Sunday 16 December 2018

Comprehensive county finals round-up

Alan Cronin of Nemo Rangers lifting the cup after the Cork County Senior Fooball Championship Final Replay match between St Finbarr's and Nemo Rangers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Alan Cronin of Nemo Rangers lifting the cup after the Cork County Senior Fooball Championship Final Replay match between St Finbarr's and Nemo Rangers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

A full round-up of Sunday's 14 county finals.

*Reports to follow*

Mayo - Castlebar Mitchels 0-15 Ballintubber 0-13

Boland’s crucial double helps Tooreen back to Mayo summit

Tooreen returned to the top of Mayo hurling having lived for four years in the shadow of Ballyhaunis who came up well short in their bid for a four-in-a-row at the Adrian Freeman Memorial Park, Tooreen on Saturday.

It was a fitting tribute to the late Adrian Freeman who tragically died in a car accident in Australia in 2010 that his club, who now hold a record 28 titles, should return to the top.

The game, played in dreadful conditions of wind and rain, swung on two second-half goals in the space of three minutes, both coming from the hurl of Mayo dual star Fergal Boland.

Boland’s first from long range was dropped over the line by Ballyhaunis goalkeeper Donal O’Brien and minutes later the visitors’ custodian was caught out by another effort from distance from Boland which ended up in the net.

Tooreen led by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time, Shane Boland on target with some fine scores for the home side, but it was two late frees from Brian Hunt which kept Ballyhaunis in touch.

Scorers – Tooreen: F Boland 2-2, S Boland 0-5 (5f), C Freeman, K Feeney (f) and S Kenny 0-1 each.

Ballyhaunis: B Hunt 0-4 (4f), K Higgins 0-2.

Tooreen – S Lenehan; D Huane, M Morley, A Henry; C Henry, C Freeman, D Kenny; S Coyne, F Boland; K Feeney, S Regan, S Boland; B Morley, B Douglas, S Kenny. Subs: C Charlton for B Douglas (46), S Morley for S Kenny (57), C English for C Charlton (58)

Ballyhaunis – D O’Brien; A Brennan, M Phillips, A Lyons; K Kiely, L Cribbin, F Lyons; E Collins, K McDermott; A Phillips, K Higgins, B Hunt; P Kelly, S Hoban, J Lyons. Subs: S Griffin for K Kiely (46, inj), J Coyne for P Kiely (51), C Gardiner for A Brennan (53).

Ref – M Collins (Lacken)

Cork - Nemo Rangers 4-12 St Finbarrs 3-13

Kavanagh relieved as ‘nervous’ Nemo just hold on

Nemo Rangers landed a 20th title yesterday, but they were forced to withstand a late St Finbarr’s fightback in this final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Having trailed by 1-1 to 0-0 after three minutes, Nemo responded well to lead by 2-6 to 1-5 at half-time. Paul Kerrigan’s goal extended that advantage on the resumption and they looked safe when sub Adrian Greaney netted to make it 4-11 to 1-8 on 46 minutes.

They were to add just one more point to their tally, however, as their city rivals – without a senior title since 1985 – clawed their way back.

Sub Eoghan Finn gave the Barrs hope with a goal in the 49th minute and after Stephen Sherlock’s pointed frees cut the lead, he drilled another to the net as the game moved into injury-time.

That left just four points in it and Enda Dennehy cut the gap to three before Dylan Quinn almost got in for a goal only to fire over the bar.

Nemo regrouped, though, and Paul Kerrigan’s run alleviated the pressure, allowing them to hold possession in the closing stages as the game was seen out. “We were nervous, and helpless,” admitted Nemo manager Larry Kavanagh.

“I know I took my eye off it. You don’t get a chance to savour a county final and you don’t know if you’ll be there again. Maybe that fed through to the players, you can’t do that against the Barrs. It’s a lesson, but we got away with it.”

Having conceded the first eight points in last week’s drawn game, the Barrs had an unanswered 1-1 on the scoreboard inside three minutes.

Sherlock’s goal followed Robert O’Mahony’s early point, but a long lay-off after an injury to Nemo defender Cian McWhinney punctured the momentum and allowed Nemo to settle.

Ciarán Dalton’s point from a tight angle on 17 minutes got Nemo off the mark and they were level when impressive midfielder Jack Horgan capped a great catch from a kick-out with a run and finish.

It was even for the rest of the extended first-half – there were 10 minutes of injury-time – but Nemo had a late surge to take control.

After Kevin Fulignati levelled at 1-5 each, Nemo had a second goal when Barry O’Driscoll’s pass allowed Luke Connolly to produce a wonderful finish and Paul Kerrigan got on the scoresheet to leave his side four ahead at half-time.

After the first two points of the second-half were shared, Nemo had their third goal through Kerrigan.

That looked to have given an air of finality to proceedings, with Kerrigan’s confidence flowing as he kicked a huge effort and Paddy Gumley adding another, along with scores from Alan O’Donovan and O’Driscoll.

When O’Driscoll played in Greaney to fire home Nemo extended the lead to 12 points.

However, the Barrs – who endured a tough week as former keeper and selector Kevin McTernan died on Friday at the age of 45 – refused to yield. When Dennehy and Quinn pointed to leave two in it, thoughts turned to a third meeting, but Nemo were not to be denied.

Scorers – Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan 1-2, J Horgan, L Connolly 1-1 each, A Greaney 1-0, C Dalton, P Gumley 0-2 each, T Ó Sé, K Fulignati, A O’Donovan, B O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

St Finbarr’s: S Sherlock 2-7 (1-3f), E Finn 1-0, R O’Mahony 0-2, D Quinn, C Lyons, D O’Brien, E Dennehy 0-1 each.

NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; Aidan O’Reilly (captain), C McWhinney, A Cronin; T Ó Sé, S Cronin, K Fulignati; A  O’Donovan, J Horgan; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; P Gumley, L Connolly, C Dalton. Subs: K O’Donovan for McWhinney (9, injured), J O’Donovan for Fulignati (30, injured), A Greaney for O’Brien (37), M Dorgan for A  O’Donovan, Fulignati for A Cronin (both 54).

ST FINBARR’S: D Murphy; D Quinn, J Burns, A  McCarthy; A O’Connor, S R yan, G O’Connor; I Maguire (captain), C Lyons; D O’Brien, M Shields, E Dennehy; R Leahy, R O’Mahony, S Sherlock. Subs: E Finn for O’Brien (42), C Myers Murray for Leahy, C Keane for Lyons (both 46), I O’Callaghan for O’Mahony (51), R O’Dwyer for Ryan (57), P Kennedy for O’Connor (59).

Ref – J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).

Carlow - At Netwatch Cullen Park - Eire Og 2-8 Rathvilly 1-8

Morrissey on the mark to lead Éire Óg to title

ÉIRE Óg claimed their 27th senior football title, and became the first holders of the new Nationalist Cup, with a deserved one-goal win over 13-man Rathvilly in yesterday’s replayed final at Netwatch Cullen Park.

The game was a bad-tempered, fractious clash, producing mediocre fare for the attendance of 2,500.

Rathvilly led for the only time when midfielder Ken Doyle kicked the game’s first point.

Éire Óg responded and hit the front in the fifth minute when left-half forward Eoghan Ruth hit the net from Darragh O’Brien’s astute pass.

Both sides set up defensively and there was little in the way of quality football, with referee David Hickey issuing a plethora of cards of all hues.

Rathvilly lost centre-back Wayne O’Donoghue to a black card on 21 minutes as they trailed 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time.

Early second-half points from Jordan Morrissey and captain Séan Gannon doubled the Éire Óg advantage.

Rathvilly were in deep trouble when wing-forward Alan Kelly was red carded on 43 minutes and almost immediately Morrissey, a county minor this year, found the Rathvilly net to put his side into a commanding 2-6 to 0-6 lead.

Late on, JJ Smith’s penalty was pushed on to the post by Éire Óg keeper Robbie Moore and went safe, before Gary Dempsey slotted a second spot-kick with the last action of the game, by which stage Rathvilly wing-back Jeffrey O’Donoghue had received a second yellow card.

The five-time Leinster Club champions can now plan for an away tie in the provincial series against Mullinalaghta of Longford.

Scorers – Éire Óg: D O’Brien 0-4f, J Morrissey 1-1, E Ruth 1-0, S Gannon 0-2, D Hayden 0-1.

Rathvilly: G Dempsey 1-5 (1 pen 4f), K Doyle, D Molloy, JJ Smith (45) 0-1 each.

Éire Óg: R Moore; F O’Toole, M Fitzgerald, B Kavanagh; J Lowry, P McElligott, R Dunphy; S Gannon, K Chatton; S Rea, J Morrissey, E Ruth; M Furey, D Hayden, D O’Brien. Subs: E Kelly for O’Toole (35); C Mullins for Dunphy (41); M Ware for Rea (51); C Blake for Morrissey (58); N Quinlan for Hayden (63).

Rathvilly: R Molloy; B J Molloy, C O’Brien, T Bolger; J O’Donoghue, W O’Donoghue, J B Leonard; Brendan Murphy, K Doyle; A Kelly, E Finnegan, D Molloy; Brian Murphy, G Dempsey, J J Smith. Subs: J Moore for W O’Donoghue (black card) (23); R Ryan for J B Leonard (54); D Murphy for Doyle (54); C Byrne for D Molloy.

Ref – D Hickey (Fenagh).

Kerry - At Austin Stack Park - Dr Crokes 0-17 South Kerry 1-12

Composed  Crokes waste little to extend Kerry reign

The script was a lot different but the reigning All-Ireland club champions Dr Crokes still cleared their throats to deliver their lines on cue and retain their Kerry SFC title in Austin Stack Park, Tralee.

Crokes, who were winning a 15th consecutive championship game, had scored 14 goals in their four previous championship games and conceded none but here they drew a blank at one end while conceding one to Ian Galvin at the other end, prodding a reaction in South Kerry that didn’t subside until referee Brendan Griffin brought it to a conclusion.

In between the champions had to show a lot of the guile and composure that was prevalent on St Patrick’s Day last to keep a spirited divisional side, featuring representatives from eight clubs, at arm’s length.

And they did it all without their talisman Colm Cooper for the first 42 minutes, Cooper sidelined with a hamstring injury that the Crokes management felt wasn’t worth risking in the earlier part of the game.

seized

They also showed a remarkable level of economy in their attacking play with 17 points from 19 shots. By comparison, South Kerry could reflect on up to 15 opportunities that weren’t seized upon, some in that period in the second half when they were pressing hard and drew level on 49 minutes through the impressive Bryan Sheehan.

Sheehan finished with seven points, three from play, and also nailed a ’45 and a free from 45 metres as he essentially dominated midfield alongside Brendan O’Sullivan who had the measure of Johnny Buckley.

Buckley picked up a black card on 48 minutes after hauling down the rampant O’Sullivan and, after being shown a yellow card for tangling with his Kerry colleague in the 38th minute, the colour quickly turned to red.

Sheehan’s equaliser looked like it would set South Kerry on the path to victory but Crokes captain Daithi Casey landed a free after he was fouled himself before Kieran O’Leary split the opposition defence with a pass to substitute Jordan Kiely who obliged to restore a two-point lead.

