a question of how demented Daly would be with his men.

Leading by eight points (1-14 to 1-6), Dublin were making a mockery of their 15/8 odds coming into this game. Keaney was pulling the strings at right half-forward and had seven points (six from play) to his name by the interval. When Waterford’s defenders weren’t offending, they were guilty of some extremely loose marking, JeromeMaher making way at half-time, although they were blessed to be just four points in arrears then, trailing 1-14 to 2-7. In those early exchanges, Dublin were the dominant team — both on the scoreboard and in the physical stakes. Declan O’Dwyer’s ninth minute goal should have been disallowed for steps but there was no mistaking they were bossing matters. Really, it was only the two goals — Foley beating goalkeeper Gary Maguire after another mishit and Prendergast gathered a Darragh Fives high delivery in the 35th minute — that kept Waterford in it.

Both managers took issue with Kirwan’s handling of the game afterwards- even if they did pull some of their punches. “I’m not going to say what I think,” said Fitzgerald. “You can look over the dvd yourself and he mightn’t be happy, trust me. There are certain things I wouldn’t be happy with but there’s no point getting into the referee.” As for Daly’s take on the official? “I wasn’t happy at times and Davy wasn’t either — I saw him hopping up!”

Scorers for Waterford: R Foley 2-10 (0-7 frees, 1-0 pen); S Prendergast 1-1; P Mahony 0-2; S Casey, S Molumphy, J Nagle 0-1 each

Subs for Waterford: W Hutchinson for Maher (h-t); E Murphy for T Ryan (58); K McGrath for Casey (65).

Scorers for Dublin: C Keaney 0-10 (eight frees); D O’Callaghan 1-3; D O’Dwyer 1-1; L Rushe 0-2; C McCormack, P Kelly, P Carton 0-1 each

Subs for Dublin: P Ryan for S Ryan (49); L Ryan for O’Dwyer (65).

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

Keaney rescues a draw for Dubs in thriller

From the GAA.ie web site

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Waterford 3-16 Dublin 2-19

The Allianz Hurling League began for Waterford and Dublin in thrilling fashion at Walsh Park as the two sides played out an exciting 3-16 to 2-19 draw. Conal Keaney and Richie Foley were the heroes for the two sides, with football star Keaney, commited to the hurlers for 2011, hitting 0-10 with his Waterford counterpart Foley landing a remarkable 2-10. Dublin began the stronger of the two teams, thanks to a brace from Keaney as well as a decent effort from Liam Rushe. Foley kept Waterford in touch, as did the stick of Shane Casey but Dublin struck for goal thanks to Declan O’Dwyer’s fine strike. Conor McCormack and Keaney, with an excellent score from play, put Dublin five clear of the Munster champions, 1-6 to 0-4.

However, Waterford never allowed Dublin to stretch too far clear and scores from Pauric Maloney and Foley kept things relatively tight. The crucial two scores of the first half for Waterford came shortly before half-time, the first a goal unsurprisingly from the hurl of Foley and the second a tasty finish to the net from Seamus Prendergast. Dublin still led by four points at half-time though, 1-14 to 2-7, thanks to a series of scores with Keaney to the fore. Waterford came storming out after the break and completely dominated matters for the start of the second period. Foley’s second goal looked like it might break Dublin’s resistance, especially given that the visitors took 23 minutes to register a score in the second half, eventually getting a point through David O’Callaghan.

Foley’s second major left Waterford two points clear and this was extended to five as their forwards grew in confidence and knocked over three points without reply. O’Callaghan though, landed a key goal for Dublin to take the match into the thrilling finale for which it will be remembered. Waterford seemed certain they had just snatched what had looked for stretches like an unlikely win when the impeccable Foley hammered over a placed ball from distance. But Keaney had matched Foley in talismanic terms all day and he showed tremendous poise to win possession and barge his way towards the Waterford goal before lashing over the bar and securing a deserved draw for his team.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2 – Antrim 1-15 Kerry 0-12

Antrim defeated Kerry by 1-15 to 0-12 in Round 1 of the Allianz Hurling League Division 2 on Sunday at Austin Stack Park Tralee.

Saffrons’ late surge sees off brave Kingdom

Antrim 1-15 Kerry 0-12

By Murt Murphy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

NEWLY promoted Kerry stepped up in class against Antrim yesterday in the opening round of Division 2 of the Allianz NHL at Austin Stack Park Tralee, and only faded against more experienced rivals in the final 15 minutes. Under the guidance of John Meyler, Kerry made a bright start, thanks to some excellent work from Adrian Royle, Tom Murnane, John Griffin and Mikey Boyle, but found scores hard to come by against a rock solid Antrim full-back line, led by Cormac Donnelly. Antrim had scored three frees, two from Karl Stewart and one from Neil McManus with Liam and Mikey Boyle replying for the home side, before Antrim struck for a crucial 19th minute goal. A slip by a Kerry defender allowed Darran Hamill to shoot goalwards and corner-forward PJ O’Connell found the net with a deft flick.

However, Kerry dominated from here until half-time with points from Mikey Boyle, Darragh O’Connell with two frees, Adrian Royle, Aidan Boyle and Darran Dineen and led 0-8 to 1-4 at half-time. When Darragh O’Connell added to Kerry’s lead two minutes after the restart there was cause for optimism but Antrim took over at midfield and the introduction of substitutes Shane McNaughton and Colm McFall swung the game in the visitors’ favour with five unanswered points. Darragh O’Connell closed the gap to two points when he drove a 53rd minute penalty over the Antrim bar, but Antrim replied with late points from Thomas McCann, Karl Stewart and Shane Mac Naughton.

