Leitrim 1-12 Down 1-10

LEITRIM took home the special league title on Saturday evening with a display that showed tremendous desire and heart. Reminiscent of the semifinal they survived, the last 15 minutes with 14 men on the field after a straight red saw Ken O’Connor take an early bath.

Down were coming on strong and had scored the last five points of the game, but they ran out of time against the victorious Leitrim side.

Leitrim again had a brilliant start to the contest, (they also did against Cork in the semi). They put 1-4 on the board by the 14th minute. with Jamie Doolin getting the net shaker. They would have had a second goal but for a timely save by Mark Kelly on John O’Neill.

The game had already had its first controversy at this point with O’Connor very fortunate to be left on the field after a late challenge on Michael Sloan. Pakie Downey finally put Down on the board with an excellent score after 18 minutes, and it was followed by a Robbie Moran point a minute later.

O’Connor and Dan Doona had two further scores for Leitrim, Doona on the second attempt, before Moran again had a score for Down when Downey was fouled.

With the score now at 1-6 to 0-3, Down were increasingly getting more involved. They were stopping attacks that had ended in scores earlier in the game and were moving the ball intelligently out the field from the back line.

One such move involved Moran and Mark Dobbins, with the final pass finding a charging Sean Kelly on the 21 of Leitrim. His shot found Astoria teammate Pa Ryan and the ball was in the net. Doona did have a point before the break, but Down were now very much back in the game.

Leitrim again had an excellent start to the second half when they had four of the first five points to push the lead out to 1-11 to 1-4. Alas the first twelve minutes will not be remembered for that, however. T

en minutes in John Goldrick set off on a solo run from the 70 yard line in the Down half. When he arrived at the 45 he was met by James Mitchell, the Down center half who made sure that he would advance no further.

An inexplicable yellow card later and Goldrick was stretched out on the floor. Within moments Doona and Diarmuid Hayes were in the book with cards for extra activities as the game continued in that vein.

When Paul Higgins was fouled by Doolin on the Down 45 after winning a kick out, he took the free quickly and kicked Doolin with the follow through. O’Connor took offense, and in fairness any teammate would at how the free was taken. He hit Higgins (another player might have kept hitting) and Leitrim were down to 12.

In the aftermath Leitrim had their last dominant period of the game, and it was hugely important. They had two of the next three scores, with Shane Doolin going on a long solo run to create one while Goldrick had the other when he linked with Niall Maguire.

It was their last score as Down attempted a dramatic comeback. Downey began the run with a point, and it was followed by a pair by Moran. They were winning the Leitrim kick out and the breaks from it.

Downey had his fourth of the day in the 28th minute, then Michael Sloan followed with a good score to leave two between the sides.

Time ran out, however, and Leitrim had held on for back to back special league championships (they defeated Cavan in last year’s final).

Lonan Maguire, Shane Doolin and Owen O’Neill were excellent at the back for Leitrim. Doolin looks the best of the summer sanctions thus far.

Pat Madden was the best of the midfielders and had his best outing of the year. Ken O’Connor was also productive in his shortened spell on the field. Jamie Doolin has blazing speed, John Goldrick did a lot of work while Dan Doona continued his good form with another excellent display.

Down won the last 45 minutes of the game 1-10 to 0-8. However, the game is played over 60. Like Cork a week earlier, it took them a while to settle to the Leitrim game plan.

Mark Kelly impressed; Mark Connolly and Shaun Munnelly were the best of the backs. Higgins and Moran had moments in the middle, while Michael Sloan and the brilliant Pakie Downey were by far the best of the forwards.

Leitrim: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Alan Foley, 4 Lonan Maguire, 5 Niall Maguire, 6 Shane Doolin, 7 Owen O’Neill, 8 Ken O’Connor (0-1), 9 Pat Madden (0-1), 10 Jamie Doolin (1-0), 11 John Goldrick (0-1), 12 John O’Neill, 13 Dan Doona (0-6), 15 Donal Hartnett (0-3). Subs: Mike Creegan.

Down: 1 Mark Kelly, 2 Brian Murray, 4 Gary Cornyn, 5Mark Connolly, 6 James Mitchell, 7 Shaun Munnelly, 8 Paul Higgins, 9 Robbie Moran (0-4), 10 Mark Dobbins, 11 Michael Sloan (0-2), 12 Sean Kelly (1-0), 13 Barry Annett, 15 Pakie Downey (0-4). Subs: Diarmuid Hayes.

Cork 2-16 Sligo 0-9

Despite a slow start, Cork had far too many weapons for a weak Sligo outfit that battled hard but met a superior force in this senior football contest.

Six points before the half time whistle settled the outing, and after a brief resurgence by Sligo, five points to finish the game made certain of the win.

The fact that seven men got on the score sheet for the Rebels will make manager Pat Scanlon feel very good about his charges.

Sligo had the first three points of the contest, with Conor Brady on the 40 very prominent. He scored two but was also doing fantastic work in open play.

Nester Allen had the third from deep in the left corner. Cork took the trouble in stride and responded with 10 minutes of dominence.

They had their first score on ten minutes when Colin Daly took a pass from Alan Rafferty in the right corner. He soled for goal and finished by rattling the back of the net.

Four points followed from J.P. Boyle, Pat Mahoney and Conor Hunter (two) to put daylight between the sides, while Liam Hanley was so close to tapping a cross in to the net when Nicky Dineen looked for him, but the ball eluded him by inches.

A sublime point from Niall Moran from a sideline on the left was the only reply for Sligo. Cork again went on the offensive in the last 10 minutes with a further six points.

It was so easy for them to move the ball up the field, with Sean Lordon, Jack Hoare and Paddy Harrington impressing at the back.

Hunter had two further points in the mix while Rafferty also chipped in with two to lead the domination. With a half time lead of 1-10 to 0-4, the victory was assured.

A goal one minute in from the restart by J.P. Boyle put the icing on the Cork cake, and while Sligo had five of the next six points as Cork introduced a host of subs, they were made to work hard for each.

By the 20th minute order was restored and Cork rattled off the last five points of the game with five different scorers contributing. Add to the fact that their defense was now on top in all facets and the win was secure.

They indeed had the luxury of being able to play without Rory Stafford, who was hurt in the hurling game before this outing on Sunday, play a full quota of subs and never look threatened. 

Cork will be delighted with the performances of Paddy Harrington, Sean Lordon who continued in his role as number six, and Jack Hoare who is now getting better with each outing.

Alan Rafferty contributed another three points from the center and is a huge calming influence on the side. When he has the ball it always moves on positively from him.

Conor Hunter was outstanding -- six shots, five points. He always seemed to move to the center when he received the ball to give himself the best shooting angle. Colin Daly is a flyer and can play a host of positions equally well.

Sligo will look at the displays of Peter Kelly, Sean Pender, Conor Brady in patches and Nester Allen as their best.

Cork: 1 Evan Byrne, 2 Denis McCarthy, 3 David Cummins, 4 Paddy Harrington, 5 Jack Hoare, 6 Sean Lordon, 7 Liam Hanley, 8 Alan Raferty (0-3), 9 Pat Mahoney (0-1),10 Derek Courtney, 11 JP Boyle (1-2), 12 Conor Hunter (0-5), 13 Nicky Dineen (0-1), 14 Colin Daly (1-2), 15 Francie Cleary (0-1). Subs: Stevie Gomez, Eoin Ellis (0-1), Shea Furlong, Stephen O’Shea.

Sligo: 1 Dermot Fleming, 2 Peter Kelly, 3 Tony Woods, 4 Denis Kilkenny, 5 Colm Byrne, 6 Sean Pender, 7 Roy Henley, 8 Niall Higgins, 9 Paul Kelly, 10 Niall Moran (0-4), 11 Conor Brady (0-3), 12 Paddy Brennan, 13 Nester Allen (0-2), 14 Brian Quillan, 15 Michael Lang. Subs: Dean O’Connor.

Man of the match: Conor Hunter (Cork).

Referee: Tommy Fahey.

Kerry Donegal 2-16 Na Fianna 1-12

The double edge sword of Sue Bennett and Denise Dunnion were the difference in this exciting Ladies football game that opened proceedings last Sunday a Gaelic Park.

Their scoring combo that contributed 2-11 to Kerry/Donegal’s total was enough to take the victory. Each time the pair touched the ball something positive occurred, and while Na Fianna contributed handsomely to the game they were always playing catch up after a brilliant start by the winners. 

K/D had a dazzling start to this contest with six unanswered points from a host of distances and angles. Bennett contributed three points from frees and play as she showed constantly on top of the square. a point from Aoife O’Sullivan in the mix was top class as she drove high and over from 35 yards out.

It was taking Na Fianna time to settle, but they eventually got to grip with the game and started to develop chances. Three wides were the result, but then in the 18th minute a move that swept down the right wing and involved Michelle Brennan and Joanne McKenna ended with Aine Dwyer blasting to the net on the run.

The score line was 0-6 to 1-1 when Stephanie Tierney had a point for Na Fianna and then she set up Fiona O’Dwyer for a goal chance but it went agonizingly wide.

K/D was having none of the revival thing, and they shut down the defensive hatches and had seven points in a row to answer the Na Fianna burst. The first was a screamer from Dunnion that could have been much more.

O’Sullivan also added another gem from long distance that helped K/D move into a substantial lead. Before the half time whistle Na Fianna did have a pair of scores from Molly O’Rourke (free) and Edel Malone from play to leave the score line at the half 0-13 to 1-3.

While O’Rourke had the first point of the second half for Na Fianna, K/D cancelled it out with a Dunnion goal that was followed by a point by the same player.

Na Fianna had their best period of the game in the next 10 minutes with five of the following six scores. The fact that the K/D score was a penalty that Bennett calmly slotted to the net negated a lot of the good work.

Added to the woes for Fianna was the brilliant play of Benny Touhy, who made three excellent stops. Dunnion had a further point from play when she burst of her marker before both sides had a brace of scores that finished out the scoring for the afternoon.

For K/D, Benny Touhy was fantastic in goal. She showed no fear and made some excellent stops. Una Burke, Aoife Gibson and Collette McElligott did very well at the back.

Aoife O’Sullivan will have a major contribution to make as the year goes on, as her points were outstanding. The full forward line of Dunnion, Bennett and Kelly was tremendous.

Na Fianna could never come to grips with the winners. Ashley Leyden continues to show that she is the best keeper in New York. All her choices are the right ones, as she oozes confidence. Karen Henry, Ellen Cleary until she got injured, Fiona O’Dwyer, Molly O’Rourke and Edel Malone all made contributions.

Stephanie Tierney also was prominent first as an attacker then as a defender. Yvonne McGonigle showed quite a bit of talent in her time on the field.

Na Fianna: 1 Ashley Leyden, 2 Stephanie Bush, 3 Joanne Monaghan, 4 Tina Foy, 5 Grainne Houston, 6 Ellen Cleary, 7 Karen Henry, 8 Michelle Brennan, 9 Fiona O’Dwyer, 10 Molly O’Rourke (0-6), 11 Aine Dwyer (1-0), 12 Edel Malone (0-2), 13 Stephanie Tierney (0-1), 14 Joanne McKenna, 15 Mary O’Rourke (0-1). Subs: Yvonne McGonigle (0-2).

Kerry/Donegal: 1 Benny Touhy, 2 Siobhan Neville, 3 Una Burke, 4 Niamh Britton, 5 Annette McKenna, 6 Collette McElligott, 7 Aoife Gibson, 8 Kelly Roche, 9 Aoife O’Sullivan, 10 Sharon Mulligan, 11 Loretta Cunningham, 12 Stephanie Annakettela, 13 Denise Dunnion, 14 Sue Bennett, 15 Allie Kelly.