When substitute Paul Clarke fielded the subsequent kick-out, it presented O’Leary with his third point which looked like it would put the game beyond doubt but South Kerry kept driving with Ronan Hussey and Sheehan (free) bringing it back to the minimum again before Casey landed a monster free for more breathing space.

It was a final rich in quality and puts Crokes firmly on course to extend their current cycle into 2018. Cooper was a loss to the attack but in his absence others really stepped up with Micheál Burns, one of the stars of the 2014 All-Ireland-winning minor team, landing four points and O’Leary chipping in with three.

But with Eamonn Fitzmaurice in rebuilding mode he’ll surely look the way of Crokes goalkeeper Shane Murphy and wing-back Gavin White who gave them such energy. Murphy saved brilliantly in the opening 30 seconds from Brendan O’Sullivan after a deft pass inside from Paul O’Donoghue, subsequently South Kerry’s biggest threat.

Crokes, who were a little conservative at times, also needed Murphy to be alert to a Matthew O’Sullivan snapshot just after the break but, once again, it was the kick-out service he provided that stood out. White is another All-Ireland minor winner who claimed man of the match for his hard running and covering behind a beaten midfield.

Fionn Fitzgerald typified Crokes’ composure throughout but they gifted South Kerry a goal when full-back Mike Moloney gathered up a Brendan O’Sullivan shot that fell short only to give it straight to substitute Ian Galvin who slipped a shot past Murphy on 18 minutes to cut back a 0-7 to 0-3 deficit.

Just two minutes beforehand Crokes might have been out of sight but for Pádraig O’Sullivan’s save from Casey that went over for a sixth Crokes point.

Resisted

Moloney picked up a late black card but by then Crokes had resisted South Kerry’s best efforts to put back-to-back titles together and draw level on the roll of honour with Laune Rangers and Austin Stacks on 12 titles. 

Crokes selector Harry O’Neill admitted they had lived dangerously. “We were a bit jittery at times coming out. We conceded a stupid goal, which brought them back into it. And when you give a team like South Kerry any sort of energy at all they will come at you and they pushed right up on us but our lads thankfully showed tremendous character to dig it out especially after Johnny (Buckley) got the yellow and the black. To finish it out with 14 was fantastic.”

O’Neill acknowledged they have been finding it hard to replicate the form of last year. “Maybe we’re finding a little bit harder this year to get up to the same standard but these lads have been on the road for 18 months with Pat (O’Shea) in the block of work that he has done and it’s been a hard slog.”

South Kerry manager William Harmon believes they will only get better from the experience. “There were seven or eight U-21s in this team, they’ll all learn from this. Not many people would have thought South Kerry would be back in finals. We’ve been in two finals in three years, winning one. It’s a great platform for these guys to push on next year.”

Scorers – Dr Crokes: D Casey 0-6 (4fs), M Burns 0-4, K O’Leary 0-3, T Brosnan 0-2, J Kiely, G White 0-1 each. South Kerry: B Sheehan 0-7 (3fs, 1 45), I Galvin 1-0, P O’Donoghue 0-2, R Hussey, B O’Sullivan, C O’Shea all 0-1 each.

Dr Crokes – S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, L Quinn; D O’Leary, F Fitzgerald, G White; J Buckley, A O’Sullivan; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; T Brosnan, D Casey, K O’Leary. Subs: C Cooper for O’Shea (42), J Kiely for Brosnan (42), S Doolan for D O’Leary (53), P Clarke for Burns (56), A O’Donovan for Moloney (BC, 62), E Brosnan for Looney (63).

South Kerry –  Padraig O’Sullivan (Skellig Rangers); B Sugrue (Renard), M Griffin (St Michael’s), F Clifford (Waterville); Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), Paul O’Sullivan (Valentia), C O’Shea (St Mary’s); B Sheehan (St Mary’s), B O’Sullivan (Valentia); P O’Donoghue (St Mary’s), N O’Shea (Dromid), J Curran (Valentia); R Wharton (Renard), M O’Sullivan (St Michael’s), Daniel Daly (St Mary’s). Subs: I Galvin (Sneem/Derrynane) for Daly, Denis Daly (St Mary’s) for O’Shea, O Clifford (Waterville) for Curran (36), R Hussey (Sneem/Derrynane) for M O’Sullivan (46), C Farley (Dromid) for Galvin (61).

Ref – B Griffin (Clounmacon)

 

Limerick - At the Gaelic Grounds - Adare 2-10 Newcastle West 1-10

Who Adares wins as English’s goal secures historic first title

Adare are Limerick Senior Football Champions for the first time after a dramatic victory over Newcastle West at the Gaelic Grounds.

Jack English popped up with the crucial goal two minutes into added time after Paul Hannan’s point looked to have seen Newcastle West to their second title in three years.

Charlie McCarthy then put over the insurance point for an Adare side that were only promoted this season after winning the 2016 Intermediate title.

Adare had led by two points as the game entered the final stages but spectacular efforts from Iain Corbett and Michael Quilligan saw the game at 1-9 apiece heading into injury time.

Hannan looked to have sealed it with a well-taken score from the left wing but English’s goal saw Adare to victory.

Newcastle West had the better of the opening quarter to lead 0-6 to 0-3 but Hugh Bourke’s goal saw the side’s level.

Adare seemed to settle after that with the Bourke brothers, Robbie and Hugh sending them into a three-point lead at the break.

Newcastle West were firm favourites going into the final and looked to have regained their composure seven minutes into the second home when Iain Corbett fired home a spectacular goal.

That levelled the contest for the fourth time but Adare were soon ahead by three again thanks to Hugh Bourke and two from Mikey Lyons.

Newcastle West fought their way back into the contest again but English’s goal sealed the most dramatic of victories for Adare.

