Allianz Football League Division 1 – Cork 1-12 Dublin 0-12

Gritty Rebels on spring roll

Cork 1-12 Dublin 0-12

By Fintan O’Toole, Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the Irish Examiner newspaper

The 2010 All-Ireland champions maintained their status as league specialists while the 2011 kingpins’ interest in springtime endeavours are terminated. Those were the outcomes to be digested after yesterday’s Division 1 league encounter in Páirc Uí Chaoimh where 3,707 patrons witnessed an Easter Sunday game that lacked the thunder of championship fare but still revealed enough to confirm both Cork and Dublin can travel far this summer.

Cork’s stab at a four-in-a-row of sorts – after a Division 2 title in 2009 and the last two Division 1 crowns – is still intact as they booked a semi-final berth against Down next Sunday. They have firmly bossed their ties against the Mourne men in recent times yet their opponents will have renewed vigour when they meet next. Conor Counihan watched his Aghada clubmate Pearse O’Neill swing over the late point that copper-fastened Cork’s triumph and shifted focus to the next challenge. “It will be a good game for us – probably in Croke Park, I’d imagine – so we’ll be looking forward to that. We’ve seen a lot of each other over the past three years and it won’t be easy but we’ll give it our best shot,” he said.

There were enough good things about Cork’s performance in the first-half here that ultimately ensured they secured victory. The decisive score in the 19th minute had a hint of good fortune about it when Aidan Walsh’s fingertips interrupted the flight of Graham Canty’s long ball and with Michael Savage hesitant in the Dublin goal, the ball bounced into the corner. But elsewhere Cork were impressive from the assurance of Michael Shields at full-back, the holes Eoin Cadogan punched in his forays forward and the threat Walsh posed in his deployment at full-forward. When Walsh found the net they were ahead 1-5 to 0-1 and the interval advantage was still substantial as they lead 1-8 to 0-5.

The final score of the half from Colm O’Neill that originated from a great turnover by Fintan Goold was typical of Cork’s early drive. Yet those standards slumped after the break in the face of a strong wind and Dublin renaissance. “Four points in the second half – you wouldn’t win many games with that,” reflected Counihan. “The key for us is that if you’re not going to dominate for 70 minutes we need to dominate for longer periods. We need to be more consistent and it’s something we’re struggling with.”

His opposite management number could relate to that statement. Pat Gilroy did not mince his words in the wake of the previous weekend’s humbling in Castlebar and the opening quarter of this game held the worrying forecast that a repeat was on the cards. But Dublin ploughed away with Rory O’Carroll, Michael Darragh MacAuley and Kevin McManamon proficient in that regard. They strung together four points on the trot after the break, all stylish scores from play courtesy of Bryan Cullen, Fennell, McManamon and MacAuley, to trim the gap to two.

The momentum was behind them but Dublin could not bridge the gap. They were not helped by errant shooting with Diarmuid Connolly the biggest culprit. Cork managed to gain a foothold in the game once more. The O’Neills, Pearse and Colm, prised apart Dublin’s mass defence to take the sting out of the capital side’s comeback. Despite McManamon looking like he could do damage, Dublin were never able to carve open the Cork defence. Still their manager was adopting a half-full glass attitude after.

“We’d be a hell of a lot happier than we were this time last week,” he said. “I thought our discipline was good today. I thought we were actually doing alright in the first-half except we conceded a stupid goal. In the second half in particular we really showed plenty of appetite for the fight. “But we missed far too much, we had 14 or 15 wides, far too many in a game against somebody like Cork.”

Gilroy boarded the bus back to Dublin with the league scrubbed from memory and their focus trained on championship matters. “We have eight weeks now to get ourselves right for the championship. It was a very important day for us today to get a good performance out of ourselves. “We know the bottom line for us in the championship is if we have that intensity, we’ll be a good team. That is the clear message from the league – the couple of games where we were really off that, we were brutal.”

Scorers for Cork: A Walsh 1-1, C O’Neill 0-4 (2fs), D O’Connor (f), P Kerrigan, P O’Neill 0-2 each, F Goold 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: D Connolly 0-5 (2fs), B Cullen, MD MacAuley, K McManamon 0-2 each, E Fennell 0-1.

Subs for Cork: P Kissane for Kiely (ht), N Murphy for O’Connor (55), N O’Leary for Cadogan (65), J O’Sullivan for Cotter (67).

Subs for Dublin: D Bastic for Murray (32), B Cahill for Byrne (ht), P Brogan for Nolan (61), D Kelly for Dias (61), R McConnell for Fennell (66).

