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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Your GAA championship weekend review

There was provincial glory for Kerry and Kilkenny in football and hurling.

NEED TO CATCH up on another super weekend of GAA? Look no further.

The Kerry team celebrate

Shane Ryan of Kerry celebrates their victory over Cork in the Munster MFC final.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Thy Kingdom come for Cork

IT WAS THE final day of football action at Páirc Uí Chaoimh before the historic venue is re-developed but nobody told James O’Donoghue and company as Kerry trashed Cork by 12 points on home turf to claim their 76th Munster Senior Football Championship on Sunday.

The Killarney Legion forward bagged 10 points in an impressive individual performance that had the home crowd heading for the exits well before the full time whistle.

Cork supporters leaving

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It was their failure in front of the posts in the first half that ultimately proved Cork’s undoing, the Rebels going nearly half an hour without troubling the umpires between the seventh minute and half-time.

Given the nature of the defeat, it will take all Brian Cuthbert’s managerial nous to rebuild his side’s confidence ahead of the qualifiers while Kerry fans may start asking themselves ‘Gooch who?’

Even hurlers were impressed:

Tweet by @Ken McGrath

Source: Ken McGrath/Twitter

Close-call Qualifiers

  • Three second half goals helped Limerick avoid defeat as they came from behind to beat a plucky Antrim side 3-11 to 0-15 in Round 2A of the Qualifiers on Saturday. Ger Collins’ two penalties and a Darragh Treacy maximum helped seal the win for the Treaty County. 
  • Sligo also needed a late, late show to see off Wicklow in their Qualifier after slipping to a four point deficit in the early stages. Brian Curran and Stephen Coen points in the latter stages saw the visitors edge a 0-12 to 0-10 win in Aughrim.
  • It was a far more comfortable victory for Tipperary as they had 17 points to spare over Longford in Saturday’s other Qualifier. Michael Quinlivan and Peter Acheson bagged the goals but the Premier County didn’t need to get out of second gear against lacklustre opposition.
  • There was just one Qualifier up for decision Sunday but it was another close affair with Laois and Wexford going toe-to-toe for seventy minutes before MJ Tierney sealed the victory for the O’Moore County with two late frees. Final score 0-18 to 0-17.

Return of the McManus

Source: Presseye/Russell Pritchard/INPHO

It’ll be a case of history repeating as Monaghan and Donegal battle it out for the Anglo Celt Cup for the second year in succession after the Farney overcame Armagh at the second time of asking in Clones on Sunday.

Captain Conor McManus – harshly shown a black card in the first game – was the hero for the home-side, scoring 1-7, as his side ran out five point winners, 1-18 to 1-13.

Armagh looked threatening in the early stages and took the lead in the 12th minute through an Aaron Findon goal but Malachy O’Rourke’s men responded with five points and a goal without reply to take the Ulster SFC semi-final replay by the scruff of the neck.

It’s a Shane Long way to Tipperary

Cats crowned kings in one-sided Leinster final

It’s an ominous sign that Kilkenny were far from their best in Croke Park on Sunday and yet still ran out double score winners over Dublin to win their first Leinster Senior Hurling Championship since 2011.

It’s the 13th Bob O’Keeffe Cup of the Brian Cody era as the Cats once more relied on the place-ball striking of TJ Reid. The Ballyhale Shamrocks man had ten points in total, four from frees with another four from the 65m line.

Dublin weren’t without their chances but Joey Holden stopped Johnny McCaffrey with a fine diving block before goalkeeper David Herity was sharp to deny Colm Cronin his second goal of the afternoon.

Lady GaaGaa

The Artane Boys band provided some interesting pre-game music in Croker too.

Wexford scare Clare as replay beckons

For so long it looked as if Wexford would provide a massive shock on Saturday evening but Clare are refusing to give up their All-Ireland hurling title without a fight and showed tremendous spirit to force a replay next weekend.

Trailing by four points with two minutes to go in normal time, Davy Fitzgerald’s men looked dead and buried. However, substitute Séadna Morey smashed in the rebound when Tony Kelly’s late penalty was saved before Conor Ryan pointed a last-gasp equaliser to save their summer.

The sides couldn’t be separated after extra time so must do it all again at Wexford Park next Saturday at 5pm. The big talking point of the first game though – on the pitch at least – was undoubtedly the red card shown to Podge Collins for this:

Callanan’s class too much for Tribesmen

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3-8 is as impressive a return as you’re likely to see in inter-county hurling and Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan will give defenders up and down the country nightmares if he can continue the form he showed in  their 3-25 to 4-13 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship First Round Qualifier win over Galway on Saturday.

In Ulster, Derry had the better of Down in their SHC semi-final reply. The Oak Leaf County running out seven-point winners, 2-19 to 1-15 at the Athletic Grounds.

Provincial titles in a minor key

  • Cork couldn’t even take any solace from the performance of their minor footballers this weekend as Kerry completed the double on Sunday. Killian Spillane lived up to his famous surname with a top-scoring 0-7 as the Kingdom had four points to spare in a 2-17 to 2-13 victory. 
  • There was also double joy for Kilkenny with the youngsters retaining their Leinster Minor Hurling Championship with an emphatic win over the Dubs in the Croke Park curtain raiser. Liam Blanchfield’s 2-3 was the highlight of a 2-19 to 2-10 victory.

Tweet of the week

She may be from Wicklow, but Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor has pledged her alleginces to a Kildare team after training with them during the week. The Irish boxing hero visited Ballykelly GFC in Monasterevin to run the players through their paces.

Two seasons on one pitch

The Irish weather summed up in one GAA warm-up:


What’s next?

There’s a whole heap of qualifiers taking place Saturday with Armagh’s clash with Tyrone the highlight in football and the Wexford/Clare replay one to watch in hurling.

On Sunday, two more provincial titles are up for grabs as Limerick look to defend their Munster hurling crown against Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh while Mayo will seek to win their fourth JJ Nestor Cup in succession with a win over Galway in the Connacht football decider at MacHale Park.

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