Armstrong to the rescue

Tyrone 0-11  Armagh 1-06

The undoubted talents of Sean Armstrong led Tyrone to the senior football final after a two-point victory over an Armagh side that just wouldn’t give up in the semifinal.

Galway star Armstrong scored five hugely important points and would have had a goal in the mix but for a brilliant stop by Alan Hearty in the Armagh nets.

Armagh’s never say die attitude kept them in the game throughout, and they actually held a two point lead at the break courtesy of a James Moynagh goal.

Their depleted panel couldn’t stand the pressure in the second half, however, as Tyrone were able to chip away and then hold the lead when they secured it.

Tyrone opened the scoring after 30 seconds with Niall Farrell finding the range after good work by Armstrong. Brian Murphy cancelled it out immediately, however, and Armagh were very unlucky to be denied a legitimate penalty claim three minutes later.

Moynagh soloed in from the right and was fouled twice, the second time he was pulled to the ground. Nothing was given, however, and Tyrone had a huge sigh of relief. 


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They attacked at the other end,  with Hearty making a brilliant save from Farrell when again Armstrong set him up.

Armstrong followed it with a point that flew over off the body of Hearty when he again made a very good stop on a goal bound shot. The keeper was keeping his side in the contest, and his play was crucial.

Armagh pushed to the front with a goal at the other end when Moynagh drilled home his second chance after a free was won by Ciaran Conlon who released the wing forward.

The next 10 minutes were dominated on the scoreboard by Tyrone. They had three of the four points, with Armstrong grabbing all three.

He was roaming across the full forward line, dangerous each time he was on the ball. The outburst put his side on level terms as the half wound down.

Armagh showed their intense will, however, by firing the last two points of the half.  An excellent 50 by Stephen Sheridan followed by a long range gem from Kevin Rodgers gave Armagh a 1-4 to 0-5 interval lead. 

Tyrone added to their total with three points to open the second half. It pushed them into the lead and they were now controlling the contest. They also had four wides which showed their superiority on the field.

After Farrell added a point for Tyrone on 14 minutes, Armagh finally opened their account for the second half with a Sheridan 50 that was followed by a towering Rodgers score.

They were battling hard but were finding scores close to impossible to come by. Armstrong added a point to the Tyrone total before Darren Doherty fired over the insurance point off his right foot with five minutes left on the clock.

Tyrone is a well-balanced side. Joe Bell, Ryan Canavan and Brendan McGourty led a defense that made life difficult for Armagh throughout and held them to two scores in the final 30 minutes.

Jason Killeen had some good moments in the middle, while Darren Doherty, Niall Farrell and sub Adam Fitzgerald were very active up front.

Sean Armstrong had a pivotal hour and is an ideal target man for the side.

Alan Hearty was outstanding for Armagh. His saves were brilliant while his varied kick outs all had purpose. Brian Rodgers, the excellent Aiden Morton and Eddie Greenan were all inspirational at the back.

Sheridan and Rodgers won the middle; Rodgers went off injured for a period but returned. Ciaran Conlon and James Moynagh were the best of the forwards.

The loss to injuries of Kevin McGeeney and Caolan Short was too much to overcome. It does create the question -- is it fair to ask a team to play what was in essence a
quarterfinal on a Thursday, then the semi on the Sunday? The answer is a resounding NO.
Armagh: 1 Alan Hearty, 2 Stewart Stokes, 3 Collie Fearan, 4 Brian Rodgers, 5 Raymie Kane, 6 Eddie Greenan, 7 Aiden Morton, 8 Steve Sheridan (0-2), 9 Kevin Rodgers (0-2), 10 James Moynagh (1-0), 11 Brian Murphy (0-1), 12 Allen McFerran, 13 Ciaran Conlon (0-1), 14 Shane Lyons, 15 Patsy Martin. Sub: Chris Morton.

Tyrone: 1 Damien Corrigan, 2 Mike Gallagher, 3 Aiden Power, 4 Joe Bell,  5 Ryan Canavan, 6 Brendan McGourty, 7 Seamus Skeffington, 8 Conor McNabb, 9 Jason Killeen (0-1), 10 Darren Doherty (0-1), 11 Mickey Sloan (0-1), 12 Shane Ryan, 13 Donal Hartnett, 14 Sean Armstrong (0-5), 15 Niall Farrell (0-2). Subs: Adam Fitzgerald (0-1), Paul Mulhearne.

