GAA news from Ireland this week.
Mayo hopes rise after Kerry win
Mayo were so dominant in their NFL Division One win over Kerry at MacHale Park on Saturday night that Kingdom boss Jack O’Connor could have no complaints about the 2-14 to 1-10 win for the home side that will doubtless dangerously raise expectations west of the Shannon.
Not even the return to action of the country’s best player David Clifford as a sub could put a gloss on a performance that saw an otherwise weakened Kerry 10 points down at the break and seven points in arrears at the final whistle.
Afterward O’Connor admitted, “That was a chastening enough experience. We were well off it. Particularly in the first half, we were a good bit off it. I know, I’ve said this consistently, we were late back training which was understandable after the All-Ireland.
“Mayo seemed to have the legs on us there in the first half. We couldn’t get to grips with their running game. We showed a bit of heart in the second half, but the game was won at that stage.”
Well aware how easily Mayo fans can take too much stock from early season performances, the team’s new boss Kevin McStay was also keen to play down the significance of the win.
“How we played was good and bad, there was plenty of good things to look back on but we made plenty of errors,” said McStay on a day when the veteran Aidan O’Shea excelled. “Overall, I’m pleased with the two points, because we are two points closer to safe and that is very important to us, that we hold our Division One status and it is very important that we get there as quick as we can.”
Like Kerry, Donegal have now lost two of their three opening games in the League and are rooted to the bottom of the table after a Monaghan win in Clones by 1-20 to 0-15 that brought more bad news after the game when manager Paddy Carr confirmed that his captain Paddy McBrearty will miss the rest of the NFL campaign as he needs surgery on a torn hamstring.
“The injury is serious enough and will necessitate surgery,” Carr told BBC Sport NI. “He is going to be out now for the foreseeable future. We’re looking at a Championship return. His season has not ended, and we have got the best medical advice there now.
“It’s a blow. Paddy is a leader. What can you do? Lots of other teams have marquee players out too.”
Galway also recorded their first win of the new season on Sunday, beating Tyrone by 0-16 to 0-13 in Tuam.
“Before today, we had drawn a game away to Mayo, and lost a game at home by a point to Roscommon so, it wasn’t dire straits for us,” manager Padraic Joyce told RTÉ Radio 1.
“We kept our composure. The big thing for us today was to get a performance out of the lads. We definitely did that in the second half. The first half was probably a bit patchy for us.”
Roscommon remain the team to beat in Division One after their 1-12 to 0-12 win over Armagh at Hyde Park retained their 100 percent record, and while it sees them remain top of the table, manager Davy Burke was more interested in the fact that they will probably now stay in the top flight for next season.
“It’s a brilliant position to be in, a top-class position to be in,” said Burke afterward. “We can probably look forward a bit more now.”
Dublin narrowly beats Cork
Cork came agonizingly close to clipping Dublin’s wings as they lost by just two points to the Blues in their NFL Division Two clash at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday, Dessie Farrell heading for home content with a 0-18 to 2-10 win.
The Dubs were almost caught in a frantic final five minutes of added time, a time accrued by the dismissal of Cork midfielder Ian Maguire and Dublin defender Lee Gannon, both after they accrued two yellow cards.
And the readiness of Laois referee Seamus Mulhare to show 10 yellow cards and those two reds was more annoying for Cork boss John Cleary than the final score judging by his comments to the media afterward when if he didn’t blame Mulhare for the result.
“Soft is being kind to it. Both of them were fierce harsh altogether. I don’t know was there a new rule in today or whatever, they didn’t seem to me like any sendings off, both of them,” said Cleary in response to a comment from Dublin counterpart Farrell that both dismissals had appeared “soft.”
“When the Championship starts, it will be blood and thunder. Every game at the start of the League, there is soft cards and soft sending offs, and that was it today. But as I said, some of the decisions were a bit bizarre on both sides. I wouldn’t be blaming the referee for the defeat today.”
