Galway became the latest side to rub Kilkenny’s nose in it with an NHL 2-21 to 1-23 win over the All-Ireland champions at Nowlan Park last Sunday.
And manager John McIntyre admitted the win was a major boost for his side after last season’s championship defeat to the Cats and their recent league slump against Tipperary.
McIntyre said afterwards, “Psychologically, to beat Kilkenny is a turning point and to do it in the manner we did is a second turning point.
“Ten minutes into the second half there was a real feeling of déjà vu in the context of what happened to us against Tipperary.
“If it happened to us again today, you’d really be worried about the future and I’m thrilled for the players. They had to show a bit of character and they learned from the Thurles experience which was a bad one for the team management and players alike.”
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody was philosophical after his team’s third defeat of the current NHL and said, “It’s not the end of the world.
“It’s one extra game if we go to the league final, that’s it. We gave ourselves a chance to win all the matches, they were all close and tight. We’re short at the moment and it’s going to take a huge effort to get where we want to go to.”
Galway football team wins
Galway sprung a Parnell Park surprise on Dublin in Saturday night’s NFL clash with a 1-14 to 0-14 win, and manager Joe Kernan was adamant afterwards that his team’s work-rate made all the difference.
“I know it has been a long time since Galway have won in Parnell Park but the game has changed over the last 10 years, it is about effort and work-rate and everyone is tuned into that now,” said Kernan.
“If you don’t work hard and you don’t compete, then you won’t last. We have always known that there are good footballers in Galway, but maybe they didn’t work hard enough as a team.”
Dublin boss Pat Gilroy was again left to rue his team’s poor form in front of goal.
He said, “We had them opened up on a number of occasions at the back but never finished those chances and it comes back to haunt you.
“In the first 20 minutes, we had great chances, we missed those chances and they got a serious, serious dominance, when we started doing stupid things with the ball and we fell back on ourselves again -- something we didn’t do in the first 20 minutes.”
Offaly secured their Division One status in the NHL for another season thanks to Sunday’s narrow 2-17 to 3-13 win over a battling young Limerick side in Tullamore.
Boss Joe Dooley said afterwards, “We’re delighted to get the win. It was a battle all the way. The pressure was on us. We had to win it.
“We were the favorites and in fairness to Limerick, they threw everything at us. It went right down to the wire.”
Limerick may have their problems off the field after coach Justin McCarthy survived another vote of no confidence last week, but Dooley was impressed by their youngsters.
He added, “They have a lot of young lads and they are determined. They worked hard for one another and for the jersey.
“We started two years ago with a heap of young fellas and they are maturing now and Limerick are doing the same and they are on the right road.”
TIPPERARY were relegated from Division Two of the NFL when they lost narrowly to Armagh (1-15 to 2-8) despite a strong second half rally in Crossmaglen.
“It would have been an embarrassment had we lost,” said Armagh boss Paddy O’Rourke. “We had the game won, all of a sudden they were back level and we had to go and win it again.
“For the development of the team, it was probably better that a few questions were asked. They are not questions we want asked of them, but it is the response that pleased me.
“It looked as if we were going to throw away the game, but the players responded very well and scored the last four points, which were crucial.”
Tipp mentor John Cummins said, “We seemed to freeze in the first half. It’s hard to know whether it was the occasion or coming to Crossmaglen.
“We know we are better than that and in the second half we played for pride in the jersey. We got back level and had the chances to win the game.”
Clare Tipp Draw
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald was more than happy to get away from Thurles with a draw against Tipperary in the NHL.
“No matter when we’ve gone down or up, we’ve kept working hard,” said Fitzgerald. “And we showed a nice bit of character there at the end.
“We took and gave hits today -- we still have improving to do, and I doubt Tipperary would be afraid of us, but we’ll keep working hard.”
Dan Shanahan marked his return to the Waterford colors with a man of the match display and Fitzgerald added, “I’m delighted. He’s worked very hard and a lot of people wrote him off.
“People can knock who they like but we go on what we see in training. Dan played well today and that will do him a power of good.”
Tipp boss Liam Sheedy was disappointed with the result and said, “We were hanging on a bit at the finish, a tired team finishing up.”
CORK got the better of Dublin in their NHL clash at Parnell Park (0-17 to 1-11), but only after the home side paid a heavy price for their tally of 17 wides.
“Yeah in that first-half we had some crazy wides,” said Daly.
“To be going in down at half-time, it was hard to pick it up after that but they did in fairness to them.
“They kept believing right to the end and who knows, if we could have caught the puckout form Gary Maguire straight after the goal, get a free or something, we’d all go home happy with a draw, probably safe.”
Cork could make the NHL final but manager Denis Walsh is taking nothing for granted. He said, “I’m not too sure about that but it was a positive result that certainly puts us in the right direction.”
MAYO remain on course for the NFL Division One final after a Castlebar win over Monaghan (2-12 to 0-15) that did little for manager John O’Mahony’s nerves.
“We only had 25% of possession, but it was the goals which really turned the game in our favor and gives us a chance now to qualify for the final,” said McIntyre.
“I’d have to give our lads a lot of credit for the way they dug themselves out of that situation. I would say we dominated that game for 20 minutes, but still managed to win it.”
Mayo defender Keith Higgins is a doubt for the final league game against Cork after picking up a leg injury in the Monaghan game.
TYRONE boss Mickey Harte has slammed the GAA’s decision to change the rules in regard to NFL relegation as his team struggle to avoid the drop.
Harte’s team would be relegated on head to head results if they finish level on points with Monaghan at the bottom of the table.
But if Tyrone, Monaghan and Derry all finish on the same points then scoring difference will be used to determine who goes down.
“That must be a new rule then,” said a shocked Harte after his team’s late, late win over Kerry on Saturday night.
“So they tell us when the season is over? That’s unreal, that we are playing games of that nature and that our season depends on something that nobody has actually told us about.”
Cork scored a one point win away to Derry in the NFL on Saturday night, and manager Conor Counihan was none too pleased despite a result that leaves his team on track for the Division One final.
Counihan said, “I don’t think too many fellas came out happy with their performance tonight. In some ways, that’s a positive because people know they have to work that bit harder.
“It would be a big bonus to get to a final, we went through 31 players which is a positive. But I’d be disappointed with our consistency, though that’s maybe down to chopping and changing.
“We’ve a planet of work to do and we’re under no illusions about that.”
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No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore