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Second Half Wins it for Kingdom

Kerry 1-12 Cork 0-12

How many times does a team score one point in a half of football and come away with the win? How many times is a team down eight points with 20 minutes left and gets the win? 

Not many is the answer to both; in fact hardly ever. 

Finbarr Flood’s Kerry side turned the improbable into a dream result with a fantastic second half performance when they put nine consecutive points on the board, and then secured the win with a gift goal from the Cork defense. 

The Munster battle opened with Cork in complete control. They had six of the first seven points with Jason Kelly scoring two, Ian Rowland also getting a pair while Brian Kelleher and Mark Cronin had the final two. 

Kerry’s only answer was a Conor Ryan score, although they did have a clear-cut goal chance 10 minutes in but Mike Jim Fitzgerald blasted wide to the left from 20 yards out. 

Cork was able to move the ball at ease up the field continuously. The half back line where Colin Lynch and John Fitzpatrick were excellent was impressive with their ball handling.

Gary Lowney was also winning a lot of ball in the middle and distributing.  Up front Cronin was constantly available across the field while Vinnie Lehane was a target man to the low ball.  

Kerry was battling at the back and certainly the defenders could not be faulted for trying, but the Cork tsunami kept coming at them.

Kelly had a towering kick to leave the halftime score 0-7 to 0-1 with 30 minutes in a sweltering day left to play. 

Cork added to their total after Kerry had the first point of the second half, with a further three points. Kelleher sandwiched a Lehane score and the lead was now at 0-10 to 0-2 with 20 minutes left. 

Kerry slowly started their comeback. Three points arrived within seven minutes before the Kingdom started to use the long ball into CJ Molloy at full forward.  He broke the ball on the next occasion before Alan O’Donoghue popped over and took a long delivery from Ambrose O’Donovan who was now stationed in the middle of the park, and set up Darren Moore for a point. 

When Molloy had a very good battling individual effort in the 20th minute, O’Donovan caught the resulting kickout, soloed forward and drove between the posts to narrow the gap to one, 0-10 to 0-9. Molloy was fouled shortly after for a free that Barry John Walsh converted before Fitzgerald put Kerry in front for the first time in the game with an excellent point from the left side a minute later. 

Cork was hurting now as Lowney had to retire due to injury while Lynch also had to withdraw for the same reason. Kerry capitalized on it and punished the Rebels. 

Cork did have two of the next three points to draw level with the game entering its final five minutes. A gift arrived thereafter for Kerry. 

A Kerry attack resulted in a 50 which Walsh teed up to take. His head shimming shot went off the hands of a defender on the edge of the square and the keeper behind him and ended up in the back of the net for a gift goal. 

Cork did try and build a pair of attacks to draw level, but Ross Donovan blocked the best chance they had when he denied Cronin with less than a minute left to preserve the win. 

Kerry will be delighted with the second half surge. Dermot Lyng, Ross Donovan -- who was excellent in a defensive role; he made perfect outlet passes numerous times -- and Kieran Quirke did well at the back. 

Mike Jim Fitzgerald when Ambrose O’Donovan arrived to his side had a huge second half. O’Donovan didn’t enjoy the 14 slot, keep him in the middle, he changed the game when he was there. 

CJ Molloy was a huge threat on the square, the long ball worked countless times. Darren Moore was dynamic off the bench -- he changed the full forward line – and Alan O’Donoghue was very active before his red card for a second personnel foul. He will admit, however, that he got away with at least two other bookable offenses. 

Cork comes down from a high after their win over Leitrim the week previous. In the scheme of their team Gary Lowney was a huge loss.  He was dominating centerfield before his departure. 

Derek Courtney and John Fitzpatrick had a strong first half. Jason Kelly, Mark Cronin and Brian Kelleher also had moments throughout the game when they dominated. Kelleher is a very strong player. 

Vinnie Lehane and Ian Rowland needed more of the ball inside.  In the second half they had to come too far from goal. 

Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Dermot Lyng, 3  Kieran Quirke, 4 Niall Corbett, 5 Ross Donovan, 6 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 7 Jonathon Lynne, 8 Mike Jim Fitzgerald (0-2),  9 Barry John Walsh (0-2), 10 Conor Ryan (0-1), 11 CJ Molloy (0-1), 12 Alan O’Donoghue (0-1), 13 Bingo Driscoll, 14 Ambrose O’Donovan (0-2), 15 Paul Geaney (0-1). Subs: Darren Moore (0-2).    

Cork: 1 Darren O’Mahoney, 2 John McLoughlin, 3 Liam Hanley, 4 Paddy Harrington, 5 Derek Courtney, 6 Colin Lynch, 7 John Fitzpatrick, 8 Gary Lowney,  9 Jason Kelly (0-4), 10 Mark Cronin (0-2)11 Brian Kelleher (0-3), 12 Francie Cleary, 13 Vinnie Lehane (0-1), 14 Johnny O’Sullivan, 15 Ian Rowland (0-2).  Subs: Pat Mahoney,  Mike Travers.

Man of the match: Ambrose O’Donovan (Kerry).

Referee: Tommy Fahey.

Junior Hurling Final for Sunday

IN the rejuvenated junior hurling division, the final takes place this Sunday at 2 p.m. with a battle on the cards between the group champions Hoboken Guards and the Bronx Warriors. 

The returning division had four teams this year, with Rockland and Shannon Gaels from Queens making up the quartet. All were scheduled to play each other twice, and a host of entertaining and very close contests took place over the summer. 

When the dust settled Hoboken defeated the Gaels 4-7 to 2-8, while the Bronx won a replay last Saturday over Rockland 5-11 to 0-11. 

The final promises to be a very close contest between two sides very familiar with each other.  The Bronx side has a number of footballers in its lineout while also using former stars of the senior circuit as some of its prominent players. 

The team starts with an Irish American in goal (Eddie Hogan) which is one of the reasons that the juniors was re-introduced, to give the American-born players a next stepping stone after underage with of course the final landing spot, senior hurling. 

Hogan has been doing very well and is still under 16. He is joined in the starting ranks by Matt Shuemaker who plays at wing back. Fantastic to see. 

Phil Wickham is at corner back and solid as a rock, while Dermot Kenny is their captain and center back. Willie Kelleher and Jason Daly have been very consistent in the middle, with Matt Kennedy, Eoghan Loughnane and Gary Donaghue filling in slots up front. 

One of their stars has been Peter Hatzer, the Dublin footballer who can fill in as a defender or attacker, while Dave Loughnane has been outstanding at wing forward and free taker in chief. 

Hoboken will counter with the highest scoring team in the league. They also have a very good defense.

 Colm Reilly is a very good keeper, with Cathal Flynn, Kieran Dowling and Gavin O’Hanlon anchoring the defense. Darren Coffee and Simon Brickenden have been together all year in the middle. 

Up front they have at least three game winners. David Costigan is a flyer of a wing forward. Inside Kealim O’Hare and Fintan Meehan have been scoring dynamos. The battle between Pat Egan and Kenny on the 40 will be critical.

Harold Is Hero for Cavan

Cavan 1-11  Armagh 1-9

THE battle of Queens came down to the wire on Sunday in the senior football clash between Armagh and Cavan. Both teams had chances to win, and both had periods of dominance. 

In the end a brilliant goal by Cavan that involved at least five pairs of hands before Steven Harold slotted home was the clincher. 

The first half opened with Armagh getting three points in the first five minutes with Kevin Rodgers the scorer, but Kyle Carrageen and Alan McIver were instrumental in the scores. 

Ian Davies replied for Cavan when Barry McGinnis set him up, but Cavan also has a pair of wades that hurt them before Geared McCarthy had two points from frees, the first when Davies was fouled, the second when Michael Boyle was apprehended. 

Connor King had a brace of scores in the 13th and 15th minutes to again put Armagh in the lead by two, but Cava were now settling down at the back and tightening up at the back. 

Armagh failed to score for the remainder of the half while the Blues added three points from play. McCarthy had the first when he turned his marker before Barry McGinnis had two before the break. 

Good pressure from the forward line as Armagh tried to move the ball out set up the first, while a quick free to McGinnis set him up for the second when he was alone in front of goal. Cavan had a narrow one point lead as a result 0-6 to 0-5 at the break. 

Cavan continued their good work as the second half opened. Brendan Reilly popped a point when Davies set him up before Davies sent a long free sailing over the lathe. 

Between the scores Reilly was very unfortunate to have a score pulled back for a hand pass infraction on the fisted score. Armagh finally got back on the score sheet when Carrageen fired over with 10 minutes gone, a 25 minute lapse between scores and they followed it with an excellent Coalman Short point. 

While Davies had his third point of the day 17 minutes in it preceded a 1-2 scoring burst for Ramah that put the Orchard County into a 1-9 to 0-10 lead. 

The goal came when a long ball from King dropped into the edge of the square. It was not cleared by the defense, with a first chance shot by Ciaran Conlon stopped by Maurice Power but the rebound fell to Brian Murphy who drove the ball to the net with power. 

With five minutes left it looked more than enough to get the win but Cavan had other thoughts.  Davies had a point while at the other end Thomas Fahy had two interceptions. 

With time inside the last minute Cavan won a sideline on the right side in their own half. The ball was worked into Fahy who moved it on to Brian McCarthy. He found brother Geared inside and a tying point was on. 

McCarthy had much bigger ideas and he flicked inside to the advancing Harold who side footed to the back of the net for a brilliant team goal. 

Armagh had time for one last attack, and they moved the ball quickly to the other end of the field. They had a three on two with Carrageen and Murphy involved but the final pass went to the left of the goal, allowing the Cavan defense to get back and smother the ensuing shot and clear the danger. The final whistle sounded seconds after for a relieved Cava team.  

The winners had a host of stars on the day. Paul Lamb came on strong as the day went on while Kevin Cardin was excellent at full back. 

Thomas Fahy and Tommy Warburton were both contenders for man of the match. Warburton carried the ball forward time and again to good effect and his defense was top class. Steven Harold took his goal brilliantly, the wings of McGinnis and Reilly contributed four points while also covering acres. Ian Davis and Geared McCarthy were tremendous up front. 

