Allianz Football League Division 1 – Kerry v Tyrone

Kerry will play Tyrone in Round 7 of the Allianz Football League Division 1 on Sunday April 2nd at 2pm in Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney.

Allianz Football League Division 2 – Cork v Down

Cork will play Down in Round 7 of the Allianz Football League Division 2 on Sunday April 2nd at 2pm in Pairc Ui Rinn.

Allianz Football League Division 2 – Clare v Meath

Clare will play Meath in Round 7 of the Allianz Football League Division 2 on Sunday April 2nd at 2pm in Cusack Park Ennis.

Allianz Football League Division 3 – Armagh v Tipperary

Armagh will play Tipperary in Round 7 of the Allianz Football League Division 3 on Sunday April 2nd at 2pm in the Athletic Grounds.

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Limerick v Wicklow

Limerick will play Wicklow in Round 7 of the Allianz Football League Division 4 on Sunday April 2nd at 3pm in Newcastlewest.

Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Relegation Playoff – Clare 3-18 Dublin 0-19

Clare defeated Dublin by 3-18 to 0-19 in the Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Relegation Playoff on Sunday April 2nd at Cusack Park Ennis.


Tony Kelly strikes and Clare survive

Report by Kieran Shannon for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Clare 3-18 Dublin 0-19

It’s only two weeks ago Tony Kelly was stifled by Dublin opposition above in Croke Park and for the first half in Cusack Park yesterday, Ger Cunningham’s team, boosted by the return of their victorious Cuala contingent, had him well tied up as well.

About the only time Kelly had been able to express himself was just a couple of minutes before half-time when he ingeniously pop-slapped a ball on the touchline straight up into his hand and immediately swung it over the bar, but just like on St Patrick’s Day the Ballyea man had yet to get into his familiar majestic stride and fire points for fun on the run.

At the break Dublin were 0-13 to 1-8 up, and as Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor would admit afterwards, only for Andrew Fahy, his team would have been trailing by more; the Whitegate man made a couple of fine saves as well as launching in the free which Aaron Shanagher would catch at the far end and dispatch brilliantly past Conor Dooley.

But within two minutes of the restart, Kelly galloped into open space to rifle over a couple of points shortly before a John Conlon goal. And even Dublin would claw to within three points entering the last 12 minutes, the game was then effectively decided when Kelly intercepted a stray Dooley short puckout and buried it to the net.

“It was definitely a game of two halves,” said O’Connor. “You’ll have days when things aren’t going for you and you just need to stick in there and keep fighting. We have a lot of good quality players and they just kept working and our defence got on top and we started building from there. And when you have a forward like Tony, then everything is possible.”

Kelly wasn’t the only Ballyea man to make an important intervention and ensure any remaining All-Ireland final blues weren’t compounded by a bout of relegation. Paul Flanagan was brought on at half-time into a previously creaking full-back line, and as O’Connor would observe afterwards, brought an impressive composure to the area in both his distribution and his defending.

It was more a change of attitude than personnel though that was the key to Clare’s second-half surge. In the opening 35 minutes Dublin’s forwards on the flanks rifled over an array of fine points as the likes of youngsters Donal Burke, Eamonn Dillon and Carolan Conway were constantly out in front and afforded time to turn and slot over the bar.

O’Connor seemed to suggest in the dressing room at half-time his colleague Donal Moloney “encouraged” – for lack of a better term – their charges, but whatever he said and however he said it, the effect was a much greater level of intensity and aggression from the backline. The likes of Cian Dillon and David McInerney roared into the game, getting out in front of their direct opponents and charging out with the ball, and allied to the power running of Jason McCarthy, Kelly, David Reidy and particularly Conlon upfront, Clare overwhelmed the visiting side in front of a crowd of 7,276.

“We’re five months into this project and we were going to be probably judged on this game,” said O’Connor. “And that showed in the first-half. We were nervous, we took wrong options at times, but the focus and application at the start of the second-half was excellent. I thought our full-back line and half-back line really dominated and when Jason McCarthy came into the half-back line it helped further matters again.

