Fair Draw for Westmeath, Celtic

Westmeath 1-12  Celtics 2-9

In a game of two distinct halves, Westmeath dominated the first and Celtics the second with this junior football game ending up a draw at the end of an entertaining encounter.

Westmeath used a brilliant display by Vinnie Gavin, while their opponents were more balanced with a goal in each half getting them a result.

The game opened with a Westmeath point from Sean Fagan when he was set up by Gavin, who had a huge say in the proceedings over the hour.

Dean Barrett had a glorious goal chance five minutes in when he soloed in on goal, but his bullet crashed off the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
The Celtics had the next two scores of the game from Dan O’Connor and Kenny Cox, but Gavin started the resurgence for his side by dominating kick outs in both directions. He was feeding it off to inside forwards and was also finding the posts himself. He slotted over two of the next three scores in reply to a Ciaran Sloan Celtics score.

Westmeath then ran off the next four points, with the best of the bunch a Gavin score. He won his own kickout, soloed, laid the ball and on return drove over the lathe. Excellent.
Westmeath were dominant across the park, with Pearse Loftus and Ray Keenan very prominent in the back.

Celtics, however, were given a lifeline on 26 minutes when trailing by 0-8 to 0-3 they conjured a goal. The ball was worked into the corner where Cox picked it up. He headed across the endline and made space before firing a low shot goal wards.  Keenan stopped it on the line, but Richie Morgan drove the rebound to the net.

Westmeath did react in the best way with a point before the half time whistle.

Celtics dominated the scoreboard in the first 15 minutes of the second half. They had three points to Westmeath’s one, with Gary Nugent firing over a huge kick while Cathal Loughnane had a nice score from the right wing.

Barrett had the reply for Westmeath, but he was also guilty of a miss when he could possibly have had a goal from 14 yards out.

Dave Donnican off the bench for Westmeath had a score to increase the lead to 0-11 to 1-6. Then Celtics again used the net to change the scoreline.
The ball was worked by Ger McCullough and Morgan to Dan O’Connell. The big midfielder still had work to do, but he soloed for the square and crashed a brilliant shot to the back of the net.

Danny O’Sullivan made it a two-point lead with a point, but the introduction of Darren Petit off the bench was to prove an invaluable ploy for Westmeath. A five-player move in the 23rd minute ended with Petit finding the net.  He followed it with a fisted point of a long pass from Barrett to give his side the lead for the last time.

Celtics were able to pull back, however, with Nugent scoring twice, the first from a free, the second a good score from play to salvage a draw.
For Westmeath, Leon Carbury could do little with the goals and played well. Kieran Sheridan, Ray Keenan, the excellent Vinnie Gavin, Dean Barrett, who if he had his shooting boots on could have won the game, Sean Fagan and sub Darren Petit all had valuable contributions.

Celtics had stars in Sean Coyle, Dan O’Connell, Gary Nugent and Danny O’Sullivan off the bench. 

Westmeath: 1 Leon Carbury, 2 Mike Dowdell, 3 Kieran Sheridan, 4 Kevin Dunne, 5 Peter Loftus, 6 Ray Keenan, 7 Alan Dunne, 8 Vinnie Gavin (0-4), 9 Killian Moran (0-1), 10 James Stones, 11 Dean Barrett (0-2), 12 Mike Hayes, 13 Andy Carroll, 14 Mark Downes, 15 Sean Fagan (0-3). Subs: Darren Petit (1-1), Dan Donigan (0-1).

Celtics: 1 Kevin McArdle, 2 Sean Coyle, 3 Rory Creegan, 4 Mike Burke, 5 Joe Bishop, 6 Ger McCullough, 7 Dean McDermott, 8 Derek McKenna, 9 Dan O’Connell (1-1), 10 Richie Morgan (1-1), 11 Ciaran Sloan (0-1), 12 Gary Nugent (0-3). 13 John McArdle, 14 Cathal Loughnane (0-1), 15 Kenny Cox (0-1). Subs: Danny O’Sullivan (0-1).

Man of the match: Vinnie Gavin (Westmeath).
Referee: Dave Ryan.

McNaughton Leads Offaly Home

Offaly 2-20  Tipperary 1-11

Offaly used a brilliant opening 15 minutes when they outscored Tipperary 0-7 to 0-1 as the building block which helped them catapult to this senior hurling victory.

Midway through the second half they went to work again by outscoring their opponents 2-7 to 0-5 in the last 15. Shane McNaughton was clinical from frees while Shane Sweeney took his two goals very well.

McNaughton opened the game with two points before Shane Dooley replied with a point from play. It was all Offaly for the next 10 minutes, however, as Brendan McGourty and Dermot Lyng won the Tipp puck outs and drove the ball back into their forwards. The forwards were taking their points with five in a row.

Ray Murray also had to make a good stop on Derek Molloy to keep the sheet clean at least for the moment. A defensive mistake did allow Dooley a goal chance and he didn’t have to be asked twice.