Man of the match: Alan Hearty (Armagh).
Referee: Sean Jones.  


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Second half a breeze for Leitrim

Leitrim 0-18  Cork 1-6

The rematch of the 2010 senior football final was close for a half-hour in this semi before Leitrim pulled away easily in the second half for the win.

An eight point margin in that half alone gave them a confident victory, with Monaghan pair Rory Woods and Lonan Maguire both having tremendous outings. 
Leitrim opened quickly with three points in the first six minutes. The best of the bunch was a running score by Dermot Keane when he did a lot of work before driving over the lathe from 20 yards out.

Cork settled down and pulled two points back with scores from Brian Kelleher, a huge drive, and Jason Kelly popping a free over.

The game was being played intensely, but a series of wides by Leitrim hurt their chances.
Dan Doona had a point on 20 minutes, but immediately on the kickout Cork moved the ball up the field. A long ball was misjudged by the defense, with Kelly flicking it forward to Ronan Caffrey. He hit the post with his first effort but connected on the rebound to drive it to the net.

Shane Sweeney and Caffrey again swapped points as the half wound down, but Paudge O’Connor had the equalizer when he linked with Sweeney to leave it all even at 0-6 to 1-3 as the sides headed for the break.

The second half was all Leitrim. They again had the first three points of the half with Woods, Doona and Keane the men on the mark.

After a Kelly free on 10 minutes, Leitrim added a further five points to their total with four coming from play as they used quick and efficient ball out of the defense to always waiting players.

Alan O’Sullivan was having a terrific day while Maguire was outstanding at the rear. 
The game had a brief skirmish to mar it half way through the stanza, with Tom Nolan receiving a red for his part in it. In the scheme of things over the weekend it was harmless, however.

Mark Cronin had Cork’s second point after 22 minutes, but Woods, Ken O’Connor (a fisted effort) and Kieran Tavey closed out the scoring in confident form.

Leitrim will head into the final as favorites and rightfully so. Kevin O’Brien, Lonan Maguire and Paudge O’Connor are small in stature in the full back line, but large in ability and heart. They gave little away over the hour.

Alan O’Sullivan is a class center half. His ability to spray the ball around is top notch. Dermot Keane had two very good points and covers a lot of ground.

Dan Doona fired over six points, with the man on his shoulder Rory Woods having his best shooting day of his Leitrim career. In the second half he stayed closer to goal and he showed his ability when he received the ball. Shane Sweeney had a good first half with Kieran Tavey also very active.

Cork was missing quite a few of their players from earlier in the year. Sean McNamee, Gary Hanley and Liam Hanley fought gallantly at the back. Surprising to see Hanley being taken off. 

Derek Courtney was lost with a broken nose. Rory Stafford and Gary Lowney had some positive moments in the first half; Ronan Caffrey battled throughout but was on a tough opponent in Maguire. 

Leitrim: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Kevin O’Brien, 3 Paudge O’Connor (0-1), 4 Lonan Maguire, 5 Mike Creegan, 6 Alan O’Sullivan (0-1), 7 Ciaran Scanlon, 8 Pat Madden, 9 Dermot Keane (0-2), 10 Dan Doona (0-6), 11 Rory Woods, (0-5), 12 Jeff Farrell, 13 Ciaran Tavey (0-1), 14 Kenny O’Connor (0-1), 15 Shane Sweeney (0-1). Subs: Tom Nolan, Adrian O’Connor. 

Cork: 1 Darren O’Mahoney, 2 Sean McNamee, 3 Gary Hanley, 4 Paddy Harrington, 5 Liam Hanley, 6 Derek Courtney. 7 John Fitzpatrick, 8 Gary Lowney, 9 Rory Stafford, 10 Ian Rowland, 11 Brian Kelleher (0-1), 12 Francie Cleary, 13 Mark Cronin (0-1), 14 Jason Kelly (0-2), 15 Ronan Caffrey (1-1).  Subs: Tadgh Foley, Pat Mahoney, Mike Travers.

Man of the match: Rory Woods (Leitrim).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.