“We’re finding out about where we need to be for June 4 [their Munster semi-final date against Limerick]. If you were talking to us at half-time, you’d say we were a long way off where we need to be at. But we might have edged closer going by the last 35-40 minutes.”

There would still be a nervy spell in that second-half. They went 18 minutes with just one score and when All Ireland Club winner David Treacy tidily fired over two consecutive points from the wing, Dublin were back to within three, 2-13 to 0-16.

Then came Kelly’s goal. After that Dublin’s resistance pretty much yielded, outside of Chris Crummey finishing with a tally of three points from wing back.

Scorers for Clare: T Kelly 1-3, D Reidy 0-6 (five frees), A Shanagher 1-2, J Conlon 1-1, C Galvin and J McCarthy 0-2 each, D Fitzgerald and A Cunningham 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dublin: D Treacy 0-7 (0-5 frees), C Crummey, E Dillon and D Burke 0-3 each, C Conway 0-2, N McMorrow 0-1.

CLARE: A Fahy; C Dillon, D McInerney, S Morey; B Bugler, C Cleary, D Fitzgerald; J Shanahan, C Galvin; J Conlon, P Collins, T Kelly; C McInerney, A Shanagher, D Reidy
Subs: J McCarthy for Shanahan (inj, 20 mins), P Flanagan for Morey (half-time), A Cunningham for C McInerney (48), C Malone for Cleary (58), G O’Connell for Bugler (66).

DUBLIN: C Dooley; S Barrett, E O’Donnell, O Gough; C Crummey, C O’Callaghan, L Rushe; D O’Connell, B Quinn; D Treacy, N McMorrow, D Burke; C Conway, R O’Dwyer, E Dillon
Subs: J Malone for Quinn (34 mins), C Boland for Conway (45), R McBride for O’Dwyer (48), F Whitely for McMorrow (62), S O’Riain for Treacy (inj, 66).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).

Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final – Tipperary 4-28 Offaly 3-13

Tipperary defeated Offaly by 4-28 to 3-13 in the Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final on Sunday April 2nd at O’Connor Park Tullamore.


Tipperary victory over Offaly ensures place in semi-final

Offaly 3-13 Tipperary 4-28

Report by Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Michael Ryan’s Tipperary romped into the semi-finals of the Allianz Hurling League, scoring a comprehensive victory over Offaly at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday afternoon.

The Premier County registered 13 wides but still ran out 18–point winners against the hosts, Seamus Callanan with 2-11, in front of 8,032 spectators. Tipp, playing against the breeze in the opening half, had much of the spadework done by half-time, having established a ten-point advantage.

Callanan helped himself to 1-6 in that opening half, a haul that included five points from placed balls. It was also impressive first half from Niall O’Meara, who picked off three points from play while also providing the assist for Callanan’s 17th-minute goal. Offaly had been competitive in the early stages and were level at 0-4 each before Tipp began to pull away.

Four points had the Premier County 0-8 to 0-4 in front before Callanan took a pass from O’Meara and drilled a low shot that reared up off the turf past James Dempsey. When Noel McGrath added a point, Tipp had collected 1-5 without reply and they would not be caught, setting up a semi-final clash with Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford.

The interval lead, 1-14 to 0-7, was their biggest of the game to date and Tipp, with Dan McCormack producing another steady display, wouldn’t let up in the second half. Completely dominant in the puck-out stakes, Tipp had all of the primary possession and space that they needed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

And there was an added bonus when All-Star corner back Cathal Barrett returned from injury for his seasonal bow, while Alan Flynn was also handed a full League debut from the start at corner back. Only a couple of brilliant second half saves from Dempsey – denying sub Steven O’Brien and Callanan – kept the score down, before the floodgates opened.