Scorers for Antrim: P J O’Connell 1-0, K Stewart and N McManus 0-3 frees each, S McNaughton 0-3, K McKeegan 0-2, S Mc Crory, D Hamill, C McFall, T McCann 0-1 each

Scorers for Kerry: D O’Connell 0-5 (all frees), M Boyle 0-2, A Royle, D Dineen, L Boyle, A Boyle and J Flaherty 0-1 each

KERRY: B Rochford; A Keane, J Godley, C Harris; A Royle, T Murnane, P O’Grady; J Griffin, D Dineen; D O’Connell, M Boyle, L Boyle; J Egan, A Boyle, S Nolan.

Subs: J Flaherty for S Nolan (45), B O’Grady for D Dineen (55), J Casey for P O’Grady (56), G O’Brien for L Boyle (64), T Moloney for J Egan (64).

ANTRIM: B McFall; N McAuley, C Donnelly, A Graffin; K McKeague, M Herron, C Herron; K McKeegan, K Stewart; N McManus, M Armstrong, S McCrory; D Hamill, C Carson, PJ O’Connell.

Subs: C McFall for S McCrory (h/t), S MacNaughton for C Carson (42), L Kerins for P J O’Connell (55), T McCann for K McKeegan (64).

Referee: D O’Driscoll (Limerick)

Team News

John Meyler has announced the Kerry Senior Hurling team for Kerry’s Division 2 Allianz Hurling League Clash with Antrim. The team is as follows:

1. Bernard Rochford (Killeagh, Cork)
2. Andrew Keane (Crotta O’Neills) 3. James Godley (Kilmoyley) 4. Colin Harris (Kilmoyley)
5. Adrian Royle (Kilmoyley) 6. Tom Murnane (Kilmoyley) 7. Padraig O’Grady (Ballyduff)
8. John Griffin (Lixnaw) 9. Darren Dineen (Ardfert) 10. Darragh O’Connell (Abbeydorney) 11. Michael Boyle (Captain)(Ballyduff) 12. Liam Boyle (Ballyduff) 13. John Egan (Ardfert) 14. Aidan Boyle (Ballyduff) 15. Shane Nolan (Crotta O’Neills)

Substitutes 16. John B. O’Halloran (Kilmoyley) 17. Eamon Corridan (Ardfert) 18. Jason Casey (Ballyheigue) 19. Eamon Fitzgerald (Causeway) 20. James Flaherty (Lixnaw) 21. Gary O’Brien (Ballyduff) 22. Darren Wallace (Ardfert) 23. Paud Costello (Ballyduff) 24. Barry O’Grady (Ballyduff) 25. Ronan Kenny (Ballyheigue) 26. Thomas Moloney (Ardfert) 27. Padraigh Monson (Glen Rovers, Co Cork) 28. Niall Young (Kilmoyley) 29. Jason Bowler Ballyduff 30. Jason Leahy Causeway

Manager: John Meyler

Selectors: John Hennessey & Sean O’Shea

Coach/trainer: Joe O’Connor

Corn Uí Mhuirí Senior A Football Semi-final – Colaiste Chríost Rí Cork 1-11 Tralee CBS 1-9

Críost Rí upset fancied Tralee

Coláiste Chríost Rí 1-11 Tralee CBS 1-9

By Brendan Larkin of the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

COLÁISTE CHRÍOST RÍ upset the title ambitions of a highly rated Tralee CBS side in a magnificent Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final at Knocknagree yesterday to set up an unexpected final against Pobalscoil Chorcha Dhuibhne on March 6. It was a typically wholehearted Cork/Kerry affair with the sides level on seven occasions until substitute Jason Philpott edged Críost Rí in front in the 50th minute and they remained there to the finish. There were many heroes for Críost Rí, full-forward Luke Connolly absolutely magnificent despite being marked by three different Tralee players. Conor Horgan, Eoghan McGreevy and Paul Fitzgerald were other attackers to impress while the superb high fielding of Shane O’Keeffe, ably assisted by Eoghan Finn, ensured the Cork school won the midfield exchanges.

However, it was in defence where Críost Rí impressed most. Despite conceding height advantage, the Críost Rí backs were superb. They were first to every ball and the workrate of all six including Cork minor Kevin Fulignati, Donal O’Keeffe, Stephen Cronin and Tomas Lawrence was a treat to watch as they constantly chased and forced the Tralee side into mistakes. Tralee were firm favourites to reach the decider, and when Jamie Moriarty finished a great passing movement to the Críost Rí net to put his side a goal in front 10 minutes into the second half, they looked likely winners.

However, their failure to feed Moriarty more often was difficult to understand given that he was the only Tralee forward to trouble the Críost Rí defence. Apart from him, Alan Crean, JC O’Connor and Sean Moloney were others to make fine contributions. There was no separating the teams in the opening half as they traded points to be level at 0-5 each at the break. But it could have been so much different had Sean Moloney not blazed over the bar in the opening 30 seconds with only the goalkeeper to beat. Then Eoghan McGreevy’s shot came back off the post at the other end following a defence splitting passing movement. It was that kind of match.

