Monday, July 30, 2018

Sunday July 29 - Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Donegal

Donegal 3-11 Wolfe Tones 2-11

The Tones and Donegal kept the powder dry for this encounter, leaving some of their big guns on the bench.  Dermot Connolly and Brendan Murphy did not see any action for Donegal, and likewise for James Dolan and James McEntee for the Tones.  It was a game that the Tones were always chasing, but it was a man of the match performance in goal by Hugh Yank Boyle that delivered the goods for Donegal in the end.

Mike O'Brien makes a burst forward.
Donegal got off to the better start, picking off 5 points before the Tones got on the board.  Conor Small, Oisin O’Neill, Shane Carthy and Michael Carroll were on the mark as Donegal had control of affairs early on.  The Tones eventually got into the game, Ronan Jones and Dean Curran pointed, however, Donegal hit with a well worked goal from Neil McEnaeney.  The Tones got the goal back through Chris Sallier after he was played in with a nice ball from Aaron Elliott.

With Donegal still ahead on the scoreboard the Tones enjoyed the better of things for the last 15 minutes of the half and could have had a couple more  goals.  Donegal had Hugh Boyle to thank for getting down bravely to save from Curran and then later got a hand to a shot from Jones to put the ball out for a 45.  Carroll pointed for Donegal before the break and Jones chipped over a free and at the break it was 2 point Donegal lead, 1-6 to 1-4.

Kieran McDevitt on the ball for Donegal.
The second half saw Donegal build a sizeable lead with 2 goals from substitute, Tiernan Flanagan, after opening the second period with 4 unanswered points.  Donegal were motoring with Carthy and Carroll full of running in the middle of the field.  The Tones, however, dug in their heels and some good tackling saw them win back several balls to convert into points.  Sallier and Jones whet the appetite, and the introduction of Leitrim native, Robbie Cunningham, gave them some punch up front.

Cunningham netted and it was the Tones turn to go on a mini run, pointing 4 times to one for Donegal with the last 5 minutes approaching.  There was just a goal in it after Jones pointed, but it could easily have been the Tones with the advantage in the run in; Boyle saved well on a couple of occasions from point blank range and has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to Donegal this season.  Time ran out on the Tones and the win for Donegal puts them alone in pole position atop the table.  Will it be these 2 teams in the final?  Plenty to be decided yet.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Liam Silke, Niall Keenan, Sean Doherty, Jason Noctor, Neil McEnaney, Shane Carthy, Michael Carroll, Conor Small, Jason Leonard, Sean Donnelly, Ciaran McDevitt, Oisin O’Neill.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Eoin Buggie, Keith Gill, Oisin Kelly, Kevin Maguire, Jack Lynch, Aaron Elliott, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, Thomas Reilly, Dean Curran, Chris Sallier, Sean Moore.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 29 - Senior Football: Aidan McAnespies v Galway

Aidan McAnespies 6-19 Galway 2-10

Aidan McAnespies kept their championship hopes alive with a win over Galway.  It was a game that was more of a workout for McAnespies given that there was nothing in it for Galway, and McAnespies made the most of the game time.  Although out of the running, Galway played well in spells, but never looked like causing any sort of a surprise result. 

Che O'Donnell pops one over for McAnespies.
Galway tallied the first 2 points of the game, but thereafter it was McAnespies dictating affairs.  Johnny Lafferty at corner forward saw plenty of the ball and converted possession into scores.  A goal came from the boot of the man from Urney after Phil McCusker found him unmarked at the far post.  A slew of points followed, a couple of well taken efforts from Eamonn Fyffe and Che O’Donnell along with Lafferty’s efforts were followed by another goal from Fyffe.  It was a somewhat fortuitous score, a slightly mis-hit shot for a point ended up sneaking just inside the post.

Galway had their moments, Jamie Keogh stole in for a goal and Galway tallied several points, an Adam Gallagher point and scores from Cian McMonagle  put a more respectable appearance on the scoreboard.  McAnespies kept up the pressure, and a third goal before half time well and truly laid the matter to rest.  This one was from Danny McBride after a one-two with Fyffe left the big Strabane man with just the keeper to beat.  At the break it was a 3-11 to 1-7 McAnespies lead.

Eric Finn gets tied up by Paddy Naughton.
The second 30 minute period was a foregone conclusion as McAnespies brought in the subs early.  Fyffe and Seamus Breslin added a couple of goals within the first 10 minutes of the restart, and with the game in the bag McAnespies look forward to 2 weeks from now when they will be hoping the Wolfe Tones can defeat the Connemara Gaels, and there will be a playoff to decide the last semi-final place.

Macs:  Robert Croft, Caolan Harvey, Eoin Delmer, Rob Piggott, Daniel O’Neill, Seamus Breslin, Declan Hughes, Philip McCusker, Danny McBride, Che O’Donnell, Eric Finn, Johnny Lafferty, Eamonn Fyffe.

Galway: Jamie Kelly, Tom Davey, Daire Quinn, Greg Lundy, Declan Walsh, Ryan Forde, Paddy Naughton, Ray Conneeley, Sean Moriarty, Adam Gallagher, Christian Bannon, Jamie Kehoe, Cian McMonagle.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 29 - Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Fr. Tom Burke's

Fr. Tom Burke’s 2 -11 Tipperary 7-18

Tipperary look like odds on favourites for the senior hurling championship based on their display on Sunday where they handily defeated a Tom’s team that had beaten Galway the week before.  With players of the strength of Jerry O’Neill at center back and Joe Coleman at center forward, Tipp powered through Tom’s to put the game away before half time.

Fr. Tom's Jack Martyn turns.
The first half was a tight affair for about 20 minutes until Tipperary put away 2 goals in quick succession to establish a formidable 11 point lead.  Tom’s started well, and an early goal kept them in it.  After 15 minutes the sides were level, 1-4 for Tom’s to 0-7 for Tipp.  Tom’s goal came from Dwane Palmer, the Camross man had just the keeper to beat from 21 yards and made no mistake.

Tipperary took over however for the second 15 minutes of the opening period.  Joe Coleman put a free over from about the middle of the field, and from the Tom’s puckout Tipp won possession and Coleman was there to drive the ball into the far corner.  The goal was followed by a fantastic point from Kieran Bennett who displayed considerable skill to keep the ball on the run and put it over from a tight angle.  Tipperary then took over the game, putting the ball into the net 3 more times before the break. Dean Coleman made a great run to set up Russell Quirke for one, and for another Quirke cheekily lobbed the ball over the keeper into the far corner.  Tipp in total control at the half, 4-11 to 1-6.

Joe Coleman lines up a shot.
Two Tipp goals early in the second half served almost as a warning to Tom’s to not even think of attempting a comeback.  Coleman got both goals to rack up a hat trick of majors.  Tom’s introduced Vincent Doyle, Conor Freeman, and Seamie Higgins from the line and their efforts got somewhat of a lift.  Doyle and Freeman put a brace of points over between them, but Tipp powered on ahead with some skillful scores from Dean Coleman and Quirke, and a Joe Coleman penalty really rubbed in the salt.

Tom’s had a couple of chances to chances to bang in another goal or two, but Tipp keeper Evan Condon did well to keep the ball out on both occasions.  Not that it mattered in terms of championship placement, Tipperary have the bye into the final, while Tom’s and Galway will meet in the semi to decide the other finalist in 3 week’s time.

Tom’s:  Kevin Flynn, Craig Taylor, Dean Earls, Danny Burke, Michael Moloney, Dylan Costello, Dwane Palmer, Jason Costello, Shane Howley, Dean Flood, John Buckley, Ali Dooey, Jack Martyn.

Tipp:  Evan Condon, Daragh Fanning, Sean McGarr, John Kindregan, Jerry O’Neill, Kieran Bennett, Simon Kennedy, Sean Delaney, Shane Bennett, Joe Coleman, Stephen Lambert, Russell Quirke, Dean Coleman.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 29 - Senior Hurling: Offaly v Galway

Offaly 1-13 Galway 2-18

Galway came back from last week’s loss to Tom’s with a win over a game Offaly team who put in a great effort to turn the Tribe.  Offaly led early but Galway chipped away and late in the game goaled through Aidan Helebert to put the game beyond Offaly, who started to struggle a bit in the final quarter. 

Offaly's Seamus Loftus tries to gain possession.
The teams were tied at 1-8 each after 30 minutes.  Offaly played well at the back, and Jack Murray did well in the middle of the field, as did Cian Clifford at corner forward.  Offaly’s goal came courtesy of Clifford who got on the end of a high Jack Dunphy ball to reverse bat it into the Galway net.  Offaly points came from the usually reliable source of Niall Mannion, from play and the dead ball, while Jimmy Rigney and Dunphy also drove over some great long range scores.

Galway kept pace however, although the tribesmen trailed by 6 points at one stage they were not long pulling it back.  Jack Lyons at corner forward always looked dangerous.  At one point Gary Sherlok made a great close range save from Lyons, but about 5 minutes later Lyons had another chance and this time hit the back of the net.  Aidan Helebert was a little off early in the half, missing a handful of long range frees, but started to hit the mark as time wore on.  Oisin Donnellan clipped two nice efforts over the bar just before half time to make it a tie game at the break.

Offaly did well in the early going, but it was 
Galway who lasted the the 60 minutes.
With 15 minutes left Galway had edged into a 2 point lead.  Jack Lyons came into a deeper position, and at the back Trevor Lee did well.  One Galway score came from some good work at the back from Lee, and it ended with a Lyons point.  Center back Calum Lyons started to clean up a lot of loose ball into the Galway defence, and cleared well on several occasions to neutralize Offaly’s forays forward.

Offaly kept digging though, Emmet Moran worked hard at corner back, and a couple of half chances at goal presented themselves.  Clifford shot from an angle and John Coleman saved well and with 10 to go Jack Lynch had a half chance that went into the side netting.  Galway added to their lead and points from Helebert and John Moylan made it a two score game.  Mannion pulled one back but with the humid conditions taking their toll on players, scores were at a premium.  A Helebert goal with 5 minutes left sealed Offaly’s fate; 6 points looked like a mountain the way the game was going.  Galway bounce back following last week’s defeat to Tom’s, and Offaly just ran out of steam when the game was still in the balance.

Galway:  John Coleman, Trevor Lee, Cormac Dunphy, Brendan Furlong, Calum Lyons, Ryan Garry, Oisin Donnellan, Enda Feeney, Michael Moylan, Aidan Helebert, Adam Kenny, John Moylan, Jack Lyons.

Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Emmet Moran, Thomas Quirke, Jack Murray, Seamus Loftus, Oisin McCormack, Chris McMahon, Jack Dunphy, Niall Mannion, James Rigney, Jack Lynch, Cillian Campbell, Cian Clifford.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 29 - Junior B Football: Galway v Seán Óg’s

Galway 4-11 Seán Óg’s 1-10
Galway came out winners in the end over a good challenge from Seán Óg’s on Sunday afternoon.  Seán Óg’s, the development team that just started this year, led at the break thanks to a Kieran O’Driscoll penalty.  O’Driscoll was fouled in the box, and took the penalty himself expertly low and into the bottom corner.  The goal put his side a point to the good.  Galway had pointed twice through Kevin Cummins, and one from mark King, and for Seán Óg’s  it was Eoin Gormley and Mike Moylan who pointed.
Galway topped the Junior B Football table with a win on Sunday.
With Dennis Harrington doing well in the back line, and Sean Winston farther forward, Seán Óg’s  were more than holding their own against one of the better sides in the competition.  O’Driscoll added a point to the lead, but Galway had the ace in the corner in Cummins, and two more came from his boot before half time.  Michael Kerr put a lovely effort from a tight angle over the bar before the half time whistle, and it was a 0-6 to 1-4 advantage for the youngsters.
Seán Óg’s have the hallmarks of a team that will be a force in the future.

Galway demonstrated their credentials in the competition and pushed it in the second half, and netted 4 times to clinch the win.  Right from the restart Cummins netted, but Seán Óg’s leveled it up within 10 minutes, and took a one point lead.  In the final quarter however, it was the Tribesmen who pushed hard and another Cummins goal was followed by 2 from Niall Manning.  The result gives Galway top seed in the semi-finals.  Other results meant that with 3 teams in joint third, lots had to be drawn.  Cork drew third place and will play Donegal in one semi-final.  Kerry and the Gaels must play off Tuesday, August 7 to see who will play Galway in the other semi-final.  
Galway:  Colin Melody, Seamus Gallagher, Kevin Healy, Mark King, Paul Cummins, Peter Dolan, Sean Whelan, Niall Manning, Kieran Keegan, JJ O’Neill, Cormac Kelly, William Edmonds, Kevin Cummins.
Seán Óg’s :  Cathal Conroy, Declan Harrington, Jack Kelly, Peter Bannon, Denis Harrington, Eoin Morissey, Mike Moylan, Stephen Joyce, Colm O’Malley, Sean Winston, Michael Kerr, Kieran O’Driscoll, Eoin Gormley.
By Rory O'Donnell

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunday July 22 - Senior Football: Shannon Blues v Aidan McAnespies

Aidan McAnespies 0-13 Shannon Blues 0-18
It was a game in which a win would virtually guarantee a semi-final place, and it was the Blues who pulled it out in the end after a brilliant championship encounter.  The game could have gone either way.  It was looking like McAnespies who might be the team to take the points, as with less than 15 minutes to go and the Blues in a 2 point lead, McAnespies won a penalty.  Robbie Croft’s shot came off the foot of the post, and with the let off, the momentum was then with the Blues for the last 10 minutes.  The reigning Boston and North American champions took full advantage to seal the deal down the stretch.
Darren Wallace with a tackle on Eric Finn.
It was a hotly contested first half with McAnespies building the early lead.  The Macs were on top of the Blues for the opening 20 minutes, from Eric Finn in the half back line, to Declan Hughes in midfield and Albert Martin at corner forward.  Points from Robbie Croft, who started in goal and came out to take the free, Martin and Finn inched McAnespies ever further ahead.
The Blues looked to Glenflesk dynamo, Darragh Roche, in the corner to produce - and produce he did, with three points on the trot.  The Blues pulled themselves back into the game.  PJ Hand played it close to the edge at corner back, earning a yellow card, but keeping tabs on Albert Martin while Brian Fanning had his hands full with John Lafferty.  Points from Connell Lemon, Roche, and the stylish St. Mary’s Caherciveen man, Paul O’Donoghue, saw the Blues on level terms at the break, with eight points a-piece. 
It was a real scramble for possession at times
between the Macs and the Blues.
The teams could not separate over the first 15 minutes following the restart.  Each McAnespies go-ahead point was answered by the Blues.  Finn continued to work hard for McAnespies, and made a crucial interception at one end and assisting with a point at the other; the man from the Round Towers club in Dublin put in a great hour for McAnespies.  The Blues were almost in for a goal, but with Darren Wallace’s eyes wide with the goal looming, Croft made a great tackle to deny the Tralee man and the Blues a goal.  It was up and down stuff with each side looking to gain the edge as players were giving it everything.
The final quarter saw each team bring in players off the line.  Eamonn Fyffe came on for McAnespies and for the Blues Brian Egan, each brought on to provide some extra punch in the forward line.  The Blues defence tackled hard, but on one occasion a little too hard as John Lafferty was pulled down in the box and a penalty awarded.  Croft left his goal to take it and after a slight hesitation in the run up, the shot came off the foot of the post and the Blues breathed a sigh of relief. 
The Blues capitalized on the let-off and added a point to their lead from O’Donoghue, and with a few minutes left looked good to keep themselves in the championship.  Roche added another point to make it a 2 score game and there was just not going to be enough time for McAnespies to come back.  With one game left each, both against Galway, the Blues just need to win to be assured of a semi-final place.  McAnespies will need to defeat Galway, and hope that the Tones can do them a favor against the Gaels to force a playoff for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Macs:  Robbie Croft, Robert Piggott, Caolan Harvey, Eric Finn, Danny McBride, Eoin Delmer, Declan Hughes, Warner Mullen, Seamus Breslin, Che O’Donnell, Paul Clifford, John Lafferty, Albert Martin.
Blues:  Mike Moriarty, PJ Hand, Brian Fanning, Derek O’Brien, Michael Cotterell, Dennis McElligottt, Jerry Troy, Maurice Young, Connell Lemon, Darren Wallace, Paul O’Donoghue, Darragh Roche, Stephen Cahill.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 22 - Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Donegal

