Donegal 2-9  Cavan 0-10

DONEGAL made the most of some glaring Cavan misses in front of goal to secure the points in this entertaining senior football contest on Sunday. Four clear-cut goal chances went a begging, allowing Donegal to stay within distance and get a come from behind win.

Both teams had chances to score in the first five minutes as they opened the game brightly. Nobby Smith had three very good interceptions for Cavan at the defensive end as he threw himself about.  Wides for Cavan didn’t help them in front of goal as Donegal held them scoreless.

Donegal had the opening point when Shane Lyons chipped over, but Cavan replied with three of the next four scores to push into the lead, with Garth Kelly grabbing two of the points with surging runs.

In what was now a to and fro encounter, Donegal had points to tie the game up at four each in the 15th minute. It could have been more as a Lyons screamer went over after an excellent four man passing movement.

Cavan had their best period in the next 10 minutes as they created two glaring goal chances. The first arrived after a Tomo Smyth point gave Cavan a slim lead. He broke in on goal after Kelly set him free but his low shot rifled wide.

Shortly after Declan Fitzpatrick broke down the right side again after Kelly did the spadework, but he blasted wide from 12 yards out.

Donegal took the reprieve and had three of the four final points of the first half as they pressed forward in the last five minutes. It left the teams tied at the short whistle 0-7 to 0-7.

Cavan again went in to the lead with a Smyth point when he decked his way in front of goal and slotted over. They again had a clear-cut goal chance when Fitzpatrick linked with Tomo, but again his shot went wide of the post and agonizingly wide.

Donegal had the equalizer four minutes in when CJ Molloy was fouled twice but no call before he blasted over with a goal on his mind.

Cavan took the little relapse, and despite playing against a wind that was now deciding to pick up they had two points from Brendan Reilly who was now at wing forward, and Smyth who had a towering drive that hit the top of the black poles behind the goal.

The missed chances were going to haunt Cavan, though, as the game went into the final 15 minutes. It certainly did in the worst way possible.

Donegal surged forward as they won the breaks and attacked continuously. Michael Travers took a pass from Molloy and soloed forward before shooting to the net. He followed it with a point from play from wide on the left.

Cavan had one more chance at goal but Fitzpatrick fired wide from in front of goal soccer style before Donegal had their second goal. A long ball to the full back line was played by Alan Carolan, who appeared to be fouled. He did not get the whistle and in the aftermath Molloy was fouled in the box.

Travers shot low to the net giving Eoghan Kyne little chance. The game turned nasty after this point and it started in the aftermath of the non-call.

A long ball for Cavan went intro the corner to Smyth. While this was ensuing Reilly and Paul Breslin had a little interaction that resulted in both receiving their walking papers.

Long balls into Smyth were snuffed out by interceptions by James Huvane and Colm McCarren.  It was not all over yet however as further festivities in the physical department continued, but Donegal had done enough.

Donegal had good displays from James Huvane, who did far better on Paddy Smyth than Chris McCarren, although McCarren did have some important runs and clearances in the last 10 minutes. Anthony Kelly, Tom Hardwick in patches, Mark Downes who had his moments and Shane Lyons who had three important scores.

For Cavan, Eoghan Kyne did nothing wrong in his first test as a goalie. Alan Caralan had his hands full with CJ Molloy and it ended a draw. Conor Brady and Shane Russell won the middle of the field, while Brendan Reilly did a lot of work at wing forward. Paddy Smyth had four points but the ball was just not getting to him in the last ten minutes.

Congrats to Mike Reilly, the Cavan manager, and his wife Sonia who christened their baby daughter Margaret on Sunday.

Cavan: 1 Eoghan Kyne, 2 Nobby Smith, 4 Alan Carolan, 5 Brendan Reilly (0-1), 6 Brian Naughton, 7 Gary Gilsenan, 8 Conor Brady, 9 Shane Russell (0-2), 10 Declan Fitzpatrick (0-1), 11 Garth Kelly (0-2), 12 Ciaran Martin, 13 Paddy Smith (0-4), 15 Kevin Shalvey. Sub: James Gannon.

Donegal: 1 Tony McMahon, 2 James Huvane, 3 Colm McCarron, 5 Anthony Kelly, 6 Ray Keenan, 7 Brian McCaffrey, 8 Tom Hardwick, 9 Brian O’Connor, 10 Rory Sweeney, 11 Mark Downes (0-1), 12 Michael Travers (2-2), 13 CJ Molloy (0-3), 15 Shane Lyons (0-3). Sub: Paul Breslin.

Man of the match: Michael Travers (Donegal).

Referee: John Fitzpatrick (Rockland).


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Senior Football

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Kerry Cruise Home in Opener


Kerry  2-11 Sligo 0-5

KERRY had little trouble accounting for a Sligo outfit that gave a spirited but limited performance. While Sligo had a big influence from Astoria Gaels, the Kerry win was built on taking their chances from frees and using two goals to seal the easy win.

The first game of the day had its most excitement in the first five minutes when Sligo had a clear-cut goal chance go wide one minute in when Nester Allen shot low.

