Category: Archive

GAA Roundup Kerry win, but a lackluster performance leaves doubts

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Kerry are a point clear at the top of Division 1A of the National Football League and right on track for the knockout stages of the competition, but last Sunday’s 1-8 to 0-9 victory over Roscommon in Killarney was still not enough to convince the Kingdom faithful.

In truth, Kerry should have been much more emphatic winners on a day when their forward line was guilty of some woeful shooting. There were as many as eight wides during the first-half with Liam Hassett responsible for four and manager Paidi O Se was not pleased with his attack.

"We had chances of punching the ball over the bar, but we went for the kill and it just didn’t come off," said O Se, who however remained confident that one more point from the remaining two games would see his team qualify for the semifinals.

After a Seamus Moynihan goal in the fourth minute, Kerry never made their overall dominance pay and thanks to some inspiring play from John Gillooly and substitute Conor Connelly, Roscommon stormed back to level matters with just 10 minutes left.

But Kerry managed to gather themselves again and a free by Mike Frank Russell and a long-range effort from Dara O Cinneide made the game safe.

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Galway 1-11, Tyrone 0-15

Galway’s narrow victory over Tyrone at Healy Park leaves them in second place behind Kerry on seven points. If the Westerners were full value for this success, they still had to thank goalkeeper Martin McNamara, who was making his first start of the season.

The former All-Star made two brilliant second-half saves from Brian Dooher after Peter Canavan had created both chances. Tyrone had the best of the early play, but with Niall Finnegan and Padraig Joyce in sharp form, Galway soon surged clear.

Dublin 1-11, Donegal 0-11

Dublin’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages are alive following victory over Donegal at Parnell Park where a Colin Moran goal made the difference on the scoreboard.

However, as Donegal manager, Declan Bonner, ruefully reflected, there was more separating the teams than Moran’s perfectly struck shot.

"Physically, Dublin were much stronger than us, they won the ‘rial battle hands down," Bonner said. "To be quite honest, we didn’t deserve anything."

Still, Donegal were never out of the contest and led by two points at the break. But once Jim McGuinness began to fade and Ciaran Whelan assumed command at centerfield, Dublin moved ahead by 1-11 to 0-10 with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Even then, the visitors look to have a last chance to force a draw when Brendan Devenney was put through by Brian McLaughlin. But when a quick shot was demanded, Devenney sought out more space. The Dublin defense did the rest.

Armagh 0-7, Cork 0-7

Down at the bottom of the division, there wasn’t much to cheer about at Crossmaglen, where Armagh and Cork fought to a draw. With neither county in the running for the knockout stages, Cork would have taken the points if it hadn’t been for their erratic shooting.

It was hard to fathom that this was the beaten All-Ireland finalists against the Ulster champions in what turned out to be a battle of the misses and Cork paid the price when Paul McGrane thumped over a long-range score to salvage a draw.

Derry 0-13, Meath 1-10

In Division 1B, Meath manager Sean Boylan was uncharacteristically furious after his All-Star forward, Ollie Murphy, was sent off five minutes from full time in the drawn game against Derry at Celtic Park.

Murphy had just scored a brilliant goal to give Meath a one-point lead when he was dismissed for allegedly head-butting Sean Martin Lockhart.

"A great injustice has been done to a great player," fumed Boylan. "Ollie did not head-butt, just ask Sean Martin Lockhart if he was head-butted. All we ask for is fair play and look what we got."

Murphy’s dismissal sparked off a few scuffles among the players and with Meath looking likely to register a first win over Derry during Boylan’s long reign, Gary Coleman snatched the equalizing point in injury time.

The result enabled Derry to hold on to their unbeaten record. With eight points from five games, the Ulster county look to be on course for semifinals.

Sligo 1-7, Mayo 0-7

Second-place Sligo kept up their challenge by beating neighbors Mayo at Charlestown. It was Sligo’s first success in the league against their Connacht rivals in 27 years and, with tough closing games against Meath and Down, Mayo are now in danger of relegation.

With Paul Taylor and Eamonn O’Hara in impressive form for the winners, the vital goal was scored by Kevin Giblin seven minutes into the second half.

Kildare 0-13, Clare 1-10

With just 10 minutes left at Newbridge, Kildare were five points clear of Clare and on their way to a victory that would keep playoff fires burning. By the end of the game, though, Mick O’Dwyer’s charges were hanging on for dear life.

Ciaran Considine started the alarm bells ringing with a couple of quick frees, but Clare needed a goal and Martin Daly duly produced the goods. As Kildare’s short-term future was turning into a relegation struggle, Daly then squandered a late chance to take both points.

Down 1-11, Derry 0-9

High-flying Fermanagh’s chances of going to the top of the division alongside Derry were killed off when they were beaten by Down at Enniskillen. Shane Ward grabbed a vital goal midway through the first half for Down, while Fermanagh missed a couple of chances.

Offaly 2-9, Limerick 0-11

Offaly maintained their 100 percent record at the head of Division 2A even though they struggled to overcome Limerick at Tullamore. With the winners’ forwards out of touch, it was left to Ciaran McManus and Joe Kilmurry to score the decisive goals.

Other games

Louth took over second place with a 0-12 to 1-7 victory against Wicklow at Aughrim, where four points from J.P. Rooney swung the game. Leitrim, meanwhile, kept their

promotion ambitions alive with a narrow 1-9 to 0-11 triumph over Westmeath in Mullingar, and Antrim also stayed in the promotion race thanks to 1-11 to 0-7 success against London at Ruislip.

Also, despite having two players sent off, Laois made it five victories out of five in Division 2B when they got the better of Wexford by 1-14 to 1-7 at Gorey. Monaghan defeated Waterford by 1-13 to 0-9, Longford took the points from Tipperary on a scoreline of 0-12 to 1-7, and Cavan beat Carlow by 3-15 to 1-8.

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