Donegal 1-15 Connemara Gaels 0-10 
Donegal tallied another win in the senior football championship against a dogged Connemara Gaels who were eager to make amends for a disappointing outing the last time the teams met.  The Gaels made Donegal fight for everything they got, but did not have enough to get a result out of the game.  It was all square at the break, but in the second half Donegal limited the Gaels to 2 points and did what was needed to secure the win by keeping the points column ticking over.
Brendan Murphy looks focused as David Lynch shadows.
The Gaels gave as good as they got in the opening 30 minutes and went in all square at the break.  Eoin Connolly made on fantastic save with his foot with Michael Carroll only having to put the finishing touch on a sweeping Donegal move.  Carroll tried to slide the ball home and Connolly’s reaction was DeGea-esque to keep the ball out of the net with his foot.  The teams started off converting 2 points each, Keith Beirne with frees for the Gaels and Dermot Connolly for Donegal.  Connolly was given a yellow card for an off the ball foul on his marker about half way through, but apart from two pulled long range dead ball efforts, did well with converting the frees.  Donegal looked like they were taking over the game, the northerners won the Gaels kickouts on most occasions, and went into a 3 point lead after Carroll, Connolly, and Brendan Murphy converted.
The big men up for the restart.
The Gaels defence did well on several occasions to stand their ground and turn the ball over with Donegal’s big men surging through, and as the half reached its conclusion, managed to tie up the game with a well taken David Black score followed by two from Beirne.  The Gaels forward line had to work hard against a solid Donegal defence to get any return, and will have been pleased at the break to see themselves level at seven points each.
Donegal eventually started to wear their opponents down in the second half.  Ciaran McFaul opened the scoring with a beautiful point and was followed by another from center back, Eoin McHugh.  The Gaels again were struggling to win possession from their own kickouts, and though the Connemara men defended well, the Donegal defence were on top when the ball made its way to the other end of the field.  An example of Donegal’s upper had was when a Connolly point from play came from a Gaels turnover from an attack deep in the Donegal half. 
With Donegal ahead by two points the northerners introduced rising Armagh star, Oisin O’Neill to the fray and the Crossmaglen youngster had an immediate impact with a point.  Connolly again denied Carroll with a point blank save to prevent a goal that surely would have signaled the opening of the floodgates, and Donegal had to content themselves with inflicting death by a thousand cuts by slowly chipping away at the points.   With 5 minutes left it was a 5 point game after another O’Neill free as the minutes ticked away.  Youth league product, Mark Dunphy, netted for Donegal in injury time to gloss up the scoreboard after he was found with the lovely cross field ball from O’Neill.  Another win for the northerners in the books after a shaky start to the season, and Donegal secure with a semi-final place.  The Gaels will be hoping for a result in their final game against the Wolfe Tones to avoid a possible playoff with McAnespies for the final semi-final spot.
Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Liam Silke, Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, Eoin McHugh, Neil McEneaney, Brendan Murphy, Michael Carroll, Shane Carthy, Ciaran McFaul, Sean Donnelly, Ciaran McDevitt, Diarmaid Connolly.
Gaels: Eoin Connolly, Martin O’Connor, David Black, David Lynch, Sean Mulkerrins, Kieran Killeen, Colm Brennan, Glen Malone, Chris Cunningham, Keith Beirne, AJ Maguire, Ryan Galvin, Dessie Conneeley.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 22 - Ladies Senior Football: Connacht Ladies v Boston Shamrocks

