O'Riordan injury overshadows Tipp's latest win
Tipperary 0-15 Sligo 0-13
When referee John Hickey blew for full-time in Thurles yesterday, the electronic scoreboards on both terraces at Semple Stadium read 92 minutes and 9 seconds.
That wasn't a malfunction. Rather, the massive amount of time required to complete yesterday's Division 3 fixture between hosts Tipperary and Sligo was due to a serious injury sustained by Colin O'Riordan in the second half.
O'Riordan, a 2014 All Star nominee, went down clutching his head following a Ross Donovan tackle in the 52nd minute.
The collision with the Sligo corner-back looked innocuous but O'Riordan lay motionless on the turf for 17 minutes before he was stretchered off, with team manager Peter Creedon later confirming a neck injury.
Creedon said: "It's a precaution I would imagine but we're keeping our fingers crossed that it's nothing serious.
"There's a Munster U-21 football final on Thursday week and that's looking extremely doubtful now, if there's a hint of concussion. But I don't know, we'll see."
When play finally resumed, not even the brilliance of Sligo forward Mark Breheny could save them from defeat.
Instead, it was Tipp who claimed a fourth successive league win though this was effectively a dead rubber from the home side's perspective after Armagh and Fermanagh confirmed their promotion.
Sligo, meanwhile, have some business to attend to next weekend as they prepare for their final fixture against Armagh. Sligo are one of a cluster of teams in relegation danger and their cause wasn't helped when Neil Ewing and Adrian Marren were black-carded.
Man of the Match: Mark Breheny
scorers - Tipperary: C Sweeney 0-5 (4f), P Austin 0-3, J Lonergan 0-2, R Kiely, C O'Riordan, I Fahey, B Grogan & B Mulvihill 0-1 each. Sligo: M Breheny 0-7 (2f), D Kelly 0-2, A Devaney (f), N Murphy, A Marren & S Gilmartin 0-1 each.
Tipperary - E Comerford 7; A Campbell 6, P Codd 6, R Kiely 7; S Kennedy 6, P Acheson 6, C O'Riordan 6; G Hannigan 7, S O'Brien 7; L Casey 5, P Austin 8, I Fahey 6; J Lonergan 7, C Sweeney 7, G Mulhair 5. Subs: B Mulvihill 6 for Casey (46), D Dwyer 6 for O'Riordan (inj, 55), B Grogan 7 for Lonergan (70+8), A Morrissey for Campbell (70+8), S Flynn for Fahey (70+16), D Lynch for Mulhair (70+20).
Sligo - A Devaney 6; D Maye 6, K McDonnell 6, R Donovan 6; K Cawley 6, E Flanagan 6, B Egan 6; C Breheny 6, N Murphy 6; N Ewing 4, M Breheny 9, C Kearns 5; D Kelly 7, P Hughes 6, A Marren 5. Subs: S Coen 5 for Ewing (b/c 25), K Sweeney 5 for Marren (b/c 26), S Gilmartin 6 for C Breheny (inj, 29), J Martyn 5 for Kearns (h-t), P Clarke for Sweeney (70+18).
Ref - J Hickey (Carlow)
Clare sunk by late Nash goal
Limerick 2-10 Clare 1-5
Limerick turned on the style in the second half to keep alive their prospects of remaining in this division when having an eight-point win over Clare at Newcastlewest.
Backed by the very strong breeze Limerick raced into a 1-3 to nil lead inside 13 minutes, with Seanie Buckley getting the goal.
They led by 1-4 to 0-3 at the interval with Gary Brennan, one from play and a free, and Cathal O'Connor, their midfielders, getting Clare's points. When Clare drew level at 1-5 each after only nine minutes of the second half, it looked ominous for Limerick. The Clare goal was tucked away from a penalty by Pat Burke.
Instead of folding, Limerick had points by substitutes Cian Sheehan, Ian Ryan (free) and Danny Neville.
Clare had ten wides but they were denied a score for the last 24 minutes and when Peter Nash crashed home a second Limerick goal three minutes from the end, it ensured his team won some precious points and a confidence-booster for when these sides meet in the Munster championship.
