New Laois boss Teddy McCarthy won’t read anything into his team’s three point Walsh Cup win (2-14 to 1-14) over an under-strength Dublin in Portlaoise on Sunday.
“We have to put everything into context. Dublin probably had their second team out,” said former Cork star McCarthy afterwards.
“But we can only play what is put up against us, and in fairness to the guys today they picked up where they left off last week. All these games are good for us. We need to be playing the likes of Dublin to see where we stand.”
Dublin boss Anthony Daly offered no excuses for his team’s defeat.
“Fair play to Laois. They wanted it more than we did,” Daly said.
“When we showed the bit of urgency at the end we showed that we could do it, but we weren’t up for it enough and if fellas can’t get themselves up for it there will be somebody else playing -- that’s the thing.
“At the minute we are so short of boys -- we had Gary Maguire and four subs, that’s all we had -- there was no one else available.
“Dotsy O’Callaghan is sick, Paul Ryan was in bed sick all week and we had to bring him along just to have enough -- that’s what you have, but there were positives as well.
“It was fantastic seeing Danny Sutcliffe there at 19 being able to step up and hold his own at that level.”
Dublin star Alan Brogan expects to play in Saturday night’s big NFL opener against Kerry at Croke Park despite a recent knee injury.
“The knee feels grand, and I hope to get back at it in training this week with Dublin,” Brogan told the Irish Independent. “I think I’ll be okay for Kerry, if I’m picked. I haven’t done a huge amount of training. We’ll have to wait and see.
“To be honest, I’m in the same position as this time last year. I think at this stage you have to earn your stripes with Pat Gilroy and have the work done, which is only fair because the lads have been training away in January, so I certainly wouldn’t want to be standing in the way of any of those lads getting their opportunity.
“I think it will probably be something similar this year in that it will be a slow start to the league because I have missed a lot of the training. But aside from anything else it will be a big occasion in Croke Park.
“The night matches are very enjoyable so I think any footballer would want to play in those type of matches. I’d be hoping I might get a few minutes off the bench anyway.”
Tyrone came from six points down to win the McKenna Cup for the first time in four years thanks to Saturday night’s 1-14 to 2-8 win over Derry at the Armagh Athletic Grounds.
Goalkeeper John Devine captained Tyrone on the night and said, “You always love to captain your county. I was very fortunate to captain the club last year, and that was a proud moment.
“To captain my county was great. But I have to be realistic, it could have been any one of us who could have captained the team on this occasion, but I was lucky I suppose.”
Derry midfielder James Conway protested his innocence after he was sent off in the game following an incident involving Colm Cavanagh close to the sideline. Conway will now miss the opening two games in the league campaign.
“I did nothing. I hardly touched him,” said Conway. “I pulled his jersey. I was expecting a yellow card at worst. The linesman on the far side called it.
“I can’t believe it. Hopefully it’ll be overturned and I can play in the league because there was nothing in that.”
Goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran was the star of the show as Cork scored a seven point win (0-13 to 0-6) over Tipperary in the McGrath Cup football final in Clonmel on Sunday.
Tipperary manager Johnny Evans led the praise for O’Halloran.
“Ken O’Halloran made superb saves. He was man of the match from a Cork point of view. It doesn’t mean we’d have won the game if we had got one or two goals,” said Evans.
“It just goes to show that we can create chances. The breaks didn’t go our way. We need to be taking the points -- there were a couple of point chances from frees that you’ve got to be putting over the bar.”
Cork boss Conor Counihan said afterwards, “It’s a competition we decided to enter this year and, having entered it, we wanted to win it.
“We’ve had good ground up to this in our games but that pitch was very tough to play on. We had a number of new players out there again today and it was an opportunity to have a look at them. It was pleasing.”
New Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald marked his first game in charge with a win as the Banner crushed Waterford IT by 29 points in the Walsh Cup clash in his home village of Sixmilebridge.
“It was great to play the first competitive game in Sixmilebridge. Any time you win is good,” said Fitzgerald.
“Waterford IT were very much under-strength because they are playing Fitzgibbon Cup on Thursday which I totally understand but we were given a team to play and we had to play them. But we still have a lot of work to do.
“You’re looking at being very, very competitive, we’re hoping, in two to three years. There are good young lads there, they are very honest and determined. We’d be well down the rankings at the moment.
“That is only being honest. Going on current form for the last two or three years, that is where we are. We have to work our way back up. It is not going to happen overnight.”
The final of the O’Byrne Cup between Kildare and DCU has been refixed for Friday, February 17, in Portlaoise after heavy rain called the original fixture in Newbridge last Sunday to be postponed . . .
PORTADOWN soccer player Shane McCabe has quit the Irish League club to concentrate on Gaelic football with the Fermanagh squad managed by Peter Canavan . . .
SEANIE Johnston is a step closer to a move to Kildare after his request to transfer from his hometown club was lodged with the Cavan County Board . . .
MAYO will travel to play New York in May after winning the FBD Insurance League final against NUIG at McHale Park last Friday night . . .
DUBLIN’S Diarmuid Connolly has escaped censure for a heavy tackle during the recent O’Byrne Cup defeat to Kildare . . .
CLARE officials have confirmed that defender Pat Vaughan will miss the entire NHL campaign through injury . . .
LAOIS won football’s O’Byrne Cup Shield final with a nine point win over Wexford on Sunday . . .
DOWN’S Paul McComiskey is to miss the first half of the league with a back injury . . .
ALLIANZ are to continue as sponsor of the National League until 2015.