Offaly reacted by scoring four of the last six points. Pat Hartley, McNaughton with two and Molloy were the scorers. Niall Garry and Dooley had the scores at the other end, but Garry will be fuming as he should have had a goal after the Offaly keeper made a mistake. It left Offaly leading 0-10 to 1-3 at the break.

Three points in the first five minutes of the second half extended the advantage, but they also had four wides, such was their dominance.
Tipperary cancelled that three out with scores from Paul Loughnane, Tom Kavanagh and Enda Loughlin. Loughnane was battling hard in the full forward line and he was one of the few who were winning his fight now that he was switched off McGourty.

Offaly came again as the last quarter arrived with three points, including a free after Paddy Touhy received his second yellow card. The man advantage worked hugely in the winners’ favor.

Loughlin did have a long range point, but three further Offaly points preceded a two goal burst from Sweeney. The first came after a rebound of a Kelly shot came his way, the second when Kelly found him with a long range pass.

Tipperary did have the last three points of the game but it was all just statistical at that stage. 

Offaly were outstanding. The half back line of Lyng, McGourty and Hehir did untold damage in both directions. Eoin Drumgoole and Shane Kelly won the middle, while Donie Broderick, Pat Hartley and the full forward line of Sweeney and McNaughton were outstanding.

For Tipperary, Ray Murray was excellent.  His puck outs were fantastic drives. Brian Bourke, Conor Hayes, Enda Loughlin and Shane Dooley were most prominent.

Tipperary: 1 Ray Murray, 2 Paddy Touhy, 4 Conor Hayes, 5 David Liddy, 6 Brian Bourke, 7 Enda McInerney, 8 Enda Loughlin (0-2), 9 Colin Parker, 10 Tom Kavanagh (0-1), 11 Paul Loughnane (0-2), 12 Niall Garry (0-1), 13 James Williams (0-1), 15 Shane Dooley (1-4). Subs: John Madden, JJ Butler, Paul O’Connor.

Offaly: 1 Brian McNaughton, 2 Sean O’Sullivan, 4 Matt Cashman, 5 Dermot Lyng, 6 Brendan McGourty, 7 Dermot Hehir, 8 Shane Kelly (0-2), 9 Eoin Drumgoole (0-2), 10 Donie Broderick (0-3), 11 Derek Molloy (0-1), 12 Pat Hartley (0-4), 13 Shane Sweeney (2-1), 15 Shane McNaughton (0-7). Subs: Richie Hartnett, Enda Condron, Ciaran O’Keefe.

Man of the match: Shane McNaughton (Offaly).
Referee: Eugene Kyne.

Orchard in Blossom

Armagh 2-16  Kerry 1-8

From the opening of this senior football game when Kyle Carragher hit a brace of points Armagh never looked back as they used a dominating midfield performance by Steve Sheridan and James Donnelly and brilliant finishing by Ciaran Conlon to easily secure the win.

Kerry go back to the drawing board, and with the talent on some of the other senior sides they will find it hard to get one of the four semifinal slots based on this display.

Armagh had a tremendous start to the contest as they slotted over six of the first seven points. The two headed monster in the forward line was Carragher and Conlon in the full forward line. They chipped over frees for indiscretions and were showing constantly up front.

Kerry was having huge problems getting the ball out of the back, and this was giving Armagh second and third chances.

After Barry John Walsh had a point for Kerry in the 15th minute Armagh put three further points on the board, with the scores by Steve Sheridan and Kevin Rodgers brilliant efforts.

Walsh had the third and fourth scores for Kerry, the last of which arrived after pressure on the defense stole the ball. It narrowed the gap to four, 0-8 to 0-4.

Armagh finished strongest as they had a point from Donnelly from long range, then a four man move involving Kevin Rodgers and Alan McAvery ended with Conlon flicking the ball to the net to give the side an eight point half.

Armagh added to their advantage with two points to open the second half from McAvery and Kevin McGeeney. The second was the result of an errant Kerry pass; that brought the total of those to at least 14 on the day.
Kerry did have the next three points of the game, with Walsh scoring the first two from frees while CJ Molloy had the third off an early ball into the square.

That tactic was working as Molloy was creating problems.  They just needed to use it as often as possible.

Armagh was able to again answer the scoring spurge in the best way. On 20 minutes they moved the ball up the field again after an interception. McAvery soloed for goal and when he hit a roadblock, Conlon interjected and deposited the ball in the back of the net.

Kerry was able to cancel that score out when Alan O’Donaghue was pulled down for a penalty and Kevin Walsh slotted the ball to the net. However, Armagh finished out the scoring with a further three points to end up comfortable winners.

Armagh had stars across the field. Brian Rodgers was excellent, and Caolan Short is a tremendous ball carrier.

The midfield pairing of Donnelly and Sheridan won the sector, and the half forward line of McGeeney, Rodgers and McAvery who was a livewire was the foundation for the victory. Ciaran Conlon and Kyle Carragher were the ice cream on top.

