AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final – Ardfert (Kerry) 1-8 Warrenpoint (Down) 0-10

Ardfert (Kerry) defeated Cumann Pheadair Naofa, Warrenpoint (Down) by 1-8 to 0-10 in the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday January 25th at O’Moore Park Portlaoise.

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Awesome Ardfert returning to Croker

By Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Ardfert (Kerry) 1-8 St Peter’s, Warrenpoint (Down) 0-10: AIB All-Ireland Club IFC semi-final: Pat O’Driscoll spent most of January watching videos of Warrenpoint’s Ulster club championship campaign. The consummate ease in which the Down outfit secured provincial honours made for uncomfortable viewing, the Ardfert manager doubting whether his charges would be able to live with their semi-final opponents.

By 3.30pm yesterday, all doubts were laid to rest, every last avenue of energy and effort exhausted in the process. Ardfert were returning to Croke Park. Eight second-half wides pointed to Ardfert’s dominance, but equally, their wastefulness in front of goal. Said wastefulness left the door ajar for Warrenpoint and successive points from John and Ryan Boyle on 53 and 55 minutes respectively had reduced the gap to the minimum, 1-8 to 0-10. Cue the tensest and most dramatic finish January’s GAA activity is likely to serve up.

Ardfert’s Damien Wallace and Warrenpoint’s Ross McGarry kicked successive wides, before Caolan McLoughlin had the chance to force extra-time in Portaloise. The St Peter’s substitute, collecting possession from centre-forward Jamie Grant, slipped inside two black shirts and employed the left boot from 40 metres. Supporters clad in blue rose in expectation of a point, McLoughlin’s effort taken from underneath the crossbar by Ardfert ‘keeper Nicholas O’Sullivan.

The Kerry and Munster champions stormed down the field, a sweeping passage of play ending with substitute Brandon Barrett driving the ball low against the right post. Warrenpoint continued to hold on and made one final push in the second minute of time added on. Pass after pass was strung, all the while inching closer to the Ardfert goal. Ciarán McCartan sought to offload to Grant in front of the stand, but Daniel Collins threw his body in front of the ball to cut out the pass. The final whistle sounded and the Ardfert players celebrated a third All-Ireland semi-final victory since 2006.

The two previous trips to GAA HQ yielded silverware. “This was the best win ever,” declared O’Driscoll. “From what I saw in the videos, I knew they were an outstanding team. Part of me was saying ‘do we have enough to win this?’ We knew if we weren’t at our best, we would be nowhere near these guys. It was an unbelievable display from our guys. They are a special group. The last couple of minutes, in particular; we had old legs, we were out on our feet, but we got over the line. Thankfully it didn’t go to extra-time because we probably wouldn’t have had the legs for them.”

He added: “Our plan worked. We kept number 12 (Aaron Magee) out of it. He was huge for them in Ulster. We questioned them to see had they other forwards who would step up to the mark.” Irrespective of their success in negating Magee, it was the Down champions who emerged sharper from the blocks — Ryan Mallon, Jamie Grant, Donagh McAleenan and Ross McGarry splitting the posts to establish a 0-4 to 0-2 advantage after 18 minutes.

Darren Wallace and McGarry traded points in the subsequent action, before the game’s crucial period. David Griffin, set-up by Shane Griffin, reduced the gap to the minimum and the Kerry club hit the front when John Egan, collecting a Shane Griffin offload, calmly slotted beyond Warrerpoint ‘keeper Conor D’Arcy. Damien Wallace kicked his second free of the afternoon thereafter to move Ardfert 1-5 to 0-5 clear at the interval.

Shane Griffin, Trevor and Damien Wallace were on the mark at the change of ends, McGarry (0-2, 0-1 free) and McLoughlin replying for the Mourne men. Fives missed efforts in the third quarter alone saw Ardfert’s wides tally spiral well into double figures. It almost came back to haunt them.

Scorers for Ardfert: J Egan (1-0); Damien Wallace (0-3, 0-2 frees); Darren Wallace (0-2); T Wallace, D Griffin, S Griffin (0-1 each).

Scorers for St Peter’s, Warrenpoint: R McGarry (0-4, 0-1 free); J Boyle, C McLoughlin, R Boyle, J Grant (0-1 free), R Mallon, D McAleenan (0-1 each).