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Ladies thrill in Dublin tie

New York 0-9 Wicklow 0-9

With two minutes left in a riveting contest, New York was holding a slim one point lead in the All-Ireland junior final last Sunday.

With breaths being held on this side of the Atlantic in front of TV and computer screens, and in Croke Park shouting for Phil Sheridan’s side, substitute Laura Hogan salvaged a replay for Wicklow with a late equalizer.

New York had produced a brilliant display, in particular the back line who held up to tremendous pressure with a number of players having brilliant outings.

Emma Clarke was the scorer-in-chief at the other end of the field as she scored 0-8 from frees and play to lead the Big Apple, almost to the promised land.

The sides will need to do it all again, with October 8 a tentative date for the replay. The ideal circumstances would be to have the game in New York, but no word yet on the possibility of that becoming a reality.

New York opened the scoring with an Clarke point in the first minute. What was to be the theme of the day, however, was for the sides to be level, something that happened on no less than seven occasions.

Wicklow replied with a brace of scores, but Clarke did the same to give New York a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after 12 minutes.

New York was already showing their defensive prowess with timely interceptions by Joanne Monaghan, Tracy McCullough and Cathriona Brady. They were giving the forward line early ball, with the kick pass working particularly well.

Three wides from frees and play kept Wicklow in the game, however, and they put three points back to back to again grab the lead. Lucy Mulhall was showing her talents and would go on to have a very productive hour.

As the half came to a close New York regained parity when Courtney Traynor was fouled twice after good runs with Clarke able to fire the ball over from the resulting frees. It left the sides all square at 0-5 at the break.

Hogan and Mulhall kicked early second half points for Wicklow as they regained the initiative but New York, appearing in their first All-Ireland final since 1999, came roaring back with points from Mary O'Rourke and Clarke.

New York were defending doggedly, and corner back Imelda Mullarkey put her body on the line in the 10th minute of the second half , blocking Niamh Carroll's goal-bound effort with her face.

The sides swapped points in the 15th and 17th minutes with Mulhall and Clarke the scorers.

Clarke then converted a 50th minute free after Wicklow wing back Lorna Fusciardi was harshly penalized. The longest 10 minutes continued and Wicklow had numerous chances to get a result.

They had three wides before there was a late twist in the tale as Hogan, who also registered two second half wides, held her nerve to slot over the leveler from 20 meters out with two minutes left.

They did have a final free that could have given them the win, but it was from an awkward angle with a draw also being a very fair result.

New York had numerous stars. Alison Leydon was very assured under a number of dropping balls and always found a defender with her outlet passes. Imelda Mullarkey was brilliant. Not only her block with her face but throughout the hour. Her ball carrying and defensive play was outstanding.

Tracy Ann McCullough did well against a very tough opponent in Mulhall, while Joanne Monaghan (first half) and Cathriona Brady also were prominent.

Molly O’Rourke did a lot of foraging looking for ball, while Courtney Traynor was fouled for a number of scores and was very confident in the big arena.

Maeve DeBurca also had some very good runs while covering a lot of ground.  The side had an eight-point haul from Emma Clarke, who stunned Wexford in the semifinal with seven points. An all-star season for the forward.

For Wicklow, Lucy Mulhall was the star turn at full-forward with five points from play but the Garden County, appearing in a first All-Ireland final since 1990, were left to rue a tally of five second half wides.

New York: Alison Leyden; Louise Lilly, Tracy Ann McCullough, Imelda Mullarkey; Jesse Garcia, Cathriona Brady, Joanne Monaghan; Linda McKeon, Aine O'Dwyer; Molly O'Rourke (0-1), Kelly Roche, Courtney Traynor; Emma Clarke (0-8, 6 frees), Caroline McBrien, Maeve De Búrca. Subs: Mary O'Rourke for Roche (33), Katrina Lynch for McBrien (52), Michelle Brennan for McKeon (55).

Player of the game: Emma Clarke (New York)
Referee: Y. Duffy (Cavan). 



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Dubs go extra mile for win
Dublin 4-9 Kerry 1-11

Dublin graduated to the senior ranks of New York football with a win over a Kerry side that ran out of steam when extra time arrived.

The sides were tied at 1-10 to 2-7 at the end of regulation but the Dubs were strongest down the final stretch. They outscored their opponents 2-2 to 0-1 in the two 10 minute periods of added time, with Peter Hatzer and Declan Reilly the scorers in chief.

