Galway hurlers put on a brilliant display of finishing against a careless Dublin defence in this Leinster Championship replay in Tullamore. Galway scored 3 goals in the first quarter, all scored by Cathal Mannion, in an unforgettable performance by him when he made great use of his chances, crashing the hurling ball to the net three times. The game was almost out of Dublins reach by then, although if they had scored their 2 penalty chances in the first half they could have made it uncomfortable for Galway in the 2nd half. Galway go on to play the winners of Offaly and Laois in the semi-final.
In what turned out to be a very one sided game, Longford decided to play an open game against Dublin in yesterday’s Leinster football Championship. Dublin gave an exhibition of fast attacking football, brilliant to watch on one hand but unfortunately, the game has become HANDBALL, not football, with anything up to 10 handpasses in succession before the ball was kicked, probably for a score. Critics complain about the blanket defence and how it’s destroying “football”. Yet, when a team like Longford come out to play an open game they still criticize the one sided game it was, and not commenting on the brilliance of Dublin. Dublin will be difficult to beat in this form and if teams decide to play an open game they will find it very difficult to win.
In the first round of the Leinster Hurling Championship Dublin and Galway ended up level at 0-20 to 1-17 in an entertaining but low standard Championship game in Croke Park. In sometimes difficult conditions Galway came from a point down when Aidan Harte struck the sliotar between the posts to earn a replay in Tullamore on next Saturday. Galway opened up a six point lead in the first half after Joseph Cooney had scored a brilliant goal, picking the hurling ball on the run, soloing on goal before striking the ball to the Dublin net. But this only served to awaken Dublin who went on to dominate most of the proceedings, without putting Galway away. They depended mainly on David Treacy to score from placed balls, striking the hurling ball with great accuracy, scoring 11 points in total. The extra game next Saturday will give the winners, hard to say who that will be, an advantage going into the semi-finals.
Limerick advance to Munster semi final in controversial circumstances while Westmeath and Laois make it to the Leinster Championship proper.
Limericks defeat of Clare in the Munster Championship by a single point last Sunday gives them a home game v Tipperary in the Munster semi final. In an exciting game with typical munster Championship hurling in which two players were straight red carded, Limerick showed the greater composure to come out on top. With 19 year old Cian Lynch scoring 3 points, striking the sliotar with great accuracy and second half substitute Aaron Cunningham scoring 2 great goals, the second in which he gathered the hurling ball well out field, turning and soloing 30 meters before crashing the sliotar to the Limerick net, Limerick did enough to deserve their win.
Meanwhile, Laois came from 7 pts. down just after half time to beat Westmeath in their must win game to advance to the Leinster Championship proper. Laois looked in trouble until Zane Keenan to the game to Westmeath making great us of the sliotar to set up scores for his teammates. Laois now meet Offaly and Westmeath meet Wexford on June 7th in the Leinster Quarter finals.
Westmeath footballers follow their hurlers in keeping the County colours flying. In a mixed weekend for the Midland teams in the first round of the Leinster football Championship, Westmeath and Laois had good wins while Offaly had a disappointing defeat to Longford, whom they had trounced by 13 pts. only 3 weeks ago in the division 4 league final. Offaly were 7 pts. ahead early in the second half but allowed Longford to take control of the game and go on win by 3 pts. Westmeath meanwhile defeated Louth in their opening game and continued the counties good run in all grades at present. Laois also had a big win over Carlow in their opening round and will be hoping to improve on last year’s performances and win a Leinster football final.
Rudds and Offaly Camogie off to a winning start. Last Friday night saw the launch of Rudds Fine Foods as the new sponsor of Offaly Camogie, and the presentation of the new Offaly Camogie jersey which was designed by Sheila Sullivan, one of the Offaly players and all-star winner. And following on from that Offaly played Wexford in the Leinster senior Championship on Sunday, recording their first ever win over Wexford in a senior championship game. This was a tremendous win for Offaly Camogie and another major step forward towards achieving an All Ireland senior Championship. This Offaly team has an ideal mix of experienced and young players who have come through the underage system honing their Hurling skills. Beating a team of Wexfords status by 1-14 to 0-10 is a major achievement. They now play Dublin in the semi-final on Sunday next. The best of luck to them in that game.
Mixed luck for Midland teams in first round of Leinster Championship round robin series.
Laois senior hurlers were very unlucky to be beaten by a single point in a thriller with Antrim. There were 47 scores in the 70 mins including 8 goals with both teams playing some fantastic hurling. Laois were leading by a single point in the closing stages when Antrim were awarded a penalty. Ciaran Clarke, who ended up scoring 2-7, crashed the hurling ball to the Laois net for a memorable win for Antrim. Westmeath, on the other hand had a very good win against Carlow in a game that ebbed and flowed up until Westmeath went 2 points clear in the final few minutes. The teams had been level at half time but Westmeath were helped by the accuracy of Niall O’Brian, who scored 5 great points from play and 2 frees when he struck the hurling ball with great accuracy.
Both Laois and Westmeath supporters will be eagerly awaiting the next games and if Westmeath beat Antrim in Mullingar they will be on their way to the Leinster Championship proper. Laois must beat Carlow to have any chance of progressing.
Great weekend ahead for the GAA with the All-Ireland u-21 football final and the National Hurling League final taking place. Who would have thought at the start of the championship that Tipperary would beat Cork and Dublin on their way to the All-Ireland final against Tyrone. It would be a fantastic achievement for a county generally associated with hurling to win a football final. Best of luck to them.
The Hurling League final is an all Munster affair with Cork and Waterford facing up against each other. If the two semi-finals are anything to go by, where both Cork and Waterford came from behind to win by a point, this final should be a great game.