5 straight and counting for Offaly
Offaly 3-23 Galway 0-12
In the history of the GAA, you take the hand you are given and you play it. When Kerry won their four in a row they averaged four games a year and no one questioned it.
Offaly have taken the hurling world of New York in the last five years and written themselves into the history books with five titles on the trot. Only one team in hurling had previously achieved this, Tipperary in the fifties, so it is a place reserved for the brilliant.
Offaly swept aside the challenge of Galway in this contest with a tremendous display of outstanding defending and lethal attacking. The half back line of Diarmuid Lyng, Brendan McGourty and Pat Hartley was unbelievable. They are comparable to the majority of lines anywhere in Ireland.
All dominated under the dropping ball while also cleaning up across the ground. Each of the forwards had at least two scores, with Derek Molloy getting a hat-trick of goals while Shane McNaughton was excellent from frees and play.
Galway was quite simply over matched in every position. The weekend players Shane Kavanagh and Aiden Harte never raised their game, with the players around them needing something special.
They are both county players in Ireland, so you expect from those. If Kavanagh had pulled a difficult ball from the sky, burst out through a few tackles and fired a point over, it would have inspired. It never arrived.
Harte had his hands full from the get go with the ability of his markers, but again you expect a difficult score a brilliant pass from an intercounty player to lift you, but it never arrived. His free taking also was off which also hurt, although as the game went on Galway needed far more than points from long range frees.
With the sun trying to break the cloudy sky the game was under way. Galway had a fortunate free to open the game with a Harte score, but it was all Offaly in the next 10 minutes.
They had a brilliant five player move for a Molloy goal on two minutes and followed it with five of the next six points.
While the forward line was moving very efficiently, it was the Offaly halfback line that was completely dominating the proceedings with countless attacks dying weakly on their shoulders. At the offensive end McNaughton was clinical from frees as he punished any indiscretion.
Galway did have back to back points between the 17th and 20th minutes when Robbie Jackson had a point after an interception and Harte drove over a 70, but it still left the scoreline 1-6 to 0-4. Shane Sweeney and Kevin Reilly swapped scores, but immediately following Reilly’s point Offaly had their second goal. Again it was Molloy who rattled the net.
It was all Offaly as the half came to a close. They had five further points with McNaughton scoring the first and Donie Broderick getting three of the next four.
The last point resulted from a low ball into Offaly keeper Brian McNaughton. He found namesake Shane with a long brilliant delivery. The nifty corner forward immediately released the ball to Broderick who fired over the bar. The score of the game.
It left Offaly ahead by 13 at the break, 2-12 to 0-5.
Both sides had two points in the opening six minutes, with Sweeney’s resulting from a perfect pass to the big corner from Hartley. Low, bouncing perfectly into the forward.
After a Galway 25 yard free from Reilly was cleared easily Offaly again went to the scoreboard. They had a point from Shane Kelly, then Molloy completed his hat-trick with a well engineered goal.
Cyril Donnellon soloed in on the right side and flicked at the perfect time to the advancing Molloy. Harte had a free for Galway’s eighth point, but it preceded a five point salvo from the winners.
Again the two headed monster of the Shanes in the full forward line did most of the damage. Galway did have four of the last six points, but at this period Offaly had emptied the bench and were still able to win with 20 points to spare.
It would be a far shorter list to say who played poorly for Offaly, but who would you include? From manager Phil Wickham pulling all the right moves to Donie Broderick starting for the fifth year in a row, the only one who did so, it was truly a day of excellence.
Brian McNaughton made a couple of timely saves to keep a clean sheet and had a quite brilliant overall championship. Sean O’Sullivan is the quite assassin, sits behind the big guns and performs excellently.
Brendan McGourty played a captain’s part and then some, while the Kilkenny (Hartley) and Wexford (Lyng) men on his sides were terrific.
Dan Currams started very brightly while Cyril Donnellon could not be contained. His running pulled Shane Kavanagh all over the field.
Derek Molloy had three goals and wasn’t the best of the forwards, so that’s amazing. The Shane and Shane show again proved to be clinical, 0-12 between them equal to all of Galway’s scores.