ARDFERT: N O’Sullivan; D Dineen, R Horgan, M Moloney; T Wallace, D Collins, S Leen; J Dowling, K Shanahan; D Griffin, Darren Wallace, F Horgan; S Griffin, Damien Wallace, J Egan.
Subs: B Barrett for Horgan (46 mins), J Wallace for Shanahan (55, bc), E Courtney for Griffin (59).

ST PETER’S, WARRENPOINT: C D’Arcy; R McAleenan, R Boyle, M O’Hare; Cormac McCartan, J Boyle, Ciarán McCartan; J Cowan, R Mallon; A Magee, J Grant, R Magee; D McAleenan, G Boyle, R McGarry.
Subs: C McLoughlin for A Magee (40 mins), N McGovern for G Boyle (41).

Referee: J Hickey (Carlow)

Fixture Details

25.01.2015 (Sun)
AIB GAA Football All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi Finals
O’Moore Park Portlaoise 14:00
Ardfert (Ciarraí) v Cumann Pheadair Naofa, Warrenpoint (An Dún)
Referee: John Hickey (Ceatharlach)
(E.T. if Necessary)

AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Championship Semi-Final – Brosna (Kerry) 0-10 Rock (Tyrone) 1-7

Brosna (Kerry) drew with Rock (Tyrone) after extra time in the AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday January 25th at Ballinasloe on a scoreline of Brosna (Kerry) 0-10 Rock (Tyrone) 1-7.

Brosna and Rock St Patrick’s must meet again

By Daragh Small for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Brosna (Kerry) 0-10 Rock St Patrick’s (Tyrone) 1-7 (AET): AIB All-Ireland Club JFC semi-final: Brosna and Rock St Patrick’s must meet again to see who enjoys a St Valentine’s date in Croke Park. Extra-time failed to separate the pair in a tense All-Ireland Club JFC semi-final at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe yesterday.

Rock, looking for their first All-Ireland JFC final appearance since they lost to Cork’s Canovee in 2008, played with the breeze in the first-half and led 1-4 to 0-3 at the interval. The game’s only goal came from Eamon Ward. That strike, added to an earlier score from Conor McCreesh, came before Tom McGoldrick got Brosna on the scoreboard after seven minutes.

Brothers James and Conor McCreesh had the final say of the first-half with points and the Tyrone men led by four. McGoldrick came to the Kerry side’s rescue in the second-half – he kicked Brosna’s first point and added two more before 60th minute.

Points from Ryan Crilly and Diarmuid Carroll looked to have it out of reach for the Kerrymen but Adam Brady got two points to tie it up. Extra-time was required but Rock’s Aidan McGarrity and McGoldrick of Brosna were the only ones to take their chances.

Scorers for Brosna: T McGoldrick 0-5 (5f); A Brady 0-2; M Finnegan 0-1, T Finnegan 0-1, T Fitzgerald 0-1

Scorers for Rock St Patrick’s: E Ward 1-0; C McCreesh 0-2 (2f), A McGarrity 0-2; J McCreesh 0-1, R Crilly 0-1, D Carroll 0-1

BROSNA: C Kelly; S Fitzmaurice, M Murphy, A Cahill; T Fitzgerald, E Kiely, F McAuliffe; D Curtin, S Curtin; D McAuliffe, T McGoldrick, P Curtin; T Finnegan, M Finnegan, A Barry.
Subs: M O’Keefe for Kelly (inj, 8), P O’Keefe for P Curtin (24), J O’Donnell for P O’Keefe (blood, 36), S McAuliffe for D Curtin (85), G Nash for J O’Donnell (black, 90)

ROCK ST PATRICK’S: N Mullan; M McAleer, P Girvan, R Crilly; T Bloomer, A Girvan, P Ward; M McCreesh, C Gourley; E Williams, C McWilliams, A McGarrity; E Ward, C McCreesh, J McCreesh
Subs: D Carroll for J McCreesh (46), N McWilliams for P Ward (46), E Mallon for McGarrity (85)

Referee: James Molloy (Galway)

Fixture Details

25.01.2015 (Sun)
AIB GAA Football All Ireland Junior Club Championship Semi Finals
Ballinasloe, Galway 14:00
Brosna (Ciarraí) v Rock St Patrick’s (Tír Eoghain)
Referee: James Molloy (Gaillimh)
(E.T. if Necessary)

AIB All-Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi-Final – O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim) 2-12 Cappoquin (Waterford) 1-8

O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim) defeated Cappoquin (Waterford) by 2-12 to 1-8 in the AIB All-Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi-Final on January 25th at Cusack Park Mullingar.

