Kilkenny finally got their NHL campaign started when they were easy 1-17 to 0-12 winners over Offaly on Sunday after two attempts to play Tipperary were postponed due to snow in Thurles.

That game will now be played this weekend with Kilkenny going into the match on the back of a workmanlike win against Offaly.

“It went fine. The lads played well for this time of the year, especially considering it was our first league outing,” said manager Brian Coady.

“It was competitive most of the way. Maybe we pulled it out a bit in the second half, but it was still a good game to have under our belts.

“Offaly were very strong and they won a lot of ball, maybe even more than we did, among the forwards, although our backs were very strong and solid. We got the win and we’re happy with that.”

Offaly face Dublin in the next round of games, and manager Joe Dooley wants his team to focus on the future and not to worry about the defeats to Cork and Kilkenny.

“You’d have to say Kilkenny won it comfortably. We knew that with those two away games against Cork and Kilkenny, we were going to be under pressure,” said Dooley after Sunday’s match.

“The next four games are critical. We’re not scoring enough up front and maybe giving away a few silly frees and spilling a few balls.

“It’s something we need to sharpen up on before we play Dublin. Dublin had a great win against Tipperary, so we’ll be up against it.”

Kilkenny fans saw star attacker Richie Power stretchered off and taken to hospital at halftime after what looked like a serious neck injury but initial worries eased on Sunday night.

Tests revealed no serious damage and Power will make a full and swift recovery.



Dublin Shocker

DUBLIN pulled off the shock of the weekend as they defeated All-Ireland finalists Tipperary in their NHL clash at Parnell Park on Sunday by a score of 1-21 to 1-12.

Dubs boss Anthony Daly was proud of his players as they bounced back from an opening day defeat in Waterford to beat a strong Tipp side.

Daly said afterwards, “The thing we said on Tuesday night was, look, we know we’re not that bad but we just had to face up to the reality that at this level if you stand off against any of these teams, you’ll be destroyed.

“Today we decided we’d face out to the auld ball. And if you miss it, you miss it but have the moral courage to go to it. That was basically what Tuesday was about. There was no rocket science in it.

“But we won’t be getting carried away with it either. We’re going down to Offaly next to try and claw out some kind of a win, and get ourselves safe first, and then see can we drive on after that. But that’s going to be a massive dogfight in two weeks’ time.”

And beaten Tipp boss Liam Sheedy had no complaints after his team’s league campaign opened with a defeat.

“They outworked us, outmuscled us, won every battle and won every line. They were deserving winners,” said Sheedy.

“We could have done with more game time. No matter how much you do at home it doesn’t add up to enough when you come out to competitive action.

“But there are no excuses -- we got the perfect start but throughout the field Dublin wanted it more.”


Galway Wins

UNBEATEN Galway hammered Waterford by nine points at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (4-15 to 1-15), but manager John McIntyre could still see room for improvement.

“If that was Kilkenny, they wouldn’t be settling for winning by nine or 10 points. They’d want to win by 14 or 15,” warned McIntyre.

“I thought we got what we deserved at half time and that was to be behind because we didn’t press on when we made the great start.

“So at least half time came at the right time for us, to give us the opportunity to address what had gone wrong. It is a worry for us. We fade in and out of matches. It is not even from game to game; it is during matches and that is something we are going to have to sort out.”

Galway were three goals to the good against Waterford, and beaten boss Davy Fitzgerald had no complaints afterwards.

“The lads work hard -- they had a bad day at the office. I am not going to criticize them. There will be enough of people doing that, but leave them off. The lads are good,” said Fitzgerald.

“Galway were awesome, absolutely super. They will be very hard to stop this year. They have a very strong panel. The scores they took, the goals they took, they totally outclassed us.

“We have an awful lot of work to do to catch up but we will try our best during the year to see if we can catch up a small bit.”


GAA Shorts

PORTLAOISE manager John Mulligan and players Bruno McCormack, Michael Nolan and Brian Mulligan have been hit with bans after the recent incidents in their AIB Club Championship semi-final defeat to Clare side Kilmurry-Ibrickane . . .

SENIOR Waterford stars John Mullane, Ken McGrath, Dan Shanahan, Tony Browne, Eoin Murphy and Seamus Prendergast will return to training on Monday after manager Davy Fitzgerald gave them an extended break . . .

BEN O’Connor and the Naughton twins Jerry and Cathal will return to action with the Cork hurlers this week after the end of their club Newtownshandrum’s involvement in the All-Ireland championships . . .

ANTRIM champions St. Gall’s will meet surprise packets Kilmurry-Ibrickane in the All-Ireland club football final on St. Patrick’s Day after the Ulster side defeated Corofin of Galway in Saturday’s semifinal . . .

WATERFORD defender Michael “Brick” Walsh is to miss the rest of the NHL campaign after he broke his arm in Sunday’s Division One defeat to Galway . . .

TIPPERARY and Kilkenny will try to play their snow postponed NHL clash for a third time in Thurles on Sunday when entry will be free . . .

VETERAN Jason Sherlock has confirmed that he wants to return to the Dublin senior football squad ahead of the 2010 championship season . . .

CENTRA have replaced RTE as one of the official sponsors of the All-Ireland hurling championship.