Points were shared in the early minutes of the second-half before Tralee struck for their goal in the 40th minute which put them 1-7 to 0-7 in front. Despite John C. O’Connor doing well for them at midfield, Tralee’s lead lasted only five minutes and while Críost Rí’s equalising goal had an element of good fortunate about it, their outfield work was deserving of it. A great passing movement out of defence was carried on by Eoghan Finn deep into the Tralee defence where he lost possession, but in an attempt to clear his lines a defender only succeeded in knocking the ball back to his ‘keeper. However, Finn was in quickly to slip the ball home for a goal which tied the game for the seventh and final time.

Críost Rí then made their push for home with points by Philpott and Conor Horgan, and only a brilliant save by Tralee ‘keeper Peter Nammock, who deflected the shot over his crossbar, denied Luke Connolly a goal. In a hectic last five minutes, points by Jamie Moriarty kept the issue alive for his side, but it was fitting that Conor Horgan should have the final say with a point deep into injury time to round off a very impressive display.

Scorers for Críost Rí: C Hogan 0-6 (0-3 frees); E Finn 1-0; L Connolly 0-2; E McGreevey, C Dalton, J Philpott 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tralee CBS: J Moriarty 1-5 (0-3 frees); S Moloney 0-2; D Carroll, S Walsh 0-1 each.

CC RI: J Kerins; D O’Keeffe, K Fulignati, I Lucey; E Dennehy, T Lawrence, S Cronin; S O’Keeffe, E Finn; P Fitzgerald, E McGreevy, C Horgan; A Nolan, L Connolly, C Dalton.

Subs: J Philpott for Nolan (45); M Lyons for Lucey (45).

TRALEE CBS: P Nammock; R O’Shea, M Tierney, A Crean; I McCarthy, J Moran, C Deane; JC O’Connor, L Bastible; N Sheehy, S Walsh, S Moloney; R Quill, J Moriarty, S O’Callaghan.

Subs: D Carroll for Quill (20); J Savage for O’Callaghan (50).

Referee: M Meade (Limerick)

Allianz Hurling League Division 2 – Limerick 2-9 Clare 0-6

Limerick defeated Clare by 2-9 to 0-6 in Round 1 of the Allianz Hurling League Division 2 on Sunday at Cusack Park Ennis.

O’Grady relieves the pressure

Limerick 2-9 Clare 0-6

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

TRIUMPH for Donal O’Grady’s Limerick in this Allianz Hurling League Division Two opener in Ennis yesterday, disaster for Clare and their manager, Ger O’Loughlin. Unbeaten during the regular rounds last year, denied promotion only after a surprise loss to Wexford in the playoff, Clare were again expected to dominate the section this season. Limerick too were expected to figure in the final shakeup but given the turmoil in the county last year which saw them failing to win a competitive match after being shorn of the services of over 20 of their top players, this one was expected to be too big a test too early. So much for conventional wisdom.

Limerick hit the ground running, led by a goal to nil after four minutes (a drilled penalty by wing-forward Richie McCarthy after Graeme Mulcahy had been hauled down), and had extended that lead to nine points by the break, 2-4 to 0-1 (the livewire Mulcahy converting the goal, after a magnificent pass by teenage full-forward Kevin Downes). They then did enough to maintain that gap through a more evenly-contested second half. We could go into more detail on the actual match happenings but really there isn’t a lot of detail to examine; the damage was done in a first half in which Clare were awful, as reflected by their solitary point — and that from a free — while Limerick were simply efficient, converting six scores from nine opportunities.

Of more importance are the details surrounding this Limerick win, this Clare loss. First, Limerick. Not since July 18th 2009 had the men in green won a competitive match, against Laois in the All-Ireland qualifiers, yet here, and with several of the players considered surplus to requirements by last year’s manager, Justin McCarthy, they played as though they’d never been away. Keeper Nicky Quaid, making his debut, was solid as a rock, made a brave body-block to deny Darach Honan in the 59th minute, commanded his area under the high ball and placed his clearances and puckouts well.

The defence, solidly anchored by Stephen Lucey at full-back and Seamus Hickey in the centre, was focused and ever-vigilant, snuffing out danger. In midfield they monopolised with Donal O’Grady and youngster Paul Browne combining to great effect, while up front, all six forwards worked hard and efficiently. Put together, the hallmarks of a Donal O’Grady-coached side, and a display that left him satisfied – for the moment. “The performance was what we were looking for but the two points are handy. It comes down to workrate and there’s an awful lot of credit due to the lads themselves, they’ve worked really hard. We’ve only been training since January the 2nd, and I was honest when I said last week I didn’t know where we were. We’re happy with the win because it takes some pressure off — two points is important.”

That pressure wasn’t just on the returning players either, reckoned O’Grady. “Everyone was under pressure to perform. I was under pressure, Ciarán Carey, Pat Heffernan, TJ Ryan (his selectors), the whole backroom team — we were all under pressure to perform. We didn’t overkill it, but everyone going out on the field were aware of what they were expected to do. It worked for us today, it may not work next Saturday night against Westmeath, may not work the following match, but it worked today and we’re thankful for that. But it comes back to workrate; Jerry Wallis (trainer) has done excellent work with them since January. You’d be pleased, but it’s the start of a long campaign.”