Kelly Boyce Jordan tried to escape the tackle of
Emer McHugh.
Connacht Ladies 1-8 Boston Shamrocks 0-5 
It was a hard fought game between the ladies senior football teams on Sunday afternoon.  With the forecasted storms holding off, conditions were still difficult with light rain having fallen.  As it turned out, Connacht Ladies evened up the series of games with a well-earned win, and with 2 games left, the series will go the distance at a minimum.
The slippery conditions did not make for finesse football, and in the opening quarter scores were at a premium.  There were plenty of chances for each side, however, neither side managed to come to terms with putting the ball over the bar.  The Shamrocks defence were under a bit more pressure than their counterparts from Connacht.  Catherine Boyle, Aisling Kerr, and Maedbh McGleenan were very involved in the efforts of Connacht Ladies, but the pressure did not pay off on the scoreboard.  Kelly Jordan and Laura McKiernan led the Shamrocks defence in keeping Connacht Ladies at bay as much as possible.  Connacht wasted several scoring chances, after the first 15 minutes had tallied a goal and a point but it could have been more.  Jane Ward accounted for the goal after getting on the end of a high ball into the small square, and fisted it home. 
Realtin McElhinney with Maedbh McGleenan shadowing.
The Shamrocks attacked on the break and linked well going forward, however, the end product was also too often off the mark.  An early Nicola Judge free was the only reward for their efforts as the half wore on.  Katie Black, Niamh Harney, and Ciara Murphy were very involved.  Connacht hit with a flurry of scores towards the end of the half, back to back points from Ward were followed by another from Aoife Heffernan, and lovely conversion from Kim Cobb as Connacht finally found their range.  At the break the Connacht Ladies were looking good to even up the championship series as they held a 1-5 to 0-1 lead.
The Shamrocks kept chipping away at the Connacht Lead in the second half.  Jordan in defence and Niamh Harney were at the forefront for the Shamrocks, while Kiernan played a roving role, linking well between the backs and forwards.  Harney popped over 4 points, three from frees as the Shamrocks pulled themselves back into it.  With the defence hanging tough, and just 5 points between the sides, it was all to play for in the final 15 minutes.
Connacht applied some pressure with the game entering the last 10 minutes, and the Shamrocks defenders were tenacious in their efforts, with Cathy McEleaney not giving an inch.  At the other end, Catherine Boyle and Shauneen McAleer held firm for their side.  Eventually a point from Aoife Heffernan for the westerners restored the 6 point gap.  The Shamrocks began to look for a goal with less than 5 minutes left, however, the Connacht defence gave nothing away.  Each side now with three points in the series, and now it will take a minimum of 5 games to decide the eventual 2018 champions.
Connacht:  Rachel O’Driscoll, Catherine Cullen, Shauneen McAleer, Jackie McDonagh, Catherine Boyle, Triona Kelly, Steph Dunn, Aoife Heffernan, Aisling Kerr, Ciara Heffernan, Maedbh McGleenan, Kim Cobb, Jane Ward, Joanne McDonnell, Emer McHugh.
Shamrocks:  Erin Cody, Katie McGovern, Cathy McEleaney, Realtin McElhinney, Kelly Boyce Jordan, Anne Marie McDonnell, Roisin Hession, Niamh McLaughlin, Katie Black, Chloe Baker, Shelly Melia, Niamh Harney, Ciara Murphy, Nicola Judge, Laura Kiernan.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sun July 22 - Junior A Football: Donegal v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 1-13 Donegal 3-16 
With the sky threatening to burst, and in drizzly conditions, Donegal and the Gaels played an entertaining game of football Sunday afternoon.  Donegal looked like they would run away with it in the early going, but the Gaels bounced back and made a game of it.  Donegal, though, always held the edge and saw it through to a comfortable win in the end.  The win puts Donegal firmly in third place in the junior A table with the Gaels and McAnespies tied for fourth spot.
Eoghan McGettigan clips another point for Donegal.
Sam Feerick and Lee McCarron up close and personal.
Donegal went into the break with a 2 goal lead thanks to some early pressure that paid off handsomely.  For the first 15 minutes it was Donegal who held a decided upper hand.  An early point was followed by a goal from Eoghan McGettigan, the number 11 from Naomh Conall in Donegal was very instrumental in Donegal’s attacking moves.  With the Gaels on the ropes early, Donegal hit with a second goal, this time it was corner forward, Ashley Carr who did the honors.  With Donegal’s defence on top and the scores coming easy, it looked as though there could be a whitewash on the cards. 
The Gaels got a grip on things after Beragh, Co. Tyrone man, and top class handballer, Johnny Woods, was introduced to the game.  After several missed opportunities to score from frees or from play, the Gaels began to find some steam and converted points.  There could have been a goal after a nice passing move ended up the hands of Sam Feerick, but he got under the ball with the keeper bearing down and put it over.  More scores from Niall Collins, Kevin Owens, and Tom Duignan meant that it was a two goal Donegal lead at the break, 2-6 to 0-6.
The Gaels got the second half off to a good start by rattling off 3 unanswered points, Collins, Feerick, and youngster, Ger Davoran, did well around the middle of the field as the Gaels were on top.  Donegal had plenty in the tank however, and eventually got back into their rhythm, putting 3 over themselves and restoring the 2 goal advantage.  McGettigan pointed nicely twice, and Darren Grant once.  It was tit for tat after that, with each Gaels point answered by Donegal and the difference between the teams enduring.
The final 15 minutes saw Donegal take a firm grip of affairs.  Grant, Pauric McLaughlin, and McGettigan put four points over between them, and the result looked in little doubt then.  The Gaels pulled goal back as the westerners kept working at it.  Paddy McGee was pulled down in the box, and Duignan dispatched the kick into the back of the net.  Donegal still had plenty of a cushion to work with however, and in the end Ashley Carr netted a third goal to make it a handsome win in the end.
Gaels:  Steven Murray, Ken Murphy, Oisin McCormack, Tom Griffin, Sam Feerick, Tom Duignan, Ger Davoran, Niall Collins, Paddy McGee, Liam Costello, AJ Maguire, Aidan Joyce, Kevin Owens.
Donegal:  Lee McCarron, Declan McBride, Darren Doherty, Sean Winston, Aidan McLaughlin, Gavin Reilly, Darren Grant, Rocky Ivers, Conor Brennan, Padraig McLaughlin, Eoghan McGettigan, Ashley Carr, Ethan McDevitt.

By Rory O'Donnell

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sunday July 15 - Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Aidan McAnespies

Daniel O'Neill in possession with Ronan Jones
looking to pounce.
Aidan McAnespies 0-13 Wolfe Tones 4-17 
Wolfe Tones put McAnespies to the sword with a surprisingly resounding win at the ICC on Sunday.  The Tones had a wealth of speed and scoring ability, whether it be James McEntee in the half back line or Dean Curran at corner forward the Tones showed a clean pair of heels on numerous occasions.  McAnespies sputtered and played in fits and starts but never really got into any kind of rhythm and in the end it was a romp for the Tones a couple of late goals.
The opening period saw the Tones streak into a substantial lead.  For about a 20 minute period the Tones had McAnespies on the ropes and rattled off a goal and seven points with one in reply from their opponents.  McAnespies were not at the races in any shape or form.  Dean Curran got the streak off with a fine point off his left foot, and another well taken effort from James McEntee underlined the Tones dominance as they streamed forward from the half back line.  Ronan Jones converted two frees, and then came the goal from Chris Sallier.  A high ball into the corner was gathered by Sallier and the Thomas Davis clubman cut in along the endline, beat the advancing keeper and put the ball home.
Robbie Croft and McAnespies had a tough time
breaking the Tones back line.

