DUBLIN boss Pat Gilroy admitted his side have real problems after the All-Ireland champions were well beaten by Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday night and had two players sent off in the process.
The re-arranged NFL game saw early baths for Paul Flynn and Dairymaid Connolly in a 12-point defeat for the Dubs, who have now had seven players sent-off this year.
“We really have to sit down and look at that sharply or else we will have a very short year,” said a disappointed Gilroy.
“Very poor discipline from us. They weren’t the only guys, the two lads that got sent off. Our discipline and our general intensity all night wasn’t great.
“Nobody in there could have seen that coming. We were even worse than we were against Down in terms of our application. As a group, we need to look at the reasons why that happened. We clearly have to eliminate it.
“We never got near the pitch of that game. From start to finish there was only one team in it.”
Mayo forward Conor Mortimer set a new scoring record for his county on the night, and teammate Andy Moran wasn’t surprised by the Connacht side’s victory or form.
Moran said, “Since the start of the year, we’ve had one bad performance. That bad performance was in Ballyshannon, when I don’t think we played at all.
“For the last two weeks, we had everyone at training for the first time. We have twelve guys in Dublin, we had six guys on the under-21s.
“We need to time it right, to get these boys back. In the eight sessions, we have had everyone at training, which has made a big difference.
“We couldn’t have had them coming down since January 1. James had to time it right. We have had them down the last two weeks and I think the two performances show what difference that makes.
“We had a lot of advantages. We were on our own patch here in front of a big crowd. I can’t control what people think. All we can control is what’s inside the dressingroom. As James said before the game, we know we are playing well.”
KILKENNY returned to form in some style as they annihilated Galway in Nowlan Park on Sunday to book their place in the NHL semifinals.
A week after their defeat to Cork on Leeside, the All-Ireland champions were back to their brilliant best as they responded to manager Brian Cody’s criticism.
“We wanted a response to the Cork defeat and we got it,” said Cody after Sunday’s win. “We were out-hurled by Cork in most aspects of the game, and we looked for a response from the players, and we got that. In fairness, we got a decent response.
“Now Galway will be very disappointed -- it’s not to Galway form at all. And we’re not suggesting that we were very, very good today. But we were decent and we capitalized on a poor day for Galway. That’s the way it works.
“Galway hurlers have terrific skill and they know themselves this has been a bad day for them, and that will change very, very quickly.
“And sometimes it takes a display like that to get you back going strongly and I’m well aware of their potential strength, certainly in the Leister championship.”
Kilkenny will now meet Clare or Limerick in the league semifinals. “We’re glad to be through to the league semifinals, it’s going to be a great match to be getting again,” said Cody.
Kilkenny star JJ Delaney wants to build on the Galway display and book a National League final spot when they meet Clare or Limerick.
“We won’t be happy if we don’t get to the league final. It’s all about getting ready for the championship. The more hurling you play the more sharpness gets right and the touch gets better,” he told the Irish Sun.
Galway must now regroup for a relegation play-off against Dublin. “We just have to get ourselves right for two weeks today; we have to ensure that everyone’s head is right for a big, big battle with Dublin,” said manager Anthony Cunningham.
Cork, Tipp Draw
CORK manager Jimmy Barry Murphy can’t wait for the Munster Championship after his improving young team again proved their credentials in Sunday’s NHL draw with Tipperary in Thurles.
The Rebels will meet Tipp again in the league semifinals after coming from four points down to grab a draw last weekend.
“I thought it was a very tough game. Not as tight marking as you might get in a Championship game, but there was some marvelous scores on both sides,” said boss Barry Murphy afterwards.
“And I suppose I felt that when we went four points down, we’d do well to come back and get a draw. I was pleased with the players’ response from that point of view.”
Cork’s resilience against Tipp was a bonus for their manager. “That’s what I was most pleased about in the second half,” he said.
“We hung in there and it took a big character to come back, and it’s always hard playing away from home in these National League matches, and the home team has a big advantage always.
“But I must say, I’m delighted with the way they’re playing, and they’re showing great commitment, and great tenacity, and great courage.”
Tipperary manager Declan Ryan was also looking forward to the summer after the drawn game. He said, “It was played at championship pace out there and I suppose some of the guys were feeling the pace near the end.
“We were delighted to see Pa Bourke’s goal going in because we probably hadn’t been getting enough ball in around the danger area all day.
“But I think our guys worked very hard there overall today and we got a fantastic game out of it. It looks good for the championship ahead.”
CLARE boss Davy Fitzgerald wants to put one over neighbors Limerick in Saturday night’s NHL Division 1A final after his team maintained their 100 percent league run with victory over Offaly last weekend.
The Banner won with 14 men after Fergal Lynch was sent-off early on and Fitzgerald was buoyant afterwards.
“It’s a fantastic win. People probably thought we didn’t want to win this game because we were already in the final, but we had plenty of opportunities not to win it and we never threw in the towel,” he said.
“Any time we go out, no matter what team takes the field, we want to win it.”
LIMERICK midfielder John Galvin may have suffered another curiae ligament injury after he limped out of Sunday’s NFL defeat to Fermanagh.
Manager Maurice Horan said, “Last time he did it, we didn’t think it was as serious as it was. This time, it looks like the cruciate ligament, so hopefully we are wrong again and it turns out to be less serious.
“He was in shock after it happened because it took a while to sink in. It’s terrible for John because he was so single-minded in his rehabilitation over the past twelve months. It was very impressive to watch.”
SEMPLE Stadium in Thurles will host the national hurling league semifinals on Sunday, April 22, with Tipperary playing Cork and Kilkenny meeting the winners of this Saturday’s Division 1B final between Clare and Limerick. Dublin will meet Galway in the relegation playoff in Tullamore on Sunday, April 15 . . .
ALL-Ireland winner Sean Boylan has quit his role as director of football with Meath after becoming frustrated with a lack of involvement and a poor response to his role from the county board . . .
OISIN McConville is ready to play on for another year with Crossmaglen after they beat Westmeath’s Garrycastle in the All-Ireland club final replay in Cava last Saturday night . . .
TESTS have confirmed that Kilkenny forward Richie Hogan suffered a collapsed lung in Sunday’s NHL win over Galway and will be out of action for a month . . .
LONGFORD may withdraw their hurling team from the Lory Meagher Cup after failing to field for last Sunday’s NHL clash with Fermanagh . . .
FOOTBALLER Séance Johnston has submitted another transfer request to move from Cava to Kildare . . .
PETER Creedon has been confirmed as the new manager of the Tipperary footballers . . .
AILEEN Lawlor is the new president of the Calorie Association.