Not at all pleased however – and understandably so – was Ger O’Loughlin. “We have to say that overall, based on that display, we’re rightly down in Division Two, we deserve to be there. Next week’s game now is even more important, we have to travel to Antrim, try and grind out a result, but if we don’t improve 100% on what we saw today we’ll struggle. “Our backs are to the wall, we let a lot of people down today with our display. It is a bitter pill to swallow. We regrouped for the second-half but overall we’ve no excuses; Limerick played well – we were just diabolical.”

Scorers for Limerick: R McCarthy 1-5 (1-0 pen., 0-4 frees); G Mulcahy 1-1; K Downes, J Ryan, D O’Grady 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: N O’Connell 0-2 (0-1 free, 0-1 65); C McGrath 0-2 (frees); F Lynch 0-1; C McInerney 0-1 (free).

Subs for Clare: C McInerney for McMahon (32); M Earley for Ryan (35); C Morey for Lynch (57); C O’Donovan for Conlan (65); S Collins for Honan (70).

Subs for Limerick: S Tobin for O’Shaughnessy (63); N Maher for Moran (70).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

Limerick step up to the plate for O’Grady

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Limerick 2-9 Clare 0-6

Monday February 14 2011

The Donal O’Grady era began yesterday for Limerick with a convincing statement of intent. From the warm-up in Ennis, Limerick’s attitude reflected a team that meant business, while their method and play mirrored the personality and core coaching philosophy of their manager; efficient, organised, together, defensively sound. Limerick were light years ahead of Clare in how they played as a unit, with all of their men playing with their heads up and continually looking to take the right option with the ball. Limerick had more experience and they physically dominated the game, but O’Grady’s fingerprints were still clearly visible in all aspects of their play. Their defence gobbled up Clare’s attack while Limerick’s midfielders, Paul Browne and Donal O’Grady, largely bossed the game. There were also tints of Cork’s old style evident in some of their support play.

Moreover, when Kevin Downes had a goal chance late on, he tried to bat the ball to the net; that was a ploy routinely practised in Cork under O’Grady, and which was often used to devastating effect later under John Allen. The performance was all the more impressive given that O’Grady’s team was a fusion of the players which were on both sides of the divide after the split in the squad under Justin McCarthy. Two of the standout performers were full-back Stephen Lucey and centre-back Seamus Hickey, both of whom didn’t play for Limerick last year.

“Honestly, I don’t know if there was pressure on the returning players to put in a big performance,” said O’Grady afterwards. “Everyone was under pressure to perform, including the backroom team. We didn’t overkill it, but everyone going out on the field was aware of what they were expected to do. “I was honest when I said last week that I didn’t know where we were at. The performance was what we were looking for, but the two points are handy. It comes down to work rate and there’s an awful lot of credit due to the lads themselves. They’ve worked really hard. You’d have to be pleased. “Any time you win a match, there’s a bit more of a buzz there, a bit more of a lift. All these things are important. Confidence is important.”

On the other hand, this was a complete horror show from Clare. They only managed one point from play, while their often woeful use of possession, lack of movement and cohesion up front, combined with the deficit in leadership, physicality and team-work has left the players and management with a huge amount of soul-searching to do. “Notwithstanding that Limerick played well, we were just diabolical,” said Clare manager Ger O’Loughlin. “We have to say that overall, we’re rightly down in Division 2 based on that display. We deserve to be there. “In fairness to Limerick they wanted it badly and we didn’t stand up to them. We let the ball out of our full-forward line far too easily. We allowed their full-back line and half-back line to dictate, especially in the first half. We regrouped for the second half but overall we’ve no excuses.”

Underfoot conditions were made extremely difficult due to a torrential downpour at the outset of the game, but Limerick got the perfect start after just three minutes with a goal from a penalty from Richie McCarthy. Although McCarthy hit five wides, he went on to notch 1-5. Limerick’s first score from play didn’t arrive until the 19th minute, but they had clearly established their dominance by that stage. They were completely on top around the middle third and in a period before half-time, they won six successive Clare puckouts and soon began to cash in on their glut of possession. Their second goal arrived on 29 minutes after Downes showed great composure to pick out Graham Mulcahy under pressure with a measured pass. Mulcahy made no mistake from close range and Limerick were cruising at half-time, 2-4 to 0-1.

Clare picked up the pace in the third quarter but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard and they finished the half with seven wides. Even their free-taking malfunctioned at times, with six missed frees in total over the 70 minutes. The one chance they had to get back into the game came in the 59th minute, but Nicky Quaid made a fine save from Darach Honan. Inexperience is clearly a factor for Clare at the moment. Only three of the 19 players they used are over 24, but yesterday’s performance was a whole new level of reality. With an away trip to come next week against Antrim, Clare need to get themselves sorted out, and fast. “We have to travel to Antrim and try to grind out a result up there,” said O’Loughlin. “If we don’t improve 100pc on what we saw today, we’ll struggle. Our backs are to the wall, we let a lot of people down today with our display. Maybe in a couple of weeks we mightn’t even be talking about this match. But as of now it’s a bitter pill to swallow.” For a Limerick team starting out under O’Grady, the taste was far sweeter.

Scorers — Limerick: R McCarthy 1-5 (1-0 pen, 4f), G Mulcahy 1-1, K Downes , D O’Grady, J Ryan 0-1 each. Clare: C McGrath (2f), N O’Connell (1f, 1 ’65’) 0-2 each, J McInerney (1,f), F Lynch 0-1 each.

