Wednesday 13 December 2017

Donegal poised for defining Kerry test


ULSTER champions Donegal will face the ultimate test of their championship credentials when they play a rejuvenated Kerry team in next weekend's All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Jim McGuinness' team swept all before them in Ulster this year, and their performances so far have catapulted them into the status of genuine contenders for the Sam Maguire. Now, they will have to prove themselves against Kerry, who continued their rehabilitation with a 2-22 to 1-6 demolition of Clare last night in Limerick. There was one black spot for Kerry in the second half dismissal of Paul Galvin, sent off on a second yellow card.

After watching his side record an impressive win over Meath manager Justin McNulty said: "We've had a handy enough draw, a lucky draw. We hadn't met any of the big guns before today. Meath were the first big gun. I don't think it's as high as Laois can go."

Next up for McNulty's team are defending All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Laois were hanging on against Meath despite dominating for most of the match in Tullamore yesterday.

They went into half-time with a seven point lead after Ross Munnelly converted a penalty in the closing stages and stretched it to 10 points shortly after the game resumed with a succession of points. It didn't take long for Meath to launch a comeback but they failed to get the goal they needed to close the gap until it was too late. Only three points separated the teams when the final whistle blew.

Tipperary's great run in the championship came to an end yesterday when Down beat the curse of the six-day turnaround.

Although James McCartan's men got off to a good start leading by 0-5 to 0-0 after 23 minutes they let Tipperary back into the game and needed a late surge to get the job done. In the second half Tipperary closed the gap to just three points but Down reacted when it counted and finished five points clear.

Kildare made easy work of Sligo, winning by 0-13 to 0-4 in Hyde Park. They established a three point lead after four minutes but failed to capitalise significantly for the remainder of the first half. At the break, having been assisted by a strong breeze, they were just five points up. Sligo never really turned up in the second half, however and Kildare were able to stretch their advantage.

With Cork next up for Kieran McGeeney's side, the manager will demand more from his side next weekend.

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