The season kicked off in earnest on Sunday in Gaelic Park, New York with wins for Cavan and Down and a draw between Leitrim and Donegal.
Leitrim 3-6 Donegal 0-15
Leitrim started the game with a Donal Hartnett point from play in the first minute. Within ten minutes, however, it was canceled out courtesy of Kevin Lilly.
For the next ten minutes, Leitrim controlled most of the play, but were unable to do much lasting damage. Michael Travors was finally able to capitalize after taking a pass from Adrian O’Connor and burying it in the net for the first goal of the game.
Moments later, with plenty of running room, Johnny Goldrick shot a bullet just wide of the goal. Donal Hartnett and Kevin Lilly took a point each before the game settled again.
Donegal started to make a comeback with three quick points, but missed out on a golden opportunity when Bobby McDonald took a high ball and gave a hand pass to Anton Toner in space in front of the net only to have him put his shot over the bar.
Leitrim were not willing to let the first half finish on that note and came back with two scores of their own to finish the half 1-04 to 0-5.
The second half began with Donegal in full swing scoring two quick points, the first off of the throw when Gary Dowd won it and went ahead full tilt, eventually feeding Johnny McNichols for an easy point.
Leitrim’s proficiency in front of the square was the deciding factor, Dan Doona and Donal Hartnett teamed up, moving the ball well, giving a perfect chance for Mike Creegan, who buried it for another goal.
Fourteen minutes in, sub John O’Neill found another goal for Leitrim making the game seem out of reach. Donegal began to play methodically, scoring another five points to finish the match with a draw 3-06 to 0-15.
Donegal 1 Eunon Doherty 2 Thomas Horan 4 Jack Donnelly 5 Tony McMahon(0-1) 6 James Huvane 7 Niall McMahon 8 Gary Dowd(0-2) 9 Brian O’Connor(0-1) 10 Bobby McDonald(0-1) 11 Johnny McNichols (0-3) 12 Anton Toner(0-1) 13 Kevin Lilly(0-3) 15 CJ Molloy(0-3)
Leitrim 1 Pa Ryan 2 Alan Foley 4 Lonon Maguire 5 Danny O’Sullivan 6 Dermot Keane 7 Niall Maguire 8 Kenny O’Connor 9 Adrian O’Connor(0-1) 10 Michael Travors (1-0) 11 Dan Doona 12 Johnny Goldrick 13 Mike Creegan( 1-0) 15 Donal Hartnett(0-4).
Subs John O’Neill(1-0) Tony Cullen(0-1) Kieran Kieveney
Referee Tommy Fahey
Cavan 2-16 Four Provinces 1-5
Cavan started the day well with four unanswered points before Conor O’Donnell put Four Provinces on the board. The Breffni boys replied immediately however with a further three scores form Paddy Smith, Eugene Kyne and Kevin McGeeney.
Conor Brady and Tomo Smith had a strong effect in the middle of the pitch, giving the forwards ample opportunities. Points from Justin O’Halloran and O’Donnell again brought Four P’s into the contest, but they needed far more to change the direction the game was going.
Two points, one for either side made the half time score line 0-10 to 0-4 in favor of Cavan as they faced the wind in the second half.
Four provinces had the first score of the second half, within a minute of the throw, but until the penalty that Justin O’Halloran slotted, despite Martin O’Connor’s hand on the ball, they were completely overran by Cavan.
Goals from Declan Fitzpatrick and Connor Brady, why capitalized on a loose ball in front of goal, put Cavan firmly in the driver’s seat. Three points from Michael McGuire punctuated his affect on the result, with Derek Williams also doing good work when moved to the center of the field.
The only black spot on the second half was an escalation in festivities that resulted in red cards being shown to a player from each side. With the field now 12 a side, the open space benefitted Cavan far more then it did Four Provinces. Any attacks for Four P’s were gobbled up by Michael Smith who time and again was first to the breaking ball.
Cavan 1 Martin O’Connor 2 Michael Smith 4 Kevin Gannon 5 Brian Naughton 6 Brenden Reilly(0-1) 7 Alan Carnon 8 Kevin McGeeney (0-3) 9 Conor Brady(1-1) 10 Paddy Smith(0-2) 11 Declan Fitzpatrick (1-4) 12 Michael McGuire (0-2) 13 Eugene Kyne (0-1) 15 Derek Williams(0-1)
Four Provinces 1 Michael Grimes 2 David Doyle 4 Mark Peacock 5 Eoghan Kyne 6 Justin O’Halloran(1-2) 7 Anthony Moore 8 Liam Moore 9 Paul Walsh(0-1) 10 Gerard Burke 11 Tommy Higgins 12 Frank O’Neill 13 Michael Sweeney 15 Connor O’Donnell Sub Steve Robinson
Referee John Fitzpatrick
Down 4-11 Kerry 1-6
The Game got going quick, with a point each in under 3 minutes. Kerry then turned it around, with three quick points showing real dominance, before all was undone when Robbie Moran passed a perfect ball to Sean Munnelly who had the simple task of getting a fist to it and putting it away for the first goal.
Minutes later a Kerry kick out was won by Down, who moved the ball quickly in to Mark Dobbin who slotted in another for goal. Kerry had the opportunity to answer when Dermie Foley was alone on net, in what looked like a sure goal, before he mishit his shot and put it wide.
Kerry kept some pressure and gave Ross Donavan a chance to put a point over, but he put it wide. Gavin Tinelly put in all the work before giving the ball over to Brian Annett who fisted it over the bar for another point for Down.
The half closed with a well played ball into Dermie Foley from Bingo Driscoll for a point and a quick retort by Michael Sloen leaving the half with the score 2-3 to 5 points in favor of Down.
Down opened the second period on fire, almost immediately, Seamus Kelly put a shot off the post. Play continued with Down scoring four straight, three points off the feet of Robbie Moran, Shaun Munnelly and Michael Sloen, before a well-placed goal from Gavin Tinnelly.
Coming the other way, Kerry were only stopped by the hands of Mark Kelly, who made two monstrous saves stopping both Shane Carty and Jason Wren a few minutes apart.
A goal was bound to come however and Ross Donovan was the man to provide it giving Kerry a brief resurgence. Down came on strong again however, and scored four points and a goal completely unanswered finishing out the game 1-6 to 4-11
Kerry 1 Shane Clifford 2 Enda Lally 3 Eoghan O’Mahoney 5 Collie Fearan 6 Kieran Burgen 7 Tommy Quaid 8 Vinnie Gavin 9 Dave MacSweeney 10 Shane Carty(0-2) 11 Ross Donovan(1-0) 12 Sean Twomey(0-1) 13 Bingo Driscoll(0-1) 15 Dermie Foley (0-1) sub Jason Wren (0-1)
Down 1 Mark Kelly 2 Brian Murray 4 Dermot Hayes 5 Liam Farrell 6 James Mitchell 7 Cormack Doyle 8 Shaun Munnelly(1-1) 9 Gavin Tinnelly(0-1) 10 Seamus Kelly (1-1) 11 Robbie Moran(0-2) 12 Brian Annett(1-2) 13 Mark Dobbin(1-1) 15 Michael Sloen (0-2) Sub Michael Sheridan(0-1)
Referee Lawrence McGrath