Kerry also had a goal chance when Kevin Heggerty saved well in front of Shane Langan. Kerry settled, however, and had three of the next four points as they showed their talents from play.

Another excellent Heggerty save kept a Ross Donovan shot out as Allen had Sligo's second point from a free in reply. Sligo was definitely doing their very best with a big Astoria Gaels influence to make a contest of the outing.

A long-range effort by Conor Ryan when Langan made room before assisting made the scoreline 1-3 to 0-2, but the game was very even over the final 10 minutes. Three points for Kerry by Donovan, Niall Moran and Conor Ryan after a long solo run were answered by Derek McKenna and Ciaran Cull points for Sligo to leave five points between the sides at the short whistle.

Second half was all Kerry. Although they didn’t dominate the scoreboard too much they did more than enough, 1-5 to 0-1, with Donovan clipping in three points and Langan getting the goal after he was set up by an advancing Darren Courtney.

Sligo to their credit kept trying, but the final pass let them down on occasion while their shooting touch also didn’t help at times.  Cull had their only point in the second half.

Kerry will be happy with the win but won’t read too much into it. Anthony Glacken, Vinnie Gavin, Darren Courtney who covered a lot of ground up and down the wing, Conor Ryan and Shane Langan were their most prominent. New signing Johnny Murtagh did not tog out for this contest and will add to the firepower as the season goes on.

Sligo will look at the performances of Niall McGuinness, Paddy Brennan, Kevin Heggerty, who made a couple of excellent saves, and Nester Allen as their best. Ciaran Cull took his points well as a guest player. Congratulations to Enda Henry and his wife Karen on the birth of their son Darragh recently.

Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford,  2 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 4 Anthony Glacken, 5 Shane Carty, 6 Vinnie Gavin (0-1), 7 Darren Courtney (0-1), 8 Dave McSweeney, 9 Ambrose O’Donovan, 10 Ross Donovan (0-5), 11 Niall Moran (0-1), 12 Conor Ryan (1-1), 13 Dermie Foley, 15 Shane Langan (1-1).

Sligo: 1 Kevin Heggerty, 2 Niall McGuinness, 4 Denis Kilkenny, 5 Paddy Brennan, 6 Roy Henley, 7 Mike Burke, 8 Derek McKenna (0-1), 9 Enda Henry, 10 Michael Coyle, 11 Nester Allen (0-2), 12 Gerry O’Brien, 13 Vincent Brett, 15 J.P. Barry.  Subs: Ciaran Cull (0-2).

Man of the match: Vinnie Gavin (Kerry).

Referee: Tommy Fahey (Waterford).



Senior Football


Rebels With a Cause


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Mark Dobbins was met with opposition from Cork on Sunday.


Cork 4-11 Down 0-10

CORK used four goals to secure the win over nemesis Down in the first round of the Ned Devine Cup.

While they allowed early scores from their rivals in both halves, they never gave up a goal like last year’s county final which meant the claw back was far easier to achieve.

Down opened the game far brighter than Cork and it showed on the board. They had four of the first five points as they used smart possession ball work to move quickly up the field and create chances.

Robbie Moran had three points from frees and play as the reigning county champions lead early against the runners up from last year.

Cork was not ruffled by this, and they slowly used the talent in their forward line to come back into the game.

It began with a brilliant surging score by center back Steven Garvey when he galloped 50 yards and slotted over. Within minutes they were in front.

Sean Lordon set Jason Kelly free, and he flipped to his partner in crime Sean Purcell who slotted to the net. Excellent play in the middle by Lordon and Alan Rafferty helped propel Cork into further attacking play, and they added a further four points to lead by 1-6 to 0-4 as the half approached.

Down with 10 minutes left lost Moran to injury, and this was a huge blow to their aspirations.

Down had a brilliant opening to the second half as they had four of the first five points.  Mark Dobbins had a brace as he was now the free taker in chief. A point from a lively Benny Reilly with nine minutes on the clock gave Cork a 1-9 to 0-8 lead, and it preceded the game breaker for Cork.

A kick out from Down was won by Cork when a push in the back by Rafferty on Brendan McGourty was not called. Ronan Caffrey picked up the break and fed the New York vice captain Raff, who was now storming down the center. He grasped the ball and rifled it to the roof of the net.

An excellent run by John Fitzpatrick was completed by a left footed point before Shaun Munnelly finally pulled one back 16 minutes in. It was a small reprieve, however.

The vaunted Cork draft began to show its colors with Conor Hunter and Declan Reilly arriving from the bench. Reilly added goal number three before Kelly cancelled out a Dobbins free and closed the game out with goal number four.

The Cork back line came to grips with Down after a hesitant start, with Denis McCarthy, Steven Garvey and Derek Courtney all in midseason form. Alan Rafferty and Sean Lordon won the midfield easily; Down had little hope here when Moran left the contest.

The Terrible Twins Jason Kelly and Sean Purcell were brilliant, while Benny Reilly was an able side kick. The five men introduced off the bench are all capable of starting such is the talent depth.

The Mournemen will be well aware that it is only game one. They need help from afar, but it will arrive be assured.

