Powerful Offaly Win Hurling Crown

Offaly 4-14 Tipperary 2-11

THE reigning hurling champions Offaly won their third title in a row when they used a dominating first half performance to get ahead of rivals Tipperary, scoring three second half goals to make sure of the win.

With weekend players Pat Hartley and Richie Hogan in sparkling form, they were able to withstand a 1-5 onslaught in the second half by Tipp and reply with a closing 3-2 to 1-1 to outdistance their opponents.

The game opened with Tipp getting the first two scores from Niall Healy and Davie Loughnane. It was to be the only time they led during the game.

Offaly used a 1-4 onslaught to turn the tide, with points from Darren Reilly, Richie Dollard (two), Hogan and Danny Currans.

With 11 minutes on the clock an advancing Shane Sweeney was taken down just outside the penalty box, and Hogan drilled the free past a five man Tipperary line in goal.

Paudie Ryan had a point for Tipp but wides from frees. A brace of points by Hogan gave Offaly a 1-7 to 0-3 lead; his second was a majestic score.

Healy had two points for his side as the half came to a close, but they were cancelled out by a Sweeney score and a Currans effort. Currans had shown early that he was a thorn in the defense with his running at the backline.

Offaly had a goal at the break called back as the buzzer had sounded, but their dominance to this point was pronounced.

Healy and sub John Broderick swapped scores to open the second half before Hogan had his fifth point of the afternoon seven minutes in.

Tipperary had brought in Jason Phelan and John Madden by this junction, and the speed of Phelan began to cause problems for Offaly. He was fouled nine minutes in, and Kieran Bergin stepped up and drove the free to the net.

Healy converted three frees and also had a point from play in the next seven minutes and Tipperary had pulled back the deficit to a point, 1-10 to 1-11.

Offaly readjusted, however, and steadied the ship with some positional changes. A long ball from Aiden Ryan in goal found Richie Dollard, and his cross field pass was snatched by Sweeney who had finally slipped the shadow of Ger Mahon. The big full forward blasted to the net.

This was followed immediately by a Currans point to again put breathing room between the sides. Hogan and Jason Phelan swapped scores before Dollard linked with Currans to rifle the third Offaly goal.

When Hogan soloed through on goal with five minutes left and shot low to the net, the victory was complete. A late consolation goal by Bergin was all that Tipperary could get from five long balls that were dropped into the square area, with one low free also getting cleared to safety.

A three peat then for Offaly, the first in New York since Galway in 1982-‘84. It is also their 16th title which ties them with Galway for second in the record books.

Aiden Ryan was coolness personified all day, and his massive puck outs constantly had Tipp on the back foot. Pat Hartley was man of the match for the second time in his New York career -- how he can’t break into the Kilkenny Ireland team shows the talent that Brian Cody has.

Brian Watkins cleaned up a lot of ball while Darren Reilly was outstanding in the middle. Brendan McGrourty had a workman like outing, and the half forward line combo of Richie Dollard and Hogan scored 3-7 between them. Hogan was brilliant.

Inside Shane Sweeney had a quite day in front of goal but still had 1-1. Danny Currans was a tremendous asset with his runs and ball work. John Broderick had a big effect on the game when he arrived.

Tipperary will be disappointed that they lost, but it was to the better team on the day. Ger Mahon was another candidate for man of the match. He had an excellent day.

Tom King and Steve Lillis had their hands full but kept plugging. They were a big part of the second half revival. Kieran Bergin was an instant inspiration when he went forward but he had too much to do for one man.

Niall Healy was subdued for an intercounty player, Hartley gave nothing to the inside forwards. Jason Phelan was an instant success off the bench and had he been on the field longer he certainly would have made a difference.

For a county final their was plenty of bite to the game. Fever pitch with all on the ready for battle.

While seven yellows were give out, the game never got out of hand in the physical aspect and it showed that hurling has a huge part to play in the future of the New York GAA.

The speed of the game, the beauty of the scores, the end to end constant movement, it all brings a whole new aspect to a Sunday afternoon. When Galway arrive to play New York in the FBD final it would be fantastic if the New York hurlers could perform on the day, with Boston an obvious choice for an opponent.

Offaly: 1 Aiden Ryan, 2 Pat Hartley, 4 Niall Caffrey, 5 Brian Watkins, 6 Richie Gaule, 7 Gary Hill, 8 Darren Reilly (0-1), 9 Brendan McGrourty, 10 Donal Broderick, 11 Richie Dollard (1-2), 12 Richie Hogan (2-5), 13 Shane Sweeney (1-1), 15 Danny Currans (0-3). Subs: John Broderick (0-1).

