Dublin take Centre Stage on another busy weekend on the GAA club front.
Cuala and Ballyboden were crowned Dublin County Champions in hurling and football on another busy weekend for the GAA clubs. Cuala had a comprehensive win, their first in 21 years, in the Dublin hurling decider with a 10 pt. win over St. Judes. Although only leading by 1-7 to 0-7 at the interval Cuala took control of the 2nd half, adding two more goals. Both Sean Treacy, with two goals and David Treacy with 7 pts. were the difference between the teams. Cuala go on to meet Coolderry in the Leinster Championship next weekend. Ballyboden overcame St. Vincents by 4 pts. in a surprise win in the football decider. St. Vincents, Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland club champions were expected to retain their crown,but two goals by Andy Kearns, one a penalty, was the difference between the teams, finishing on a scoreline of 2-8 to 0-10.
Limerick take U-21 hurling Championship in style.
Limerick gave a scintillating display of fast, open, skilful hurling to defeat Wexford in the All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship by 0-26 to 1-7. Following their Munster final win over a fancied Clare team going for 4 in a row, Limerick continued on their rich vein of form to completely overpower Wexford. Right from the start Limerick were the sharper team, controlling the sliotar and striking some great points. 7 Limerick players scored, with Ronan Lynch, 6 and Barry Nash, 5, top of the list for a Limerick team that led by 11pts. to 4 at half time. The open fast hurling was in marked contrast to the very physical nature of the hurling that we saw in the senior final six days earlier.
Busy weekend in Croke Park.
Following last Sunday s drawn All-Ireland Football semi-final Croke Park has a busy weekend coming up. The replay of the Football semi-final between Dublin and Mayo is fixed for Saturday, with the All-Ireland hurling finals, minor and senior going ahead on Sunday. The football replay is very hard to call. Dublin appeared to be coasting to victory last Sunday, leading by 7 pts. with 10 mins. to go. But Mayo made a major recovery to snatch a draw. This should help their confidence for the replay while Dublin will be eager to make ammends for surrendering their lead last time.
The Hurling final is also difficult to call, although Kilkenny will start as favourites due to the vast experience they have in All-Ireland finals. Galway were very impressive in their victory over Tipperary in the semi-final. If they can reproduce that form they will be difficult to beat. They are no longer depending solely on Joe Canning to lead the attack and this has made them a better team. Kilkenny have a very strong forward line and with Richie Hogan in superb form it should be a very interesting game.
In a major weekend of Gaelic Football, Cork and Kerry came through their Munster Championship semi finals without too much trouble, although Tipperary did launch a challenge to Kerry in the first half. But Kerry, with Gooch Cooper back after a long injury, took control in the second half and were convincing winners.
Donegal sent out a warning to all opponents with a very big win over Armagh. Nobody saw this coming but Donegal completely dominated the game from the off to win by 9 points putting Armagh into the playoffs. The game of the day turned out to be the clash of Mayo and Galway in the Connacht semi final. Galway were determined to improve on last years thrashing, and they did, pushing Mayo, who are going for 5 Connacht Championships in a row, to the final whistle with Aidan O Shea being the difference between the teams.
Elsewhere, Kildare defeated Laois convincingly in their replay, Meath defeated Wicklow and Westmeath defeated Wexford.
Wexford, Galway, Laois and Waterford advance in first major weekend for hurling Championship.
Laois bridged a 43 year gap when they comprehensively defeated Offaly in the Leinster Championship Quarter final with Willie Hyland and Cha Dwyer striking the sliotar with great accuracy, scoring 12 pts. from play between them. Wexford had a comfortable win over Westmeath in their quarter final with Ian Byrne scoring 1-7 for Wexford, crashing the hurling ball to the net just after half time. In the game of the day, Waterford followed up their defeat of Cork in the League final with a good win over them again on Sunday. Maurice Shanahan was the star for Waterford, scoring 1-9 and hurling with great skill and endeavour, leading Waterford to a Munster final meeting with either Tipperary or Limerick.
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.