By Mark Jones
Yet again there was precious little to enhance the reputation of the Railway Cup as Munster tamely offered up their title in the first of last weekend’s football semifinals. The 400 or so hardy souls who braved the Castlebar gale were in danger of being blown away, but not by the quality of the action as Connacht eased home by 2-10 to 1-3.
Munster failed to take advantage of the wind during a disappointing first half and they trailed by a point at the break as Padraig Joyce, Derek Duggan and Dessie Sloyane all impressed for Connacht.
A fisted Eamonn O’Hara goal then appeared to have put Connacht in the clear, but they weren’t able to drive home their superiority and Philip Clifford found enough space to reply in kind for Munster.
The score should’ve come as a tonic. However, it was typical of Munster’s day that they conceded another goal this time to Sloyane and from that moment on, the winners were in control.
Meanwhile, Ulster will stand in the way of Connacht’s ambition of a first title in fully 31 years following their undistinguished victory over Leinster by 1-14 to 0-10 at Casement Park.
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A resolute Ulster defense was mainly responsible for this success and Mark Crossan, Gary Coleman and Kieran McGeeney gave Leinster little leeway. Peter Canavan and Shane Mulholland kicked three points each, but the vital score came from an Oisin McConville penalty 12 minutes from time.
Meath booked their place in the semifinal of hurling’s Kehoe Cup with a 4-13 to 4-6 victory over Louth at Dowdallshill, while seven points from Pat Coady were instrumental in Carlow’s 0-13 to 1-6 success against Kildare at Dr. Cullen Park.
A 2-2 contribution by Dave Bennett earned Waterford a deserved 3-8 to 1-9 win over Kilkenny in the final of the AIB Hurling tournament at Dungarvan.