More GAA news from Ireland this week.

Cork 4-19 Tipperary 2-25

There were 50 scores recorded in this Munster SHC clash at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday and not one of them proved to a winner after a round-robin cracker that was rescued for Cork by a last-gasp Shane Kingston point at the end of a quite sensational game.

The Rebels and Tipperary remain as the only unbeaten sides in the round-robin series, but both hung on for dear life in a game that saw three goals in the final 12 minutes as the hosts came back from five points down to level.

Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork), Mark Kehoe (Tipperary), and Brian Hynes (Cork) all goaled before Seamus Callanan pointed Tipp ahead before Kingston grabbed the final and dramatic score of the day.

Even the players were amazed by the ding-dong nature of the tie and Tipp star Noel McGrath admitted, “That was a crazy game. I don’t really know what to make of that. I’d say it was absolutely crazy watching on. It was crazy in the middle of it as well.

“Either team could have won it. We’re happy and I suppose unhappy as well. You want to win these games. But we stuck at it when things got tough in the second half and we held in.

“You use the ball when you can, get the scores when you can and you try to get on top. Cork had their spells, we had our spells and I’d say for anyone watching on, that was Munster Championship hurling and what people come to see.”
Behind by five points twice in the second half of this match, Cork showed lots of character when it was most needed as they moved within sight of the knockout stages of the All-Ireland.

“Two weeks away, we play Clare in Ennis. It’s in our own hands. If we can beat Clare, we’ll probably qualify out of Munster,” said Reds boss Pat Ryan. “You can see, it’s very hard to get out of Munster this year. It’s very hard to get out of Munster every year. That’s a huge game for us in two weeks.”

Ryan also praised the heart displayed by his players as they clawed their way back into the fixture. “I suppose we were coming down here to get the two points. But look, obviously, 15 minutes into that second half, things weren’t looking great,” said Ryan.

“But our fellas fought fierce hard. We’ve been fighting fierce hard all year. We were behind in lots of games in the league and Munster league but players have been showing great heart. We know we’ve a very good bench and we needed it today. I think we got 1-5 off our bench which was vital.

“Tipperary are a very good team, they’ve an excellent management team and they’ve been going well. We’d have been disappointed with a couple of the opportunities that we had in the first half that would have made a difference, goal opportunities.

“I thought we did very well in defending them from goal opportunities. But typical Tipperary and typical Liam Cahill team, they got two goals in the second half at bad moments for us. But I thought we responded to them very well. I’m delighted with our lads.”

Galway 6-33 Westmeath 0-17

Conor Whelan had scored three goals and a point by the time he was hauled ashore at halftime in Galway’s emphatic Cusack Park win over Westmeath in the Leinster SHC series on Saturday, and manager Henry Shefflin insisted it was purely a precautionary substitution.

Whelan took just a 10-minute spell to grab those three goals so as soon as he showed the effects of a back injury, Shefflin decided not to take any risk with his prolific frontman.

“It was just a bit of a back spasm from just before half time so there was no point in risking it for the second half,” said Shefflin, whose side were 4-16 to 0-7 ahead at the break in a game that offered him plenty of opportunity to throw players in.

He added, “The competition in the squad is fairly strong, and getting some new players out for Championship starts was important for us as well. That obviously has helped. But I will say, look, to be fair Westmeath have had two difficult weekends as well and their they have the resources and the panel and strength in depth of panel we have come week three? No is the answer.

“There is always that probability that was going to happen. But to be fair they got some lovely scores, Niall O’Brien was threatening all through and they played some nice hurling and got some lovely scores near the end and kept battling. But the attitude, work rate, and desire from our lads was pretty good.”

With 13 different scorers on the day, Shefflin was pleased with the performance as well as the win. 

“It’s just about working on making sure we continue to stay sharp and continue to keep improving,” he said.

“Because what we learned from last year’s championship was Kilkenny got better as the championship went on and they won the Leinster championship. So we know we have improvements to make but it is going to be a great opportunity to get 32, 33 lads on the field training and have internal games, that’s important."

Dublin 1-22 Wexford 0-23

Dublin hit six wides and won by two points at Croke Park on Saturday – Wexford hit 19 wides and lost, the statistics telling all you need to know about this Leinster SHC group series clash in front of a disappointing crowd of just under 10,000.

As it happened, two late points from the brilliant Donal Burke sealed the win for the Dubs who had twice blown five-point leads and found themselves on level terms going into injury time.

“Massively disappointed. Nobody to blame other than ourselves, that’s the unfortunate reality of it,” Wexford manager Darragh Egan told RTE Sport. “Fifty-one shots to 31 and we lose the game. The wides killed us.

“They stayed going at it, there’s great spirit in there, it’s just our quality in front of the posts was not good enough. We have some brilliant men in there, some brilliant leaders, brilliant hurlers and ultimately they stayed going. That’s what brought us back into it.

“They could have lain down and lost by six or seven points when Dublin were getting on their run. But we didn’t have the quality to get it back to level pegging, which would have been a good result for us.”
Wexford will probably now need a massive win against Kilkenny in their final fixture to keep their championship hopes alive. 

“The only thing I can take solace from is that we were in a very similar situation in 2022, and we got to a quarter-final and nearly turned Clare over,” added Egan. “We’re hoping that’s the path we take again.”

Dublin manager Micheal Donoghue was delighted with the win. 

“It was a really tough game and that’s exactly what we expected,” he said.

“Wexford are a top side so we knew we had to be really on it to get a result.

“Testament to Wexford, they came back but the lads showed great resilience to push on and get two more scores, which saw us over the line. I thought our subs came and did really well.”

Kilkenny 5-31 Antrim 3-20

Kilkenny showed no mercy as they turned hosts Antrim over in their Leinster SHC Round 3 tie in Corrigan Park on Sunday with Martin Keoghan setting out their stall with a hat-trick of first-half goals.

TJ Reid scored a goal in either half as Kilkenny ensured their top-two position in the table at the expense of an Antrim side with just one point in the bag and still searching for their first win.

Antrim manager Darren Gleeson admitted after the game, “I don’t have any positive spins on that. It was very below par. First-half requirements: track your man, touch tight defending, put yourself on the line. It wasn’t there.

“From one to 15, it wasn’t at the level what you’d expect a team to be at. You should be seriously motivated when you get the opportunity to play a team like Kilkenny in your own house, but we came flat. We’ll take a look at that and how we came in as a management team and try to get it right for two weeks’ time against Galway.”

*This roundup first appeared in the May 10 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.