Scorers

Adare: H Bourke 1-5 (3fs), J English 1-0, R Bourke 0-2 (f) and M Lyons 0-2, C McCarthy 0-1.

Newcastle West: I Corbett 1-2, Jamie Lee 0-4 (f), S Kelly,T Quilligan (f), M Quilligan and P Hannan all 0-1 each,

Adare: J Hickey; O Collins, A O’Connor, E Costello; E Ryan, D Connolly, P Maher; R Bourke, S Keeley; S Doherty, J English, M Lyons; N Mulvihill, M Connolly, H Bourke; Subs: S O’Connor for Costello (41), A O’Connell for Maher (55), C McCarthy for Lyons (64 b card).

Newcastle West: A Ruddle; M O’Keeffe, B O’Sullivan, S Browne; M O’Leary, S Nix, P Hannon; C Sheehan, I Corbett; T Quilligan, S Kelly, S Murphy; J Lee, M McMahon, J Kelly; Subs: AJ O’Connor for Quilligan (38), D Woods for Murphy (38), E Murphy for O’Sullivan (46), M Quilligan for S Kelly (50), E Hurley for McMahon (57).

 Ref – Johnny Murphy

London - At Ruislip - Fulham Irish 0-15 Tir Chonaill Gaels 1-11

Former Tyrone ace Mulligan rolls back years for Fulham

Former All-Ireland winner Owen Mulligan kicked the winning point as Fulham Irish beat Tír Chonaill Gaels in a brilliant London SFC final by a single point.

London stalwart Mark Gottsche had a final opportunity to bring the game to a replay but he pulled a long and difficult free wide in the final act, after nearly 70-minutes of end-to-end action.

Fulham and Tír Chonaill went punch-for-punch during a contest marked by some absolutely stunning scores from Gaels forwards Killian Butler and Liam Gavaghan. But it was Joe Roberts’ first-half goal that looked like proving the difference as the game headed down the finish.

Roberts had netted a rebound after Fulham goalkeeper Jonathan Tavey saved brilliantly and Tír Chonaill led at the break by 1-5 to 0-7.

Tír Chonaill Gaels then turned with the wind at their backs and Killian Butler demonstrated the kind of match-winning form and breathtaking score-taking that made Gaels look a certainty to lift the title.

But Fulham stuck at it. And their high-energy play and intensity led to the sending-off of Tír Chonaill’s Kevin Rafferty for a second high tackle on Mulligan with 10 minutes of the game remaining. Fulham were trailing by a goal at the time, but they fought their way back into the contest with fine scores from Liam Staunton and substitute Daniel Eastwood, and their relentless pressing set up a grandstand finish that saw Mulligan convert a late free to win the contest.

Scorers – Fulham Irish: L Staunton 0-5 (3f), O Mulligan 0-3f, D Eastwood 0-2, P Friel 0-2(f), M Hughes, M Murphy, B Martin 0-1 each. Tír Chonaill Gaels: K Butler 0-4, J Roberts 1-0, L Gavaghan 0-2,  J McGrath 0-2f, M McCoy, M Gottsche (‘45) and A Hanlon 0-1 each.

Fulham Irish – J Tavey; R Morgan, C Hyde, C Murphy; J Gilfedder, H Dockry, A Savage; M Murphy, D O’Connor; L Turley, O Mulligan, L Staunton; R Turley, M Hughes, P Friel. Subs: D Eastwood for Friel (34), A McArdle for L Turley (48), B Martin for Gilfedder (40), S Quinn for Staunton (59), S O’Sullivan for R Turley.

Tír Chonaill Gaels – G McEvoy; M McWilliams, S Burke, P Butler; M McCoy, R Breen, G McGee; A McDermott, M Gottsche; K Rafferty, L Gavaghan (capt), A Askin; J McGrath, J Roberts, K Butler. Subs: A McGarvey for Askin (26), N Garland for McGrath (40), A Hanlon for Roberts (40),

Ref –M Maher

Roscommon - At Hyde Park - St Brigid's 3-13 Roscommon Gaels 3-7

THE St Brigid's monopoly of the Roscommon senior football championship shows no signs of abating. On a day which began with a superlative victory for their minors, the seniors retained their crown with a deserved if somewhat flattering six-point victory over Roscommon Gaels.

For the Kiltoom crew, this was a seventh SFC title in eight seasons, a tenth since 2005, and a 16th in total.

But it was tougher than the final scoreline at Dr Hyde Park suggests. They actually trailed, briefly during the fourth quarter, before Cathal McHugh's equalising free on 50 minutes kickstarted a late flourish.

Sub Jack McDonnell kicked a nerveless lead point five minutes later before goals from fellow sub Conor Murray (58 minutes) and Eddie Nolan, in stoppage time, made sure of victory.

The holders enjoyed a dream start with a goal from the livewire Brian Stack after barely ten seconds. However, Cian Connolly's ninth minute penalty and a second goal from James O'Gara ensured that the challengers were still very much alive at the break, trailing by 1-9 to 2-4.

Then a third goal, buried by Mark Healy after Connolly's free attempt rebounded off an upright, left the Gaels just a point behind. 

They were subsequently reduced to 14 men after David O'Gara, already on a yellow, was black-carded after 41 minutes. They still managed to edge in front, via a Connolly free and a Richard Hughes point, before Brigid's came strong at the finish.

SCORERS – St Brigid's: B Stack 1-1, S Kilbride (3f), C McHugh (3f) 0-4 each, C Murray, E Nolan 1-0, D Sheehy, D Dolan, P Kelly, J McDonnell 0-1 each. Roscommon Gaels: C Connolly 1-4 (1-0 pen, 4f), J O'Gara, M Healy 1-0 each, R Hughes 0-2, R Gleeson 0-1.