Limerick — N Quaid; S Walsh, S Lucey, D Moloney; W McNamara, S Hickey, D Breen; D O’Grady, P Browne; R McCarthy, J Ryan, N Moran; A O’Shaughnessy, K Downes, G Mulcahy. Subs: S Tobin for O’Shaughnessy (63), N Maher for Moran (69).

Clare — D Tuohy; E Glynn, J McInerney, C Cooney; D O’Donovan, C Dillon, P Donnellan; N O’Connell, C Ryan; F Lynch, J Conlon, P O’Connor; D Honan, D McMahon, C McGrath. Subs: C McInerney for McMahon (33), M Earley for Ryan (h-t), C Morey for Lynch (50), C O’Donovan for Conlon (65), S Collins for Honan (69)

Ref — J Ryan (Tipperary)

Allianz Hurling League Division 2

From the GAA.ie web site

Limerick 2-8 Clare 0-6

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Donal O’Grady got off to a winning start in the league as Limerick manager as the Treaty County eased to an eight-point victory over a very disappointing Clare in Cusack Park. Clare were never in the game, despite the fact that Limerick didn’t really hit top gear in an underwhelming clash. There was a very tame opening to proceedings in Ennis as both sides struggled to find any fluency in the early exchanges.

Limerick’s first score came from the penalty spot with Richie McCarthy smashing to the net after Graham Mulcahy was taken down in the square. Conor McGrath got Clare off the mark with a point from a free, but after 20 minutes, there still hadn’t been a score from play from either team as the winter cobwebs took a while to be fully shed. Limerick were still clearly the better of the two sides though and they pulled themselves strongest from the ether. Their second goal came on 28 minutes, an angled drive to the net from Mulcahy. That made it 2-4 to 0-1.

Clare responded soon after with a point from Fergal Lynch bringing the first half to a close. The second half was a redundant affair, with Limerick having done all the damage in the first half. Both teams traded some scores but Limerick eased to their deserved eight-point win, with their two goals ultimately determining the outcome.

AIB All Ireland Junior Club Hurling Championship 2010/2011 Final – Meelin (Cork) 0-12 John Lockes (Kilkenny) 1-5

Meelin (Cork) defeated John Lockes (Kilkenny) by 0-12 to 1-5 in the AIB All Ireland Junior Club Hurling Championship 2010/2011 Final on Sunday at Croke Park.

Magnificent Meelin reach their final destination

Meelin (Cork) 0-12 John Locke’s (Kilkenny) 1-5

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

MEELIN rounded off their marvellous campaign with a flourish in Croke Park yesterday as they deservedly claimed the honours in the All-Ireland Club JHC final. The Duhallow side began their odyssey 12 months ago with the modest aims of conquering their own division, but their dynamic and fluid style of play saw them climb to the dizzying heights they attained yesterday. They may have unleashed some powerful performances to dismantle teams en route to the national decider but this latest victory was testament to Meelin’s courage as they held their nerve to survive a gritty battle against Callan representatives John Locke’s.

There was a brief phase of anxiety in the first-half for the Cork men when John Locke’s pounced for the solitary goal of the game. A monster clearance by centre-back John O’Neill in the 11th minute wasn’t dealt with by the Meelin rearguard and corner-forward Ger Shelley stole in to bundle the ball to the net. Meelin needed a period of time to settle down after that setback but once they achieved same, they proceeded to boss the remainder of the game.

By the full-time whistle, their manager Liam Ryan was elated at having successfully overseen the concluding chapter of a memorable tale: “It’s just a magical feeling. In the first 10 minutes, we weren’t performing well as we were waiting for something to happen. Then we got to grips with them and started working hard. That goal kept them in it for the whole game and my stomach had butterflies until the very last few seconds. Kilkenny teams do not die and they’re not beaten easily, so I didn’t relax until the end.”

Scanning the details of Meelin’s scoring return made for familiar reading. Their wonderful corner-forward Eamonn Brosnan has been shooting the lights out over the past 12 months and his standards did not dip on the club’s greatest day. His contribution stretched to more than six points though, as his deft touches and impressive vision created openings and bagged him the man-of-the-match award at the finish. A modest Brosnan declared: “That award is only a small thing. It’s about everyone today, the 26-man panel, the backroom staff, the club officers and supporters. They have all done their job brilliantly and today we got our reward. Words can’t describe it. You’d be thinking, what are we doing here at all in Croke Park? “Back in February last year when we started, we didn’t even think about this. But this team has been building at underage level and Liam came in to get it going brilliantly. He’s a super manager and this now is an unbelievable feeling.”

The post-match plaudits were not restricted to Meelin’s attacking star. Their defence was a resolute unit, epitomised by the displays of Denis O’Riordan and Diarmuid Linehan. John Locke’s shooting did betray their approach work in the first-half as they fired seven wides but Meelin’s defensive covering was also a factor in that tally. JP Corcoran nudged John Locke’s in front by 1-2 to 0-4 in the 20th minute yet Meelin closed strongly before the break with a brace of points by Brosnan and one from Jeremy Curtin sending them into a 0-7 to 1-2 lead. The opening period was hard-fought but the total of six yellow cards meted out was mystifying as there was no rancour in the exchanges.

