Points Galore for Rebels

Cork 0-17 Cavan 1-9

Cork put back to back victories together over Ulster counties with a senior win over Cavan on Sunday; they defeated Armagh a week ago. The game was closer than the scoreline reflects, with Cavan pushing the side throughout.

The influence of Jason Kelly and full forward Jonathon O’Sullivan was too much to take, however, and the Rebels were able to get the victory.

Cavan had the first score of the game, a free from Barry McGinn, but it was to prove to be one of two times in the game that they were in front.

Cork came back with points from Vinnie Lehane and Kelly, with Kelly already proving to be a thorn in Cavan’s side. Cavan came back to lead for the second time with a free from McGinn again and a Ronan McGinley special, but again they were cancelled out.

A four man move that originated in the hands of John McLoughlin ended with Derek Courtney fisting over, while O’Sullivan had a shot that just scraped the crossbar with help from the Cavan keeper to leave Cork ahead 0-5 to 0-3 with 12 minutes gone.

Cavan had a wonderful chance to move ahead again when Justin O’Halloran and Brian McCarthy linked up to set Kevin Cardin in on goal, but his screamer went wide of the mark. Stephen Harold had a point in the following moments, but Cork replied with five points in a row with the peach in the bunch a tremendous long range effort from wing back John Fitzpatrick.

They were pulling away with the game and Cavan needed something special. It arrived via an unlikely source.

The ball was won in the middle by Harold and it was transferred to the left side via Brendan Reilly. With nothing opening the ball was whipped across the goal to a ghosting Paul Lamb. The New York senior unleashed a brilliant shot to the back of the net to put three between the sides.

Cork did manage two points before the break from Kelly and Lehane, but the contest was close.

The sides again swapped points to open the second half, with McGinn the free taker for Cavan after Harold was fouled and O’Sullivan for Cork.

Kelly then punished two infractions with massive kicks over the lathe.  The first from wide left and 50 yards out, the second straight up the middle and 57. Brilliant.

Cavan did respond with their best scoring burst of the day, a three score swoop with the first an excellent point from Lamb when he was at the end of a rebound when the first Cavan shot hit the upright.

When O’Halloran made it four in a row when he linked with Harold it was a three point game. But Cork, as they had in the first half, reacted confidently. They had two closing points from O’Sullivan and Lehane to wrap up the victory.

Cork will be delighted to keep on their winning ways. John McLoughlin and Rory Stafford are a strong center line and they can swap in and out at ease. John Fitzpatrick was excellent, and his scores were all important.

Jason Kelly was again in brilliant form, a call from Offaly perhaps when they hear the stories. Five of six forwards scored, with Vinnie Lehane and Jonathon O’Sullivan the most productive. They slowed down a little in the second half but they have some big target men.

Cavan were a huge improvement on The Tyrone game of last week. A lot more fire about them. That started with the return of Paul Lamb who was outstanding.
Stephen Harold had some positive moments, while Kevin Cardin also had strong passages although I am sure he would like another crack at his first half shot. When your defenders outscore your attackers there is a problem that needs addressing, and surely it will be in the weeks ahead.

Cork: 1 Darren O’Mahoney, 2 Paddy Harrington, 3 John McLoughlin, 4 Liam Hanley, 5 John Fitzpatrick (0-2), 6 Rory Stafford, 7 Gary Hanley, 8 Gary Lowney, 9 Jason Kelly (0-3), 10 Francie Cleary, 11 Derek Courtney (0-1), 12 Ian Rowland (0-2), 13 Vinnie Lehane (0-3), 14 Jonathon O’Sullivan (0-4), 15 Michael Travers (0-1).

Cavan: 1 Maurice Power, 2 Denis McCarthy, 3 Alan Carolan, 4 Kieran Martin, 5 Ronan Fitzsimons, 6 Ronan McGinley (0-1), 7 Paul Lamb (1-2), 8 Stephen Harold (0-2), 9 Kevin Cardin, 10 Brendan Reilly, 11  Justin O’Halloran (0-1), 12 Barry McGinn (0-3), 13 Brian McCarthy, 14 Joe McKeown, 15 Finbarr Williams. 

Man of the match: Ian Rowland (Cork).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.

Tribe Alive in Bronx

Galway 3-22 Tipperary 4-11

GALWAY rebounded from a first round loss to dominate Tipperary and get the win in this senior hurling contest. They used a tremendous performance by Kevin Reilly who accounted for 1-11 to get the win as they went in at the break ahead by eight and were easily able to stay in front in the second half. 