ST BRIGID'S: S Mannion; N McInerney, P Domican, D Sheehy; I Kilbride, R Stack, J Murray; G Dolan, E Nolan; P Kelly, D Dolan, E Sheehy; B Stack, S Kilbride, C McHugh. Subs: D Cunniffe for E Sheehy (ht), D Donnelly for J Murray (49), J McDonnell for McHugh (51), C Murray for D Dolan (55), N Grehan for R Stack (59).

ROSCOMMON GAELS: J Fetherstone; L McNeela, J McManus, J O'Gara; P Gleeson, D O'Gara, C Dineen; M Healy, J McDermott; M Nally, S Oates, R Gleeson; R Hughes, C Connolly, K Kilcline. Subs: K O'Gara for Nally (38), B O'Gara for J O'Gara (49), R Horan for Gleeson (54), C Egan for Oates (61).

REF: B Healy (St Faithleach's).

Ulster Club - At the Athletic Grounds - Slaughtneil (Derry) 2-21 Ballygalget (Down) 1-12

Slaughtneil shrugged off the exertions of chasing history in both codes and upped the intensity levels in the second half to comfortably retain their Ulster club SHC title.

Cormac O'Doherty top-scored with 1-10 for the over-worked Derry outfit, who next face Omagh St Enda's in a football quarter-final on Saturday night.

"We felt last year we didn't get the respect we felt we deserved, people said that we had caught Loughgiel on the hop," said O'Doherty.

"But I think we've proved this year we're a good hurling team and we're here to stay hopefully."

Down champions Ballygalget, chasing a first provincial title since 2005, finished with 14 players yet stayed in the game for long enough and there was only a goal in it eight minutes after the interval.

But every time they threatened to get close, Slaughtneil responded instantly to reassert their dominance.

Fatigue should have been a factor on what was the club's seventh championship game in nine weeks but if anything they grew stronger.

Ballygalget's Mark Fisher was sent-off after 53 minutes, picking up a second yellow card for pulling down Gerard Bradley in the square. O'Doherty drilled the penalty home and the floodgates opened.

The sides were level three times in the opening 12 minutes, Ballygalget certainly the better side early on, but Slaughtneil possessed the greater goal threat, forcing two saves from 'keeper Jamie Crowe.

Sean Cassidy struck the opening goal in the 13th minute. Full-forward Brendan Rogers won a high ball and turned with Cassidy running off his shoulder and finishing the move.

Brian Cassidy and Karl McKaigue added fine scores with O'Doherty unerring from the dead ball. Gareth 'Magic' Johnston's frees kept Ballygalet competitive, trailing by 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.

Slaughtneil got their scores easier with Brendan Rogers and Brian Cassidy nailing 0-5 between them in the second half.

Caolan Bailie netted a consolation goal for Ballygalget in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Scorers: Slaughtneil – C O'Doherty 1-10 (7f, 3 '65's, one pen), S Cassidy 1-0, B Cassidy 0-4, K McKaigue 0-3, B Rogers 0-2, C McAllister 0-1, G Bradley 0-1; Ballygalget – G Johnston 0-8 (7f), C Bailie 1-0, D Toner 0-2, M Fisher 0-2.

Slaughtneil -  O O'Doherty; K McKaigue, Shane McGuigan, P McNeill; M McGrath, C McKenna, C McAllister; G Bradley, C McKaigue; Mark McGuigan, C O'Doherty, S Cassidy; Se McGuigan, B Rogers, Brian Cassidy. Subs: G O'Kane for S Cassidy (42), B Og Corbett for McAllister (60).

Ballygalget - J Crowe; B Byers (J Smyth 60), E Clarke, J McManus; E Coulter, B Toner, Peter McManus; C Bailie, J Doran (Paul McManus 60); G Roddy, D McManus, M Fisher; C Coulter (C Doran 60), G Johnston, D Toner. Subs: J Smyth for Byers (60), Paul McManus for Doran (60), C Doran for C Coulter (60).

Referee - Colum Cunning (Antrim).

Clare - At Cusack Park - Sixmilebridge 1-20 Clooney-Quin 1-14

Sixmilebridge claimed the crown for the 13th time – and the second time in three years – when they proved too strong for Clooney-Quin in the replay at Cusack Park.

Played in front of a crowd of 5,892, this game never reached the excitement levels of the drawn game a week earlier. Nevertheless, it produced some good passages of play, with the Bridge turning the screw in the second half, having lead by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break. Centre-back Seadna Morey lead by example after half-time and though he didn’t score unlike the previous game, when he hit three points, his forays up the field led to many a score by a colleague.

The opening half at times was sluggish with Clooney-Quin relying on their ace marksman Peter Duggan for scores. He grabbed all but one of their first-half tally as Ryan Taylor was the only other player to register on the score-sheet in that period. Keith Hogan the Clooney-Quin net-minder had a stormer in the drawn game, making a number of fine saves and yesterday he came to his side’s aid on two occasions before the break. Early on he denied Sixmilebridge veteran Niall Gilligan and later in the half he saved from Brian Corry, after the corner-forward was put through by the hard-working Shane Golden.

Jamie Shanahan pushed out the lead to three points within a minute of the re-start with a pointed free and moments later Brian Corry crashed to Hogan’s net for the game’s opening goal. This vital score put daylight between the teams, sending the favourites 1-10 to 0-7, ahead. Another Shanahan point, this time from play increased the lead to seven and at this stage there looked like no way back for the side seeking a first title in seventy-five years. Yet Clooney-Quin’s fighting spirit never waned. Duggan’s free-taking kept them in sight but the Bridge’s experience was beginning to tell. Unlike a week ago, they dominated in the air and scores came easier to them than their opponents. Sixmilebridge forwards like Shane Golden and Alan Mulready got some fine points as the half progressed and forty years after winning a first title, a thirteenth seemed imminent.