Dublin boss Dessie Farrell agreed with the Cleary prognosis and remarked, “I thought the two sending offs were a little bit soft but they balanced each other out in terms of one from each side, from our own perspective with Cork having got a red card you’re always on guard then.”
On the game itself, Cleary added, “The lads are very disappointed inside there. We came back, I thought we deserved to get something out of it. Maybe Dublin’s bit of experience in the end, they got their scores maybe a slight bit easier at the end of the game.
“But look, I’d be intensely proud of the lads there. The game could’ve went away from us after halftime and we were down to 14 men.”
Farrell added, “It’s a very competitive division. There’s Cork with two defeats now and Cork are a very decent side.”
Elsewhere in Division Two, Meath boss Colm O’Rourke saw his side outplayed in the 2-15 to 1-7 defeat to a rampant Derry outfit in windswept Owenbeg on Saturday night, and he had no argument with the emphatic scoreline after their first defeat of the new League season.
O’Rourke told RTE, “The group are very disappointed with the display. We’re trying to build a team and it’s going to be a rocky road. It’d be much easier to be commenting on the game tonight than to be actively participating in it!
“We know where we are, we got a reality check. We won our first two games, we knew it wasn’t all going to be smooth. So, we have to go away and re-evaluate it.”
Kildare produced a determined comeback to edge Clare by 0-16 to 0-15 in Ennis for their first victory of the season, something manager Glenn Ryan felt they deserved based on character alone after chasing a six point deficit at one point and losing Ben McCormack to a second yellow card in the 50th minute.
The Lilywhites rallied, however, scored eight of the last nine points in Cusack Park and had substitute Neil Flynn to thank for the match winning point from a 75th minute free.
Mickey Harte’s Louth marked down their first win and left Limerick with three defeats from three games as the home side prevailed by 1-15 to 1-13 in Ardee on Sunday.
Burns wins GAA Presidency
Former Armagh captain Jarlath Burns won the election at Congress on Saturday to take over as president of the GAA from New York’s Larry McCarthy next year, easily beating Pat Teehan of Offaly and GAA world chair Niall Erskine in the vote.
“It’s an enormous privilege but it carries with it an immense responsibility,” Burns told RTÉ Sport after his election win. “Particularly if you’re from the six counties. I will exercise that as responsibly as I possibly can in everything I say and everything I do.
“We have six very important values in our association. Community, amateur status, respect, player welfare, inclusion, and keeping all our volunteers. It will be my job to defend those values. I will do so to the best of my ability.”
Jarlath Burns was elected as Uachtarán Tofa of the GAA at Annual Congress on the first count this evening and afterwards outlined what his vision will be for the Association during his three-year term. #GAABelong #GAACongress— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 17, 2023
Cavan are the only side with a 100 percent record in Division Three of the National Football League after a 1-19 to 0-11 victory over winless Longford at Breffni Park while Westmeath are second in the table after their 2-12 to 0-12 win against neighbors Offaly at Cusack Park.
Fermanagh beat Down by the minimum, 2-14 to 3-10, while Antrim left Tipperary in relegation bother with their 1-19 to 0-14 victory at Semple Stadium.
In Division Four, Laois remain on target for promotion after a 1-17 to 2-8 win in Carlow, Sligo beat Waterford by 0-21 to 0-12 and Wexford scored a 0-19 to 0-15 win against Leitrim. Wicklow beat London by 1-16 to 1-9 in Aughrim.
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Tipperary forward John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer is to retire from inter-county hurling with immediate effect after a career that saw him win two All-Ireland and two Munster titles.
“I would like to thank all the management teams from Minor level up to Senior who helped me over the last 15 years,” said O’Dwyer on social media.
“It was a great pleasure to represent my county and win some silverware along the way. Thanks to those close to me and to my club Killenaule, who without their support it wouldn’t have been possible.”
*This roundup first appeared in the February 22 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.