The sides swapped four points to open the game, but immediately Galway were showing that this was going to be a different side than the on who succumbed weakly to Offaly a week earlier.

Tipperary did have a golden chance to break the game open when they were awarded a 21 yard free on nine minutes. The drive from Enda Loughlin was stopped by Adrian Mullen and the defense cleared.

After a Reilly point for Galway, Tipp had a pair of scores to edge into the lead when Jason Daly and Paul Loughnane went back to back, but Galway had the next five points. Reilly had three with all coming from play and the Tribesmen were rolling.

After a short response from Tipp, another brace of scores, Galway put daylight between the sides. Three points in succession with Reilly again getting two left the side ahead 0-11 to 0-6.

They then followed a Tipperary point with a cracking goal. It came after a defensive mistake with Adrian Purcell soloing in and slotting to the net. They could have had more but Bob McCarthy missed an open goal.

They continued the pressure and had a second goal called back as the ref needed to book a Tipperary defender for an infraction. He could have played advantage and then booked him. It didn’t matter, however, as Reilly drove the ball to the net from the resulting free.

Tipperary did have the last two points of the half, but they were now reeling down by eight 2-11 to 0-9.

Tipperary had the first score of the second half, and it was a big one. A long ball was misjudged by the Galway defense and James Williams punished them with a slotted goal.

Reilly and Purcell had points in reply almost immediately, however, and despite a Tipp score from Loughnane Galway added seven points in succession from four different scorers.

It stretched the lead out to 2-18 to 1-10 as the Tribesmen were dominant across the field. Tipperary had a mini revival when Loughnane again (he was their best player) had their next score, a goal when he pulled down a long Brian Bourke delivery and soloed and shot low to the net, but again Galway were able to put a run of scores together.

Two points from Reilly were followed by an Adrian Purcell goal when he snagged a short Tipp puck out and punished it with a net shaker. Kieran Geary followed with a point to extend the advantage to 3-21 to 2-10.

Tipperary did have three of the last four scores in the last five minutes with a pair of goals in the mix.   Williams had the first in an orthodox manner before David Liddy dropped a long free that evaded all to the net for the second. They were just cosmetic, however, as the game was all Galway’s.
A very good performance for Galway. Adrian Mullins was confident in goal and caught a lot of dropping ball. Dave Lynch, Aaron Farrell and Paul Cahill did well in the rearguard; Geary had some misses but battled throughout while John McLoughlin had two good points.

Roy Henley was a live wire with Kevin Reilly unreal. The two corner forwards both cleaned their markers time and again. 

Tipp had good performances in Paul O’Connor, Enda Loughlin in passages, Paul Loughnane who was tremendous, and James Williams.

Galway: 1 Adrian Mullins, 2 Dave Lynch, 4 Liam Butler, 5 Paul Cahill, 6 Aaron Farrell (0-1), 7 Paul Kelly, 8 Ciaran Geary (0-3), 9 John McLoughlin (0-2), 10 Roy Henley, 11 Bob McCarthy, 12 Kevin Reilly (1-11), 13 Aiden Moylan, 15 Adrian Purcell (2-5). Subs: Conor Slater, John Blade, Alan Shercock, Danny Breen, Conor O’Brian, Tadgh Lyons, Brian Melia.

Tipperary: 1 Kevin Kennedy, 2 Paddy Touhy, 4 Conor Hayes, 5 David Liddy, 6 Brian Bourke, 7 Paul O’Connor, 8 Enda Loughlin, 9 Conor McInerney, 10 John Saddler, 11 Paul Loughnane, 12 Jason Daly, 13 James Williams, 15 Mark Langton. Subs: Kieran Cox, Robbie Quinlan, Tony Spillane.

Man of the match: Kevin Reilly (Galway).
Referee: Paddy Hogan.

Freeman Frees Leitrim

Leitrim 1-10 Kerry 1-6

Leitrim used a strong first half to get the senior football win over Kerry, and they followed it with a determined second half account to maintain an advantage. Add in to their package a very good opening performance at Gaelic Park for Monaghan county player Tommy Freeman who fired over 1-8 from frees and play in an excellent first act.

The winners had the first four points of the game, with Freeman accounting for three while Dan Doona had the fourth. They were also guilty of three wides in the first 12 minutes, but Kerry equaled that and more at the other end.
Five wides from a number of players and angles hurt their chances. They did finally break the ice with a goal from a penalty when Alan O’Donaghue was fouled by Kieran Power.