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

Allianz Football League Division 3 – Tipperary 0-11 Offaly 0-8

Tipp win sends Offaly down

Tipperary 0-11 Offaly 0-08

By Jackie Cahill, Clonmel for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Tipperary, already relegated from Division 3, took Offaly with them yesterday as Peter Creedon’s first game in charge of the Premier County produced a deserved three-point win. Offaly’s players knew relegation rivals Cavan were losing to Antrim and victory for the Faithful County would have saved their skins. But this was a desperately disappointing performance from a poor Offaly team as their six starting forwards managed just a single point from play between them, scored by Michael Brazil in the second half. Offaly trailed 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time but spurned three early goal chances. Barry Grogan finished as Tipperary’s leading scorer once again with six points, including three from play. And Creedon’s substitutions worked a treat as Tipp collected their first League win of the season. Bernard O’Brien scored three points after coming on while fellow subs Donagh Leahy and Alan Moloney bagged a point each.

Scorers for Tipperary: B Grogan 0-6 (3fs), B O’Brien 0-3 (1f), A Moloney, D Leahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: B O’Connor 0-4, B Allen 0-2fs, A Mulhall (45), M Brazil 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; R Kiely, P Codd, A Morrissey; A Campbell, R Costigan, C McDonald; G Hannigan, H Coghlan; D Heffernan, P Acheson, A Matassa; M Quinlivan, C Sweeney, B Grogan.

Subs: D Leahy for Matassa (ht), B O’Brien for Sweeney (ht), A Moloney for Heffernan (54).

OFFALY: A Mulhall; J Moloney, E Rigney, J Gallagher; P McConway, B Darby, D Kelly; B O’Connor, A McNamee; M Brazil, A Kennaghan, G Guilfoyle; B Allen, N Dunne, A Sullivan.

Subs: N Darby for Guilfoyle (50), J Coughlan for Sullivan (62).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Allianz Football League Division 1 – Kerry 1-12 Mayo 1-12

Sheehan rescues Kingdom in Act I

Kerry 1-12 Mayo 1-12

By Kieran McCarthy, Austin Stack Park for the Irish Examiner newspaper

If the sequel matches the original then next weekend’s Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-final between Kerry and Mayo is certainly not one to miss. Despite trailing by eight points (1-8 to 0-3) at one stage in the first-half, table-toppers Kerry salvaged a last-gasp draw against 14-man Mayo, thanks to a Bryan Sheehan trademark free in injury-time. After a game that had everything — a Mayo red-card, a Kerry penalty, a host of yellow cards, a disallowed Kingdom goal and an injury-time leveller — the two counties will now clash again next weekend in a league semi-final.

But Kerry boss Jack O’Connor was satisfied that his charges stretched the county’s unbeaten run to five games, insisting momentum is important. “We started poorly and gave them an eight-point lead but we were determined to keep the run going for as long as we can so it was good to come back and get the draw. Our fellas fought tooth and nail. We had a lot of new players in there. It was a great experience and they will improve from it.” And even though this draw was enough to take Mayo into the league semi-finals and banish any prospect of relegation, manager James Horan admitted his side struggled once wing-back Lee Keegan was red-carded (two yellows) 11 minutes into the-second-half. “That affected us as we ran out of juice in the second half and Kerry came on strong at us. We held out though and got in some good turnovers. We had chances near the end but the lads did not take the right shot options. We had a couple frees in the scoring-zone that we missed but we will look at those and review them.”

Mayo bossed the majority of the first-half, thanks to the midfield dominance of Aidan O’Shea and the forward prompting of Andy Moran, Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon and Cillian O’Connor. They moved 0-3 to 0-1 ahead inside ten minutes, with O’Connor (2 frees) and Jason Doherty on target. While Kerry drew level (0-3 apiece) and had a Colm Cooper goal disallowed, Mayo rattled off 1-5 without reply to surge 1-8 to 0-3 ahead, as Jason Doherty fisted a Cillian O’Connor centre to the net.

The hosts, wearing black armbands in memory of former Kerry players John Egan and Dermot Hanafin who passed away in recent days, finished the half on a high, when a pair of Sheehan frees sandwiched efforts from Cooper and Patrick Curtin and Kerry trailed 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time. Needing inspiration, Kerry rolled their big guns off the bench, with Paul Galvin, Darran O’Sullivan, Marc Ó Sé and Declan O’Sullivan all called into action for “a bit of composure and a bit and energy” according to O’Connor. Early scores from Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor (free) and Alan Dillon pushed Mayo 1-11 to 0-8 after 45 mins, but then after Lee Keegan was dismissed, the tide turned in Kerry’s favour.

After a Sheehan free was cancelled out by an Andy Moran point — Mayo’s last of the day after 48 minutes — the Kingdom made their move, with a Galvin point, soon followed by a Sheehan penalty after Cooper was fouled in the square (1-12 to 1-10). Just after another Kerry penalty shout was waved away, when Patrick Curtin went down, another Sheehan free set-up a grand-stand finish. And the Kerry midfielder delivered in injury-time, squaring the match so both counties must do it all again next weekend in a league semi-final.

