Friday 23 August 2019

Weekend takeaways

Claire Shine of Cork City WFC is tackled by Claire Walsh of UCD Waves. Photo: Sportsfile
Claire Shine of Cork City WFC is tackled by Claire Walsh of UCD Waves. Photo: Sportsfile

Cliona Foley

Women make it a Rebel Treble

Cork City's women completed a first FAI Cup double yesterday and their 1-0 victory over UCD Waves represented a victory that they simply couldn't have dreamed about three years ago.

Andy Moran Photo: Sportsfile
Andy Moran Photo: Sportsfile

They only formed a women's team back in 2011, and in 2013-'14 not only did they fail to earn a single point in the national league but they conceded a whopping 109 goals.

Clare Shine's first-half strike made history in a game which also showcased the multi-talented Saoirse Noonan up front. Fans of ladies Gaelic football are already well familiar with Noonan.

She scored 3-4 in the All-Ireland minor final against Galway this summer when she led the Rebelettes to a three-in-a-row and she also scored 2-5 against Dublin in last year's minor GAA decider.

But soccer is her first love and the 18-year-old Leaving Cert student at Christ King in Douglas is already starring for the Irish U-19 team and is the reigning FAI U-17 Women's Player of the Year.

Noonan often gets a 7am bus to Dublin for international training and doesn't get home until 10pm. As Ireland's U-19s girls have already bagged their place in Uefa's elite round, she's one to watch out for.

Danes hit with injury setbacks

It was a bad weekend for some fringe members of Martin O'Neill's squad but his Danish counterpart Age Hareide has more to worry about with one first-choice defender out of the play-off and doubts over two other key performers..

Brentford defender Henrik Dalsgaard is out with a knee injury with Jonas Knudsen from Ipswich called into the squad. Club colleague Andreas Bjelland should be able to shake off a minor problem.

However, Hareide's biggest concern is his captain Simon Kjaer, the Sevilla centre-half, who tweaked a hamstring in their loss to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Striking option Nicolai Jorgensen also fractured his wrist on Feyenoord duty yesterday and left the stadium in a cast. Jorgensen was the top scorer in Holland last term but has struggled with injury this term and that opened the door for Nicklas Bendtner to come back into favour.

O'Neill is without Sean Maguire due to the hamstring problem that will keep him out for three/ four months and stand-in defender Richard Keogh looks set to miss out with a quad strain. John O'Shea felt a tight calf late in Sunderland's loss to Middlesbrough but he will link up with O'Neill's squad who kick off training today.

Moran is rock of good sense

Andy Moran was a popular winner of the players' Player of the Year award at the PWC All-Stars and went on to prove himself winner of our unofficial 'Rock of Good Sense' gong.

The most contentious decision on this year's football 15 was the choice of his Mayo team-mate David Clarke for the goalkeeper spot ahead of Dublin's Stephen Cluxton, sparking a plethora of conspiracy and anti-Dub theories from the many fans of Jim Gavin's brilliant team.

Moran didn't dodge the question when asked about it on RTé Radio 1's Saturday Sport, saying "on our side we are delighted that it was David."

He stressed: "You have to feel for Stephen but he has won Sam. He lifted Sam, he will be OK."

It was a fair point, especially given that Cluxton has always personally eschewed the limelight and is the ultimate team player. Most players would swap an All-Star for an All-Ireland medal in a heartbeat.

Joe raises Barr again

Ireland's new army of steel warriors will have been delighted with clocking up anything between 50-100km on their bikes over the weekend

But sorry folks - you're in the ha'penny place compared to Joe Barr.

The legendary endurance cyclist, who lives in Derry, cycled 735 miles non-stop and broke his own Malin-Mizen-Malin record by 21 minutes yesterday.

A former professional racer who won time trial bronze at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, Barr (58) literally rode up and down the length of the country in a time of 48 hours and 40 minutes.

In recent years he has combined ultra-racing with raising money for children's cancer charities after one of his two children survived a childhood tumour.

You can see just how windy it was - and how wrecked he was - when he crossed the finish line up in Malin Head on TeamJoeBarr's Facebook page.

Joe says: "Endurance racing has taught me: You can go further than you think. It doesn't matter how fast you go, it matters that you keep going."

Progress for Ballyragget

It was a big weekend for many in the AIB All-Ireland club senior championships and also for several clubs in the intermediate ranks.

Tooreen made history by becoming the first Mayo side to win the Connacht intermediate hurling title by beating Ballinderreen of Galway by four points.

Mayo women Carnacon made a sensational comeback to beat Galway's Kilkerrin-Clonberne in a replayed Connacht SF final where Amy Dowling got the winner and Cora Staunton was held to just 1-6 this time.

After all the slagging about their county final celebrations, it's only fair to point out that St Patrick's Ballyragget racked up 24 points while beating Kildare champs Ardclough in the Leinster IHC quarter-final.

Irish Independent

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