Player of the game: Benny Touhy (Kerry/Donegal).

Referee: Emmitt Woods (Rockland).


Four Provinces' Glen Campbell in action.

Kerry 2-12 Four Provinces 0-7

Kerry coasted to their second senior football victory in as many weeks and are already very much in the driving seat for a playoff slot in the division. With the majority of their sanctions on board, they had little trouble against a gallant but over-matched Four Provinces.

Kerry started the game on fire with two of the first four points. What hurt them from dominating the scoreboard even more was a series of hit cross bars and good goal keeping. 

Shane Carty rifled a shot off the bar and was denied by a brilliant save by James Cannon. Stephen Kavanagh also rocked the cross bar inches from where Carty hit it and his effort went wide.

While this was transpiring, Four Ps were snatching two points at the other end to keep them within shouting distance.

Kerry found their shooting ways somewhat when Kavanagh and Ross Donovan had back to back scores, but again Four Ps replied. Paul McBrearty sauntered in on goal and was very unlucky when he thundered a shot of the crossbar.

Kevin Marion did have a point from play to follow before Brendan Walsh had an excellent point to tie the game up at four.

They could have jumped in to the lead, but when Mike Higgins was released and made his way to the front of goal the ghosts of Gaelic Park reared their heads and caused him to lose control at a vital moment, and his shot went harmlessly wide.

Kerry took the break and found their way into attack where they added two points before the short whistle to lead 0-6 to 0-4.

It was all Kingdom in the second half. They added 2-6 to 0-3 with Dermie Foley and Eoghan O’Mahoney snatching the goals.

O’Mahoney’s was very impressive in that he joined the rush out of the back and kept carrying. By the time he reached the 10 yard line in front of goal he received the ball back and made no mistake.

Higgins, Walsh and Gerard Burke had points in reply, but their best goal chance was denied when Shane Clifford made a good save on Steve Calhoun to keep the clean sheet. Kerry then had the easy win to secure their second in a row.

The Kingdom had little trouble in getting the victory. Excellent play by Damien Walsh, Eoghan O’Mahoney, Damien Reilly and Colin O’Mahoney never allowed Four Ps to get into a flow.

Shane Clifford made the one save he had to, an superb stop. The tussle between Declan Meehan and Aiden Reid was interesting and went to the big Fermanagh man for Kerry, barely. Ross Donavan, Dermie Foley and the Magic Man Stephen Kavanagh were tremendous.

Four Provinces will certainly improve as the year goes on. James Cannon made a couple of timely stops, Mark Peacock and Kevin Marion were the best of the defenders.

Aiden Reid showed potential. Paul McBrearty, Brendan Walsh and Mike Higgins all had good moments. 

Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Damien Walsh, 3 Eoghan O’Mahoney (1-0), 4 Enda Lally, 5 Collie Fearan, 6 Damien Reilly, 7 Colin O’Mahoney, 8 Dave McSweeney, 9 Declan Meehan (0-1), 10 Ross Donavan (0-3), 11 Bingo Driscoll, 12 Vinnie Gavin, 13 Shane Carty, 14 Stephen Kavanagh (0-5), 15 Dermie Foley (1-2). Subs: Sean Twomey, Paudie Lyne (0-1).

Four Provinces: 1 James Gannon, Mark Peacock, 3 Patsy Moore, 4 David Doyle, 5 Gearoid Burke (0-1), 6 Anthony Moore, 7 Kevin Marion (0-1), 8 Aiden Reid, 9 Stevie Calhoun, 10 Ciaran Moore, 11 Paul McBrearty, 12 Brendan Walsh (0-2), 13 Glen Campbell, 14 Mike Higgins (0-3), 15 Stevie Robinson.

Man of the match: Stephen Kavanagh (Kerry).

Referee: Sean Jones.