Rossa steel too much for Cappoquin

By Tomás McCarthy for the Irish Examiner newspaper

O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim) 2-12Cappoquin (Waterford) 1-8: AIB All-Ireland Club IHC semi-final:

Antrim representatives O’Donovan Rossa sprung from the traps to defeat 14-man Cappoquin with a skilful and steely performance at a blustery Mullingar yesterday. Since an appearance in the All-Ireland senior final 26 years ago, the 15-times Antrim champions have rebuilt in the intermediate championship and they return to Croke Park on February 15 to face Kilburn Gaels.

“Our main objective was to install belief in the team and to try to get the younger players on board and believe in themselves,” explained manager Seamus Shannon. “It is a really young team and to get Rossa back up where it belongs, it takes those younger players to have the commitment and dedication the older generations had.”

Rossa dominated the skies from start to finish. “Anybody who wins the ball in the air generally wins the match,” Shannon observed. Conor McClelland ruled his patch at number six and wing-back Stephen Shannon scored four points, including two rousing efforts into the teeth of the breeze during the third quarter. In the absence of marquee forwards Stephen Beatty and Seaghan Shannon, Thomas Morgan stepped up with 2-3, including 2-1 from play.

Wind-assisted Rossa stunned the Munster champions after just 11 seconds when Thomas Morgan whipped first-time past Donal O’Rourke. The Antrim winners out-muscled their opponents throughout that opening period and displayed their aerial superiority. In the seventh minute, Deaglan Murphy supplied Morgan for his second as he sprinted past his marker and stung the far corner of the net (2-1 to 0-1). Rossa were totally on top against their shell-shocked opponents and were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes when Colm McVeigh was brought to ground. Faced by three defenders on the line, O’Rourke turned Gerard Walsh’s shot away for a ‘65’. The Ulster side also rued seven wides including five placed balls. Cappoquin’s task was made harder when county minor Andy Molumby was dismissed on a second yellow before the break. They reached the dressing room 2-5 to 0-2 in arrears.

Conditions worsened for the second-half as the rain swept in but the Waterford side upped their work-rate. Conor and Paul Murray led the recovery and they chipped away despite the numerical disadvantage. Aaron O’Sullivan batted the ball to the roof of the net on 45 minutes after a lengthy free from O’Rourke to leave five points between the teams (2-7 to 1-5). They didn’t move any nearer, however, as the talented Stephen Shannon replied with two superb strikes against the elements. Cappoquin selector Fintan O’Connor was tremendously proud of their fighting attitude. “They battled to the end and that’s all you can ask. There’s no shame in the way they bowed out.”

Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: T Morgan 2-3 (2fs); S Shannon 0-4 (2 65s); J McGuinness 0-2; M Armstrong, D Murphy, C McVeigh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cappoquin: A O’Sullivan 1-0; S O’Rourke 0-3 (3fs); A Molumby, P Murray, F Murray, K O’Sullivan, K Landers (f) 0-1 each.

O’DONOVAN ROSSA: C McDonnell; C Orchin, E O’Neill, K McDonnell; G Walsh, C McClelland, S Shannon; C McElhatton, D Murphy; C McVeigh, M Armstrong, C McGuiness; M Turley, T Morgan, A Orchin.
Subs: C Rocks for McElhatton (38); J McGuinness for McVeigh (42); M Kettle for Turley (48); G Bell for K McDonnell (59); J Quinn for A Orchin (61).

CAPPOQUIN: D O’Rourke; K Looby, C Looby, T Looby; P Morrissey, C Murray, D Cahillane; S Murray, P Murray; S O’Rourke, K Landers, A Molumby; S Coughlan, F Murray, K O’Sullivan.
Subs: A O’Sullivan for Coughlan (30); PJ Curran for K Looby (38).

Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow)

Fixture Details

Sunday January 25th
AIB GAA Hurling All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi Finals
Cusack Park Mulingar 14:00
Cappoquin (Port Láirge) v O’Donovan Rossa (Aontroim)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Ceatharlach)
(E.T. if Necessary)