GAA Digest: John Mullane gets last laugh on Davy Fitzgerald

Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe saves an injury-time free from Clare’s Patrick Kelly.

“We just gave away one or two soft goals and once you do that you’re fighting an uphill battle completely.”
Kildare Wins
KILDARE were 13 point winners over Offaly in Sunday’s Leinster SFC semifinal, but manager Kieran McGeeney was unhappy about their failure to find the back of the net.

“We created a lot of goal-scoring chances, but we didn’t take them,” said McGeeney as his team booked a semifinal date with Meath.

“Definitely though it was a decent day out. We did well with 19 scores and we had eight points from play. You can be happy with it, but there’s loads of room for improvement.”

Offaly boss Tom Coffey had no complaints as his team were sent packing for the All-Ireland qualifiers and a trick tie with Tipperary.

“Beaten by the better team by far,” he told reporters afterwards. “We knew coming into it that Kildare had brought it to a different level, and I suppose themselves and Dublin have broken away from the pack in Leinster anyway, and are in the top three or four to win the All-Ireland.

“That’s the reality. The lads trained hard the last eight weeks, which would have been six weeks hard going, plenty of matches, and we put our best team on the field, but there was still 13 points separating us at the end.”
Cusack Helps
DONAL Og Cusack won’t play for Cork this year, but the injured goalkeeper is helping the squad prepare for Sunday’s big clash with Tipperary.

Cusack is acting as goalkeeping coach to the Cork team despite his recent Achilles injury.

He told the Irish Examiner, “A couple of weeks after I got hurt, Jimmy Barry-Murphy came down to me and asked if I would get involved in the coaching side of things.

“I work now for Jimmy and Ger Cunningham and do whatever I’m told to do. That’s the atmosphere

Jimmy created. It’s not just goalkeeping; it’s any part of it. Ger might say to me, ‘I want you to take this bit tonight.’ That’s the journey I’m on now.”
Donegal Wins
DONEGAL captain Michael Murphy surprised everyone with his return from injury in Saturday night’s Ulster semi-final win over Derry – even manager Jim McGuinness.

Murphy roved between midfield and the half-forward line as champions Donegal booked their place in the provincial final.

“Michael kind of made the decision to play himself, in the warm up, he felt that he was good to go,” revealed McGuinness.

“He felt that he wasn’t going to be put himself under major pressure by deciding to play. We decided the best thing for him would be to get the game time under his belt. We took a wee bit of a chance with him that way. Thankfully, he got through all right.”
Meath Wins
MEATH made no mistake second time around as they won their Leinster SFC replay against Carlow on Saturday night with relative ease.

“We are absolutely delighted -- our dressingroom is delighted to be back in a Leinster semi-final,” said Meath boss Seamus McEnaney.

“I often wonder where the expectation comes from -- maybe it comes from the media. We have worked extremely hard against a lot of different things, but we put in seven debutants, the young fellas are playing really, really well and putting pressure on other lads for places.

“They are working extremely hard and we are just absolutely delighted to be in a Leinster semifinal in two weeks time.”