The final 10 minutes of the half saw McAnespies eat into the deficit as Warner Mullen came into the game at center forward.  The Strabane native converted two points and was heavily involved in many of the McAnespies attacking moves.  Che O’Donnell and Croft pointed 3 frees between them and at the break the difference between the teams was 6 points, 0-6 to 1-10 in the Tones favour.
The second half saw the Tones put the game away with 2 more goals.  There was an unsavoury incident off the ball that resulted in red cards for Declan Kidney and Thomas Beckett.  McAnespies looked as if they could be reining in the lead after getting off to a good start.  Three points on the trot, one from Croft and 2 from Lafferty pulled McAnespies within 4 points, and then came the red cards.  The Tones second goal came shortly afterwards, with Dolan involved and Curran with the finish. 
A streak of a goal and four points ensued to kill the game.  McEntee was involved in the goal and the game was over as a contest with the teams playing out time.  The win puts the Tones atop the table with McAnespies and the Blues looking like they will be in a dogfight for the final place in the semi-finals.
Macs:  Anthony Kidney, Eoin Delmer, Daniel O’Neill, Paul Clifford, Rob Piggott, Caolan Harvey, Declan Hughes, Danny McBride, Albert Martin, Warner Mullen, Che O’Donnell, John Lafferty, Robbie Croft.
Tones:  Shane Hayes, Kevin Maguire, Eoin Buggie, Mike O’Brien, Jack Lynch, James McEntee, Ronan Jones, Aaron Elliott, James Dolan, Thomas O’Reilly, Thomas Beckett, Dean Curran, Chris Sallier.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 15 - Senior Hurling: Galway v Offaly

Offaly 2-17 Galway 4-28
Two goals and 17 points is no score to sniff at, but when your opponents are not too far from double that you are in trouble as Offaly found out on Sunday.  Galway were always a step or two ahead of their opponents, and while Offaly battled on gamely and tallied a respectable score, it was never going to be enough against a Galway side that had all their forwards with handsome contributions on the scoresheet.
Emmet Moran comes away with the ball for Offaly.
The first half saw Galway establish a substantial lead and watch it grow as the game wore on.  Oisin Donnellan at right half forward was very influential for Galway and the Galway puckouts were frequently sent in the direction of the Clareman.   Donnellan, along with his fellow half forwards each were on the scoreboard within the first 3 minutes as the Galway forward line were on target early.  Every shot was hit with true and between the posts.
Galway veteran James Kinsella sends it downfield.
Offaly kept close in the early going, however, after Jack Whelehan had made it a two point game with a fine score, Galway took over and grew their lead.  It is the first goal that tends to open the floodgates, and so it was after Jack Lyons netted following an assist from Aidan Helebert.  Points came from Frank McCormack, Helebert, and Jack Lyons as Offaly struggled to find a way past the Galway half back line.  Offaly worked hard to keep their own side of the scoreboard ticking over, Emmet Moran at corner back did well, while Niall Mannion put chances over the bar.  It was hard to make a dent in the gap for the Faithful men, however, and at the break Galway held a handsome lead.
The second half was more of the same as Galway continued to press home their advantage.  Offaly managed a couple of late consolation goals.  Mannion was played in by Jimmy Rigney and beat the keeper with a one hopper, and later in the game the wing forward found the net a second time.  Galway still in second place in the table, while it looks like it is between Offaly and Wexford for the fourth place and  a chance at junior honors.
Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Conor Grimes, Emmet Moran, Jack Whelehan, Seamus Loftus, Oisin McCormack, Donal O’Dwyer, Jack Dunphy, Niall Mannion, Jack Murray, Jimmy Rigney, Brian Ramsey, Cian Clifford.
Galway:  John Coleman, Trevor Lee, John Moylan, Brendan Furlong, Shane O’Gorman, James Kinsella, Calum Lyons, Frank McCormack, Adam Kenny, Aidan Helebert, Oisin O’Donnell, Jack Lyons, Enda Feeney.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 15 - Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Galway

Owen Gallagher and the Galway forwards
met a wall of Gaels defenders.
Connemara Gaels 4-17 Galway 0-9 
Connemara Gaels ended Galway’s slim hopes of staying alive in the 2018 senior football championship.  Keith Byrne at center forward and Des Conneeley at corner forward proved difficult for Galway to handle, while at the other end the Connemara men defended well, and in numbers, to keep the Galway attacking threats contained.
Three first half goals for the Gaels put them into the driver’s seat as the old defensive ghosts continued to haunt Galway.  With Galway ahead by 2 points to one, the Gaels hit with a goal right from the kickout just after Owen Gallagher had pointed for the Tribesmen.  Stephen O’Brien won the ball in the middle of the field and Keith Byrne kept a cool head to finish.  The second came right away courtesy of Tyler Flaherty with the feed from fellow corner forward, Des Conneeley, and third came from Conneeley himself who was busy in the corner for most of the first 30 minutes. 
Galway could have easily put their heads down, but the Tribesmen stuck to their task and started to convert points.  Cian McMonagle was on the mark from the dead ball, however, the Gaels clogged up the defence with bodies and there was hardly any room to swing a leg.  Ray Ryan was in with a goal chance near the end of the half, but Eoin Connolly got down well to make a fine save from close range.  The Gaels picked off points from Bergin, Flaherty, and Conneeley and at the break led by a score of 3-6 to 0-6.
Colman Mulkerrin shoots for the Gaels.
The second half saw the Gaels extend their lead.  Galway had made a few positional adjustments and started the half with promising endeavor, but it was short lived as the Gaels started to find their range and float over the points.  Byrne looked more comfortable at center forward as the game wore on and the Leitrim native popped over 3 lovely scores.  Galway continued to find the going tough at the forward end of the field as the Gaels defended in numbers. 
With the outcome in little doubt enter the subs, and the fresh legs of Ryan Galvin and Pat O’Donnell the Gaels lifted their game for the final 15 minutes.  Another goal came from Coneeley as the quick passing Gaels took advantage of tired Galway legs.  The Gaels take a step towards solidifying their playoff credentials, while for Galway it was their last chance to keep the door open.

Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, David Black, M O’Connor, Kieran Killeen, Sean Mulkerins, Christy Cunningham, Colm Brennan, Stephen O’Brien, Colman Mulkerrin, Kieth Byrne, Kenny Gavigan, Tyler Flaherty, Desmond Conneeley.
 Galway:  James Kelly, Daire Quinn, Paddy Naughton, Stuart Cullen, Greg Lundy, Sean Moriarty, Alan Egan, Ryan Forde, Ray Ryan, Owen Gallagher, Adam Gallagher, Jamie Keogh, Cian McMonagle.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday July 15 - Junior A Football: Shannon Blues v Christopher's

James Feeney bursts forward for the Blues.
Sean McHugh shoots as Christopher's attack again.
Christopher’s 4-13 Shannon Blues 0-6 
Christopher’s notched another win in the junior football championship with a lopsided win over the Shannon Blues.  It was evident from the early going that Christopher’s held the cards and were up 6 points to 2 after 10 minutes.  A goal came from Ronan Geraghty, and it was always on the cards as Christopher’s had threatened early.  A nice finish from to the far corner of the net from the Mayo man.  For the Blues James Feeney tallied a point in response, but it was seldom that the Blues found themselves with a chance and at the break it was a 2-6 to 0-2 differential.
In the second half there were more goals for Christopher’s.  Killian Ryan stole up from midfield to fire into the back of the net, and later in the half it was substitute Mark McSweeney with a third.  The Blues kept at it, Conor Mullen and Maurice Young put scores up as some of the hard work paid off on the scoreboard, but overall it was a losing battle.  Christopher’s sailed through to another handsomewin.  It is starting to look as though Christopher’s are positioning themselves for a serious challenge for the junior a title and it could be an epic one with Cork looking to repeat from last year.
Blues:  Shane Nammock, Derek O’Brien, Richie Neary, Brian Fannon, John Craig, Liam Brandley, Pat Murray, Maurice Young, Conor Fitzgerald, James Feeney, Conor Mullen, Michael Ralston, Daragh Murphy.
Christopher’s:  Jerry Kenneally, Mark Russell, Gerry Bannon, Sean McHugh, Pat Kenneally, Tom Kinsley, Killian Ryan, James Horgan, Mark Delaney, Chris Moynihan, John Cronin, Ronan Geraghty, Dan Kenneally.

By Rory O'Donnell

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sun July 8 - Senior Football: Donegal v Galway

Galway 1-5 Donegal 2-15

Donegal waited until the second half to deliver the knockout blows to Galway in another facile win for the star studded team.  Galway defended well and created enough chances to keep it close in the first half, but a team like Donegal will make you pay for misses and mistakes, and so it was, as Donegal sailed away in the second half with a 13 point win.

Galway's Cian McMonagle challenged by Liam Silke.
At the half it was Donegal by double scores, 0-6 to 0-3.  With Carlow man Brendan Murphy lining out in the middle of the field alongside Shane Carthy, Ciaran McFaul at center forward and Dermot Connolly at corner forward, Donegal held the aces.  Galway, for their part, dug in to contain the Donegal threat.  Connolly opened the scoring, and Galway answered with a Cian McMonagle point.  Galway had a number of early chances that drifted wide.  The tribesmen moved the ball well in the early going, and at one stage Ryan Forde found himself with the keeper to beat, but the angle was tight and Hugh Boyle saved well. 

The game lacked any kind of flow or rhythm as Galway defended well, and it settled into a pattern of Donegal searching  for avenues to exploit that were not there.  It did not help matters for Galway after Alan Egan was black carded for a hefty challenge on Murphy.  Connolly pointed a couple of frees, and scores also came from McFaul and Eoin McHugh.  Galway managed a couple of late points to keep it close at the break, 0-6 to 0-3 in favor of the northerners.

Sean Donnelly on the attack for Donegal.
The second half saw Donegal pull away with a goal from Connolly early in the half.  After Donegal had added two more points to their lead, the St. Vincent’s man won a high ball close to goal he put it away from inside the penalty area and put enough of a gap between the teams to turn it into a foregone conclusion.    All one way traffic as the substitutes were brought on.  With names like Oisin O’Neill and Micahael Carroll coming off the line, Donegal displayed the depth of riches in their panel this year.

Galway did have some goal chances, and Boyle did his job well getting down to save.  The scores flowed for Donegal however, and Connolly took an early shower as the job was done.  A late McMonagle goal saved some face for Galway who are still looking for a first win in this year’s championship.  Donegal with back to back handy wins, and July 22 it is the Connemara Gaels for another round with what are now the overwhelming favourites for the championship.   

Galway:  Jamie Kelly, Paddy Naughton, Dave Quinn, Stewey Cullen, Declan Walsh, Sean Moriarty, Alan Egan, Adam Gallagher, Kevin Cummins, Owen Gallagher, Jame Kehoe, Ryan Forde, Cian McMonagle.

Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Niall Keenan, Liam Silke, Sean Doherty, Jason Noctor, Neil McEneaney, Brendan Murphy, Shane Carthy, Eoin McHugh, Ciaran McFaul, Sean Donnelly, Diarmaid Connolly, Lee Carr.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun July 8 - Senior Hurling: Tipperary v Galway

Galway 1-19 Tipperary 0-23

Tipperary and Galway played a thrilling game of hurling with Galway threatening to undo Tipp’s winning record this season.  The Tribesmen made up for a slow start and led mid-way through the second half.  Tipp, however, were not to be undone and a last minute score from substitute Dean Coleman claimed the points.