For Armagh, a tough loss to take but they will rebound. Brian Rodgers, Coalman Short and Steve Sheridan all had important contributions. Connor King, Kevin Rodgers first half, and Kyle Carrageen were others who showed throughout.  

Armagh: 1 Alan Hearty, 2 Stewart Stokes, 3 Patsy Martin, 4 Brian Rodgers, 5 Coalman Short (0-1), 6 Eddie Greenan, 7 Karl McIver (0-1), 8 James Donnelly, 9 Steve Sheridan, 10 Connor King (0-3), 11 Kevin Rodgers (0-3), 12 Alan McIver, 13 Ciaran Conlon, 14 Brian Murphy (1-0), 15 Kyle Carrageen (0-1). Subs: Collie Fearan, Kevin McGeeney, Eoghan McPartland.

Cavan: 1 Maurice Power, 2 Paul Lamb, 3 Kevin Cardin, 4 Ciaran Martin, 5 Tommy Warburton, 6 Thomas Fahy, 7 Ronan McGinley, 8 Paddy McCullough, 9 Steven Harold (1-0), 10 Barry McGinnis (0-2), 11 Paddy Smith, 12 Brendan Reilly (0-2), 13 Geared McCarthy (0-3), 14 Ian Davies (0-4), 15 Michael Boyle. Subs: Alan Carolan, Brian McCarthy.

Man of the match: Tommy Warburton (Cava).

Referee: Dean O’Connor.

Close Final on the Cards

THE ladies of New York take center stage on Sunday with the final of the Sean Faherty Championship at 3:30 at Gaelic Park. 

It is a repeat of last year’s final with holders Na Fianna facing off against rival Cavan. This year’s championship was not a forgone conclusion to this point, and Sunday’s final is setting up to be an intriguing affair. 

In the regular season, all teams had losses before Cavan came away with the league title. Both Fermanagh and Kerry/Donegal pushed the finalists all the way in the league before Fermanagh lost to Cavan and Na Fianna defeated Kerry/Donegal in the semi finals two weeks ago. 

Cava are the long time kingpins of the division with 13 titles to their name in the lifespan of the championship which had its birth in 1991. Na Fianna has three while Mayo has two. 

In the last three years the power has shifted, with Na Fianna going for three in a row, something only achieved by Cavan previously. This year’s final has an array of stars on hand, both Irish and American-born. 

Na Fianna have an impressive lineout with all-star goalie Alison Leyden a tremendous player her saves can be breathtaking.  In front of her are some of the top defenders in New York. 

Joanne Monaghan will sit at number six most likely, with a choice of Jesse Garcia or Catherina Lynch behind at full back. Stepehnie Tierney is a close marking American-born defender, while Imelda Mullarkey, Sharon Spillane and possibly Karen Henry, who played very well when introduced in the semifinal, will round out the back six.

In the middle of the park are Michelle Brennan and Aine Dwyer. Dwyer is a long range shooting expert while Brennan is an unsung hero. She is capable of playing a number of positions and never puts a foot wrong. 

The forward line is a dangerous unit where New York captain Mary O’Rourke leads from full forward. Known throughout, akin to Michael, Larry, Henry or Bingo with the simple Molly, she has been player of the year in New York twice and again is having a stellar season. 

Deirdre Doherty is an excellent footballer at center forward, while Orlagh Egan and Selena Moylan are also capable of game breaking scores. A strong team. 

Cava will counter with a side that is also a very formidable 15. In goal for them is young Irish American Nora Kilkenny, who has matured throughout the season. She’s had brilliant saves and strong kick outs that have helped her side immensely. 

Ashley Callery is one of three players born on this side of the pond in the full back line. Great hands under a dropping ball, with a brilliant player marker beside her in Caroline McBrien. 

Aoife O’Rourke is set at six and is a tremendous talent. Paula Lally from Meath will be on one wing, with Katie McEvoy, Aimee Gomez and Bridget Mulligan also contenders for starting slots. 

Linda McKeon and Mary Maguire started in the middle in the semifinal, and the battle here between the four players may well decide the winner of the final. 

The forward line is as frightening to a defender as the Na Fianna one. Theresa Marron is a strong ball carrier who can kick with both feet, while Alisha Jordon is a strong footballer on her right. 

The full forward line is home to Rosie O’Reilly Broderick, who is going for her 16th medal at this grade, while Nicola King has had an excellent year in the other corner. 

At full forward is Emma Clarke. A livewire scoring phenom, she will vie with O’Rourke for scoring title on the day as well as championship honors. 

The final promises to be a brilliant affair. Nollaig Cleary, the long time chairperson and physio for both sides said it best perhaps.

“My feeling is goals will win the game, and I wouldn’t rule out a draw.  Both teams are exceptionally fit and know each other very well, so I expect a really close game.”

New York PRO Niamh Britton gave her thoughts.  “Cava had a stronger league and should have a slight edge. It is going to be a close game with only a point or two separating the sides.”