Monday, May 31, 2010

Shannon Blues v Kerry

Kerry 2-5 Shannon Blues 1-10

The two points that separated the sides at the end of the game did not really reflect the difference between the teams. The Blues dominated most of the game and comfortably led through most of the second half. Goals bookended Kerry’s day, one right from the get go and one right at the end. Removing those scores from the equation and the Blues dominance is more accurately reflected.

The early exchanges were committed and it looked as if we could be in for a good game of football. Each side fielded strong looking teams. Kerry got off to a golden start. Kevin Breen palmed the ball into the net as the Blues defence failed to deal with a high ball in the small square. John Cuddy disrupted things and Breen was on hand for the loose ball. The Blues settled however, and pointed from corner forward Justin Burke. Cathal O’Sullivan responded with a point for Kerry, but from then on it was all Blues.

Thomas Maloney started the move and Justin Burke finished with a goal for the Blues.

The Blues chipped away at Kerry’s lead mainly through Burke, who looks like an impressive scorer. After the Blues leveled affairs with three unanswered points, Burke finished a move that started with Thomas Maloney put the Blues a goal to the good. A serious lift would be required for the kingdom to get back on track, but it was the Blues who got the final score of the half from Pat Murray to lead by four at the break, 1-5 to 1-1.

Kerry had a golden chance to get back into the game after a penalty was awarded, however, Declan Hawes got down well to save and add to Kerry’s woes. At the other end, Bernard O’Connor saved well from Burke to keep Kerry in touching distance. The Blues, however, added to their lead with points from Murray and Maloney as Kerry struggled to come to grips with the game and frustration was evident in the ranks. Kerry managed to get something going for the last ten minutes of the half and try to salvage something from the game. Robbie Croft pointed three times and Steven Hogan once, but the Blues were able to match their opponents and maintain the lead. Kerry pressed for a goal as the Blues dropped deeper into their own half. Croft blazed wide after he picked up the rebound from a great save by Declan Hawes but the much needed goal that came from te boot of Steven Hogan proved too little too late for Kerry.

Kerry: B. O’Connor, M. Godley, S. Hogan (1-1), J. Molloy, S. O’Leary, R. Foley, T. Dennehy, M. Moffatt, C. O’Sullivan (0-1), K. Breen (1-0), R. Croft (0-3), D. Brosnan, J. Cuddy. Blues: D. Hawes, T. Wallace, M. McDonagh, S. Lennon, D. McElligott, S. Sinnott, P. Magee, P. Murray (0-1) ,K. McBride, C. Fitzgerald, E. Mullarkey (0-1), J. Burke (1-7), T. Maloney (0-1).
By Rory O'Donnell

Donegal v Armagh-Notre Dame - May 30

Donegal 3-14 Armagh-Notre Dame 1-2

Armagh-Notre Dame had the misfortune of opening their championship season against a very strong looking Donegal side. The game was a lopsided affair with Donegal keeping Armagh-Notre Dame scoreless for the first 30 minutes, while racking up a total of 1-7. It could have been more as Dean Burke made one tremendous save in the first half and saved a penalty kick. For Donegal it turned out to be an exercise in laying a claim for places, and it looks like the green and gold of the northwest could well be figuring in late August.

Darren McGowan plays the ball out of defence.

Donegal opened up with a goal right from the get go from wing forward, Brian Lafferty. Lafferty was a constant threat coming down Armagh’s left flank and tagged a couple of nicely taken points during the first half. It was all one way traffic and Armagh-Notre Dame scarcely managed a shot at goal. Stephen Dineen and Dominic Magill competed well in an effort to turn the tide for the men in orange and white, but Donegal were not for turning. The onslaught continued as Paddy Kelly swung into action and pointed four times before half time.

The Orchard County side got themselves on the scoreboard in the second half. Donal Byrne and Sean Butler each pointed, and Byrne goaled later in the game. However, it made as much difference to the final outcome as a BP effort to plug an oil leak. The scores kept gushing for Donegal. Peter Witherow looked impressive coming out of defence, Lafferty and Kelly pointed four times between them in the second period, while goals came from Kelly and John Lynch who stole forward from wing back. Stalwarts Kevin Curran and Michael McGinty also each pointed before all was said and done. It was an impressive outing for Donegal, and Armagh-Notre Dame will be looking for better things in their next outing.

Paddy Kelly was in good form for Donegal.

