It didn’t matter too much to a full house of 12,000 spectators that the game was typical midwinter fare. Long periods of slipping, sliding and mishandling were decorated by moments of class from Oisin McConville, Diarmuid Marsden and Steven McDonnell, bringing memories of last summer flooding back.
Cork trailed by 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval, but turning with the wind at their backs they were soon back in contention thanks to a punched goal by Paidi Kissane. However, the visitors could manage only one more score in the remaining 25 minutes and Fionan Murray was the only forward to pose a meaningful threat.
Cork’s challenge wasn’t helped by the withdrawal of Graham Canty and Bernard Collins before the start, while Colin Crowley had to be substituted because of injury just before half time.
DUBLIN 1-10, DONEGAL 0-9
Following their crushing loss to Armagh, Dublin bounced back with an important victory over Donegal at Ballyshannon. Perversely, the sending off of Johnny Magee for a second yellow-card offense midway through the second half energized Dublin, who proceeded to score 5 points without reply in the space of three minutes.
It had been 0-8 apiece when Magee was dismissed. However, the impressive Tomas Quinn kicked a free and then immediately pounced for a goal after a perceptive pass from Ciaran Whelan. Senan Connell also added a point and Dublin were clear.
Donegal’s case wasn’t helped when Kevin Cassidy was harshly sent off for a tackle on Barry Cahill in the 55th minute. They managed to narrow the gap with a Christy Toye point, but they lacked the attacking wit to put any more pressure on Dublin in the closing stages.
TYRONE 1-13, GALWAY 0-11
Holders Tyrone got their campaign under way with a convincing win over Galway at Pomeroy. While Eoin Mulligan and Frank McGuigan each scored four points for the home team with strong attacking displays, Galway manager John O’Mahony was more frustrated by his own players’ ineptitude than Tyrone’s flair.
“We allowed Tyrone to run at us and we didn’t have enough of the ball,” he said.
Tyrone managed to turn their possession into scores as Mulligan gave Kieran Fitzgerald a difficult afternoon. But the lead was only two points going into the final quarter when Tommie Joyce pointed for Galway.
Mulligan, however, then crossed from the right and Brian Dooher grabbed the match-winning goal from close range. Dooher, McGuigan and Mulligan added points to put the result beyond any doubt.
KERRY 2-11, ROSCOMMON 0-4
Declan Quill caught the eye with a stylish performance as Kerry hammered Roscommon in Tralee. Quill finished with 2-4 — all but one point coming from play — as he destroyed the Roscommon defense with a superb attacking display.
Having started with the boost of a win over Tyrone, Roscommon were outclassed this time as Darragh O Se and Donal Daly controlled the game from midfield.
CAVAN 1-16, MEATH 0-7
In Div. 1B, Cavan registered a second win when they overpowered a weak Meath at Breffni Park. While form at this stage of the season is never much of a barometer for the more important tests of the summer, Meath supporters have good reason to be worried.
Only two of Sean Boylan’s players, Daithi Regan and Evan Kelly, managed to get on the scoresheet and Cavan manager, Mattie Kerrigan was being diplomatic when he described the opposition as team which looked to be “involved in very heavy training.”
In fact, Kerrigan, a former Meath player, would have been expecting much tougher opposition as Cavan never had to break sweat to build up a 0-9 to 0-3 interval advantage. With Dermot McCabe kicking seven frees, the winners never lost their momentum and Mikey Graham’s goal in the 48th emphatically finished off Meath.
KILDARE 1-11, SLIGO 1-10
Kildare made hard work of disposing of Sligo by at Markievicz Park. In control during the opening period thanks to a Terry Rossiter goal and some accurate shooting by Derek McCormack, the winners managed just two points in the second half. Sligo closed the gap with Gerry McGowan contributing 1-4, but despite dominating the final quarter they never drew level.
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MAYO 1-11, DOWN 0-12
Mayo registered a second victory as Conor Mortimer inspired the Connacht county to victory over Down at Newcastle. Mortimer kicked six points and generally made life difficult for an inexperienced Down defense, while Ger Brady’s 50th minute goal gave the winners an important cushion.
LAOIS 1-14, FERMANAGH 1-11
Laois are off to a flying start with their second consecutive win, this time over Fermanagh at Portlaoise. Some loose shooting during the first half meant that Laois were only ahead by 0-9 to 0-6 at the changeover, but Fermanagh battled back to draw level following a Declan O’Reilly goal. The Ulster side deserved a share of the points, but a goal by substitute Barry Brennan two minutes from the end finished the job for Laois.
In Div. 2A, goals from Ciaran Reilly and Pascal Kellaghan propelled Offaly over Wicklow, 2-13 TO 1-7, at Tullamore, while Westmeath also kept up a 100 percent record when they got the better of Leitrim by 0-8 to 0-5 in Mullingar. Limerick also recorded a second victory, seeing off Antrim by 2-13 to 1-11 at the Gaelic Grounds, and Louth opened their account with a comprehensive 0-16 to 1-4 win against London at Ruislip.
Wexford had Mattie Forde’s seven points from frees to thank as they defeated Longford by 1-12 to 1-6 at Pearse Park in Div. 2B. Monaghan kicked off their campaign with a 1-12 to 0-5 win over Carlow at Clones, Derry edged out Clare 1-14 to 1-10 at Cusack Park, where a Jim Kelly goal made the difference, and manager Denis Walsh had his first league victory in 12 months as Waterford beat Tipperary by 1-11 to 1-7 at Dungarvan.
DUBLIN 2-11, KILKENNY 2-10
Dublin won their first senior hurling trophy of any significance since 1961 when they defeated reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in the final of the Walsh Cup at Parnell Park last Sunday.
Kilkenny had 12 of their All-Ireland winning side on duty, but that couldn’t prevent Dublin from pulling off a shock result as Johnny McGuirk snatched the vital point in injury time. Inspired by Conal Keaney in midfield, Dublin captain Kevin Flynn said defiantly: “We want to get up there with the Tipperarys, Galways and Kilkennys, and stay there.”
Wicklow and Kildare will meet in the final of the Kehoe Cup after their semifinal victories over Carlow and Louth last weekend.