More goals did come from Tipperary, who led by 25 points at one stage in the second half. Sub Paul Flynn, brother of Alan, netted in the 53rd minute before Oisín Kelly replied in kind for Offaly two minutes later. Callanan placed for O’Brien ten minutes from time and the former dual minor showed that he’s lost none of his football skills by kicking to the net.

Callanan bagged his second goal with seven minutes left, O’Brien returning the favour, before Offaly’s leading scorer Shane Dooley netted twice in the closing minutes, taking advantage of some sloppy Tipperary defending on both occasions.

Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 2-11 (0-7f, 0-1 65), N O’Meara 0-5, P Flynn & S O’Brien 1-1 each, D McCormack 0-4, M Breen 0-3, N McGrath, J O’Dwyer & S Cahill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 2-8 (0-6f), O Kelly 1-0, P Murphy 0-2, A Treacy, S Ryan & C Kiely 0-1 each.

Tipperary: D Gleeson; T Hamill, J Barry, A Flynn; S Kennedy, R Maher, P Maher; M Breen, J Forde; D McCormack, N O’Meara, N McGrath; J McGrath, S Callanan, J O’Dwyer
Subs: S O’Brien for N McGrath (h.t.), P Flynn for J McGrath (43), C Barrett for Hamill (46), D Quinn for P Maher (52), S Cahill for O’Meara (64).

Offaly: J Dempsey; P Rigney, M Cleary, E Grogan; D King, D Shortt, S Gardner; A Treacy, S Ryan; P Murphy, S Dooley, C Kiely; E Nolan, S Cleary, O Kelly
Subs: P Camon for Kiely (29), T Carroll for Murphy (51), P Guinan for M Cleary (52), L Langton for Gardner (60).

Referee – C Lyons (Cork)

Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final – Limerick 1-20 Cork 1-18

Limerick defeated Cork by 1-20 to 1-18 in the Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final on Sunday April 2nd at Pairc Ui Rinn.



Limerick make crucial push to see off Cork

Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Limerick 1-20 Cork 1-18

Leaving aside yet another failed Division 1B campaign, the last way Limerick wanted their spring to end was with a third straight defeat to Cork. The Munster League final reverse and more pertinently, the seven-goal annihilation on their own patch at the hands of the Rebels back in January would have played on the collective mindset as they made the journey south for yesterday’s quarter-final.

Could they stomach three defeats to their next door neighbours within a two and a half month spell – and we not even beyond the first week of April? Factor in then their recent second-half no shows against Galway and Wexford respectively and is it little wonder it was John Kiely’s charges who made the crucial push when this game was there for the winning with two minutes of normal time remaining. This was a fixture they had to take something from. This was a spring they simply had to salvage.

On both counts, they were successful. Level at 1-17 apiece, full- forward Kyle Hayes nudged the Treaty men in front with a fine score on the run. But given this was a second-half level on five occasions and where the lead changed hands four times, a one-point advantage was never going to stand up – especially when referee Fergal Horgan signalled for four minutes of injury-time.

Gearóid Hegarty, who caused the Cork full-back line endless problems when moved inside upon the change of ends, clipped his fourth from play to send them two clear. And their semi-final place was secure when sub John Fitzgibbon punished an Anthony Nash restart that didn’t find its intended target.

Cork chased the required goal but the closest they came was a Mark Coleman ’65 which carried too much purchase and sailed between Nickie Quaid’s posts. Management, though, will have been more disappointed with the performance than the result. There was just no spark to this Cork showing.

Of their nine second-half scores, six arrived via the placed ball. Alan Cadogan had taken Mike Casey for two first-half points and also won a pair of frees converted by Patrick Horgan, but he was starved of ball in the second period and eventually withdrawn. Harnedy aside, no Cork forward made an impression in the second period.

Further back, the visitors’ ploy of operating with four across the 45-metre line and two inside stretched the home full-back line and they endured a difficult closing half hour. David Dempsey could have had a second goal but for poor control of the sliotar. Dowling notched four from dead balls, while man-of-the-match Gearóid Hegarty hit a hat-trick from open play, including a sideline cut.

