All-Ireland champions Dublin took full advantage of UCD’s surprise defeat by northside college rivals Dublin City University to book a place in the last four of the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup.
Dublin again fielded a shadow side against Wexford in Enniscorthy. But despite conceding a soft first-half goal, they led 1-7 to 1-4 at the break. Conor McHugh scored the visitors’ goal.
In a physically robust encounter, Dublin’s Gary Sweeney and Wexford’s John Turbit were red carded before the break. Seamus McEnaney’s Wexford side would have gone through had they beaten the visitors and they enjoyed a productive third quarter to draw level at 1-8 each.
But with Paul Hudson hitting 0-8, including six frees, the Dubs prevailed in the end and this victory coupled with UCD’s six-point home defeat against DCU in Belfield put them top of Section 2.
They will meet Kildare in next Sunday’s semi-final in Newbridge. Winners of the tournament in 2011, 2013 and 2014, the Lilywhites wrapped up a place in the last four when they hammered Offaly in Tullamore.
In the other semi-final holders Meath – who reached the last four courtesy of a last-gasp penalty against Laois on Saturday night – will have home advantage against Louth.
Louth, who had Kurt Murphy red carded, made heavy work of beating Carlow at home but they finally got the better of the visitors with a late scoring flourish to maintain their one hundred percent record in the competition and secure a date with the Royals in Navan next Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the McKenna Cup, Down, Monaghan and Cavan maintained their unbeaten runs to stay in pole position to secure semi-final spots with one round of fixtures still to go.
Down’s improvement continued when they edged out neighbours Armagh in Newry; Monaghan had their expected win over Antrim while Cavan pulled away in the second half to fashion a comfortable win over an experimental Donegal side in Ballybofey.
Tyrone also got back to winning ways with a big win over UUJ which leaves them favourites to secure the fourth qualifying spot which goes to the best runner-up team overall.
James O’Donoghue returned to the Kerry colours and converted a first-half penalty as the Kingdom secured a place in the McGrath Cup final by beating Cork. Limerick – courtesy of a two-point win over Waterford – face a trip to Kerry for next Sunday’s final.
Last year’s Connacht finalists, Galway and Roscommon, look on course to meet in the FBD League final even though there is still a round of fixtures remaining.
Goals from Galway’s Danny Cummins, Killian McDaid and Paul Conroy in the first six minutes settled their away fixture against Leitrim as they ran out 27-point winners while Roscommon also maintained their one hundred percent record with a 15-point win over NUIG.
Incidentally, Galway were the biggest winners: Sligo hammered GMIT by 39 points – the hapless students scored one point.
Interestingly, All Star goalkeeper David Clarke, who was dropped by Mayo for the All-Ireland final replay against Dublin, captained the side in their six-point win over IT Sligo. They must beat Roscommon next weekend to have any chance of making the decider.
O'Byrne Cup round 3
Dublin 1-12; Wexford 1-9
DCU 0-18; UCD 1-9
Kildare 3-11; Offaly 0-8
Longford 5-11; IT Carlow 4-6
DIT 1-10; Wicklow 1-7
Westmeath 2-19; NUI Maynooth 3-10
Louth 3-14; Carlow 2-12
McGrath Cup round 3
Kerry 1-13; Cork 1-9
Limerick 0-9; Waterford 0-7
McKenna Cup round 2
Down 0-15; Derry 0-14
Armagh 2-19; Queens 0-9
Monaghan 2-20; Antrim 0-9
Fermanagh 2-13 St Mary's 0-13
Tyrone 2-17; UUJ 1-7
Cavan 1-14; Donegal 1-6
Connacht SFL round 2
Roscommon 1-17; NUIG 0-5
Mayo 1-21; IT Sligo 1-15
Sligo 5-25; GMIT 0-1
Galway 5-21; Leitrim 0-9
The new Club Players' Association had a fairly heavyweight brigade lined up for its launch last week. The very existence of this group and the language of frustration that was evident indicates clearly how the GAA has become a leaderless, rudderless organisation with no clear vision of itself or where it is going.
Human beings are in trouble. The notion of independent individuals thinking for ourselves and being able to express ourselves in a real way is under sustained attack. Robots are replacing us at an alarming rate. They are highly efficient, don't sleep, obey their masters, and don't drink or smoke. They don't want to make love or war and they are entirely unemotional. They don't get tired. They are absolutely punctual.
The first major review of the GAA since the SRC report 15 years ago is one of presidential candidate John Horan's objectives if he wins office at Congress in February. Horan is bidding to become only the second Dubliner elected GAA president, following Daniel McCarthy almost 100 years ago.