Man of the Match: Peter Nash
SCORERS - Limerick: S Buckley 1-2 (2f), P Nash 1-1, D Neville 0-2, K Moore (f), D Treacy, R Browne, C Sheehan, I Ryan (f) 0-1 each. Clare: P Burke 1-0 (pen), G Brennan 0-3 (1f), D Ryan, C O'Connor 0-1 each.
Limerick - B Scanlon 7; S Cahill 6, J McCarthy 7, R Browne 7; I Corbett 5, P Browne 6, P Ranahan 6; T Lee 6, G Hegarty 6; J Riordan 6, D Treacy 6, C Fahy 6; P Nash 8, S Buckley 7, K Moore 6. Subs: I Ryan 5 for Moore (24), C Sheehan 6, D Neville 7 for Corbett and Riordan (h-t), J Lee 5 for Fahy (66), M Lyons for Ryan (69).
Clare - J Hayes 6; D Ryan 7, K Hartnett 6, M McHugh 6; S Hickey 6, G Kelly 7, J Malone 8; G Brennan 6, C O'Connor 7; S Collins 6, P Collins 7, S McGrath 6; M O'Leary 6, S Brennan 6, P Burke 6. Subs: K Sexton 7 for O'Leary (h-t), S Haugh 6 for S Collins 62, D Nagle 6 for McGrath 69).
Ref - S Joy (Kerry)
McDonnell keeps Armagh feet on the ground
Armagh 0-10 Louth 0-8
Armagh secured promotion to Division 2 of the Allianz NFL through this hard-earned win over a spirited Louth side at the Athletic Grounds.
However, assistant manager Peter McDonnell, standing in for the absent Kieran McGeeney, was anxious to dilute the weight of expectation surrounding the team.
"This is a maturing side who are learning all the time but they would not be at all happy with this performance," declared McDonnell.
"This was a very important game for us and maybe the occasion impacted on the players. The important thing now is that we keep our focus and maybe we will get to an even better place."
Certainly, Louth's spirit, resilience and frenetic work-rate ensured that Armagh stumbled rather than strode onto a higher plateau.
In a match in which the teams were level on seven occasions, a penalty miss by Jamie Clarke in the 13th minute, a proliferation of wides and a litany of poor final passes ensured that the hosts had to work overtime to have their passport stamped.
It took three points from imposing midfield ace Ciaran O'Hanlon and a brace each from Aidan Forker and Clarke to sustain Armagh's rather fragile self-belief.
The sides were deadlocked at 0-5 each at the interval and even when they lost Dessie Finnegan to a second yellow card in the 47th minute, Louth's spirit and commitment never wavered.
Ryan Burns continued to undermine the home team's morale with his pin-point accuracy from frees and it was not until Forker and O'Hanlon pounced for points in the closing minutes that Armagh's enhanced status for next term was formally confirmed.
Man of the Match: Ciaran O'Hanlon
Scorers - Armagh: C O'Hanlon 0-3, A Forker 0-2 (1f), J Clarke 0-2, E Rafferty, G McParland, T Kernan (f) 0-1 each. Louth: R Burns 0-6 (all frees), D Byrne, D Maguire 0-1 each.
Armagh - P Morrison 7; M Shields 6, C Vernon 7, J Morgan 6; C McKeever 6, F Moriarty 7, A Mallon 6; A Findon 7, C O'Hanlon 9; T Kernan 6, M McKenna 6, A Forker 7; J Clarke 7, E Rafferty 6, A Murnin 6. Subs: G McParland 6 for Murnin (49), E McVerry 5 for Kernan (52), B Donaghy 5 for Moriarty (57), P Carragher 5 for McVerry (66), S Forker 5 for McKenna (67).
Louth - N Gallagher 8; K Toner 6, P Reilly 7, P Rath 6; A Williams 6 , D Flanagan 7, J Stewart 8; B Duffy 7, E O' Connor 7; A Reid 6, D Crilly 7, D Byrne 7; R Burns 8, C Grimes 6, D Maguire 6. Subs: T Durnin 6 for O'Connor (72).
Ref - C Branagan (Down).