For Galway it’s back to the drawing board. Paul Greville battled hard, particularly in the first half. Paul Cahill, John McLoughlin and Reilly tried throughout.
Offaly: 1 Brian McNaughton, 2 Sean O’Sullivan, 4 Diarmuid Hehir, 5 Dermot Lyng (0-1), 6 Brendan McGourty, 7 Pat Hartley (0-1), 8 Shane Kelly (0-3), 9 Danny Currams (0-1), 10 Donie Broderick (0-3), 11 Cyril Donnellon (0-2), 12 Derek Molloy (3-0), 13 Shane Sweeney (0-4), 15 Shane McNaughton (0-8). Subs: Matt Cashman, Ciaran O’Keefe, Enda Condron, Caelim O’Hare, Richie Hartnett.
Galway: 1 Aiden Mullins, 2 David Lynch, 4 Paul Greville, 5 Paul Cahill, 6 Shame Kavanagh, 7 Kieran Geary, 8 John McLoughlin, 9 Liam Butler, 10 Robbie Jackson, 11 Aaron Farrell, 12 Aiden Harte, 13 Aiden Purcell, 15 Kevin Reilly. Subs: Dermot Kenny, Alan Sherlock, Tadgh Lyons, Aiden Moylan.
Man of the match: Brendan McGourty (Offaly).
Referee: John Madden.
Donegal easy winners
Donegal 1-19 Brooklyn/Long Island 0-9
Donegal easily cruised to victory and a place in the intermediate football quarterfinals against Rangers with this 12-point victory. Five of the six forwards scored, with Kieran Tavey and CJ Molloy very dangerous in front of goal.
The first half was all Donegal as they dominated throughout. They opened the half with three points in a row from Gary White, Molloy and Tavey in the first eight minutes.
Darren Moore did have two points in reply for Brooklyn, but Donegal answered that with a further seven points in a row. They came from all angles and in all shapes as they pinned back Brooklyn in their own half.
Molloy had two of the scores while Tavey also contributed two. The combination side were not able to build anything constructive in this period, and there were five minutes left in the half before they added their third.
Molloy cancelled that out, however, when he pulled a long ball from the sky and turned to rifle over, although Brooklyn did have one final chance as the half arrived.
Donagh O’Grady made Brian Cullinane go full length at the expense of a 50 with 30 seconds left. That kick was easily cleared by the defense with Donegal sitting on a 0-11 to 0-3 interval lead.
The sides split four points to open the second half before Tavey and Brian Reilly pushed the advantage out to 10 with back to back scores.
Brooklyn then had their most productive period when they had four points without reply. Declan McAleer started it with a good score from the right about 30 yards out before Moore (two) and Bonnie Duffy hit the mark.
Donegal were able to react in a timely manner with a Tavey point before Liam Deane crashed the ball to the net for an excellent goal.
PJ Flanagan and Conor Classen added points for the easy 12-point win and the place in the quarterfinals against Rangers.
Donegal will fancy their chances in the playoffs. Brian Cullinane is a very good shot stopper as he showed the one time he was tested in this one.
Conor Morgan, Mike Molloy and Fintan Kean performed admirable at the back with the midfield of White and Classen, two big men, a very good asset.
Del Ferreira did a lot of work on the 40 with Molloy and Tavey very dangerous. Liam Deane took both his scores well.
Brooklyn had positives in the performances of Gavin Dwyer, John McGrory, Donagh O’Grady and the tremendous Darren Moore.
Donegal: 1 Brian Cullinane, 2 Joe Keon, 3 Conor Morgan, 4 Brian Sweeney, 5 Ciaran Slattery, 6 Fintan Kean, 7 Mike Molloy, 8 Conor Classen (0-1), 9 Gary White (0-1), 10 Padraig McDaid, 11 Del Ferreira (0-2), 12 Kieran Tavey (0-6), 13 Brian Reilly (0-3), 14 CJ Molloy (0-4), 15 Liam Deane (1-1). Subs: James McFadden, Pat McGill, PJ Flanagan (0-1).
