Allianz Football League Division 1 Semi-Final – Cork 2-17 Down 1-12

Cork 2-17 Down 1-12

From the RTE.ie web site

Cork had too much for Down as they reached the Allianz Football League Division 1 final Cork will meet Mayo in the Allianz Football League Division 1 final thanks to a comfortable 2-17 to 1-12 win over Down at Croke Park. Three Colm O’Neill points helped Cork to a 0-09 to 0-07 interval lead, with Conor Laverty hitting three for the Mourne men. O’Neill drilled home a 43rd minute goal as Cork went six clear, but Aidan Carr hit the net from a penalty. Cork secured their place in the decider when midfielder Alan O’Connor plundered his side’s second goal 10 minutes from the end, and O’Neill finished with a 1-06 tally.

A crowd of just 11,342 attended the double bill at GAA Headquarters, a figure which is likely to prompt questions over the wisdom of staging the games at the venue. The sides were deadlocked on three points each after just seven minutes, following a frantic start which saw Arthur McConville, Conor Laverty and Benny Coulter hit the target for Down, with Pearse O’Neill (two) and Colm O’Neill responding.

The scores were level for a fourth time after an Aidan Walsh point was cancelled out by an eye-catching effort from Mark Poland, who split the posts from a difficult angle. Cork’s ability to retain possession and move the ball with purpose saw them go two clear through Colm O’Neill, and they held onto that two point cushion when Donnacha O’Connor slipped in behind full back Brendan McArdle to punch over a point. But McArdle made up for the lapse by pushing upfield to shoot a neat score for the Mourne men.

Eoin Cadogan and Michael Shields stood firm at the back as the Ulster men countered again, and Down suffered a blow when full forward Laverty, who had contributed three points from play, was forced out of the game by injury. The hard-working Paul Kerrigan curled over a point under pressure to send the Rebels in with a 0-09 to 0-07 interval lead Conor Counihan’s side stepped up the intensity after the restart, and after Colm O’Neill and Kerrigan had added to their personal tallies, the pair combined for a 43rd minute goal.

It was Kerrigan who slipped the ball inside for O’Neill to gather at pace and send a low angled shot to the bottom corner of the net past Brendan McVeigh. Now five points adrift, Down went for goal, but Coulter was denied by a superb Ray Carey block, but the International Rules star did hoist a wonderful point soon afterwards to keep his side’s hopes alive. And the Mourne men were right back in it when substitute Jamie O’Sullivan scooped the ball off the ground to deny Kalum King a certain goal, conceding a penalty which Aidan Carr drilled home in the 54th minute.

But Cork hit back with a second goal, gifted from close range to Alan O’Connor after goalkeeper McVeigh had failed to hold a dropping ball. And they finished the job off with late scores from Colm O’Neill and Daniel Goulding.

Cork scorers: C O’Neill 1-06 (0-2f), A O’Connor 1-00, P Kerrigan, P O’Neill 0-03 each, D O’Connor, A Walsh, N O’Leary, D Goulding, B O’Driscoll 0-01 each.

Down scorers: A Carr 1-02 (1-00 pen, 0-01f), C Laverty, B Coulter 0-03 each, A McConville (f), P Turley, M Poland, B McArdle 0-01 each.

Cork: A Quirke, R Carey, M Shields, E Cotter, N O’Leary, E Cadogan, P Kissane, A O’Connor, P O’Neill, F Goold, P Kelly, P Kerrigan, C O’Neill, A Walsh, D O’Connor.

Subs: J O’Sullivan for Cotter, B O’Drioscoll for Walsh, D O’Sullivan for Cadogan, M Collins for Goold, D Goulding for O’Connor

Down: B McVeigh, D McCartan, B McArdle, D Turley, K McKernan, N McParland, C Garvey A Rogers, K King, P Turley, M Poland, A Carr, A McConville, C Laverty, B Coulter.

Subs: C Maginn for Laverty, A Brannigan for D Turley, D O’Hare for McConville

Referee: M Higgins (Sligo)

Allianz Football League Division 1 Semi-Final – Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-17 (AET)

Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-17 aet

Report from the RTE.ie web site

Mayo earned a place in the Allianz Football League Division 1 final after a titanic tussle with Kerry Mayo scored a rare Croke Park victory over Kerry, 2-15 to 1-17, to qualify for the Allianz National Football League division one final after an extra-time thriller. Substitute Richie Feeney hit a sensational winning point, with Bryan Sheehan just missing with a late leveller chance from a ’45.