Tipperary: 1 Thomas O’Meara, 2 Jayson O’Callaghan, 4 Ger Mahon, 5 Tom King, 6 Kieran Bergin (2-0), 7 Steve Lillis, 8 David Crimmins, 9 Dave Loughnane (0-1), 10 Paudie Ryan (0-1), 11 Niall Healy (0-8), 12 Tadgh Slevin, 13 Niall Curtain, 15 Liam Costelloe. Subs: John Madden, John Phelan (0-1).

Man of the match: Pat Hartley (Offaly).

Referee: Eugene Kyne (Turloughmore).

Rangers 1-14 Donegal 0-8

Rangers return to intermediate football after a one-year hiatus with this convincing win over Donegal on Sunday in the junior final.

With an outstanding nucleus in the middle of Willie Walsh, Sean O’Neill and Killian Caffrey and a superb forward in man of the match Ronan Caffrey, they had too many weapons for a determined but over-matched Donegal.

Rangers started the game by far the more intensive of the teams, and they had two of the first three points with Lorcan Malone grabbing both. On the second he linked well with Ronan Caffrey.

The side was getting good supply from the center axis of Walsh, Killian Caffrey and O’Neill as they were in control of that area.

Donegal did have the tying score when Ronan Molloy did all the work to break free with the help of two passes and slot over after six minutes, but it was their last attack for an extended period.

Rangers had four points in the next 12 minutes as they used the large supply of ball into the forward line to produce on the scoreboard. Mike Sheridan had the first when he reacted to a ball that dropped dangerously in the box and fisted over which was followed by Ronan Caffrey, O’Neill and Walsh scores.

Walsh’s was an excellent drive. He was very comfortable on the ball and looked as though he had time no matter what the predicament.

Donegal had a point in reply from Brian Heggerty 24 minutes in when he rifled a bullet over the lathe. Truth be told if it had stayed low it would have rattled the net, which at this point was what Donegal needed.

Before the break arrived Rangers had easily cancelled out that score with a brace of points from O’Neill from frees. The first was easily from 55 yards out, a tremendous drive over the bar. As the break arrived Denis Twomey’s side were holding a 0-8 to 0-3 lead.

Donegal were revived and alive to start to the second half. They had points from Liam McGinley and Anton Diver in the first six minutes as they looked to claw the deficit back.

An O’Neill free slowed the momentum for a moment, but Dermot Friel had the third Donegal score of the second half after 10 minutes. It left his side within three and a fresh wave of exuberance in their hands.

While they had further chances that went wide, the game turned on the 14th minute when Ronan Caffrey gave a killer blow to Donegal when he picked up the ball from his brother Killian on the 50. He soloed through and slotted brilliantly over on the run.

An O’Neill point from a free made it 0-11 to 0-6, and they had a glorious chance to finish the game shortly after when three goals chances by Ronan Caffrey, Stephen O’Shea and Eoin Delaney were all blocked by a brave defending.

Points in the aftermath by John McGinley and Friel helped Donegal close the gap to three once more, but it was their last hurrah.

Rangers closed the game out with a flourish. A long ball into the square from Stephen O’Shea after 23 minutes was pulled down by Chris Colleran in the forward line with Mike Bishop, who had come on at half time, involved.

The ball was relayed to captain Derek Courtney, who found the net from close range. Three points from a rampaging Ronan Caffrey, but an exclamation point on the team’s and his performance.

The winners had many stars in the victory. Pat O’Driscoll and Stephen Cassels were dominant in the full back line, and Willie Walsh tremendous at number six. The midfield of O’Neill and Caffrey won the sector.

Lorcan Malone got two important early points. Derek Courtney did a lot of the little important work, as well as grabbing a goal. Stephen O’Shea did quite a bit of running and Ronan Caffrey was outstanding.

Donegal battled to the end, with Sean Garvey impressing, and Anton Toner, Dermot Freil, Anton Diver and Liam McGinley all having bright moments.

The winners were awarded the Charlie Sweeney Cup, which used to be for the Junior A winners. The Junior B trophy from last year is held by Offaly and may not get a home this year.

The Intermediate Cup is still to be named but the Mary Diamond Cup is available, while the Senior B championship is also looking for home.

Donegal: 1 Sean Garvey, 2 Plunkett Maguire, 3 Colm O’Doherty, 4 Anton Toner, 5 Sean Donnelly, 6 Mark Dugan, 7 Tony McMahon, 8 Brian Heggerty (0-1), 9 Dermot Friel (0-2), 10 Anton Diver (0-1), 11 Keith Moran, 12 Ray Darcy, 13 Liam McGinley (0-3), 14 Ronan Molloy (0-1), 15 Tommy Moran. Subs: Kieran Purce, Justin Friel.