Kerry had little ideas to try and battle back. The long ball worked for a period, but too often they kicked or hand passed the ball to the opposition.

Shane Clifford, Kevin Walsh and CJ Molloy were the few who kept battling. Dermot Lyng could not be criticized; he went straight from hurling to football.

Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Darren Courtney, 3 Anthony Glacken, 4 Niall Corbett, 5 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 6 Kieran Quirke, 7 Jonathon Lynne, 8 Mike Jim Fitzgerald, 9 Ambrose O’Donavan, 10 Kevin Walsh (1-1), 11 Dermot Lyng, 12 Ross Donavan, 13 Alan O’Donaghue, 14 CJ Molloy (0-1), 15 Barry John Walsh (0-6).

Armagh: 1 Alan Hearty, 2 Stewart Stokes, 3 Patsy Martin, 4 Brian Rodgers, 5 Caolan Short (0-1), 6 Eddie Greenan, 7 Karl McAvery, 8 James Donnelly (0-1), 9 Steve Sheridan (0-2), 10 Kevin McGeeney (0-1), 11 Kevin Rodgers (0-2), 12 Alan McAvery (0-2), 13 Ciaran Conlon (2-4), 14 Brian Murphy, 15 Kyle Carragher (0-3). Subs Collie Fearan.

Man of the match: Ciaran Conlon (Armagh).
Referee: Paddy Gormley.

Astoria Wins Battle of Gaels

Astoria Gaels 3-10 
Brooklyn/Long Island 1-11

Astoria Gaels used an excellent second half when they outscored their opponents 2-6 to 1-6 and extended a halftime lead to get the win in this intermediate football encounter.

With Pakie Downey, the former Down player, in top form, he set up two goals and scored a couple of points, and Astoria was able to stay ahead of a game B/LI side.

B/LI had the first score of the game, a point from the boot of Sean Murtagh. They also had a clear-cut goal chance, but Declan McAleer shot wide from 14 yards out.

Astoria had the next two scores but they was somewhat against the run of play.  Downey had a point from a distance, a gem which was followed by a Shane Sweeney goal.  Sam Yore did the spade work but the finish was clinical.

It was all B/LI in the next 10 minutes. They had four points from four different players and were moving the ball extremely well across the field. But for a good defensive stop by James O’Brien, it could have been more.
Astoria did settle down as the half came to a close, and they were able to regain the lead with a trifecta of points.  Sweeney had the first, a screamer that he certainly would have enjoyed if it stayed low.

As it was Astoria had a 1-4 to 0-5 interval advantage.

Astoria added to their total with a quick two point burst in the opening minutes of the second half. Brooklyn had a point in reply before Pa Ryan had a good save on Paudie Poland.

Astoria took the reprieve and moved the ball to the other end of the field where they rattled the net when Downey set up Seamus Kelly.
The sides split four points as the game entered the last quarter when Poland made it very interesting. He was picked out by Ryan Jones with a long pass after Sean Murtagh did good work; Poland blasted the ball to the roof of the net.

Darren Moore added a point from play and the scoreline was now Astoria 2-8 Brooklyn 1-9.

The winners reacted in the best way possible. They moved the ball up the field with Kelly and Downey involved before Liam Farrell found the net.
Robbie Mora had two points from frees when Downey was fouled, and the side was able to withstand two points at the pother end to cruise to the victory. 

For Astoria, Pa Ryan made some very vital stops and is in excellent form at the moment. Joe Skully, Sean McQueeney and Sean Kelly all had good moments in the back.

Robbie Moran had a very good second half, with Brian Gerathey gathering a lot of ball after his early introduction. Shane Sweeney, Sean Munnelly, who played as an extra defender, and the brilliant Downey were others to perform. 

B/LI will look at the displays of Tom Boyle, John McGrory, Sean Murtagh and Darren Moore as their best.

Astoria Gaels: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Des White, 3 Fergal Murphy, 4 Joe Scully, 5 Sean McQueeney, 6 Sean Kelly, 7 James O’Brien, 8 Robbie Moran (0-5), 9 Sam Yore, 10 Derek McKenna (0-1), 11 Shane Sweeney (1-1), 12 Sean Munnelly, 13 Nester Allen, 14 Pakie Downey (0-2), 15 Mark Dobbins. Subs: Liam Farrell (1-0), Seamus Kelly (1-1), Brian Geraghty.

Brooklyn/Long Island: 1 Gavin Dwyer, 2 Tom Boyle, 3 Paudie O’Rourke, 4 Donal McKeown, 5 Bobby McGee, 6 John McGrory, 7 Caoimhin O’Callaghan (0-1), 8 Eamonn Toner, 9 Ryan Jones (0-2), 10 James Connolly, 11 Sean Murtagh (0-3), 12 Declan McAleer, 13 Paudie Poland (1-1), 14 Gary Moore, 15 Darren Moore (0-4).

Man of the match: Pakie Downey (Astoria Gaels).
Referee: Tommy Fahey.

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