Donegal: B. Fitzpatrick, D. McGowan, J. Lynch (1-0), G. Reddin, P. Witherow, M. McGinty (0-1), T. Caldwell (0-1), B. Lafferty (1-4), E. Doonan (0-1), K. Curran (0-1), B. Kelly (0-1), P. Kelly (1-5). Armagh-ND: D. Burke, M. Graham, A. Doyle, F. Meehan, J. McCormack, D. Fields, C. Woods, S. Dineen, D. Maguire, D. Byrne (1-1), F. McClelland, D. Magill, G. Hall. Sub: S. Butler (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

McAnespies v Mayo - May 30

McAnespies 0-6 Mayo 0-5

Mayo will have come away from this game regretting having missed a golden opportunity to win at least a point off one of Boston’s big guns. The game was hard fought and in the end decided by the narrowest of margins, which in no way flattered Mayo. Both defences were in the ascendancy for most of the game and the forward lines struggled to find any rhythm or range. Mayo had numerous chances that could have won them the game, but the McAnespies back line held firm in the final ten minutes to preserve the win.

It was a hard fought contest between Macs and Mayo.

After one half of well contested, but disjointed play, McAnespies held the slightest of advantages. Having enjoyed more of the possession, McAnespies were a little guilty of overplaying the ball. Mayo, on the other hand, made the most of their chances. It was Mayo who opened the scoring with a free from the returning Dara McLaughlin, and Colm McCrory responded likewise for McAnespies. The sides then struggled to find a pattern to their play and a long scoreless spell ensued. Mayo’s David Carroll put the westerners ahead with a well taken point from distance. McAnepsies corner forwards , Kevin Brady and Dermot McCrudden then pointed three times between them to open a two point lead. McLaughlin finished the half with another free for Mayo to make it 0-4 to 0-3 at the half.

Does this pass the new handpass rule?

The second half followed a similar pattern. Mayo’s attacking efforts often ended in the hands of McAnespies corner back Martin Bogue, while Mayo’s Ciaran McLaughlin and Sean Clifford made life difficult for the McAnespies front men. As with the beginning of the first half, McLoughlin and McCrory traded points from frees. It would remain that way until 19 minutes in when Kevin Brady made up for a poorly attempted shot with a rifled score from 30 yards. Mayo’s efforts then took on a new sense of urgency and the westerners rallied upfield. A goal looked on at one point following one of the better moves of the half, but Shane Connolly got down well to save from Alan Benson. Mayo cut the lead to a point again with another McLaughlin free with five minutes to go. In an exciting last 5 minutes both sides narrowly missed scoring chances down the stretch as the game was up for grabs. Martin Bogue made the last block of the game to deny Gabe McTaggert the equalizing point, and McAnespies escaped with full points from an unexpectedly tough encounter.

Macs: S. Connolly, M. Bogue, N. Clancy, D. Wylie, C. O’Sullivan, C. O’Sullivan, D. Tobin, B. McGarr, N. Donaghy, G. Hennessy, C. McCrory (0-2), C. Clarke, K. Brady (0-3), D. McCrudden (0-1). Subs: S. Magill,C. Dempsey. Mayo: A. Townsend, S. Clifford, F. Coyne, M. Carolan, K. Comer, C. McLaughlin, G. McAllister, S. McDonagh, D. Carroll, G. McTaggert, K. McAllister (0-1), D. McLaughlin (0-4), A. Benson.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Championship Begins

The championship season opened in Canton on a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend. There were perfect sporting conditions, with sunny skies and light breeze. Ten teams took the field for the first games of the senior football championship. There were wins for Wolfe Tones, Connemara Gaels, Aiden McAnespies, Donegal, and the Shannon Blues. Donegal and Shannon Blues looked strong in their wins over Armagh-Notre Dame and Kerry respectively, while Mayo and Galway fell by a single point each to McAnespies and the Gaels. Reports to follow...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Championship Begins

Since the last post, Aiden McAnespies clamined the first silverware of the 2010 season by winning the Pat O'Brien Cup. The chamionship begins this Sunday with 5 senior football games on the schedule.

12:00 Cork v Wolfe Tones
1:15 Connemara Gaels v Galway
2:30 Aiden McAnespies v Mayo
3:45 Armagh-Notre Dame v Donegal
5:00 Kerry v Shannon Blues

Recently I had a little chat with Denis O'Brien, a former press box colleague, with some reflection on last season and looking forward to the coming one. Click on the link below and then hit play to listen.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pat O'Brien Cup

The Pat O'Brien Cup final will be contested between Kerry and Aiden McAnespies. Kerry defeated Armagh-Notre Dame by 5 points in today's semi-final, while McAnespies defeated Donegal by a single point in a closely fought contest.

Tipperary defeated Fr. Tom Burkes by 1-22 to 1-14 in the Sheehan Cup.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cup Competitions

Last Sunday Donegal beat Galway in the Pat O'Brien Cup quarter final.

Next week sees the cup semi-finals between Aiden McAnespies and Donegal at 1:30 and Kerry v Armagh-Notre Dame at 4:00pm.

The Kieran Sheehan Cup in hurling begins with Tipperary v Fr. Tom Burkes at 2:45.

I will start posting reports once the championships begin on May 30.