It was a memorable encounter which saw both sides enjoy their spells of dominance, two second half goals adding to the drama at GAA headquarters. Conor Mortimer steadied Mayo nerves with a couple of early points, and when corner back Keith Higgins powered through from the back, linking with Mortimer and Andy Moran, to pick off an inspirational score, they led by three.

Kerry’s wasteful use of possession contrasted with the creativity of Andy Moran, who never put a pass astray as the westerners established a foothold. Michael Conroy’s superb pass sent Mortimer in for his second from play, and Alan Dillon made it 0-6 to 0-1 in the 13th minute. Paul Galvin’s emergence as an effective playmaker sparked Kerry into life, and scores from Colm Cooper, Patrick Curtin, Anthony Maher and Kieran O’Leary narrowed the gap to a single point on 20 minutes.

Mortimer brought his tally to five, but that was quickly cancelled out by a Cooper free. It was Mayo who finished the half strongly, Moran taking advantage of sloppy defending to fire in a shot on goal that flew just over the bar. Mortimer’s sixth sent them in with a 0-9 to 0-7 lead, but Kerry, with Maher and Sheehan on top at midfield, came strongly early in the second half, Cooper and Galvin pulling back points.

Both sides had goal chances, with Moran’s shot blocked by Sheehan, before Darran O’Sullivan had an effort superbly saved by David Clarke. The Kingdom took the lead for the first time in the 49th minute when Kieran Donaghy, now operating at full forward, laid off for O’Sullivan to split the posts. But they were soon five points ahead, substitute James O’Donoghue volleying home a goal in the 53rd minute.

Mayo’s response was positive, quick points form wing-back Colm Boyle and a somewhat subdued Mortimer, but Kerry spirits were raised once again when Sheehan powered over a monster free. But a moment of madness from Kieran Donaghy, who sent a backpass straight into the arms of Dillon, led to Paul Galvin conceding a penalty which Pat Harte expertly tucked away. And it was in the fifth minute of stoppage time that substitute Killian O’Connor won the free which he converted himself to tie it up at 1-13 each.

Sheehan and substitute Barry John Keane helped Kerry to a 1-16 to 1-14 lead midway through extra-time. But back came Mayo again, and somehow wing-back Colm Boyle managed to swivel and shoot to the net despite being surrounded by three defenders. Superb defending from Kevin Keane denied BJ Keane a third point, and it was substitute Richie Feeney who broke away on the left to arrow over the winner.

Mayo scorers: C Boyle 1-1, C Mortimer 0-7 (4f), K O’Connor (1f), A Dillon 0-2 each, A Moran, K Higgins, R Feeney 0-1 each.

Kerry scorers: J O’Donoghue 1-0, B Sheehan 0-6 (5f), C Cooper 0-4 (3f), BJ Keane 0-2, A Maher, P Galvin, K O’Leary, P Curtin, D O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Mayo: D Clarke, K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle, B Moran, J Gibbons, K McLoughlin, A Moran, A Dillon, C Mortimer, J Doherty, M Conroy.

Subs: P Harte for Doherty, E Varley for Conroy, D Geraghty for B Moran, K O’Connor for Mortimer, R Feeney for McLoughlin, A Campbell for Harte

Kerry: B Kealy, S Enright, M O Se, K Young, P Crowley, A O’Mahony, B Maguire, A Maher, B Sheehan, P Galvin, Darran O’Sullivan, K Donaghy, C Cooper, K O’Leary, P Curtin.

Subs: J O’Donoghue for O’Leary, E Brosnan for O’Mahony, D Walsh for Curtin, J Lyne for Maguire, BJ Keane for Young, J Buckley for Crowley

Match Preview

Kerry v Mayo, Croke Park, 2pm

From the GAA.ie web site

Sunday, April 15

Allianz Football League Division I Semi-Final

Kerry v Mayo, Croke Park, 2pm

Having met in the final round of Division I of the Allianz Football League less than a week ago, Kerry and Mayo should have a fairly good measure of one another when they meet in the first game of the semi-final double header at Croke Park on Sunday.

Mayo had more to play for in that last clash, with Kerry having been already safely into the semi-finals as table toppers before the game. James Horan’s men looked like they would need a win to make the last four, but in the end a draw was enough to see them set up another game with the Kingdom for a place in the final.

While that outcome was more than satisfactory for Mayo, they had their reasons to be a little discontented afterwards. They led the Kingdom by eight points at one stage, and were still 1-12 to 0-9 ahead after 48 minutes. Beating Kerry in Kerry is a rare scalp, and it looked a very real prospect for long stages.