Brooklyn/Long Island: 1 Gavin Dwyer, 2 Enda Lally, 3 John McGrory, 4 Donal McKeon, 5 Tom Boyle, 6 Bonnie Duffy (0-1), 7 Bobby McGee, 8 Hugh McNulty, 9 Donagh O’Grady, 10 Kevin O’Callaghan, 11 Stephen O’Kane, 12 Declan McAleer (0-1), 13 Garth Moore (0-1), 14 Darren Moore (0-6), 15 Gary Moore.
Man of the match: Kieran Tavey (Donegal).
Referee: Martin O’Connor.
Ladies battle for All Ireland glory
The New York Ladies head to Ireland this week with glory on their mind. They face Carlow on Saturday evening in the quarter final of the All-Ireland junior football championship, with the winners then facing Wexford the following week.
The full list of players selected by Phil Sheridan the manager and his selection team for the trip to Ireland is on pages 30 and 31.
The panel has immense experience in its ranks with at least nine players with intercounty experience from Ireland. They have been training since April with no stone unturned in their preparations. Challenge games against men’s teams and ladies sides have been utilized in their preparations.
The choices available to the management as they select their side are also varied with a very strong center line. The team itself will look very familiar to those that follow ladies football in New York.
Alison Leydon is the one bona fide keeper in the panel. She is outstanding, with her shot stopping superb and ball handling excellent.
Mary O’Rourke, who is also challenging for a forward slot, looks to be the back up keeper. Certainly she is athletic enough to make the transition.
Full back and center half have a host of options. Tracey Ann McCullough and Katrina Lynch would look to be the number three contenders, while vice captain Catriona Lynch, Louise Lilly and Joanne Monaghan are all challenging for the six shirt.
McCullough has very good hands and is very good at moving the ball; Lynch adds an extra level of aggression and is a tenacious marker. She may get a corner slot beside Tracey. Lynch is an outstanding ball carrying player, she played as a forward and midfielder when she first came to New York but has slotted in to an attacking defensive role perfectly for her club. Lilly may get a wing slot for the same reasons as Lynch.
Niamh Britton, Clare McElroy, Aoife Gibson, Karen Henry, Imelda Mullarkey and Jesse Garcia will all be considered for the wings. Britton and Mullarkey are similar players who look to have shots in the corners.
Henry brings a lot to the plate as a wing back, naturally fit, good hands, while Garcia has improved with every year she has played football.
The middle of the park looks like the most settled. Linda McKeon and Aine Dwyer seem to have dibs on the two shirts available. Both played for their counties, Longford and Tipperary respectively. Ball carrying demons, they push a defense back on its heels.
Dwyer is excellent in the air and her long range kicking is second to none. McKeon has panache for the dramatic goal when she gallops up the middle. They are also both very good defenders.
Others who may be used in this quadrant are Kelly Roche, Maebh DeBurca and Catherina Brady if the backline gets rearranged.
The forward line has a host of weapons, not least of which is the dynamic duo of Emma Clarke and Molly O’Rourke. Both are natural born winners and superb footballers. O’Rourke is more of a play maker, while Clarke goes for the jugular each time she gets the ball.
Kelly Roche has a good line on the center forward slot, while Maebh DeBurca, Rosie O’Reilly Broderick Aisling Gormley, Michelle Brennan, speed merchant Courtney Traynor and Mary O’Rourke will all contend for the wings.
Michelle McVann and Fiona Dwyer could be used as extra midfielders dropping back. McVann is very experienced and wouldn’t be fazed by the occasion. Dwyer has a great pair of hands under kick outs.
DeBurca puts a defense under a lot of pressure with her running and certainly is a dynamo in front of goal. Michelle Brennan may be one of the side’s best assets. She can play midfield or forward. Always puts her opponent on the back foot and will score if in space and site of posts.
The team will be behind the eight ball due to the lack of challenge games to compare with Carlow or Wexford, but they will make up for that with skill and passion which exists in the strong panel. The trip promises to be a monumental one for New York.
Moynagh the Star for Armagh
Armagh 2-13 Cork 2-5
Armagh used a brilliant shooting display by forward James Moynagh to overcome a two point halftime deficit and cruise to victory in this senior football match.
Moynagh scored 1-5 in the second 30 minutes, and his shooting broke the back of Cork. The defense also clamped down allowing only three points in the same period to push Armagh to joint top of the senior division.
