Senior All-Ireland Inter-County Football Vocational Schools Final – Cork 0-13 Kildare 0-12

Cork celebrate after nerve-jangling end

Cork 0-13 Kildare 0-12

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Cork boss Hughie Murphy insisted the All-Ireland Vocational Schools’ senior inter-county football championship is worth retaining following his team’s victory in Saturday’s final at Templetuohy. Murphy masterminded Cork’s third victory in five seasons but GAA chiefs have decreed the competition will be suspended for two years. Murphy said: “Christy Cooney or Páraic Duffy won’t be ringing me asking for my opinion but for what it’s worth, I think it’s definitely worth keeping. We operate from November to February and it’s a time of year where minors and county teams all over the country are banned from training but you spot them in pitches on Saturday mornings. “Some of those guys will give the minor selectors something to think about now – from smaller, rural clubs or maybe hurling clubs. “Daniel Nyhan (Ballinascarty) is an example. I don’t think he’s got a look in but he was outstanding there and last Saturday in the semi-final win over (last year’s winners) Donegal. But hopefully we’ll see it back – it’s only suspended for two years.”

Cork’s latest title was achieved in thrilling fashion as Gearóid Finn’s 56th minute free settled a tie that was level six times. There was still time for late drama as Kildare forward Kelvan McNally, who had kicked two superb scores from play, screwed a late free wide when a point would have taken the game into extra-time. At half-time, Cork found themselves 0-3 to 0-6 behind but corner-forward Mark Quinn had twice rattled the Kildare crossbar, prompting Murphy to joke: “I had twenty quid with him that he’d hit the crossbar in the second half!”

Cork then took over after half-time, hitting back to move 0-12 to 0-8 clear before Kildare rallied in a see-saw battle to level at 0-12 apiece. But the young Rebels held their nerve to get the job done and Murphy added: “We’re delighted for them – Cork’s a very big county and Sean Terry (O’Sullivan) took two and a half hours to get back to Garnish last Thursday night after training, leaving Mallow at ten past nine. That kind of commitment speaks volumes for the kids and their families.”

Scorers for Cork: D O’Connor, S.T. O’Sullivan, M Quinn, I Walsh & G Finn (2f), 0-2 each, K Crowley, D Nyhan & G Barry 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: N Flynn 0-7 (2f), K McNally & W Fitzpatrick (1f), 0-2 each, C Jennings 0-1.

CORK: D Casey; K Dennehy, J Lynch, D Canty; K Crowley, C de hÍde, D Nyhan; M Murphy, G Farrell; G O’Shea, D O’Connor, S.T. O’Sullivan; M Quinn, G Barry, G Finn.

Subs: I Walsh for Murphy (18), R Cahalane for O’Shea (53), M Taylor for Lynch (57).

KILDARE: D Byrne; J Kennedy, T O’Connell, E Dempsey; C O’Donoghue, B Nolan, E Farrelly; A Bannon-Whelan, G Savage; R Casey, W Fitzpatrick, K McNally; N Flynn, E O’Keeffe, C Jennings.

Subs: C Davin for Farrelly (22), D Hannon for Casey (50), L McCabe for Jennings (56).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

Corn an Rúnaí Senior C Football Final – St Fintan’s, Doon CBS 3-8 Patrician Academy, Mallow 1-12

Doon CBS on the double

St Fintan’s, Doon CBS 3-8 Patrician Academy, Mallow 1-12

By Diarmuid Sheehan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

St Fintan’s, Doon CBS secured their second provincial title of the season with a narrow Munster Colleges S‘C’FC final victory in Mallow on Saturday. The Limerick outfit, who claimed Senior B hurling honours a week ago, fought back superbly from a four-point deficit late on to sneak past a fancied Patrician Academy side by two points. Three superb goals from Cappawhite’s Russell Quirke set the tone for the day as the Doon outfit played a clinical counter-attacking game. Points from Aaron Sheehan and a Ryan Harkin penalty looked to have sealed the win before Doon’s late surge snatched victory.

Scorers for Doon: R Quirke 3-1 (1-0 pen), D Donovan 0-4 (0-3f), P Ryan 0-2, K Hewston 0-1f.

Scorers for Mallow: M Heffernan 0-8 (0-6f), R Harkin 1-1 (1-0 pen), A Sheehan 0-3.

