More of this week's GAA news from Ireland.
Dubs look sharp in Meath rout
Dublin's complete dominance of Meath continued at Croke Park on Sunday as they thrashed the Royals by 1-27 to 1-14 in a lopsided game that suggested their dominance of Leinster will also continue and could even lead to an All-Ireland push this summer.
Regardless of the 13-point differential on the scoreline, there was never any doubt about the end result in a game that saw two Meath players and one Dubliner sent off late on as the contest fizzled out and got petty.
A 12th straight Delaney Cup is the probable outcome from Dublin’s date with Kildare on Saturday, May 28, but boss Dessie Farrell is doing a good job at keeping expectations limited to provincial pursuits for now after the relegation experience in the League earlier this year.
“We’re pleased with the performance,” Farrell said. “From our point of view, with the National League we had, it’s good to put back-to-back performances together. The consistency throughout the 70-odd minutes, on both occasions, was good.
“We stepped off a little bit in the second half today but overall I’m happy where we are now. It’s not about All-Irelands for us, I can assure you. Our performance through the National League was a very humbling experience for everyone involved and at this stage, it’s about game by game for us.
“Collectively we played more like a team than we had done through the league. That’s good to see, but it’s still early days and we won’t be getting ahead of ourselves. It’s always fairly difficult to assess when there’s a fairly substantial difference on the scoreboard. There’s elements of the performance that we’ll probably drill into while there’s others we can discard.”
Dublin had Mick Fitzsimons sent off in the final minutes when Meath lost goal scorer Jordan Morris and Jack Flynn, Royals boss Andy McEntee accusing Lee Gannon of diving for the Morris dismissal.
“The one in front of me with Jordan Morris was a bit laughable, to tell you the truth,” said an angry McEntee. “If a young Dublin player, when they’re 10 or 12 points up, thinks it’s worth taking a dive when he gets a slap on the chest...it’s something that is creeping into the game and it’s disappointing.
“I didn’t get to see it back but it happened right in front of me. I could hear the slap on his chest. Is that sending off? Maybe it is, I don’t know.”
Asked about the game itself, McEntee stated, “It was gone beyond us before we knew it. We felt we prepared well. When you’ve plans and ideas and they don’t happen, it’s hard to put your finger on it.
“The scoreline is the scoreline so you’ve got to face the facts; that’s another big beating. You’re hoping fellas have the fight in their stomach, and they showed a certain amount of it in the second half. But it’s a little easier...you say, ‘Are Dublin playing at the same pace in the second half when you’re 15 points up?’ It’s hard to know.”
Clare, Limerick go again
The identity of the Munster SHC finalists was confirmed in Ennis on Sunday when Clare’s 0-24 to 1-21 draw with All-Ireland champions Limerick confirmed that they will meet again at Semple Stadium on June 5 with the provincial honors to be decided between these neighbors and fierce rivals.
Such was the quality of Sunday’s game that nobody will want to miss the replay, but for Limerick fans, the more pressing matter is the availability of star forward Gearoid Hegarty who received a second yellow card and a red from referee Colm Lyons late on.
Limerick were livid with the decision and will now appeal it according to manager John Kiely after Diarmaid Byrnes rescued the draw for his side with a late point from a free, his seventh in all.
“We’ve watched it back there on the tape and it’s quite clear that there was no contact. The Clare player basically just grabbed his stomach and jumped straight down on the ground, there was no contact,” said Kiely who confirmed the appeal.
“It’s very disappointing, it was much ado about nothing. It’s a card we’ll expect to be rescinded completely. It is important that decisions are rectified if there is a mistake made. I think it is clear in this instance that there was a mistake made.
“There’s a narrative there at the moment that Gearoid is playing on the edge or doing x, y, or z, and it’s feeding into people’s decision-making. It needs to stop, because it’s going to have a big impact and it’s disappointing to see a player do that. Gearoid is a very experienced player at this stage and he’s well able to cope with that attention and that expectation that might be out there.
“It was a cracking game, there was very little space and both sides really went at it. There was a massive intensity to the game and we will do it all again in a few weeks.”
Asked about a breach of team protocols last week when a Limerick panel member fell the wrong side of the law, Kiely said, “We have moved on from that. They say a week is a long time in politics. It is even longer in sport.”
Clare manager Brian Lohan again reserved special praise for the talismanic Tony Kelly who scored 16 of his team’s tally of 24 points. “We see it every single training session. He’s just a top guy in every area that you look, regardless of what you look at he’s just a top guy and he’s been like that for a long number of years,” said Lohan.
“We had him in UL like and every match that he played he was man of a match or almost every game you know. He’s just a phenomenal guy.”
Cork’s shock win over Deise
Cork threw a cat amongst the pigeons with the 2-22 to 1-19 win over Waterford at Walsh Park that keeps their own Championship hopes for the season alive and leaves the Deise sweating ahead of the final round of games in the Munster SHC next weekend.
The win was no more than the Rebels deserved on a day when Patrick Horgan became the highest scorer in hurling Championship history as he moved onto a grand tally of 22-505 (571 points) in 69 matches after scoring four points in this win to surpass Joe Canning.
Rebels boss Kieran Kingston led the praise for Horgan when he said, “It’s unbelievable. To have done what he has done, for hurling, and not just in Cork. And what he continues to do. And nationally, a player who has only played in two All-Ireland finals throughout his career, but still has that record of scoring – it’s an incredible achievement. An incredible achievement. We all express our congratulations and thanks, for what he has done and what he continues to do.”
For Waterford supremo Liam Cahill it was just a poor day at the office. He commented, “We weren’t good enough, simple as. We hurled like a car on dirty petrol, just chugging along. It is just not acceptable. It is not acceptable to the big Waterford support that came here. It’s terribly, bitterly disappointing.
“Cork bullied us around the field today. That’s something we committed to, in that we wouldn’t allow any team to bully us. From the throw in, we had players that were introduced to proper Munster championship hurling. That’s what it was going to be here. When the questions were really asked around the cut and thrust of championship hurling, we were more or less looking to the officials and out to the line rather than to what was going on between the lines.”
*This roundup first appeared in the May 18 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.
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