Armagh opened with two points in the first five minutes from Kyle Carragher and Kevin McGeeney. They were also guilty of three misses in the same period and would live to rue those.
On six minutes Cork were in front. Gary Lowney and Brian Kellagher were involved before Jason Kelly set up Johnny O’Sullivan for a net shaker.
Armagh did recover to go back in front when Caolan Short and Richie Morgan fired over the lathe, but Cork had an extended period of dominance in the next 10 minutes.
Kelly fired over a free when he was fouled, while Mark Cronin had the next free from the 14 when the ref moved the ball forward after he was told by the Armagh defense about his decision.
Cork had a chance to extend their lead when Kellagher sent a screamer across the face of the goal, before they did get their second goal of the game on 19 minutes. It arrived with Kelly again involved.
A long ball was sent into the left corner where he picked it up. He beat his man and headed for goal. His drive was stopped brilliantly by a diving Alan Hearty, but Frank Cloone grabbed the rebound and drove it to the net despite the best efforts of two defenders.
Hearty stopped another goal bound shot from Cloone minutes later before Armagh came back into it as the half wound down. Short and Alan McFerrin had points to narrow the gap to 2-2 to 0-6 at the break.
Armagh was revitalized when they reappeared for the second half. Chris Morton was fouled for a penalty in the second minute and Moynagh crashed the kick to the back of the net.
He followed it with a good point from play a minute later, and Armagh then had a Short score to move into a 1-8 to 2-2 lead.
Moynagh had a free to extend the advantage before Cronin had a point from play to give Cork a small respite. Moynagh continued his excellent shooting with two further points that sandwiched a Kelly score as Armagh pushed on in the quest for victory.
Moynagh’s second was a brilliant effort as Aiden Morton intercepted a Cork pass and worked the ball quickly to McFerrin. He found Moynagh, who then swiveled and fired over the lathe in one movement.
Another Moynagh free made the advantage 1-12 to 2-4 with seven minutes on the clock before Kelly had the Rebels’ final score.
It was all Armagh in the final ticks, however, as they added another Short score before Morgan set up Chris Morton with the easy task of side footing to the net by laying a perfect pass into the small square.
Armagh has Kerry in their last game of the season so this victory was crucial. Stewart Stokes, Aiden Morton and Carl McVerry did very well in the back, particularly in the second half.
Alan Hearty made some brilliant stops; he could do little about the goals. Caolan Short continues his brilliant form while Alan McFerrin is a live wire up front as he covers acres. Kyle Carragher and Richie Morgan both had positive contributions, with James Moynagh’s second half display one for the ages.
Cork was never at the races. Four scores in one half, three in the other won’t get you much.
John McLoughlin, in his second game of the day, Gary Lowney, Brian Kellagher and Jason Kelly were the few who shone.
Kelly needs the ball around him all the time. Having him in the last line was a waste of his talents although he did dominate when he got the ball. It just didn’t get to him enough.
Cork: 1 Darren O’Mahoney, 2 Sean McNamee, 3 John McLoughlin, 4 Paddy Harrington, 5 Liam Hanley, 6 Colin Lynch, 7 Gary Hanley, 8 Gary Lowney, 9 Rory Stafford, 10 Brian Kellagher, 11 John O’Sullivan (1-0), 12 Francie Cleary, 13 Mark Cronin (0-2), 14 Jason Kelly (0-3), 15 Frank Cloone (1-0). Subs: Shea Furlong, Aiden O’Mahoney.
Armagh: 1 Alan Hearty, 2 Stewart Stokes, 3 Patsy Martin, 4 Raymie Kane, 5 Aiden Morton, 6 Eddie Greenan, 7 Carl McVerry, 8 Brian Murphy, 9 Caolan Short (0-4), 10 Alan McFerrin (0-1), 11 Kevin McGeeney (0-1), 12 James Moynagh (1-5), 13 Kyle Carragher (0-1), 14 Richie Morgan (0-1), 15 Chris Morton (1-0). Subs: Collie Fearan.
Man of the match: James Moynagh (Armagh).
Referee: Sean Jones.