However, Mayo’s much maligned “old failings” returned as they failed to score for the rest of the game, and allowed Kerry to edge back and eventually level it up with late scores from Bryan Sheehan.

Results elsewhere meant the draw got them through but giving up such a lead was hardly stellar stuff, especially given how ruthless they had been in maintaining their dominance over Dublin the week before.

Still, it would be folly to use last Sunday’s game as much of a guide for the latest instalment, as there is plenty to differentiate this encounter from the last.

For one, it’s in Croke Park which brings a whole new dynamic to any game. Secondly it’s a semi-final, which creates a different impetus from that of ordinary League games, and thirdly, Kerry have strengthened their team significantly from the last day, when they rested many big names.

Marc Ó Sé, Darran O’Sullivan and Declan O’Sullivan have all been named in the starting XV having come on from the bench last weekend, and their presence from the start will guarantee a different intensity.

Kerry’s most comfortable environment has always been semi-finals and finals in Croke Park. Although League showdowns will never have the same allure of Championship D-Days, Kerry rarely disappoint in the business end of competitions.

And unfortunately for Mayo, that is exactly where they have disappointed over the years. They have always shown flashes of brilliance during campaigns, their monumental recent victory over Dublin a case in point, but when it comes close to trophy time, they stutter, and Kerry more often than not have been the ones who have most provoked those collapses.

But Jack O’Connor and James Horan will eye this game and the League in general, with a cold eye. Ultimately, spring is all about showing potential, desire and hopefully some form ahead of the Championship, and both counties have done that regardless of what happens on Sunday.

Kerry cruised into the semi-finals with five wins and just one defeat, while Mayo had a few stutters in a campaign bookended by excellence. Kerry’s good form was driven mostly from familiar places, with a few new names thrown into the mix, while Mayo’s best moments have been at midfield and in the forwards, with Aidan O’Shea blooming in the centre and providing an efficient engine room for an attack with plenty of class.

So Jack O’Connor certainly doesn’t seem to have too many concerns going into the summer, and while Horan has plenty of things to work on, he has also plenty of things to be hopeful about.

Those realities turn Sunday’s game into bonus territory for both teams. Kerry will take victory and defeat in much the same way – they won’t get too excited about either. A Mayo win would give them an unexpected early season chance for silverware – an ideal tonic before embarking on the rest of the year.

Colm Boyle returns for Mayo having being absent through injury last Sunday, but Aidan O’Shea is set to miss out after the recurrence of a groin problem, which could keep him out for up to a month. The loss of the Breaffy man would be a major blow to Horan, given how vital he has been to Mayo so far this year.

As mentioned already, Kerry have made a number of changes to their starting team, with many established names returning to the XV. Colm Cooper will make his second start of the season, having made a successful return to the team last weekend following a break.

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Waterford 0-9 London 0-9

Waterford hold wasteful London

Waterford 0-09 London 0-09

By John Murphy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Less than 50 paying customers turned out at sun-splashed Fraher Field, Dungarvan, yesterday for this final round tie. London should have won but the inability of their forwards to capitalise on plentiful possession cost them both points. They should have had a goal as early as the opening minute but the crossbar denied Padraig McGoldick after a bad goalkeeping blunder by Kieran Cotter. Waterford then eased into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 23rd minute, but a brace of Lloyd Colfer points and another superb one by Lorcan Mulvey had London level at 0-5 each at the break. Waterford had the accuracy of Mark Ferncombe to thank as his 66th minute effort secured a share of the spoils.

Scorers for Waterford: M. Ferncombe (0-6, 0-3 frees); S. O’Hare (45’), JJ. Hutchinson, S. Fleming (0-1) each.

Scorers for London: L. Colfer (0-3); K. O’Leary(0-2); L. Mulvey, P. McGoldrick, S. McVeigh, S, Kelly (0-1) each.

WATERFORD: K. Cotter; A. Doyle, M. O’Gorman, K. Connery; T. Grey, E. Walsh, McGrath; S. Dempsey, S. O’Hare; C. McGrath, L. O’Lionain, C. O’Keeffe; M. Ferncombe, S. Fleming, JJ Hutchinson.

Subs: W. Hennessey for McGrath (ht); J. Veale for O’Lionain (51); P. Hurney for O’Keeffe (56); G. Nugent for Hutchinson (60).

LONDON: E. Byrne; P. Sherry, S. McVeigh, D. McGreevy; T. Gaughan, S. Mulligan, K. O’Leary; P. Finn, L. Mulvey; C. McCallion, S. Doolan, G. Crowley; P. McGoldrick, M. Gottsche, L. Colfer.