The Bridge team-manager John O’Meara appeared confident enough when he called forty-one year old Niall Gilligan ashore after forty-eight minutes on the clock. Gilligan was to go on and win a sixth medal and he watched the remainder of the game from the dug-out. Clooney-Quin did manage a goal when Michael Corry first-timed past Derek Fahy, late in the game but it proved too little too late, on a day when Sixmilebridge deservedly prevailed.

Scorers

Sixmilebridge:  S Golden (0-5), J Shanahan (0-5), 3 f’s,  B Corry (1-1), A Mulready (0-3), N Gilligan (0-2), A Quilligan, C Deasy, C Malone, C Lynch (0-1) each.

Clooney-Quin: P Duggan (0-10), 5 f’s, 2 ‘65’s, 1 sideline cut, M Corry (1-1), R Taylor, F Lynch, J Corry (0-1) each.

Teams

Sixmilebridge: D Fahy, N Purcell, P Fitzpatrick (Capt.), B Fitzpatrick, A Quilligan S Morey,C Morey, J Shanahan, C Deasy, C Malone, N Gilligan,  S Golden, B Corry, A Morey, A Mulready.

Subs:  C Lynch for Gilligan (48), G Whyte for A Morey (52), B Carey for Deasy (59), K Lynch for C Morey (59).

Sligo - At Markievicz Park - Calry-St Joseph's 2-15 Western Gaels 3-10

THE Calry-St Joseph’s hurling juggernaut rumbled on at Markievicz Park as they claimed the title for the seventh time ina a row,  but their two-point defeat of Western Gaels was far from comfortable.

It took second half goals from Brian Shannon and substitute Michael O’Callaghan to keep Calry-St Joseph’s title magnificent seven dream on track.

The beaten finalists, previously champions for the first and only time in 2010, had Calry-St Joseph’s rattled at half-time as they led by three points, 2-6 to 0-9, at the interval of a scrappy encounter.

First-half goals from Eamonn Kilgannon and Michael McGowan left Calry-St Joseph’s reeling – Kilgannon netted in the opening minute and McGowan goaled in first-half added time – with Alan Cawley also chipping in with three first-half frees.

The champions relied on their top scorer and talisman, Keith Raymond, to keep them ticking over against a Western Gaels side who battled for everything in what was the curtain-raiser to the day’s Sligo SFC decider.

Western Gaels paid the price for 14 wides and a subdued second-half display. Their third goal, which came in the eighth minute of stoppage time, was but a consolation when Joe McHugh fired a penalty to the net.

SCORERS – Calry-St Joseph’s:  KRaymond 0-8 (3f, 2 ‘65’); M O’Callaghan 1-1; B Shannon 1-0; DCollery, E Doherty 0-2 each; L Reidy, C Griffin 0-1 each. Western Gaels:  J McHugh 1-4 (1-0 pen, 2f);  E Kilgannon 1-1; A Cawley 0-4 (4f); S Carrabine 0-1.

CALRY-ST JOSEPH’S: D Reidy; T Kelly, J Kenny, D Keown; F Coyne, L Reidy, D Hand; K Raymond, M Gilmartin; E McCarthy, D Collery, B Shannon; E Doherty, R Cox, K Gilmartin. Subs: C Griffin for Hand, h-t, M O’Callaghan for Doherty 41, D Cox for Shannon 60+4

WESTERN GAELS: M Fitzsimons; M Connolly, G Ryan, T Cawley; F Ryan, D Kirby, J Hynes; S Wade, A Cawley; S Carrabine, L Ryan, E Kilgannon; A Morrison, M McGowan, J McHugh. Subs: E Moylan for L Ryan 58; D O’Boyle for Wade 60+2; H Gilroy for F Ryan 60+6; C Hallinan for Morrison 60+8

Referee: John Doyle (Naomh Eoin)

Waterford - At Walsh Park - Ballygunner 2-18 De La Salle 0-16

Even before joint-captains, Pauric Mahony and Shane Walsh had been presented with the trophy following Ballygunner’s historic fourth successive county title, predictions of further glory were emanating from their vanquished rivals.

“They could push on and win the All-Ireland. They are a quality side. We all knew that and you could see it here again today” said John Mullane.

He had spent a frustrating afternoon as part of an undermanned De La Salle attack that struggled against a Ballygunner defence where the half-backs excelled while Barry Coughlan’s secured the No.3 area.

enterprise

And while goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe didn’t have his shot-stopping qualities tested very much, his well-directed puck-outs added to a wide range problems for De La Salle.

Philip Mahony turned in a man-of-match performance in the Ballygunner half-back line while his brother Pauric scored 0-9 (0-7 from frees).

Conor Power pounced for two goals, both of which came off good work by Brian O’Sullivan, while David O’Sullivan’s early enterprise - he scored three points in the opening 12 minutes - was hugely influential in settling Ballygunner into a steady rhythm.

Ultimately, it was a case of a superior force bringing enough of its collective power to bear on opposition who weren’t able to win enough of the individual battles. It made for very pleasant viewing for Ballygunner manager, Fergal Hartley and supporters who now share Mullane’s view that the club’s first county four-in-a-row will be followed by further success across wider boundaries.

The quest for Munster glory begins next weekend when Ballygunner play Thurles Sarsfields in the Munster quarter-final in Walsh Park. Joint captain, Walsh outlined their ambitions for further glory after becoming the first club to win a Waterford four-timer since Mount Sion in the 1950s.

“We’d feel we have unfinished business with the level of players that are in the squad. Next week’s game will be massive for us,” said Walsh.

