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

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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.

“This result will definitely give us confidence going forward,” McManus said.  “It’s not easy going to Parnell Park at any time but we’ll be going up there looking for another two points and trying to keep our Division One status.

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte was asked afterwards if his team can avoid relegation and declared, “Absolutely. We don’t believe in dogfights, we believe in playing good football.”

 
Limerick Update

The striking Limerick hurlers have again rubbished claims that they are prepared to return to training under beleaguered boss Justin McCarthy as the Shannonside shambles rolls on.

The senior players who have yet to feature for Limerick this season are unlikely to return in the near future following a statement issued on the eve of Tuesday night’s county board meeting.

In the statement the players said, “There has been a deliberate and concerted effort by members of the county board, the team management and the backroom team to influence the thinking of club delegates and the wider Limerick public.

“There has also been a deliberate and concerted effort to influence the younger players who have pulled out of the 2010 panel, with huge pressure being put on using one player against another in trying to persuade them to change their minds.

“We will not play under the current management despite rumors, stories and spins to the contrary, most of them coming from the county board and the current management team.

“There will be no more players returning to training. It is now up to the club delegates to address the matter with the county board executive. The future of Limerick hurling is in their hands.”

Dubs Win

Dublin made it three wins from three in the NFL with a 1-9 to 1-8 victory away to Mayo on Sunday, but they had to fight hard for the points.

“We were lucky to come out with a win,” said Dublin boss Pat Gilroy after Mayo had shot 18 wides.

“Mayo missed a lot of easy frees and had trouble in general with their shooting so I think we were fortunate to hold on at the end.

Mayo boss John O’Mahony admitted, “I’m very frustrated to be honest. We created the chances, I couldn’t fault their work-rate, but we just didn’t put them away.”

Cork Wins

Cork almost imploded before holding on for an important NFL win (1-19 to 1-17) against visitors Galway on Saturday night.

“In the second half, we gave them far too much space, didn’t close them down,” said Cork boss Conor Counihan afterwards.

“But we had a lot of young players out there and we only played well in patches. There’s lots of bottle in this Galway side, Joe Kernan has given them steel and a new spirit. We got the points, but Galway will take a lot more out of the game than we will.”

Galway boss Kernan said, “We dominated the early exchanges, but that goal scored by Pearse O’Neill cost us. It was annoying the way the red sea just split us wide open and let O’Neill in, though in fairness, he took it beautifully.”

Armstrong Out

Galway forward Sean Armstrong is out of action for the rest of the National Football League campaign -- and could miss the Championship opener in New York in May.

Armstrong picked up a hamstring injury after just 11 minutes in Saturday’s Division One defeat away to Cork as Galway lost out by just two points.

“I was very happy with how we started but once Sean got injured we seemed to lose our shape,” said Galway boss Joe Kernan afterwards.

Bradley’s Vow

DERRY attacker Paddy Bradley has vowed to play through the pain ahead of the Ulster SFC opener against Armagh in May after returning to action following a five month lay-off in the defeat to Kerry last Sunday.

Bradley is still suffering from the effects of a heel injury and admitted, “It was giving me bother towards the end of the second half. It’s all about getting games at this stage.”

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