“When he went in around the square, he was a bit of a danger and a bit of a threat to them inside there,” said Kiely of Hegarty’s second-half offering. He caught a few balls and if he wasn’t catching them, they were falling and he was retaining them in the danger area. The sideline he took, I was actually roaring across to get somebody else to take it. Next thing, it flashes over the bar. What do you say to that?”

The sides went in level at the break, 1-9 apiece, but both were left frustrated by throwing away five and three-point advantages. The visitors opened much the brighter and a David Dempsey goal on 11 minutes, followed as it was by a white flag from his namesake Alan, had the visitors 1-4 to 0-2 clear. And full value they were for it.

Between there and the 28th minute, though, they’d only hit one point – Cian Lynch punishing poor defensive play on the quarter hour mark. There followed five unanswered Cork points – Coleman, Horgan (two frees), Cadogan and Meade the providers – to level matters at 0-8 to 1-5.

On 26 minutes, the home outfit forged clear. Lorcán McLoughlin played an absolute peach of a pass along the floor to put Luke Meade inside the cover and the young Newcestown forward duly obliged, even if Nickie Quaid got a stick to the shot.

Kieran Kingston’s charges had chances to open up a more substantial gap thereafter. Patrick Horgan was twice off target. Bill Cooper hit the post and no question but these misses stunted their dominance. The closing passages belonged to the winners as three from the stick of Dowling and Hegarty’s opening score brought Kiely’s men back on level footing.

Cork, though disappointing here, head into the summer in far better shape than 12 months ago. The wins away to Waterford and home to Tipperary will sustain them during the month and a half break to their championship opener at Semple Stadium.

Limerick, despite finishing third in the second tier, are just 70 minutes from a league final. Standing in their path is a Galway team who are likely to be without the injured Joe Canning. How quickly their spring has turned – and turned for the better.

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling (0-9, 0-8 frees); G Hegarty (0-4); D Dempsey (1-1); K Hayes, C Lynch (0-2 each); A Dempsey, J Fitzgibbon (0-1 each).

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan (0-8, 0-7 frees); L Meade (1-1); S Harnedy (0-3); M Coleman (0-1 ‘65), A Cadogan (0-2 each); A Nash (0-1 free), B Cooper (0-1 each).

LIMERICK: N Quaid; R English, R McCarthy, M Casey; D Byrnes, D Hannon, S Hickey; W O’Donoghue, A Dempsey; S Dowling, D Dempsey, G Hegarty; G Mulcahy, K Hayes, C Lynch
Subs: B Nash for D Dempsey (50); P Ryan for A Dempsey (50); P Casey for Mulcahy (52); J Fitzgibbon for O’Donoghue (61); G O’Mahony for Hannon (63).

CORK: A Nash; S McDonnell, D Griffin, C Spillane; C Joyce, M Ellis, M Coleman; L McLoughlin, D Brosnan; B Cooper, S Harnedy, L Meade; A Cadogan, P Horgan, D Fitzgibbon
Subs: B Lawton for Griffin (HT); M Cahalane for Fitzgibbon (42); D Kearney for Brosnan (54); L O’Farrell for Cadogan (70).

Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)

60 Second Report

Game-changer

Cork squandered three scoring opportunities after a burst of 1-5 without reply midway through the first-half had put them 1-8 to 1-5 ahead. Had they opened a bigger gap, it would have asked more searching questions of Limerick. As it was, the visitors clipped the next four scores before the break.

Talk of the town

Limerick forming one-third of what was a pretty decent afternoon for Division 1B counties. Is the uneven nature of the second tier which afforded Limerick, Galway and Wexford a couple of handy outings working in their favour when they meet Division 1A sides, who had to empty the tank Sunday after Sunday?

Did that just happen?

David Dempsey fumbling a second-half goal chance. A second green flag for the Na Piarsaigh youngster looked certain.

