GAA News from Ireland: Tipperary tops Kilkenny in the National Hurling League


Liam Sheedy looks set to escape any punishment for his sideline brush with Kilkenny boss Brian Cody as Tipperary finally got the better of the Cats (1-14 to 0-13) in Sunday’s re-arranged NHL clash in Thurles.

Tipp manager Sheedy and Cody exchanged angry words in front of the television cameras, and Sheedy appeared to push his counterpart in the chest as the big game drew to a close, but referee Barry Kelly failed to take any action.

Sheedy had taken exception to a challenge by Kilkenny’s J.J. Delaney on Jody Brennan after the Tipp star had hooked Jackie Tyrell in a dramatic finale.

Cody and Sheedy did shake hands after the final whistle and both men played down the incident afterwards.

Sheedy said, “When the match is close like that, it’s high tempo stuff. We’re managers -- maybe they, the players, watch our body language, but for us, it’s Tipp and Kilkenny, the second round of the league.

“If we lost today, it probably finished our involvement in the league. It was important to get the two points, get back on the road. In a lot of ways, it was backs to the wall.”

Kilkenny boss Cody said, “It was a battle of wits, as ever. No, there was no battle on the sideline. It was a battle for anyone out there. It is early in March, so it was decent stuff.”

Revenge for last year’s All-Ireland final defeat at the hands of Kilkenny was sweet for Tipp, especially as it came a week after their shock NHL defeat away to Dublin.

Star striker Eoin Kelly said, “We have two points now so we’re delighted. This time last week we were wondering where we were going to get these two points from so thankfully we are on the board now and looking forward to next week’s game.”

A bumper crowd in excess of 20,000 turned up for the Semple Stadium clash after the GAA offered free admission for the game which had twice been postponed due to snow.

“I suppose it reflects it was free and it was a terrific day as well, a real summer’s day, a real hurling day as well,” said Cody.

He also confirmed that Michael Kavanagh has yet to rejoin the Cats squad after recent club commitments and won’t feature in the upcoming league clash with Cork.


McCarthy to Retire

MIKE McCarthy looks set to add to Kerry’s woes and confirm his second retirement from inter-county football in the coming weeks.

McCarthy will join the likes of Tommy Walsh, Tadhg Kennelly, Darragh O Se, Sean O’Sullivan and Diarmuid Murphy on the sidelines when Kerry resume championship action in the summer.

“You can never say never with Mike. He was not coming back last year either but we managed to convince him. He has other commitments now outside of football and they are important as well,” said Kerry boss Jack O’Connor on Sunday.

Kieran Donaghy, who starred in Sunday’s NFL win over Derry in Tralee, insisted, “There is great experience there and lads will be getting more experience as the league goes on. With Tomás Ó Sé and Paul Galvin to come back in as well I would not exactly say that we are in dire straits.”

Kerry secured their first win of the new NFL campaign when they beat Derry with a couple of points to spare in Tralee on Sunday, much to the delight of manager O’Connor.

“It was important to get a win on the board and it validates what we are doing in training,” said O’Connor.

“It gives us a boost now and lifts the morale and we are facing another tough game again next week above in Salthill and it was important that we were going up there with a couple of points.”


Meath Wins

Stephen Bray scored a last minute winner as Meath again left it late to overcome Westmeath in their NFL clash in Navan on Saturday night by a score of 1-12 to 2-8.

“We were relieved and happy to get the win in the end,” said manager Eamonn O’Brien. “It was a poor second half performance from us.

“We played well in the first half, but we didn’t convert enough chances when we were on top in the first half. Overall, we are just relieved to get away with two points, we probably would have considered ourselves lucky if we had got one point.

“We were fortunate to come away with the win as Westmeath played very well in the last 15 minutes. If we had lost the game, any chance of promotion was lost so it was extremely important to win.”

Westmeath boss Brendan Hackett, whose under 21 side beat Meath in the Championship on Saturday afternoon, said, “A draw would have been the fairest result, but I’m happy at the way we came back in the second half.”

Tyrone Wins

MONAGHAN will look to build on their impressive but narrow NFL win (1-14 to 0-16) over Tyrone when they tackle Dublin in Parnell Park this Sunday.

A one-point victory for the Farney men in Inniskeen has increased the relegation pressure on Tyrone, but Monaghan attacker Conor McManus is more interested in the two points on offer in Dublin.