The control that Meelin exerted in the third quarter proved pivotal to their ultimate triumph. They did not cough up openings at the back and managed to prise open the John Locke’s defence with William Murphy and DJ O’Sullivan to the fore. By the 40th minute, their advantage had swelled to 0-10 to 1-3 and the lead could have been extended only for Brosnan to lash a 45th minute penalty just over the crossbar. John Locke’s refused to succumb easily and they mounted a fierce assault to save the match in the closing stages.

Owen McGrath and Jason Corcoran, both members of last September’s Kilkenny All-Ireland minor winning team, worked extremely hard to instigate a revival. With nine minutes left, victory was still within their grasp as they only trailed by 0-11 to 1-5 thanks to points by McGrath and Simon Burke. However, Meelin’s composure was admirable with the excellent Brendan O’Sullivan claiming the insurance point and their management then made a splendid gesture in injury-time, introducing 38-year-old Tom O’Mahony as a substitute to enjoy All-Ireland glory after spending 23 years lining out in the junior hurling ranks for the club.

Scorers for Meelin: E Brosnan 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 pen); B O’Sullivan, DJ O’Sullivan 0-2 each; John Forrest, J Curtin 0-1 each.

Scorers for John Lockes: G Shelley 1-0; O McGrath 0-2 (one free); JP Corcoran, R Jackman, S Burke 0-1 each.

MEELIN: SM O’Sullivan; M Forrest, D O’Riordan, D Linehan; W Buckley, K Collins, Jerry Forrest; L Collins, W Murphy; John Forrest, S O’Riordan, B O’Sullivan; E Brosnan, J Curtin, DJ O’Sullivan. Subs: T O’Mahony for John Forrest (62).

JOHN LOCKES: P Morrissey; M Gordon, J Power, M Roche; A O’Sullivan, J O’Neill, M Hartley; O McGrath, J Corcoran; P Kennedy, JP Corcoran, R Jackman; S Bergin, G Shelley, S Burke. Subs: M Holohan for Gordon inj. (14), PJ Cody for Holohan (49).

Referee: O Elliott (Antrim).

Meelin (Cork) 0-12 John Lockes (Kilkenny) 1-5

From the GAA.ie web site

Meelin’s first-ever appearance in Croke Park ended in a deserved 0-12 to 1-5 defeat of Kilkenny’s John Lockes in the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final. Meelin dominated the game and were deserving of the four-point win, but John Lockes did come back strongly in the final quarter to ensure a nerve-jangling finish for the North Cork side. John Lockes scored a goal against the run of play in the first half when a long clearance that was meant as an early test for the Meelin full-back line caused chaos. Stephen M O’Sullivan, the Meelin goalkeeper, came for the ball but failed to gather possession and the sliothar fell kindly for Ger Shelley, who prodded into the empty net.

The goal could have shattered Meelin’s confidence, but they did not veer from their game plan and continued to play smart, confident hurling. They hit three successive points before the break and might easily have added a goal to their 0-7 to 1-2 lead at the break. Meelin were five points clear with 14 minutes to play, but they allowed Lockes back to within three points before Brendan O’Sullivan put the result beyond doubt with the insurance point two minutes from the end.

Meelin Scorers: E Brosnan 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 pen), DJ O’Sullivan 0-3, B O’Sullivan 0-2, S O’Riordan 0-1, J Curtin 0-1.

John Lockes Scorers: O McGrath 0-2 (0-1f), G Shelley 1-0, S Burke 0-1, R Jackman 0-1, JP Corcoran 0-1.

Meelin: S M O’Sullivan; M Forrest, D O’Riordan, D Linehan; W Buckley, K Collins, J Forrest; L Collins, W Murphy; J Forrest, S O’Riordan, B O’Sullivan; E Brosnan, J Curtin, DJ O’Sullivan. Subs: Thomas O’Mahony for J Forrest ’62.

John Lockes: P Morrissey; M Gordon, M Roche, J Power; A O’Sullivan, J O’Neill, M Hartley; JP Corcoran, J Corcoran; R Jackman, P Kennedy, O McGrath; G Shelley, S Burke, S Bergin. Subs: M Holohan for M Gordon (inj.) ’16, PJ Coady for M Holohan ’50.

Referee: Owen Elliot (Antrim)

AIB All Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Championship 2010/2011 Final – Ballymartle (Cork) 3-15 Dicksboro (Kilkenny) 1-20

Ballymartle’s finest hour

Ballymartle (Cork) 3-15 Dicksboro (Kilkenny) 1-20

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 14, 2011

TO the wider hurling public Darren McCarthy has carved a reputation as an excellent goalkeeper with Cork underage teams but for his club Ballymartle he will forever be associated with his contributions outfield after the stunning conclusion to yesterday’s All-Ireland club IHC final in Croke Park. With time ebbing away in this clash, an impressive Dicksboro team looked set to claim the club’s second national intermediate crown in six years and claim the scalp of a second South-East Cork team in the process.

Ballymartle trailed by 1-20 to 2-15 when McCarthy sized up a free 50 yards from the Hill 16 goal. McCarthy had produced a key performance over the hour, particularly when shifted from attack to midfield in the second-half, but he reserved his most significant input until the end when unleashing a dipping drive that deceived the Dicksboro defence and flew to the roof of the net. From the resultant puckout, referee Alan Kelly wound up proceedings and McCarthy was mobbed by his Ballymartle teammates. But the match-winner was not making claims to any wonder strikes after the final whistle. “I was fairly haunted,” he laughed. “I said I’d put it in the square and hope for the best, and it ended up in the net. It looked like the game might have been gone for us but every fella kept plugging away and we got the break.” On the sideline an exuberant Ballymartle boss Anthony McCarthy revealed there were conflicting calls from the management as to what McCarthy should do with that late free.

“There was one instruction from this sideline and another instruction from the other sideline. But we won’t say who gave the right one! Darren’s a great player and he made a big difference when we brought him out to midfield. The way we won was unbelievable. To be fair to Dicksboro, we did rob them. But it’s the best moment of my life.” It was an electric ending to a clash that throbbed with drama and intensity throughout. Dicksboro began the game in a lethargic fashion as they fell 0-6 to 0-0 adrift after six minutes. However they recovered with some scintillating displays by Danny Kenny, Ollie Walsh, Paul O’Flynn and Adrian Stapleton underpinning their comeback. The tour de force came from Martin Gaffney, a recent Kilkenny minor, and a player who posted a brilliant 0-12 tally.

Ballymartle’s spirit and battling qualities enabled them to eke out victory from such a bleak situation. They made a blistering opening to the game with Daniel Edmonds and Barry Dwyer on fire in front of goal. However Dicksboro got into their rhythm before the interval and only trailed 0-10 to 0-9 after dominating the second quarter. Indeed Ballymartle could well have been staring at a deficit but for the heroics of goalkeeper Declan McCarthy, who repelled a Shane Maher penalty in the 23rd minute and a goal bound drive by Stapleton two minutes later. Ballymartle’s aspirations received a major boost after the break when Jamie Dwyer expertly finished to the net in the 32nd minute to push them 1-11 to 0-9 in front.

However Dicksboro, inspired by the outstanding Gaffney and O’Flynn, took over proceedings and were 0-17 to 1-13 ahead in the 47th minute when Stapleton buried a fierce drive to the net. Ballymartle’s response was critical, though, as within a minute Barry Dwyer arrowed a long-range effort into the top corner of the net past a crowded Dicksboro defence. But the Kilkenny team seemed to cope with the concession of that strike to forge ahead once more and a spree of points placed them on the cusp of victory. Ballymartle kept battling away with Patrick Dwyer and Seamus Corry spearheading their drive, and they were grateful to Declan McCarthy once again in the 59th minute when he denied Stapleton again with a terrific block. Then Darren McCarthy crowned a standout individual performance by crashing in that injury-time goal to seal an improbable victory.

Scorers for Ballymartle: B Dwyer 1-7 (1-3 frees, 0-2 ‘65); Darren McCarthy (1-0 free), J Dwyer 1-2 each; D Edmonds 0-2; Dan Dwyer, J Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dicksboro: M Gaffney 0-12 (0-8 frees); A Stapleton 1-2; P O’Flynn 0-4; C O’Loughlin, S Maher 0-1 each.

BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; Declan Dwyer, M Tobin, D Coleman; J Kelly, P Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, G Webb; R Dwyer, B Dwyer, D Edmonds; J Dwyer, Dan Dwyer, Darren McCarthy.

Subs: C Coleman for Declan Dwyer (inj) (29), M O’Mahony for Webb (37), B Coleman for Sheehan (48), S O’Mahony for Edmonds (57), P Coughlan for J Dwyer (58).

DICKSBORO: S Morrissey; D Glynn, K Cuddihy, P Hogan; M Fagan, D Kenny, E Malone; D O’Gorman, C O’Loughlin; P O’Flynn, M Gaffney, O Walsh; C Starr, S Maher, A Stapleton.

Subs: K Nolan for O’Gorman (53), T Manning for Starr (58).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)

McCarthy’s late twist has ‘Martle on cloud nine

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Ballymartle 3-15 Dicksboro 1-20

All-Ireland Club IHC final

Monday February 14 2011

Sundays in September will always have the monopoly on great days out for most Cork GAA fans. But for the parish of Ballymartle, and the pride of it, this one in February will forever resonate. A climax of the highest drama capped off the most successful year in the club’s history. Darren McCarthy will be the name that will go down in folklore in the townland where the club takes its name from, and in Riverstick where they play their games. His goal — a dipping 50-yard free in the dying moments — stole the title from right underneath Dicksboro’s noses. In truth, the Kilkenny side could have won it, should have won it they’ll imagine, but such was the ebb and flow to this one that it was always in the balance until Alan Kelly blew the final whistle.

“Never give up,” said Ballymartle’s manager Anthony McCarthy afterwards. “That’s a characteristic we’ve had ever since we played the county championship down in Cork in Ballinspittle — with four minutes to go there (against Inniscarra) we were down by two points and we turned it around to win it by two. And that character in this team showed again today.” The single-point victory just about sums up the tightest of battles that ensued. Ballymartle will look back on their opening blitz as a key component in the winning of it. They burst from the blocks and from the early stages it looked as though it could be a cakewalk for the Cork side. Daniel Edmonds was in the thick of the exchanges, whipping over twice to see his side take the initiative and lead by five unanswered points within five minutes. Dicksboro, who were attempting to be the only side to win this title twice, were up for a fight and they pedalled back. Conor O’Loughlin and Martin Gaffney stemmed the early tide with two points to reduce the margin to four.