Brian Murray battled hard, and Brendan McGourty is very calm on the ball and looks to have a place with New York on his cards in May. Sean Kelly had his moments, while Shaun Munnelly, Mark Dobbins and Barry Annett also did some positive stuff over the afternoon. Robbie Moran was a big loss. Hopefully the injury is minor as New York needs him healthy, as does Down.

Cork: 1 Kevin McArdle, 2 Denis McCarthy, 4 John Fitzpatrick (0-1), 5 Derek Courtney, 6 Steven Garvey (0-1), 7 Liam Hanley, 8 Alan Rafferty (1-1), 9 Sean Lordon, 10 Francie Cleary, 11 Ronan Caffrey (0-1), 12 Jason Kelly (1-1), 13 Sean Purcell (1-3), 15 Benny Reilly (0-3). Subs: Brian Argue, Declan Reilly (1-0), Paul Higgins, Paddy Harrington, Conor Hunter.

Down: 1 Mark Kelly, 2 Brian Murray, 4 Damien Ward, 5 Paul McCormack, 6 Brendan McGourty, 7 Michael Sheridan, 8 Sean Kelly (0-1), 9 Robbie Moran (0-3), 10 Sean Munnelly (0-1), 11 Barry Annett (0-1), 12 Brian Annett (0-1), 13 Liam Farrell, 15 Mark Dobbin (0-3). Subs: Brian McNaughton.

Man of the match: Sean Purcell (Cork).

Referee: Lawrence McGrath (Donegal).


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Array of Scorers Stop Tyrone


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All eyes on the ball.


Leitrim 4-12  Tyrone 1-8

LEITRIM had more than enough weapons to take the points from Tyrone on Sunday in the last game of opening day at the Mecca.

With nine players getting on the score sheet, it was a case of who do you watch the most for the vanquished Tyrone defense. In the first game in the defense of the title that they have won for the last two years, Paddy Kearney’s charges made a statement with at least three starters missing. 
Tyrone opened the game with the first and third points, but that was the sum total of their forays in the first 20 minutes.

Leitrim responded in clinical fashion with a point by Dan Doona, and then a scrambled goal when Mike Creegan got the final touch, but Paul O’Hare did most of the work.

The points came in easy sequence over the next ten minutes as they added five to their total -- O’Hare with a punched score, Hartnett, Doona, Sweeney and Creegan were all on target.

The reason they had such dominance was mainly due to the play of O’Hare and Pat Madden in the middle of the field. They caught every high ball in both directions and fed it out intelligently.

Tyrone when they did create chances had wides at the end of their plays, 12 in total in the first half. When Ronan Garvey and Colm Cronin swapped scores before the break it left Leitrim in a 1-7 to 0-3 lead.

To completely kill the game as a contest Leitrim added goal number two to open the second half. O’Hare was at the end of a move that involved Doona and Donal Hartnett and he fired to the net.

The sides swapped points before two in a row for Tyrone from Seamus McNabb and Garvey gave their side false hope. It was quickly quenched with a Mike Creegan point and a goal by sub Adrian O’Connor when he was set up by Creegan.

A pair of points by Aiden Power made the score line 3-9 to 0-8 before Doona fired over with 24 minutes gone to extend the lead. When Pat Maguire was fouled for Tyrone Garvey rattled the net with a well-taken penalty, but the final 1-2 was scored by the winners with O’Connor getting his second goal with the last kick of the game.

Leitrim realize that one swallow does not make a summer. It is a good win to open, however.

Lonan Maguire, Dermot Keane, Pat Madden who was excellent, Paul O’Hare who came down with some very difficult ball and is a powerful runner, Dan Doona and Mike Creegan were the leaders in this encounter.

Adrian O’Connor had 2-1 in a short appearance that the New York manager will be happy that he came through unscathed.

For Tyrone, Declan Garvey, Seamus Skeffington, Ronan Garvey who still has a beautiful left peg -- the ball he dropped to Deon Gallagher in the first half was pure class -- and Steve Keating were the best performers.

Tyrone: 1 Brian Cullinane, 2 Joe Bell, 4 Declan Garvey, 5 Seamus Skeffington (0-1), 6 Sean Coyle, 7 Conor Skeffington, 8 Aiden Power (0-2), 9 Seamus McNabb (0-1), 10 Ronan Garvey (1-3), 11 Ronan Grant, 12 Sean Givney, 13 Deon Gallagher (0-1), 15 Patrick Maguire. Subs: Chris Greene, Conor Downey, Steve Keating.

Leitrim: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Lonan Maguire, 4 Niall Maguire, 5 Dermot Keane, 6 Jason Killeen, 7 Colm Cronin (0-1), 8 Pat Madden, 9 Paul O’Hare (1-2), 10 Mike Creegan (1-2), 11 Dan Doona (0-3), 12 Shane Sweeney (0-1), 13 Donal Hartnett (0-1), 15 Mike Conlon. Subs: Danny O’Sullivan (0-1), Adrian O’Connor (2-1).

Man of the match: Paul O’Hare (Leitrim).

Referee: Sean Jones (Fermanagh).