Scorers for Kerry: B Sheehan 1-6 (1-0 pen, 6f), P Curtin 0-3, C Cooper 0-2, P Galvin 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor (0-6, frees), J Doherty (1-1), K McLoughlin (0-2), A Dillon, A Moran, D Clarke (‘45’) (0-1 each).

Subs for Kerry: P Galvin for D O’Callaghan (ht); Darran O’Sullivan for BJ Keane (ht); M Ó Sé for E Brosnan (45); Declan O’Sullivan for K O’Leary (47); J O’Donoghue for J Buckley (58).

Subs for Mayo: K Keane for E Reilly (47); C Mortimer for M Conroy (48); E Regan for C O’Connor (55); S McHale for J Doherty (68).

Referee: M Condon (Waterford)

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Leitrim 0-15 Waterford 1-8

Lively Leitrim pull clear in second half

Leitrim 0-14 Waterford 1-08

By PJ Leddy, Carrick-on-Shannon for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Leitrim sent Waterford home pointless from their long journey to Carrick-on-Shannon. A slightly more committed Leitrim grabbed a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 14th minute, with Emlyn Mulligan tapping over three frees and Robbie Lowe adding two points from play. But Eamonn Walsh replied with a Waterford point and a Liam Ó Lionáin goal was followed by an Eamon Walsh point a minute later to put Waterford level. Leitrim claimed a 0-8 to 1-3 half-time lead thanks to a Mulligan free and a Lowe point. After the restart Leitrim surged ahead when Mulligan put over two more frees but Waterford answered almost immediately with a Shane Briggs point from play and free by substitute Mark Ferncombe. Leitrim outgunned Waterford 0-5 to 0-3 in the remainder of the action when Mulligan found the range from three further frees and sub Ray Cox shot over twice from play.

Scorers for Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-8 (7fs), R Lowe 0-3, R Cox 0-2, S Moran, W McKeon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: L Ó’Lonáin 1-0, C McGrath, S Briggs, M Ferncombe (2fs) 0-2, E Walsh, S O’Hare (45) 0-1.

LEITRIM: C McCrann; J Glancy, C Egan, P Maguire, D Beck, F McMorrow, W McKeon; D Lowe, S Moran; P Brennan, R Lowe, C Ryan; K Conlan, P McGowan, E Mulligan.

Subs: G Loughlin for McCrann (33), R Cox for Lowe (55), C Clarke for Brennan (71).

WATERFORD: S Enright; Niall Hennessy, A Doyle, K Connery; T Grey, S Briggs, W Hennessy; E Walsh, S O’Hare; C McGrath, L Ó’Lonáin, C O’Keeffe; G Nugent, S Fleming, J J Hutchinson.

Subs: Tagh Ó’hUallacháin for N Hennessy (ht), M Ferncombe for W Hennessy (ht), J Veale for Nugent (55), J Wall for Ó’Lonáin (61).

Referee: S Carroll (Westmeath)

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Clare 2-29 Kilkenny 1-4

Clare whip Cats to set up Wicklow showdown

Clare 2-29 Kilkenny 1-04

By Gerry Quinn, Cusack Park for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Unsurprisingly, Clare had no problem overcoming Kilkenny at Cusack Park in Ennis yesterday to set up a promotion decider away to Wicklow next weekend. The tie was over as a contest as early as the 16th minute when Darren O’Neill goaled to give Clare a 1-6 to 0-0 advantage. At half-time Clare enjoyed a huge 1-19 to 0-1 lead and a second goal by Michael Foran ten minutes after the break cemented their supremacy. Kilkenny did pull a goal back in the 59th, when Michael Malone first-timed to the Banner net. But it was of little consolation to the visitors who succumbed in the end by 28 points and finished the league with an appalling deficit of -239 after eight games in the weakest football division in the country.

Scorers for Clare: D Tubridy 0-9 (4fs), S McGrath 0-6, M O’Shea 0-4, M Foran 1-1, D O’Neill 1-0, N Browne, G Quinlan, D Daly 0-2 each, G Brennan, D Russell, S Brennan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: M Malone 1-2, J Grennan, C Tyler (f) 0-1.

CLARE: P O’Dwyer; T Downes, S McNeilis, L Healy; S Haugh, G Kelly D Blake; G Brennan, G Quinlan; M Foran, S McGrath, N Browne; D O’Neill, D Tubridy, M O’Shea.

Subs: S Brennan for O’Shea (inj. 29), C Talty for Quinlan (ht), D Russell for G Brennan (ht), D Daly for McNeilis (50), S O’Driscoll for Kelly (62).

KILKENNY: JJ O’Sullivan; D Grennan, P Donnelly, JJ Grace; K O’Brien, M Malone, D Fitzpatrick; R O’Hara, J Culleton; R O’Keeffe, J Grennan, C Tyler; J Fennelly, K Bergin, P McBride.

Subs: J Cullinane for McBride (50), P McBride for Malone (inj. 69).

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon)