Shannon Blues squeaked past Donegal in a very exciting senior football semi final. The Blues opened a six point lead early in the second half only to see it disappear with less than five minutes to go. The Blues did enough to level the scores and Darren Wallace put the winner over the bar after coming on as a second half substitute.
The initiative changed hands twice during the opening period. The Blues came out of the blocks fast and held a four points to one lead. Donegal signaled that they were coming to grips with the Blues pace, and made several chances that went wide. Eventually the ball began to go between the posts for the Donegal men. Griffin, Boyle, McLaughlin, and Murray all tallied points. Donegal were in front of their men for this period and looked like they were taking over. The Blues rallied towards the end of the half and pulled ahead. Sean O’Connor, Darragh Treacy and Niall Murphy opened up gaps in the Donegal defence and points came from each of the three. At the break it was a one point Blues lead, 0-8 to 0-7.
The Blues got the second half off to a great start with three unanswered points. Denis McElligott made the gap six points with a great individual effort to slide the ball into the corner of the net under the challenge of two Donegal defenders. Donegal introduced Simon McDonagh to the fray and the big midfielder made a huge difference after coming on. The Blues attacks were limited as Donegal won kickout after kickout. A penalty was awarded after a Donegal move cut open the Blues defence and McLaughlin was pulled down in the box. Griffin put it away expertly and there was just two points in it.
Donegal continued to control the direction of traffic. The leveling scores came from McLaughlin and with five minutes to go it was anybody’s game. The Blues shortened up the kickouts to hit the wing backs. Donegal took a one point lead, but in a rare attack, Sean O’Connor was pulled down by Matt Smyth while bearing down on goal. Smyth was shown the black card, and O’Connor leveled from the free. As the possibility of extra time approached the Blues had a chance and Darren Wallace put the ball over the bar from 30 yards. Donegal had one last chance to draw level, but in a turn of events from last weeks game, Steven Griffin shot wide from a tight angle. Blues delight as they advance to their second final in three years.
Blues: C. Wallace, T. Wallace, G. Ryan, D. Clifford, J. Walsh, D. McElligott, A. O’Donovan, K. Byrnes, S. Moriarty, S. O’Connor, D. Treacy, P. O’Connor, N. Murphy. Donegal: E. McCarney, M. Canney, J. O’Connor, S. Doherty, G. Gallagher, C. Healy, M. Smyth, C. Thompson, G. Clancy, S. Griffin, D. McLaughlin, S. Boyle, R. Murray.
A minutes silence was observed before the game in honor of Tommy Kineavey who passed away unexpectedly recently. Tommy was a great supporter of the GAA and was a frequent visitor to the games at the ICC.
Wolfe Tones senior footballers are heading to the first championship final following an amazing win over arch rivals, Aidan McAnespies. The Tones trailed by nine points early in the second half and mounted a gutsy comeback to emerge one point winners in a tension filled finish that had the supporters of either side, and even the neutreals, gnawing at their fingernails.
McAnespies went in at the break ahead by a goal. It came in the middle of the half with the Tones leading by three points. McAnespies opened up the Tones defence and Michael Quinn finished well from close range. The Tones had got off to a great start. Michael Argue, Mike O’Brien, and Darragh McVeety pointed to one from Caoleain O’Boyle. Argue was shown a black card for a challenge in the middle of the field, a severe loss for the Tones. McAnespies enjoyed the advantage, and with Gareth O’Neill working hard to help out the defence, outscored the Tones four points to one in the latter stages of the half.
Two goals within the first five minutes of the restart catapulted McAnespies into a nine point lead. Peter Mallon netted the first and following some great work by Michael Quinn, Daniel McKinless the second. The Tones needed a goal to keep it interesting, and it was Dan McCabe did the honors. Fielding a high ball and shooting on the turn, and it was game on again. Four points followed for the Tones as the side was urged on by their supporters, and an O’Boyle free broke the Tones scoring streak.