Subs: S. Hannon for Crowley (45); S. Kelly for McCallion (47); A. Moyles for Finn (60); J. Scanlon for Gaughan (64); A. Rafferty for Doolan (69).

Referee: Keith O’Brien (Tipperary)

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Wicklow 1-15 Clare 1-12

Wicklow battle to promotion

Wicklow 1-15 Clare 1-12

By Mark Kennedy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Wicklow footballers secured promotion to Division 3 at Aughrim yesterday when they beat Clare. Victory was not easily achieved and Clare, who only needed a draw to get promoted, pushed Wicklow all the way. With just nine minutes left the sides were deadlocked at 1-12 apiece after Clare had wiped out a six-point deficit and then a chance of a goal was lost when a crucial move broke down in front of goal. Wicklow free-taker and corner-forward Tony Hannon, top scorer with 0-7, killed off Clare with his shooting skills.

Clare trailed 1-8 to 1-6 at half-time, fell six points behind early in the second half before fighting back to level in the 61 minutes. But then they were reduced to 14 men with the sending off of full-back Shane McNeilies on a second yellow card and also lost influential midfielder Gary Brennan to injury.

Scorers for Wicklow: T Hannon 0-7 (6fs), D Hayden 1-1, D Healy, L Glynn, S Furlong (1f) 0-2 each, J McGrath 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: D Tubridy 0-7 (6fs), R Donnelly 1-1, S McGrath 0-2, G Brennan, S Brennan 0-1 each.

WICKLOW: J Flynn; C Hyland, A McLoughlin, A Byrne; D Healy, M McLoughlin, S Kelly; J Stafford, R Finn; L Glynn, D O’Sullivan, D Hayden; T Hannon, S Furlong, J McGrath.

Subs: S Byrne for M McLoughlin (64), A O’Malley for J McGrath (68).

CLARE: J Hayes; B Hartnett, S McNeilies, L Healy; M McMahon, G Kelly, J Hayes; G Brennan, G Quinlan; G Kelly, S McGrath, A Clohessy; R Donnelly, D Tubridy, N Browne.

Subs: C Kelly for G Kelly (ht), S Brennan for N Browne (ht), Sean Haugh for B Hartnett (ht), D Russell for G Brennan (48).

Referee: C Lane (Cork)

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Limerick 0-19 Carlow 1-9

Limerick finish on winning note

Limerick 0-19 Carlow 1-09

By John Reddington for the Irish Examiner newspaper

With nothing but pride at stake, Limerick ended a disappointing league campaign on a winning note at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday. Showing far more hunger than Carlow, the hosts survived a few early scares before taking over control in the second quarter. Limerick moved into an early lead but were lucky to see goal chances from Con Murphy and Derek Hayden blaze wide before Carlow’s fourth point brought the sides level.

However, the hosts took over after that and rattled off the scores for a lead of 0-9 to 0-4 at the break. Murphy hit back immediately on the restart but Limerick’s greater work rate smothered any chance of a revival even though Seán Gannon bagged the game’s only goal in the closing minutes.

Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan 0-6(3f), G Collins 0-4, D Treacy 0-3, S Lavin 0-2, B Scanlon 0-1 (f), J Riordan 0-1, P Ranahan 0-1, G O’Connell 0-1.

Scorers for Carlow: C Murphy 0-4, S Gannon 1-0, K Jackson 0-2, B Murphy 0-1, B Murphy 0-1 (f), JJ Smith 0-1 (f).

LIMERICK: B Scanlon; S Lavin, S Lucey, L O’Dwyer; J Riordan, P Browne, P Ranahan; P Kinnerk, D Treacy; J O’Meara, E O’Connor, E Barry; G Collins, S O’Carroll, I Ryan.

Subs: S Buckley for S O’Carroll (45 mins), B Fitzpatrick for P Browne (55), J Donovan for J O’Meara (59), S Nix for S Lucey (61), G O’Connell for E O’Connor (64 mins).

CARLOW: A O’Brien; BJ Molloy, C Lawlor, P Murphy; B Lambe, Nolan, B Kavanagh; Brendan Murphy, K Jackson; Brian Murphy, C Murphy, S Gannon; C Walshe, D Haydon, D Foley.

Subs: JJ Smith for D Foley (ht), Tony Bolger for C Lawlor (43), P Reid for D Hayden (52), E Finnegan for C Walshe (59), J Kennedy for Brian Murphy (64).

Referee: D Corcoran (Mayo)