Best on show

Gearoid Hegarty was somewhat subdued by Christopher Joyce in the first-half, but thrived when moved into the corner upon the change of ends. He finished with four points from play.

Sideline superior

Limerick went with four across the half-forward line and two inside. This had more of an effect in the second period when Gearoid Hegarty took up station close to the Cork goal.

The man in black

Fergal Horgan handed out six yellow cards, three on either side. No major calls to report

Where next?

Limerick play Galway in the semis in a fortnight. Cork are not out again until their Munster championship opener against Tipperary on May 21.

Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final – Galway 2-22 Waterford 2-19

Galway defeated Waterford by 2-22 to 2-19 in the Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 Quarter Final on Sunday April 2nd at Pearse Stadium Galway.



Galway overcome 10-point deficit to beat Waterford and claim semi-final spot

Galway 2-22 Waterford 2-19

Report by John Fogarty for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Galway overcame a 10-point second half deficit against an experimental Waterford side to claim a Division 1 semi-final spot against Limerick.

Joe Canning was in inspirational form, helping himself to 11 points, although he was sent off at the death for a second bookable offence. Two goals from Tom Devine in the space of a minute put Waterford in the driving seat, the second in the 44th minute seeing them move 10 points ahead. However, they scored only two further points as Galway dominated until the end, Canning’s 64th minute penalty goal levelling it up. They went ahead for the first time through Padraig Mannion in the 65th minute and scores from Aidan Harte and David Burke sealed the win.

Waterford enjoyed a blistering start, going 0-6 to no score up after just nine minutes. Conor Whelan broke Galway’s duck in the 11th minute but it was the home side’s single score from play until Conor Cooney’s 24th minute goal. Before then, Waterford had jumped into a 0-10 to 0-2, taking great advantage of the wind. A goal went a-begging when Maurice Shanahan slipped a ball into Devine but he couldn’t reach it before it trickled wide.

Tommy Ryan also had a chance of three points but at least Cooney’s goal was created by a beautiful pass from Cathal Mannion and it galvanised Galway who won a 21st minute penalty when Shane McNulty fouled Mannion, However, Ian O’Regan saved Canning’s effort. After Seamus Keating made it 0-13 to 1-2, Galway struck four points in a row.

After Stephen Roche had added his second point in the 31st minute, Galway registered the next three scores before Shanahan made it 0-15 to 1-9 prior to the interval.

Scorers for Galway: J. Canning (1-10, 1-0 pen,0-4 frees, 1 sideline); C. Cooney (1-0); C. Whelan (0-3); N. Burke, A. Harte, D. Burke (0-2 each); C. Mannion, T. Monaghan, P. Mannion (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: T. Devine (2-1); M. Shanahan (0-6 4 frees); S. Roche (0-3); K. Moran, T. Ryan, D.J. Foran (0-2 each); Stephen Bennett, M. O’Brien, S. Keating (0-1 each).

GALWAY: C. Callanan; J. Hanbury, Daithí Burke, A. Harte; P. Mannion, G. McInerney, P. Killeen; J. Coen, A. Tuohy; David Burke, J. Canning, J. Cooney; C. Whelan, C. Cooney, C. Mannion
Subs for Galway: T. Monaghan for J. Hanbury (inj 23); N. Burke for J. Cooney (52); S. Maloney for C. Cooney (69).

WATERFORD: I. O’Regan; K. Bennett, S. McNulty, S. Fives; C. Gleeson, T. de Burca, S. Keating; Stephen Bennett, S. Roche, D.J. Foran; T. Ryan, T. Devine, M. Shanahan
Subs for Waterford: Shane Bennett for D.J. Foran (43); N. Connors for S. Keating (56); M. Walsh for M. O’Brien (58); B. O’Halloran for T. Ryan (59); Pauric Mahony for S. Roche (61).

Referee: B. Kelly (Westmeath)

Click here for details about Clare v Limerick Munster SFC Quarter-Final on May 28th