ST FINTAN’S DOON CBS: T Ryan; T Berkley, S Ryan, J Hayes; C Berkley, P Roche, S Ryan; D Stapleton, T Fox; K Hewston, R English, M Dee; P Ryan, D O’Donovan, R Quirke.

MALLOW: P Buckley: N O’Keeffe, L Cronin, J Murphy; E O’Regan, P Herlihy, C Casey; K O’Connor, G Linehan; R Harkin, M Heffernan, A Sheehan; C Crawley, D O’Callaghan, D Clogan. Subs: J O’Hanlon for L Cronin (33), M O’Rourke for D Clogan (43), D Sheahan for C Crawley (48), M Dineen for E O’Regan (48).

Referee: M Meade (Ballylanders)

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A – Cork 3-17 Waterford 0-18

Lehane leads Rebel charge

Cork 3-17 Waterford 0-18

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

The bumper Cork crowd in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night might have come to see a local hero return to the big show, but they saw a new star announce himself in the home side’s Allianz Hurling League Divison 1A win over Waterford. Conor Lehane of Midleton scored seven points from play in Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s first game back as Cork manager, and the youngster was the main topic of conversation for match goers afterwards strolling in the Boreenmanna Road. “He was excellent,” said Barry-Murphy. “It wouldn’t take a genius to pick him for the team. He’s a major talent in Cork and people have seen that for the last couple of years. He was excellent.”

Cork were slow to start, conceding three points in the first six minutes, but then Lehane rattled over three points of his own to tie it up and the home side drove on from there. They had three goals before the break – from Paudie O’Sullivan (two) and Cathal Naughton – and led by 12 at one stage. Waterford rallied in the second-half and cut the deficit to six on the back of Martin O’Neill and Pádraic Mahony’s accuracy, but the superb Lehane had three of Cork’s last four points as the men in red finished with a flourish.

A little context: Waterford boss Michael Ryan could point to a hefty injury list, medium term absentees like John Mullane and Tony Browne, and four experienced men – Noel Connors, Aidan Kearney, Shane O’Sullivan and Maurice Shanahan — pulling out on the day of the game. Consequently the Déise boss had to start Pádraic Mahony for his fourth game in a week. “There were ten fellas who would have been in contention for places that were missing and we lost another two during the game,” said Ryan. “But that’s not an excuse. Cork played very well, they have very pacey forwards and they will take a lot of beating in the summer. “But overall we scored 18 points and we had a lot of young fellas that never played before so there is plenty to work with.”

Ryan neatly sidestepped the possibility of recalls for John Mullane and Eoin Kelly — “We won’t panic and hopefully by the time the league is over we’ll know a lot more about the strength of our panel” — and said a goal was what his team had lacked. “We just needed a goal in the second-half but we didn’t create any goal chances. “We needed a goal to bring us back into it but I knew we would fight to the very end.”

His opposite number was praising his defence for that lack of green flags. “Donal Óg was brilliant in goal, in particular his control of one ball in the first half,” said Barry-Murphy. “Our full back line was excellent, and Ross Cashman, in his first game at this level, was a revelation. To be ultra-critical it was an average enough second-half, we let Waterford back within five or six points at one stage. We were a bit slack in that department and have to work on that. We didn’t get any ball into our full-forward line either, which isn’t good enough.”

The Cork icon wasn’t entertaining any suggestion of hype, either: “It’ll be very easy to keep a lid on the hype because we know where we’re coming from, we’re not fools. Waterford were short a good number of players, four defections before a game would kill you, so we know we have a lot of work to do.” Barry-Murphy will be realistic about the Waterford challenge but will still be pleased with a display yielding 3-16 from play. Darren Sweetnam, another teenager, held his own at midfield and chipped in a sweet point, while Seán Óg Ó hAilpín put in a solid shift alongside him. The big home crowd was also a fair barometer of the positivity within the county about the team.

In the other dressing-room, Michael Ryan and his men have a task on their hands preserving their Division One status. Defeat in the opening game means a team is facing the wind, as it were, from then on, and Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh could find his sojourn at centre-forward short-lived as he’s moved back to stiffen up the defence. Still, as both men were saying in different ways, it’s still only February. There’s a long year there yet.