Power received a yellow for his troubles, and then had to pick the ball from the net. Leitrim recovered, however, and they had two further points with Freeman from play getting the first and full back Paudge O’Connor joining the attack for the second.

Kerry did have a huge Ambrose O’Donovan point from play in reply, but with 20 minutes on the clock Leitrim again added to their total.  A long ball was fired into the full forward line by Alan O’Sullivan where it was annexed by Kenny O’Connor. He was fouled as he headed for goal for a penalty.

Shane Clifford made a valiant effort to stop Freeman’s kick pushing it on to the inside of the post, but it bounced to the net. Kevin Walsh did have the last score of the first half, a point from a free, but it still left his side behind by 1-7 to 1-2.

While Freeman added to his and his side’s totals to open the second half, Kerry then had their best period of the game in front of goal.

O’Donovan, O’Donaghue when he robbed the ball from O’Sullivan and Walsh from a free was on target, but the side was also guilty again of a succession of wides. They had at least four but still found themselves within three points with 10 minutes gone in the second half.

It was to prove to be their last hurrah as Leitrim had four of the last five scores of the game. Freeman and Doona, who may turn out to be this year’s Terrible Twins (that’s a compliment for those who don’t know who Frankie Stockwell and Sean Purcell were with Galway)  had back to back scores.

While Rory Woods had a wide, Adrian O’Connor was denied a goal by a brilliant Clifford save at the expense of a 50. Granted Doona fired it over the lathe, but Clifford is to be commended for his bravery.

O’Donovan did have another long range point when Barry John Walsh set him up, but the final score of the day belonged to the winners when Freeman chipped over a free after a foul on Paudge O’Connor.

The game had at least eight yellow cards and could possibly have had two players sent to the line. It was played on the edge, with the first half far more entertaining than the second. That being said as a ref and a journalist, the penalties were deserved and none of the cards changed the course of the game.

Leitrim will be delighted with some of their new players. Alan O’Sullivan was excellent at number six, while Paudge O’Connor also had some prominent moments not least off his important point.

Kieran Power did nothing wrong in goal in place of the suspended Pa Ryan, who was sent off in a junior hurling encounter helping Shannon Gaels fulfill a fixture. His suspension had him miss an important senior football encounter, his prominent sport.

When other footballers are asked to play hurling, surely they will look at that decision and ask why would they run the risk. The suspension may be warranted, but it should certainly be kept to the division it happened in. In this case, when you see only three senior hurling teams and six senior football, rationality must prevail.

Pat Madden and Mike Fitzgerald had a humdinger of a battle all day, while Ambrose O’Donovan with his three points was the winner on the other side. Rory Woods covered a lot of ground dropping deep, while Doona and Freeman will improve as the year goes along and they gel, but they certainly had a very productive first day.

Kerry’s Shane Clifford had a very good afternoon; nearly stopped the peno and a brilliant save later. Kick outs were also varied and long.  Paul McGill was strong, while Darren Courtney fought all day against Doona. O’Donovan, Kevin Walsh in passages, Alan O’Donaghue and CJ Molloy off the bench all showed.
Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Darren Courtney, 3 Paul McGill, 4 Anthony Glacken, 5 Dermot Lyng, 6 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 7 Jonathon Lynne, 8 Mike Jim Fitzgerald, 9 Ambrose O’Donovan (0-3), 10 Kevin Walsh (1-2), 11 Barry John Walsh, 12 Niall Corbett, 13 Alan O’Donaghue (0-1), 14 Paddy Smith, 15 Ross Donovan. Sub: CJ Molloy, Sean Reilly, Paul Geaney, Alan Lyne.

Leitrim: 1 Kieran Power, 2 Kevin O’Brian, 3 Paudge O’Connor, 4 Lonan Maguire, 5 John Goldrick, 6 Alan O’Sullivan, 7 Kieran Scannell, 8 Pat Madden, 9 Adrian O’Connor, 10 Jeff Farrell, 11 Rory Woods, 12 Colm Cronin, 13 Dan Doona (0-3), 14 Kenny O’Connor, 15 Tommy Freeman (1-7). Subs: Mike Creegan, Dermot Keane, Ryan Sullivan, Pat Daly.

Man of the match: Alan O’Sullivan (Leitrim).
Referee: Eugene Kyne.