Seanie McGarr tries to clear for Tipperary. 
At the half it was Galway who held a one goal edge.  Tipperary got out of the blocks fast and rattled off 6 points to Galway’s one before the game was 10 minutes old.  Joe Coleman was firing the frees over, and Russell Quirke and Shane Bennett chipped in with a score each.  A goal lifted Galway spirits and the Tribesmen started to gain a foothold in their own half back line.

Enda Feeney netted to pull Galway within two points and the tide began to turn.  With Galway winning the battle in the half back line the forwards had plenty of supply to work with.  Aidan Helebert was on the mark with frees and fine effort from his own half back line added to the Galway rally.  Each side vied for the initiative, Joe O’Connor put a beautiful point over the bar from a tight angle and was matched by an equally fine effort from Helebert.  Oisin Donnellan sparked to life in the final minutes of the half with a brace and at the half it was a 1-12 to 0-12 Galway lead.

The second half opened with each team putting 4 unanswered points over each.  First was Galway opening a 7-point lead.  Helebert and Jack Lyons hit the mark for Galway, then it was the turn of Tipperary to go on a spurt with Coleman putting well-earned frees over the bar.  Galway almost netted a second time, Adam Kenny was in but after side-stepping the keeper, his one handed shot was blocked by Sean McGarr who covered well.

It was a tough contest between Galway 
and Tipperary in Canton.
The next phase of the game saw Tipp pull even.  Jerry O’Neill was on top at center back as the pendelum swung back in favor of the Premier county.  Kieran Bennett, Coleman, and James Maher pointed, and the equalizer came from substitute Dean Coleman.  It was all to play for now.  Oisin Donnellan edged Galway back in front, but it was Tipp who would pull it out in the end.  Coleman was to play a part.  The Limerick man leveled the scores, before Shane Bennett put Tipp one up.  Helebert evened it up with a long one in injury time.  The next score would win it and Coleman put what turned out to be the winner over the bar, as a long distance free for the last puck of the game from Helebert fell just short, and Tipp continue their winning streak and sit on top of the table with full points.

Galway:  John Moylan, Calum Lyons, Tervor Lee, James Kinsella, Shane O’Gorman, Brendan Furlong, Frank McCormack, Ryan Garry, Adam Kenny, Aidan Helebert, Oisin Donnellan, Enda Feeney, Jack Lyons.

Tipp:  Evan Condon, Harry O’Connor, Sean McGarr, Kieran Bennett, Jerry O’Neill, John Kindregan, James Maher, Simon Kennedy, Shane Bennett, Joe Coleman, Darrren O’Donovan, Joe O’Connor, Russell Quirke.
By Rory O'Donnell

Sun July 8 - Senior Football: Wolfe Tones v Shannon Blues

Wolfe Tones 1-15 Shannon Blues 1-13

With the championship entering the critical second phase of games, points would be of utmost importance to secure a top four place.  The Blues and Tones battled hard in a game that went to and fro and the affair was not decided until the final 2 minutes of a tense, exciting game.

Brian Egan on the ball for the Blues. 
The Blues and Tones played a tough, hard first half of football with win a must for placings in the table.  There was nothing between the sides, an opening salvo of points from the Blues was answered by the Tones and after 10 minutes the teams stood a three a-piece.  Daragh Roche was his usual busy self in the Blues full forward line, and when he was given any daylight punished the Tones with 3 points.   Paul O’Donoghue’s sure kicking kept the Blues side of the scoreboard ticking over. 

The Tones connected well and when in flow looked very good.  Paddy Keenan and Ronan Jones around the middle of the field won plenty of possession, while Jack Lynch did well at center back.  Keenan, James McEntee, and Thomas O’Reilly pointed, and later in the half it was Curran, Jones and Keenan finding the mark as the Tones spread the wealth in the scoring department.  At the break the Blues held a one point edge.

James Dolan's way is blocked.
The second half saw the Tones put four unanswered over the bar and it looked as though the scales were tipping in their favor.  Keenan showed a keen aim from distance and pointed 4 in a row, with 3 coming from dead balls.  Goal chances presented themselves at each end, one right after the other, as the excitement built with the game coming into the final quarter and in the balance.  The speed of the game kept up at a time when tired legs usually take over.  The Tones held a two point lead when the Blues hit with a goal following a gritty upfield run by Steven Cahill.  David Mannix was on hand to finish it off, and just when the Blues thought they had an edge, right back came the Tones with a goal after Aaron Eliott found an unattended Curran at the far post to palm the ball into the empty net.

The Blues tied the scores with Paul O’Donoghue point and through the final 15 minutes it was tit for tat.  Each side gave as good as they got and three times the teams were level heading into the last couple of minutes as each go ahead point was matched.  Twice the Tones inched ahead and were pegged back, and then it was the Blues one up only for the Tones to level it.  With the chips down it was Meathman, James McEntee, who had the legs to swing the game in his team’s favour.  McEntee made deep runs from his wing back berth to set up points for Paddy Keenan and Chris Sallier that ended up being the difference between the teams.

Tones:  Shane Hayes, Kevin Maguire, Eoin Buggie, Mike O’Brien, Jack Lynch, James McEntee, Ronan Jones, Aaron Elliott, James Dolan, Paddy Keenan, Thomas Beckett, Dean Curran, Thomas O’Reilly.

Blues:  Mike Moriarty, PJ Hand, Brian Fanning, Steven Cahill, Mike Cotterill, Denis McElligott, Jerry Troy, Maurice Young, Conor Fitzgerald, Darren Wallace, Paul O’Donoghue, Brian Egan, Dara Roche.
By Rory O'Donnell