Scorers for Cork: C Lehane 0-7, P O’Sullivan 2-1, P Horgan 0-4 (0-1 f), C Naughton 1-1, B O’Connor, D Sweetnam, P Cronin, S Óg Ó hAilpín 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: M. O’Neill 0-5 (0-3 fs), P Mahony 0-4 (0-3 fs), G O’Brien 0-2, P O’Brien, K Moran, J Nagle, K Casey, S Prendergast, E McGrath, T Ryan 0-01 each.

Subs for Cork: T Kenny for Sweetnam (49 mins), L McLoughlin for Gardiner (55), L O’Farrell for Naughton (64), B Corry for Lehane (68).

Subs for Waterford: E McGrath for S Walsh (half-time), P Prendergast for D Prendergast, G O’Brien for O’Neill (both 57 mins), T Ryan for Casey (63), D Twomey for S Prendergast (68).

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)


JBM’s Rebels off to flying start

Report from the web site

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A: Cork 3-17 Waterford 0-18

Cork made the perfect start to life under new manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night, where three first half goals helped the Rebels to an eight-point win over Waterford. Man of the match Conor Lehane exemplified everything that was good about Cork’s performance, scoring seven points from play in a spell binding display. Cork trailed early on but they then hit 1-6 without reply in 13 first half minutes to turn the game on its head, with Lehane scoring three of those points and full-forward Paudie O’Sullivan pouncing for a fine goal. Two more goals followed just before the half hour mark, Cathal Naughton finishing a brilliant Cork move and then O’Sullivan taking advantage of some slack Déise defending to give the home side an unassailable 3-8 to 0-5 lead.

Although Waterford opened the second half with three points in a row and Cork were struggling in midfield, Michael Ryan’s charges never closed the gap to anything less than the five points they trailed by after 52 minutes, when Paudie O’Mahony struck two frees in quick succession. Lehane, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Patrick Horgan ended any hopes of a Waterford comeback with three quickfire scores. Lehane, though, stole the show and guaranteed himself the man of the match award when he hit three superb points from play in the final 10 minutes.

Cork looked nervous in the opening minutes in front of the bumper crowd in Páirc Uí Rinn and it was Waterford who made the better start, with Paul O’Brien, Kevin Moran and Martin O’Neill putting the visitors three points clear inside the first five minutes. Cork soon settled, however, with 19-year-old Lehane showing well at wing-forward, and three points inside 10 minutes from the Midleton prodigy helped the Rebels to take control of the game. Barry-Murphy’s fingerprints were all over some of Cork’s eye-catching forward play, with Lehane, Pa Cronin and Ben O’Connor in particular causing the Déise defence huge problems.

O’Connor and Cronin combined well to send Paudie O’Sullivan through for Cork’s first goal on 20 minutes, before Naughton breached the Waterford goal for a second time seven minutes later, again after a sweet move down the left flank. The game was effectively over when O’Sullivan, the Cork full-forward, beat his man to a high ball in front of the small square and finished neatly past Ian O’Regan, the Waterford goalkeeper.

Waterford hit two points just before the break, through Paudie O’Mahony and O’Neill, but they still went in at the break trailing by 10 points, 3-8 to 0-7. Waterford manager Ryan must have given his players an earful at half-time because they were certainly far more lively after the resumption of play, hitting the first three points of the second half.

The Cork forwards weren’t getting anywhere near the freedom they were allowed earlier in the game and debutant Darren Sweetnam was struggling with the pace of the game, forcing Barry-Murphy to make a change in midfield, with the experienced Tom Kenny coming on as a sub. Ó hAilpín, making his first start in a Cork jersey since August 2010, slotted over a fine point to settle any Cork nerves before Lehane enraptured the home crowd with a string of points in the closing quarter to seal a hugely satisfying win for the Rebels.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B – Clare 2-24 Limerick 1-13

Banner ‘avalanche’ levels Limerick

Limerick 1-13 Clare 2-24

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Davy Fitzgerald’s Clare produced a near-perfect display to dismantle and demolish their Limerick hosts in a thrilling league opener at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday. Ironically, it was Limerick who had the dream start, with Niall Moran goaling in the second minute after some great work by Graeme Mulcahy and David Breen. Shane Dowling then followed up with three points as the home side established a 1-6 to 0-4 lead by the 21st minute. It was at that point, however, that Clare clicked into gear. A goal by full-forward Colin Ryan, after he was skilfully picked out by Fergal Lynch, was the spark as the Banner landed eight points in-a-row, with corner-forwards Conor McGrath and Cathal McInerney doing most of the damage. Dowling managed a brace before half-time for Limerick, leaving them just four behind (1-12 to 1-8), but another good run by Clare on the restart yielded five points.

