Defense Secures Ballymun Win

Ballymun Kickhams will meet St. Brigid’s of Roscommon in the All-Ireland club final after sterling defensive work saw off the fancied Kerry champions Dr. Crokes and the legendary Colm Cooper in Saturday’s All-Ireland club semifinal.

The Tralee side managed just nine points as Ballymun won on a 1-10 to 0-9 scoreline in Thurles.

Defender Alan Hubbard told RTE afterwards, “We were solid at the back and it was great, it’s the driving force of the team and thankfully the forwards chipped in with a couple of points to help.

“We did have a few nervous moments. They had a penalty and all. We knew we were going to get a very tough game, they are a serious outfit and they have a lot of experience throughout their team but thankfully we were able to stem the tide and we came through on the right side.”

Ballymun keeper Sean Currie saved a Chris Brady penalty in the second-half as Crokes attempted a comeback.

Hubbard added, “I’m going to go in and give him a good slap now.

“Thank God it was a great save because that could have put us under real pressure, it would have put two in between it and God knows what could have happened, but thankfully he saved it and it helped us drive on to the win.”

St. Thomas Beats Champs

Bernard Burke was the runaway winner of the man of the match award as Galway side St. Thomas’s dethroned the reigning champions Loughgiel Shamrocks from Antrim in the All-Ireland club hurling semifinal replay on Saturday.

Burke said afterwards, “We’re all absolutely thrilled. As a panel, as a club representing Galway, we’re all absolutely delighted to come up here to Clones today and dig out another performance.

“We were going in a bit cold into the first game. It’s a new country for us, we haven’t been there before and a lot of younger guys wouldn’t have been used to that kind of scenario.

“Parnell Park is a kind of enclosed pitch and they weren’t used to the noise levels and things like that.

“Cuteness was brought into today and we didn’t panic on the ball. We took our time, picked out our passes and took out scores at the right times.”

Gov’t Funds for GPA

The government has confirmed a €1.8 million deal with the Gaelic Players Association to provide funding for inter-county hurlers and footballers for the next two years.

All inter county players in hurling and football will get a minimum payment of €400 each for the next two seasons, with the All-Ireland finalists getting a maximum payment of €600 euro each.

GPA official Sean Potts said, “We are happy with this. What we have been trying to do is to protect the principle of the scheme and the reduction is in line with the reductions in other sectors. What we are particularly pleased with is that it has been rubberstamped for the next two years, which helps to stop the annual questions arising.

“Two more years will bring the scheme to seven years in existence. If things improve we can look forward to a day when we can be talking about a more significant number.”