Sunday 17 December 2017

GAA round-up: Galway and Clare victorious on the opening weekend of the National League

Johnny Coen, Galway, in action against Patrick Horgan, Cork. Allianz Hurling League, Division 1A, Round 1, Galway v Cork. Pearse Stadium, Galway. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Johnny Coen, Galway, in action against Patrick Horgan, Cork. Allianz Hurling League, Division 1A, Round 1, Galway v Cork. Pearse Stadium, Galway. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Sean McGoldrick

ALL-Ireland champions Kilkenny suffered a four point defeat against League title holders Waterford at Walsh Park in a thrilling Division 1A game.

But Waterford's victory was overshadowed by Kerry's sensational win over Laois in Portlaoise.

Last year's Division 2 winners and Christy Ring Cup holders – now managed by former Limerick star Ciaran Carey defied all the odds to mark their debut in the top flight with a memorable victory.

The away win gives them a sporting chance of avoiding the relegation play-off later in the season.

All eyes were on Walsh Park . however, for the clash of the All-Ireland and League title holders. Waterford were full value for their 0-14 to 0-10 win. They restricted the visitors to four points in the second half and crucially did not concede a goal.

So it didn't matter in the end that they hit 17 wides compared to six for Brian Cody's side.

Their two point interval lead (0-8; 0-6) did scant justice to their overall superiority in the first half. In a high octane contest the League champions raced into an early 0-3 lead only to be hauled back by three points from TJ Reid.

It was nip and tuck for the rest of the half but in front of their own fans at Walsh Park the Deise looked the better side. However, have converted just eight of the 18 chances they created and hit 11 wides in the period.

Maurice Shanahan was off-target with a number of long range frees and Shane Bennet had a super chance of a goal just before the break but he shot marginally to0 high and the sliotar flew over the crossbar.

Kilkenny were far more economical with just a brace of wides and they managed to convert six of the nine chances they created. There was no lack of endeavour on behalf of the visitors with Richie Hogan and Colin Fennelly both being booked in the first half.

Early second half points from Hogan and Reid (free) levelled the tie as Waterford's squandermania continued. However, the home side hit the next three scores to lead 0-11 to 0-8 with 20 minutes left.

The Cats suffered another blow when Colin Fennelly received his marching order after receiving a second yellow card and Waterford increased with lead to four points with less than three minutes of normal time remaining and it was enough to give Derek McGrath's side the points.

Meanwhile at Pearse Stadium in Salthill an early goal from Cork's Seamus Harnedy rocked the home side but once Niall Burke replied with a major for the home side in the 17th minute Galway took control. Micheál Donoghue's side led 1-15 to 1-9 at the break.

Galway maintained that six point lead throughout the second half as neither side raised any more green flags.

Offaly took the game to Clare for much of the first half in Ennis but a Peter Duggan goal before half time gave the home side valuable breathing space and they led this Division 1B by 1-10 to 0-7 at the break.

Duggan and Offaly's Conor Doughan were red carded in the second half as Davy Fitzgerald's side tightened their grip on the contest. Any chance the visitors could mount an unlikely revival totally disappeared when they were reduced to 13 men following the dismissal of Paddy Rigney who picked up two yellow cards and Shane Dooley had a penalty saved.

In Portlaoise underdogs Kerry always looked the better side Even though Laois' PJ Scully scored a goal before the break the visitors led 1-10 to 1-9 at the break. Half way through the second half the shock result of the day looked more likely to realise as the visitors led by six points.

Even though Laois scored a late goal Kerry had done enough at that stage to secure the points and their tally of 1-24 illustrates the value of their victory.

Today's Results

Allianz HL Division 1A

Galway 1-27 Cork 1-21

Waterford 0-14 Kilkenny 0-10

Allianz HL Division 1B

Clare 2-21 Offaly 0-15

Kerry 1-24 Laois 2-14

Allianz HL Division 2A

Antrim 1-21 Derry 2-12

Carlow 2-13 Kildare 0-14

Westmeath 2-16; London 0-13

Allianz HL Division 2B

Down 2-16; Armagh 2-14

Mayo 1-14 Donegal 0-13

Meath 0-22; Wicklow 0-13

Allianz HL Division 3A

Fingal 4-18 Warwickshire 1-6

Roscommon 1-16; Louth 1-14

Tyrone 2-18; Monaghan 2-13

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