The sides traded scores as play flowed up and down the field and the one goal gap between the sides remained. The Tones pulled within a point entering the final stretch before a lengthy stoppage ensued following a serious injury to Wolfe Tones’ Sean Higgins. Following the 20 minute delay Marty Farrell leveled the scores with a pointed free, and Dan McCabe put the Tones one to the good with five minutes left. Tensions were high as the final minutes saw McAnespies level the scores, the Tones go ahead and Collie Donnelly almost score the game winning goal only for Cathal Hynes to get down and pull off a great game winning save. The ensuing 45 from Liam Higgins drifted wide of the posts, and that marked the last action of the game. Scenes of delight on the Tones side of the field and it will be the Blues next in the quest for their first senior football championship.
Tones: C. Hynes, K. Clarke, S. Higgins, M. O’Brien, K. Cleere, G. Brilly, L. Flynn, M. Argue, D. McVeety, C. McCarthy, G. O’Connell, M. Farrell, L. Carr. Macs: P. Coakley, C. McPartland, M. Bogue, D. Wrynn, D. Lally, N. Gallen, C. Donnelly, C. O’Boyle, M. Quinn, P. Mallon, G. O’Neill, D. McKinless, L. Boland.
Galway came through a testing game against a Tipperary side that never gave up. Galway threatened to put the game out of sight in the first half, but Tipperary hung in and in the second half reduced the gap to two points. Galway however, rallied when they needed to and came through by three points.
A stiff breeze favoured Galway in the first half and the tribesmen capitalized. There were several scores from distance. James Regan in the middle of the field accounted for a handful of well taken points, Rory Hickey and Paul Holden added to the tally. Galway had plenty of room to shoot from the middle of the field. Each time Tipperary managed a score, it was answered in kind by Galway as the Premier men could not put back to back points together. Corner back Niall O’Connor was shown the line with about 20 minutes gone to add to Tipperary’s difficulties. At the break Galway held a fairly comfortable looking six point lead, 0-13 to 0-7.
The second half saw Tipperary draw closer. A couple of early points, one of which could have been a goal from Kevin O’Brien, narrowed the gap. Galway got off the mark in the second period with a fine John Moylan point and another from Holden. With the difference between the teams at seven points Tipp worked an opening beautifully for Michael Harney to hit the net. Two Paul Buggy frees made it a two point game as Tipp worked hard to turn the tables.
Galway reawakened however. Moylan, Holden, and a fantastic effort from James Regan made it a two score game. Tipp went looking for goals as time was a factor and eventually one came from the boot of substitute, Mark Kavanagh. Galway had the final say with a Holden free and with that time was up. Galway through to the final to meet Tom’s in next Sunday’s final, and a chance at a Boston and North American title.
Galway: J. Skehill, P. Dowling, C. Murphy, S. Phelan, G. Lally, JJ Doyle, J. Regan, O. Floyd, P. Holden, R. Hickey, J. Moylan, T. O’Hanrahan, R. Cummins. Tipp: C. Hennessy, N. O’Connor, S. McGarr, S. Nally, P. Flaherty, J. Kindregan, C. Dempsey, R. Sludds, T. Devine, A. McRedmond, J. Kelleher, K. O’Brien, M. Harney.
Donegal junior A team followed up the success of their B’s from the night before with a very comfortable win to advance to the final next week. A controlled performance saw the northerners to a nine point win and another step in the race for a place at the North American Finals in two weeks.
Donegal went in the break with a comfortable six point lead. The northerners dominated possession and the back line dealt with most of the opponents forays forward. The first four scores came from Donegal boots. Darren Doherty, Ciaran McDevitt, and Pauric McLaughlin the scorers. Steven Magill and Enda Hamill cut the lead in half with a point each, but from then on it was mostly Donegal. Christy McLaughlin at corner forward got going and added another three, while Aaron McKenna pointed for McAnespies before the break.
