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.
County senior hurling and camogie final season is now in full swing with the Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon, Carlow and Waterford finals being played last weekend. There were wins for Four Roads in Roscommon, their 8th final in a row, with a 3 pt. win over Padraig Pearses. Cathal Dolan was in fine form, striking the sliotar over the bar 6 times, 3 from play. St. Mullins retained their Carlow crown with a 7 pt. win over Mt. Leinster Rangers.
Clonkill dethroned Raherney in the Westmeath decider with a 4 pt. win. Niall Dowdall got the deciding score when he drove the sliotar to the Raherney net late in the game.
Ballygunner won back to back titles in Waterford when they beat Tallow in an entertaining final before a large croud in Walsh Park. Brian O’Sullivan with 5 pts. was the main difference between the teams, showing great accuracy with the Sliotar throughout.
In Offaly, Coolderry used the long tradition of winning Senior titles to overcome a young and determined St. Rynagh’s team to win their 30th title. Rynagh’s, who came from 7 points down shortly after half time to take a 3 pt. lead with 5 mins. to go succumbed to a late Coolderry charge led by veteran Joe Brady who scored the vital goal when catching the sliotar high in the air and beating Conor Clancy in the Rynaghs goal.
All-Irelands are completed and County Final season begins.
Clough-Ballacolla came from 6 pts. down early in the second half to claim their 3rd Laois senior hurling title in 7 years. Stephen Maher was the star of the show scoring 12 pts. ten from placed balls, striking the sliotar with great accuracy from all angles. Zane Keenan will feel particularly disappointing having scored 1-09 and still ended up on the loosing team. Laois hurling has been on the up in recent years and this was a high quality County Final, showing that hurling is in a good state in Laois.
Meanwhile, Ballycran defeated their old rivals Ballygalget in the Down final. They, like their Laois counterparts, came from 5 pts. down to win by 2, scoring 1-04 without reply in the last 10 mins. 7 pts. from Scott Nicholson lead the way for Ballycran.
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.
Galway triumph in hurling ” game of the year” to date. On what was one of the most exciting, skilful and dramatic games of hurling ever played Galway won their way to the All-Ireland hurling final against Kilkenny by a single point scored in the 3rd minute of injury time by substitute Shane Maloney. In a game where Tipperary full forward Seamus Callinan scored 3-9 and still ended up on the loosing side, Galway were the better team but Callinans goals kept Tipperary in the lead for long spells of the game. Galway scored 0-26 pts. some of which were outstanding points with the Galway forwards striking the hurling ball with great accuracy. Joe Canning, 10 pts. Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion 5 pts. each accounted for 20 of Galway s pts. Both goalkeepers brought off some spectacular saves also, deflecting the sliotar out for 65s from point blank shots. There was a total of 45 scores in 70 mins, what other game would produce this much entertainment and skill in 70 mins.
If Galway can reproduce this display they will be very hard to beat in the All-Ireland final.
Kilkenny experience and intensity too much for young Waterford team while Tyrone come through the back door to All-Ireland football semi-final and Mayo will be serious contenders after big win over Donegal.Kilkenny are yet again through to the All-Ireland hurling final after a typical display of skill and intensity that laid the way for a 6 pt. win
over Waterford. With T J Reid and Richie Hogan to the fore, Reid scoring the only goal of the game when he latched on the a loose hurling ball before crashing the sliotar to the Waterford net. Maurice Shanahan helped keep Waterford in the game but Kilkenny were deserving winners.
Tyrone defeated Ulster football Champions Monaghan in the All-Ireland quarter final on Saturday. This was a disappointing result for Monaghan after winning in Ulster to go down to another previously beaten Ulster team. But Tyrone were the better team on the day and manager Mickey Harte said afterwards that they are really looking forward to meeting Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Mayo put in a masterful and assured performance against Donegal in the other quarter final running out winners by 8 pts. The game swung in their favour both sides of half time with a brilliant goal from Aidan O’Shea on the stroke of half time and an opportunity goal by Lee Keegan just after half time. From then on Donegal, with Michael Murphy their main threat, were chasing the game. Mayo go on to play Dublin in the other semi-final which will be a difficult assignment but not without hope.
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 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.