Rangers: 1 John Williams, 2 Malachy McHugh, 3 Pat O’Driscoll, 4 Stephen Cassells, 5 Thomas Maher, 6 William Walsh (0-1), 7 Gavin Beaddie, 8 Killian Caffrey, 9 Sean O’Neill (0-5), 10 Stephen O’Shea, 11 Derek Courtney (1-0), 12 Lorcan Malone (0-2), 13 Eoin Delaney, 14 Mike Sheridan (0-1), 15 Ronan Caffrey (0-5). Subs: Robbie O’Neill, Chris Colleran.

Man of the match: Ronan Caffrey (Rangers).

Referee: Dean O’Connor (Sligo).


Goals the Clincher for Na Fianna


Na Fianna 3-9 Kerry/Donegal 0-10

NA Fianna capped what has been a two year odyssey for the side when they won the Sean Faherty New York Ladies GAA championship last Sunday with a performance that was brilliant in the second half despite a slow start to the game.

With a two headed monster up front in Yvonne McGonigle and Molly O’Rourke the side, when they did start to roll, outscored their year long rivals 3-5 to 0-3 in a rain soaked second half.

K/D had the first two points of the game when an advancing Aoife Gibson and Sue Bennett slotted over. Denise Dunnion added three further points by the 15th minute and the side was in terrific shape to make a run at the title.

To this point they were slowing any advances that Na Fianna had, with Siobhan Neville and Anita McKenna doing well at the back.

Finally Na Fianna broke through for their first score in the 20th minute when O’Rourke put a free over from close range. Karina Richards followed it with a point from play four minutes later before Stephanie Anakatell had a point in reply.

K/D were hard done by shortly thereafter when a long ball broke to Dunnion on the 20 yard line, but a Na Fianna player went down injured which stopped play.

Normally the advancing team can take the free but just not score directly; this time, however, the ball was thrown up which negated any advantage K/D had.

Allie Kelly had their seventh point as the rain came down in buckets, but before the half time whistle Anita McKenna was given a sin bin yellow card when she fouled, and O’Rourke tapped over the resulting free. The sin bin lasts for 10 minutes, and it was in this time period before and after the half that Na Fianna made their run.

To open the second half O’Rourke added a further point before she linked with McGonigle for the center forward’s first goal. McGonigle followed with a point before Sue Bennett had a score in reply.

The Na Fianna defense with Karen Henry, Grainne Houston and Joanne Monaghan in outstanding form in the half back line were shutting down all avenues now, and they helped to set up the next score when McGonigle had a further point.

On the kick out the same player stepped in and snagged the ball before she dispatched to the net for a 2-6 to 0-9 point lead.

A Dunnion point was the only rebuttal from K/D. After McKenna returned to the fold the winners kept advancing.

Points from O’Rourke in the 24th and 26th minutes set up the big finale. A third goal for the player of the game, McGonigle, when she took care of a bouncing ball at the back and found net.

Na Fianna, considering they did not score until the 20th minute, did untold damage thereafter. Alison Leydon is a real candidate for player of the year and made some timely stops early in the game.

Stephanie Tierney continues to thrive and is a future star of the game. The half back line of captain Monaghan, Henry and Houston was outstanding. Aine Dwyer won the midfield, while the front line had far to many weapons.

Katrina Richards is a former county player in Ireland and shows it in her hard work. Joanne McKenna did a lot of unseen work. Molly O’Rourke had 0-5 and was the reason for the resurgence, But on this day Yvonne McGonigle was the star and showed all her undoubted abilities.

Kerry/Donegal had very good performances from Aoife Gibson, Kelly Roche, Loretta Cunningham and Denise Dunnion (first half).

Na Fianna: 1 Allison Leydon, 2 Stephanie Tierney, 3 Mari Herron, 4 Katrina Lynch, 5 Karen Henry, 6 Grainne Johnston, 7 Joanne Monaghan, 8 Aine Dwyer, 9 Fiona Dwyer, 10 Joanne McKenna, 11 Yvonne McGonigle (3-3), 12 Mary O’Rourke, 13 Karena Richards (0-1), 14 Molly O’Rourke (0-5), 15 Imelda Mullarkey.

Kerry/Donegal: 1 Sharon Mulligan, 2 Kathleen Hickey, 3 Shuvaun Neville, 5 Niamh Britton, 6 Anita McKenna, 7 Katriona O’Sullivan, 8 Michelle McVann, 9 Kelly Roche, 10 Sue Bennett (0-3), 11 Aoife O’Sullivan, 12 Loretta Cunningham, 13 Denise Dunnion (0-4), 14 Stephen Anakettall (0-01),15 Allie Kelly (0-1).

Player of the game: Yvonne McGoingle (Na Fianna).

Referee: Donal O’Donnell (Four Provinces).