With Nickey O’Connell and John Conlan prominent, Limerick began to fall off the pace. And when McGrath goaled again for Clare in the 57th minute (brilliantly picked out by Seanie Collins) to make it 2-19 to 1-10, it was game over. Fitzgerald admitted: “When we went down five points it wasn’t looking great but I had a feeling we just hadn’t got into gear. We gave up a soft goal at the start and we know why that happened and it was something that we had talked about for a few weeks coming into this and that will stand us in good stead. We recovered very well afterwards and they stuck to their stuff.”

To say that Clare were impressive is to understate things. Once they got into their rhythm they were superb. Their touch and control was a level above Limerick’s, their teamwork and combination repeatedly tore the home team asunder, but most eye-catching of all was their hurling intelligence, their heads-up play. Even this early in the season it has thrown down a marker, not just for the other teams in this division but even for those in the top six. Certainly Limerick manager John Allen believes his own side have catching-up to do. “After 15 minutes it looked like we were going to dominate the game, but they started winning at midfield, started winning in the half-back line, and they overran us from then on. We came back into it for a few minutes before half-time but again they overran us in the second half. They had so much play that we were being beaten everywhere. It was like an avalanche at times.”

Given the nature of this year’s league, a five-game sprint, this loss — and the nature of it — leaves Limerick under pressure. Allen though isn’t throwing in any towel: “There’s no doubt we are behind in sharpness, but it’s day one, we have to keep the heads up, focus on the next game. This is over, if we can win the next four games we can make it to the final of this but on that performance we have a lot of work to do.”

Clare have their own work to do, but if the redoubtable Davy Fitzgerald has them playing like this after only a few weeks of combined hurling training — the team points they scored, the way they sliced open the Limerick defence time after time — what will he have them like when the clock changes and the ground firms up? There is plenty for the Clare supporters to look forward to but, says the man himself, easy awhile on the expectations. “It’s only the first round of the league and there’s no point the people of Clare getting carried away. All they can expect — and I said this from day one — is a hard-working team. We have things to work on and we will have dips. In the long run the lads won’t be too far away; it’s going to take time but we’re on the right track.”

Scorers for Clare: C McGrath 1-11 (0-9f); C Ryan 1-1; J Conlon 0-3; N O’Connell 0-3; C McInerney 0-2; S Collins 0-2; F Lynch, P Donnellan, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-7 (0-4f); N Moran 1-1; D O’Grady 0-2; C Allis 0-2 (0-1 s/l); K Downes 0-1.

Subs for Clare: E Barrett (Bugler 64); L Markham (Lynch 64); C Galvin (Ryan 69).

Subs for Limerick: P O’Brien (J Ryan inj. 10); K Downes (S O’Brien 35); S Walsh (O’Mahony inj. 35); T Quaid (M Ryan 47); J O’Brien (O’Grady 55).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)


Fitzgerald’s Clare blitz Limerick

Report from the web site

Davy Fitzgerald has taken every available opportunity to tell people that his young Clare side are a long-term project, but this 14-point win over Limerick on Saturday night will raise hopes that the former All-Ireland winning goalkeeper is on the verge of bringing the county back to the top table.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B: Limerick 1-13 Clare 2-24

Having twice beaten Clare in the Allianz League last year, the home side were firm favourites to make it three in a row at the Gaelic Grounds, but Fitzgerald’s players delivered a performance of massive intensity to ensure a tough start to life as the Treaty County manager for Cork native John Allen. Conor McGrath was Clare’s stand-out performer on the night, scoring 1-10, to ensure a hugely satisfying start to the new campaign for Clare. An early Niall Moran goal gave Limerick the perfect start, and things appeared to be going to plan for Allen when his side led by 1-4 to 0-4 at the end of the first quarter.

However, things then began to unravel for Limerick in the second quarter, as Colin Lynch scored Clare’s opening goal after 22 minutes, hitting the back of the net after taking Fergal Lynch’s pass in his stride. Remarkably, Clare then hit 1-8 without reply and moved 1-12 to 1-6 ahead before a couple of Shane Dowling points left four points between the sides at the break. Four points in a row on the resumption of play left the Banner in control, before McGrath hit a goal in the 57th minute to further enhance his personal tally.