Thurles Sarsfields were very impressive in their march to Tipperary glory so their clash with Ballygunner promises to provide a splendid launch to the Munster campaign.

The proximity of that big test will keep Ballygunner’s celebrations to a minimum but they will certainly have enjoyed last night after fitting so many pieces of the jigsaw together in a very solid performance..

De La Salle, who were back in the final for the first time in five years, needed everything to go right for them from the off against such high-powered opposition, but instead found themselves trailing by 1-6 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter.

David O’Sullivan’s general enterprise and accurate finishing had helped unlock De La Salle’s security code, a process which was enhanced in the 10th minute when Brian O’Sullivan placed Power for a goal.

Playing against the wind, it was a testing time for De La Salle, as there looked a real possibility that they might be completely overwhelmed.

In fairness, their response to a difficult situation was brave and effective. Shane Ryan’s accuracy from frees, backed up with an opportunist point by Mullane and an even better one from a line cut by Jack Fagan cut the deficit to three points in stoppage time before Pauric Mahony closed out the scoring, leaving Ballygunner leading by 1-10 to 0-9 at half-time.

Power’s second goal in the 45th minute put Ballygunner ten points ahead and on their way to a comfortable victory.

It fell to Pauric Mahony to make the victory speech (“Shane told me he had nothing prepared, so you take it”) but even as the black-and-red hordes streamed out of Walsh Park, there was a feeling that bigger deals lay ahead.

Still, winning the club’s first four-in-a-row is a major achievement in its own right and guarantees the squad a special place in club folklore.

“It hasn’t happened since the 1950s - it’s a rare occurrence and we’re delighted to be part of a special day for the club, You never get tired of winning county titles,” said Mahony.

Shane Walsh also pointed to the overall squad balance as a vital ingredient in the county success and the plans for the future.

“Fergal has a hard job to pick the team. Everyone stood up to the mark today, especially in the second half when we were against the breeze. These are the days you remember - being part of the four-in-a-row is special,” he said

 

Scorers: Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-9 (7f), C Power 2-0, D O’Sullivan 0-3, B O’Sullivan 0-2, S O’Sullivan, P Hogan, B O’Keeffe, S Walsh 0-1 each.

De La Salle: S Ryan 0-8 (8f), J Fagan 0-3 (1 l/b), P Nevin, J Mullane, K Moran, A Farrell, T Douglas (f) 0-1 each.

Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; Philip Mahony, W Hutchinson, S Walsh; H Barnes, S O’Sullivan; P Hogan, D O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony; C Power, B O’Sullivan, B O’Keeffe.

Subs: M Mahony for Hogan (53), JJ Hutchinson for Power (57), B O’Sullivan for O’Keeffe (59), T O’Sullivan for D O’Sullivan (63).

De La Salle: S O’Brien; S Dalton, S McNulty, M Doherty; E Madigan, K Moran, T Moran; E Barrett, J Dillon; A Farrell, J Fagan, D Greene; J Mullane, P Nevin, S Ryan.

Subs: T Douglas for D Greene (52), E Meaney for Madigan (52), C McCann for Ryan (57).

Ref - T O’Sullivan

Wexford - At Innovate Wexford Park - St Martin's 2-16 Oulart-The Ballagh 1-9

New kids on the block carry St Martin's home

This game may have given birth to a new faith in Wexford hurling as a defiant, young St Martin's team turned Oulart-The Ballagh's pockets inside out to claim the club's first senior crown in nine years.

It was precisely the emphatic statement many foresaw from a group that, virtually en bloc, will contest next weekend's county football final, the next chapter of an itinerary that is proving gloriously congested.

Oulart, chasing their fourteenth title, started as if in a hurry to put this one to bed and led 1-1 to 0-0 inside eight minutes, Gareth Sinnott's sixth minute goal coming from Martin Og Storey's clever knockdown of a long Shaun Murphy delivery.  That direct route wasn't exactly borrowed from the traditional Oulart template and the use of those two big men inside seemed to unsettle St. Martin's through the opening flurries of a furiously contested final.

The defending champions' notional corner-forwards, Rory Jacob and Nicky Kirwan, were both operating in floating roles, enabling Oulart had build up a comfortable 1-4 to 0-2 lead inside eighteen minutes.

Martin's were struggling to get their star-man, Rory O'Connor, into general play, the county man's right-knee heavily bandaged as he tried to evade the tight policing of Barry Kehoe.

Yet two interventions from O'Connor inside three minutes would dramatically reset the balance of this contest and, as time proved, punch a massive hole in Oulart's confidence.

First, he brilliantly set up a point for early substitute, Joe Coleman, who would have a major impact on the game.  Then, eight minutes before the interval, O'Connor completely undressed the Oulart defence with a quickly-taken free to Ciaran Lyng who smashed an unstoppable shot past Conor O'Leary in the Clonard-end goal.

That score seemed to dump industrial quantities of doubt down upon Oulart heads and, remarkably, they would go the full hour with Sinnott's personal tally of 1-1 their total forwards' return from play.

Indeed, from Lyng's goal to the end, St Martin's out-scored the old champions by a remarkable 1-12 to 0-4.

It thus proved a spectacular reversal of what befell them when the sides met in the final two years ago, a day on which Martin's lined out with three first-year minors and close to a dozen under-21s in their team.

This time, they scored the last three points of the opening half to lead 1-7 to 1-5 at the break and simply refused to prevaricate on the resumption.

All through, they were finding time and space on young, fresh legs against opponents who were, palpably, diminished by the knee injury restricting their star player from the semi-final, Des Mythen, to a twelve minute cameo with the contest - by then - already slipping away.

Martin's dominated at half-back where Daithi Waters especially and the outstanding Paidi Kelly had big games and, when Rory O'Connor started and finished a thrilling move to put them five points clear with just six minutes remaining, only the smallprint needed tending.