McAnespies tried to rally after the restart, however, came away with nothing from their first two attacks. Donegal on the other hand netted from Christy McLaughlin. The Malin man took a pass from Brian Kelly and his low shot from the edge of the small square billowed the net. McLaughlin followed with a point and the Donegal lead hit double digits. Aaron McKenna had moved to corner forward and gave his side some hope with a well taken goal after gathering a high ball. Donegal looked in little danger of relinquishing their lead and maintained control for the remainder of the game. Barry Smith getting black carded did not help matters for McAnespies and the reserves were called up from the bench. As a light rain fell the game reached its conclusion and a second final for Donegal next week.
Donegal: J. Byrne, F. Donnelly, D. McBride, D. Doherty, D. Green, H. Devine, T. Caldwell, M. Dunphy, C. McDevitt, O. Grant, P. McLaughlin, B. Kelly, C. McLaughlin. Sub: P. Wanish. Macs: N. Duffy, B. Smith, A. Kellet, R. McCrystal, P. McCusker, P. Daly, S. Lynn, A. McKenna, O. McNulty, S. Magill, E. Hamill, G. McAlinden, N. Regan. Subs: E. McKenna, S. McGettigan,
Cork and the Gaels played a very exciting 60 minutes of football. The teams were evenly matched and there was very little between the teams throughout. A goal in either half ended up delivering the goods for Cork who had the ability to stretch the Gaels defence that little bit more.
It was an absorbing first 30 minutes with the game moving up and down the field nicely. The Gaels moved the ball well through Conor McNamara in midfield, and Emmet McConnell and AJ Maguire in the half forward line. The youth league product, Maguire produced a very controlled performance, and accounted for a well taken point mid way though the half. Kevin Owens at corner forward pointed twice, as did Conor McNamara bursting though the middle, and Chris Devlin stole forward from corner back to tally a score.
Cork’s scoring came in a spurt of a goal and two points. The goal came from a Jack Lynch pass to Cian Clifford and the tall corner forward finished well. Lar Barden and John Crowley pointed, while towards the end of the half it was a Mike Moynihan point followed by one from Jack Lynch that edged Cork into a lead heading into the break.
With the game in the balance a second half Cork goal put the rebels in the driver’s seat. The Gaels had restored parity. Subsitute Kieran Cox proved effective in the Gaels forward line and Kevin Owens swung two lovely points over the bar. Emmett McConnell had put the equalizer over the bar just before Cork hit with the goal. James O’Donnell had saved the Gaels’ bacon on two occasions, but there was not much that the Lettermore man could do after Alan Keating stole between two Gael’s defenders to fetch a high ball, turn and finish well to the far corner. Moynihan followed up with a point to make it a four point difference. Owens reduced the tally to the goal, and try as they might the Gaels could not make the breakthrough to the Cork rearguard. A late Cork penalty came off the post, but time was not on the side of the Gaels.
Gaels: J. O’Donnell, S. Murray, C. Devlin, C. Conroy, P. McNicholas, K. Walsh, B. Joyce, C. McNamara, C. Lee, E. McConnell, AJ Maguire, K. Lowe, K. Owens. Cork: K. Reid, M. Carolan, D. O'Donovan, D. Brogan, D. O’Regan, S. Leonard, N. O’Connor, J. Lynch, J. Crowley, M. Moynihan, L. Barden, C. Clifford, A. Keating.
Junior B Semi-Finals
Donegal 3-12 Cork 0-3
Shannon Blues bt. Hartford
Ladies Senior Football Playoff
Connacht Ladies 2-10 Boston Shamrocks 0-6
Saturday July 23
2:30 Junior C Hurling Final: Worcester v Barley House Wolves
4:00 Junior A Hurling Final: Wexford v Fr. Tom Burke’s Junior B Football Final: Donegal v Shannon Blues
5:30 Junior B Football Final: Donegal v Shannon Blues
5:15 Ladies Junior Football Final: Boston Shamrocks v Tir na nOg
Sunday July 24
11:30 Junior A Football Final: Donegal v Cork
1:00 Ladies Senior Football Final: Connacht Ladies v Tir na nOg
2:30 Senior Hurling Final: Fr. Tom Burke’s v Galway
4:00 Senior Football Final: Shannon Blues v