That was a common theme over the course of the game as Reilly helped himself to a hat-trick in a real captain’s display while corner forward Hatzer accounted for 1-8 of the total.

The game was of the physical nature throughout, with Jason Kelly and Hatzer accounting for 11 points combined over the course of the game from placed balls.

Kelly opened the scoring from a free in the second minute, then added a point from play six minutes later. The game was held up shortly after for a full blown Donnybrook (excuse the pun) when at least two players should have gone, one from each side, the Dub for striking with the fist, the Kerry man for kicking.

If four had gone no one could have complained either. As it was Andy Gray and Cian O’Connor were given yellows and the game continued. 

Kerry added a goal to their total in the 11th minute when Kelly fired to the net after Anthony Sullivan did most of the spade work. Dublin took the heat and started to claw their way back.

Declan Reilly was fouled for a free that Hatzer fired over, then he had his second when Fergal Powell was fouled. With five minutes left in the half the free taker went out to the 50 yard line to take another dead ball. His long drive was going wide right, but Eoghan Loughnane punched it back into play.

Reilly took it and drove a thunderbolt to the net and the sides were level. When Reilly burst in on goal moments later he was tripped from behind by Eoghan O’Mahoney who was carded, and Hatzer put his side in front 1-3 to 1-2.

Kerry did have a clear-cut goal chance before the break but the final pass to Sullivan as he careened in on goal was behind him and the chance went for naught.

Kerry had the first three points of the second half to go back in front. Niall O’Shea had the best of the bunch when Damien O’Sullivan made a timely interception at the defensive end to start the attack that O’Shea finished expertly.

The corner forward was also guilty of three misses in the opening quarter of the half, however,  and they would come back to haunt.

Dublin had three of the next four points to again tie the game with Hatzer scoring all. The first came from play after a sweet passing move while the other pair was both from frees.

Kelly added a Kerry point on the run but it was cancelled out immediately and then some. Dublin moved the ball down the field quickly for the kickout.

Sub Sean Purcell received it on the right and sent a 40 yard shot high goal wards. It dropped to the left of the square where Mark Connolly fisted it goal wards across to the right.

Declan Reilly dived to fist it to the back of the net for a 2-6 to 1-7 lead. Kelly again narrowed the lead to one before a period of time passed when both sides were guilty of over playing the ball and over zealous tackles.

O’Shea finally had the leveler when he fired over a free when he was fouled on the left side of the posts. Time was ticking down when Dublin capitalized on an opportunity for victory when Purcell was fouled 30 yards out. Free taker supreme Hatzer stepped up to score and leave Kerry in trouble.

The Kingdom escaped, however momentarily, when Kelly was fouled and he found his feet and then the range to push the game into extra-time.

The first period of extra time clinched the victory for Dublin. It began with a penalty which Reilly expertly converted after Purcell was fouled.

The sides swapped points, but then Dublin had goal number four. A long ball into the danger area from Sean McGrath was annexed by Hatzer and he made no mistake.

The second period had an icing on the cake point from Hatzer again, while Kerry couldn’t get anything going in the way of the goal they so badly needed.

Dublin: 1 Alan Reilly, 2 Sean McGrath, 3 Adam Keaney, 4 Colm Larkin, 5 Barry McKiernan, 6 Donal McGlynn, 7 Robbie Carter, 8 Andy Gray, 9 Keith Moran, 10 Declan Reilly (3-0), 11 Niall Coughlin, 12 Eoghan Loughnane, 13 Peter Hatzer (1-8), 14 Mark Connolly, 15 Fergal Powell (0-1).

Kerry: 1 Jer O’Sullivan, 2 Steven Conway, 3 Shane Coffey, 4 Danny Kennelly, 5 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 6 Damien O’Sullivan, 7 David Langan, 8 Anthony O’Sullivan (0-1), 9 Michael Brennan, 10 Mike Lenihan, 11 Cian O’Connor, 12 Darren Courtney, 13 Jason Kelly (1-6), 14 Kyle Corkery, 15 Niall O’Shea (0-3).

Man of the match: Peter Hatzer (Dublin).
Referee: Tommy Fahey.



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