Having achieved senior status for the very first time, a year of unparalleled success looked to have instilled a confidence in the Rebel side that Dicksboro were finding hard to get to grips with, and in the 10th minute great work from Barry Dwyer resulted in his brother Jamie whipping over ‘Martle’s eighth point to lead by six. Ballymartle ‘keeper Declan McCarthy then conceded a penalty after tripping up Paul O’Flynn, but McCarthy stood tall to save Shane Maher’s free puck. The defensive heroics couldn’t mask the fact that Ballymartle were coming under increasing pressure and at half-time Dicksboro had cut the arrears to a single point with Stapleton, Gaffney and O’Flynn all capitalising on possession gained with points.

‘Martle shifted around the forward line, with Ruairi Dwyer moving into full-forward. Immediately after the break he found the net after he inadvertently dummied Sam Morrissey when he mis-hit the crucial strike. Dicksboro fought back with points from Maher and Gaffney and they finally overtook their opponents when Stapleton smashed to the net after Derek O’Gorman had found him with a precise handpass. Just when Dicksboro were about to turn the screw, Barry Dwyer saw his ’65 land in the back of Morrissey’s net, but Gaffney, who was at the centre of everything for Dicksboro, looked to have clinched it with a late point. McCarthy’s goal at the death seemed almost too dramatic, but perhaps it was a fitting end to a fascinating game.

SCORERS — Ballymartle: B Dwyer 1-7 (3f, 2 ’65’s), D McCarthy 1-2, R Dwyer 1-0, D Edmonds, J Dwyer 0-2 each, D Kelly, D Dwyer 0-1 each. Dicksboro: M Gaffney 0-12 (8f), A Stapleton 1-2, P O’Flynn 0-4, S Maher, C O’Loughlin 0-1 each.

Ballymartle — D McCarthy; D Coleman, M Tobin, B Dwyer; J Kelly, P Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, G Webb; B Dwyer, R Dwyer, D Edmonds; D McCarthy, D Dwyer, J Dwyer. Subs: B Coleman for Sheehan (48), C Coleman for Dwyer (32).

Dicksboro — S Morrissey; D Glynn, K Cuddihy, P Hogan; M Fagan, D Kenny, E Malone; D O’Gorman, C O’Loughlin; P O’Flynn, M Gaffney, O Walsh; C Starr, S Maher, A Stapleton. Subs: K Nolan for O’Gorman (54).

Ref — A Kelly (Galway)

Ballymartle (Cork) 3-15 Dicksboro (Kilknenny) 1-20

From the GAA.ie web site

A goal from a 50-metre Darren McCarthy free two minutes into added time ensured it was a day of double celebration for Cork’s Clubs at Croke Park on Sunday, as Ballymartle claimed the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Championship in dramatic fashion. McCarthy’s free broke Dicksboro hearts, but, in truth, they should have been well ahead at that point, as a minute before the winning goal, Adrian Stapleton should have settled the game in the Kilkenny side’s favour, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Declan McCarthy, the Ballymartle goalkeeper.

The Ballymartle netminder was the hero for the Cork side, saving a penalty from Shane Maher in the first half as well as making another outstanding stop from Stapleton in the 26th minute. Ballymartle roared into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after six minutes but Dicksboro, inspired by the outstanding Martin Gaffney (0-12), rallied to trail by a single point, 0-10 to 0-9, at the break. All the drama, however, came in the second half, with Jamie Dwyer netting for the Rebel County outfit two minutes after the restart.

Dicksboro responded with seven unanswered points, taking the lead for the first time in the 40th minute thanks to a Paul O’Flynn score. Stapleton then put the Kilkenny champions in the driving seat by raising a green flag in the 47th minute. The Ballymartle response was immediate. Barry Dwyer’s free was misjudged by Dicksboro goalkeeper Sam Morrissey and drifted into the top corner of the net, leaving just a point between the sides. Undaunted, Dicksboro continued to press and should have settled the game as a contest with a minute left on the clock but Declan McCarthy saved brilliantly from Stapleton, when the Dicksboro man probably should have tapped the ball over the bar. Nevertheless, Gaffney sent the Noresiders two clear in added time with his 12th point of the game, but in the gathering gloom, Darren McCarthy fired the most unlikely of winning goals as his long-range free – which he later admitted was an attempted lob into the square – dropped into the top corner of the net, giving Ballymartle a one-point win.

Ballymartle Scorers: B Dwyer 1-7 (1-3 frees, 0-2 ’65); Darren McCarthy (1-0 free), J Dwyer 1-2 each; D Edmonds 0-2; Dan Dwyer, J Kelly 0-1 each.

Dicksboro Scorers: M Gaffney 0-12 (0-8 frees); A Stapleton 1-2; P O’Flynn 0-4; C O’Loughlin, S Maher 0-1 each.

Ballymartle: Declan McCarthy; Declan Dwyer, M Tobin, D Coleman; J Kelly, P Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, G Webb; R Dwyer, B Dwyer, D Edmonds; J Dwyer, Dan Dwyer, Darren McCarthy. Subs: C Coleman for Declan Dwyer (inj) (29), M O’Mahony for Webb (37), B Coleman for Sheehan (48), S O’Mahony for Edmonds (57), P Coughlan for J Dwyer (58).

Dicksboro: S Morrissey; D Glynn, K Cuddihy, P Hogan; M Fagan, D Kenny, E Malone; D O’Gorman, C O’Loughlin; P O’Flynn, M Gaffney, O Walsh; C Starr, S Maher, A Stapleton. Subs: K Nolan for O’Gorman (53), T Manning for Starr (58).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)