We were in added time when Joe O'Connor swept home their second goal, yet the mounting arithmetic didn't blind manager, Tomas Codd, to the dramatic momentum-change that came from Lyng's 27th minute goal.

"You know you're talking about two really, really special players" he said, having eased through a great passel of well-wishers.  "Ciaran Lyng has proven it over the years and I have no doubt that Rory O'Connor is going to be a special, special player for St. Martins and for Wexford.  He dragged us to the final really, I'm not saying on his own, but he scored the last six points in the quarter-final against Buffers Alley, which we only won by a point.

"And he scored 2-7 in the semi-final to get us through that one, so he's a special player."

Those are the kind of figures that have caught Davy Fitzgerald's eye, O'Connor already having performed brilliantly for Wexford in this year's All-Ireland quarter-final against Waterford.

Yet, the presence of that heavy knee-bandage on a young player now hugely in demand to so many different masters had, too, to be a source of worry..

Thirteen of yesterday's team will, most probably, start next weekend's football final, albeit with virtually the same management team in place for Martins senior footballers and hurlers, there is - at least - a broad understanding of the individual loads being carried.

"It's not easy" acknowledged Codd.  "Probably fifteen or sixteen of the panel are under-21s, so ten of the team will have played 20 games in 14 weeks!

"It's not the county board's fault.  They're given a very small time-frame to play all these games.  And it's going to be even worse next year with them pulling the All-Ireland back."

For now, Martin's only focus between games has to be on recovery.  Yet any worries about the physical price being paid (and this was a hard, sometimes salty battle) is now offset by the mental resilience palpable within the group.

They had outstanding contributions right across the field, but mostly in defence where Willie Devereux and Patrick O'Connor eventually closed all doors to Oulart's always depleted inside line, while Coleman, Jake Firman and Rory O'Connor were outstanding in attack.

It was a difficult day for the beaten Oulart men, yet nobody could fault the effort of old stalwart, Keith Rossiter.

Yet, pointedly, three of the four St Martin's substitutes used were minors.  There was a sheen off the new champions.  One that might be visible for some time.

SCORERS:  St Martins - C Lyng 1-2, R O'Connor 0-5 (0-4 frees), J Firman and J Coleman 0-3 each, Joe O'Connor 1-0, D Waters, P Kelly and Jack O'Connor 0-1 each.

Oulart-The Ballagh - N Kirwan 0-6 (all frees), G Sinnott 1-1, K Sheridan and D Redmond 0-1 each.

ST MARTINS:  L White, W Devereux, P O'Connor, C Firman, D Waters, A Maddock, P Kelly, H O'Connor, M Maloney, J Firman, Joe O'Connor, Jack O'Connor, C Lyng, R O'Connor, D Codd.  Subs - J Coleman for Codd (18 mins), B O'Connor for H O'Connor (60 mins), M Codd for Firman (62 mins), E O'Leary for Joe O'Connor (66 mins).

OULART-THE BALLAGH:  C O'Leary, A Roche, K Rossiter, B Kehoe, E Moore, S Murphy, K Sheridan, D Redmond, T Storey, D Morton, P Murphy, R Jacob, N Kiran, M Og Storey, G Sinnott.  Subs - B Dunne for M Og Storey (38 mins), D Mythen for Storey (48 mins), P Sutton for Murphy (49 mins).

Referee, J Owens (Kilrush-Askamore).

Ulster Club  IHB- At Corrigan Park - Middletown (Armagh) 2-16 Lavey (Derry) 2-13

Maguire strikes late to seal middletown title

Martin Maguire’s 60th-minute goal gave Armagh champions Middletown Na Fianna their second ever Ulster IHC title yesterday after a gripping contest against Derry’s Lavey. Maguire got a touch to a free to decide a close and tense encounter.

Matchwinner Maguire was originally named to start on the substitutes’ bench, but the big full-forward came in for Martin Moan and immediately let his presence be known. After being fouled for the opening score of the game, he then played in half-forward Cahal Carvill for a goal as Middletown raced into a 1-3 to no score lead after five minutes.

Lavey eventually settled into the game and led by midfield maestro Paddy Henry they started to eat away at the Middletown lead.

On 15 minutes Henry fooled everyone when he played a free short to Liam Murphy and he rattled the back of the Middletown net. It was all Lavey for the rest if the half as Henry picked off a further six points, including one exceptional score from play from 55 metres. That gave Lavey a slender half time lead of 1-8 to 1-7.

The momentum was still with Lavey at the start of the second half and in the 36th minute, it was looking good for the Derry side as Paddy Henry picked out the top left-hand corner of the Middletown net from the penalty spot.

But from then on the Armagh side took over and led by Gaffney and  Maguire they began to claw their way back on the scoreboard before Maguire’s late goal sealed Lavey’s fate.

Scorers – Middletown: R Gaffney 0-9 (8f); C Carvill, M Maguire 1-2 each; P McBride 0-2, K McKernan 0-1. Lavey: Paddy Henry 1-11 (1-0 pen, 9f, 1 65), L Murphy 1-0, C Murphy, N Toner 0-1 each.

Middletown – F Woods; O Curry, P Gaffney (C) (Toal 36), P Hughes; P Lappin, N Curry, T Nevin; P McBride, K McKernan; R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill; D Gaffney, L Woods (Moan 36), M Maguire.

Lavey – M Taggart; D McPeake, C Henry, S Lagan; E McGill (C), D O’Neill, S McGill; C Dillon (Drumm 56), P Henry; C Murphy, C O’Boyle, R Farren (Toner 53); S Dodds, B Dodds, L Murphy (O’Neill 38). 

Ref – J Connors (Cavan)

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