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GAA Roundup Louth knock off All-Ireland champions Kerry

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Just a matter weeks after the All-Ireland championship and the International Rules series had concluded, those overworked amateur players of the GAA were back in action last weekend as the National Football League kicked off.

So, no rest for the good – certainly not when turnstiles have to keep on clicking and when the GAA’s coffers need filling. Admittedly, Kerry started with only five of the side that won the Sam Maguire Cup last month for the Division 1A game against Louth in Killarney, but how can the powers-that-be expect unpaid players to keep going for 12 months a year?

Not surprisingly, Louth edged the verdict by 1-12 to 1-11, and while the Leinster county was fully aware that the Kingdom had put out a shadow team, manager Paddy Clarke and his players were still celebrating their first match back in the top flight of the league for 30 years.

Louth’s decision to play with the strong breeze paid dividends as by halftime they had opened up an 8-point lead. J.P. Rooney, Mark Stanfield and Christy Grimes were all on the mark for the winners, but Kerry eventually responded with a Mike Frank Russell goal and a couple of John Crowley points.

With the scores level it looked as if Kerry would escape with an unlikely success when Rooney availed of some hesitation in the home side’s defense to punch in Cathal O’Hanlon’s cross for the decisive goal.

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Tyrone 0-19, Dublin 2-10

If the competition was meant to get off to a low-key start, Dublin and Tyrone obviously hadn’t got the message as their keenly fought clash at Parnell Park featured bad tempers and bad blood. Tyrone captain Chris Lawn was sent off following a scuffle and four Dublin players, Shane Ryan, Jonathan Magee, Ciaran Whelan and sub Paul Croft, were all yellow carded as the Ulster county deservedly took the points.

Tyrone, who started with seven of last season’s Under-21 team, were full of intent and their victory was all the more notable as they battled back from a 3-point deficit 25 minutes into the second half to rock Dublin with six unanswered points. Stephen O’Neill kicked eight frees in his 9-point total as a jittery Dublin defense made far too many mistakes in the closing stages.

Magee had been highly influential during Dublin’s period of dominance following an early goal by Niall O’Donoghue. They moved further in front when Darren Homan fisted a loose ball to the net for a second goal, but despite only having 14 men, Tyrone finished stronger as Eoin Mullligan, Kevin Hughes and O’Neill all impressed.

Galway 1-14, Roscommon 0-11

Just as Kerry had given several players a badly needed rest, beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway lined out with only four first-team regulars, but that didn’t stop them getting the better of Roscommon at Hyde Park. Paul Clancy’s goal 14 minutes from the end turned out to be the key score of a game spoiled by teeming rain.

With new manager John Tobin in charge for the first time, Roscommon opened briskly with Frankie Dolan scoring four points, but Galway gradually assumed control during the second half as Mountbellew teenager Derry O’Brien caught the eye with a lively contribution.

"O’Brien is an excellent prospect," said John O’Mahony, "and the depth of the talent in our panel was one of the main reasons behind my decision to stay on as manager."

Donegal 1-11, Offaly 0-10

Donegal got their campaign off to a brisk start against Offaly at Ballybofey. James Gallagher and Adrian Sweeney shared seven points and Johnny McCafferty scored an early goal as new manager Mickey Moran put out a young and inexperienced side. Offaly, also understrength, were best served by Cathal Daly and Ciaran McManus.

Meath 1-12, Clare 0-11

In Div. 1B, Sean Boylan began his 18th season in charge of Meath with a victory over Clare in Ennis. Despite being reduced to 14 men just before the break when John McDermott was sent off for dangerous use of the elbow, Meath, and Ray Magee in particular, put in a storming finish to the game.

Trailing by 0-10 to 0-8 with just six minutes left, Magee scored four points and also set up Ronan Fitzsimons for a vital goal.

Sligo 0-12, Fermanagh 1-6

Sligo retrieved a difficult situation at Markievicz Park, where they battled back to record a first win over Fermanagh since 1989. Paul Taylor helped himself to seven points. It hadn’t looked good for new manager Peter Forde when Tom and Paul Brewster were dominating at midfield for Fermanagh, but Sligo recovered to take the lead just four minutes from the final whistle.

Cavan 2-12, Laois 0-10

Cavan celebrated their return to the top division with an impressive win over Laois at Portlaoise. Two late goals by Jason Reilly settled the issue adding to five earlier points for the Ulster county by Finbarr O’Reilly.

Cork 1-15, Armagh 1-12

In Div. 2A, Cork overcame atrocious conditions at Pairc Ui Rinn to defeat Ulster champions Armagh. Colin Corkery made his presence felt for the winners with a personal tally of 1-5, while Philip Clifford and Fionn Murray each scored three points. Cathal Short was on the mark for Armagh’s goal, but the visitors struggled on the heavy surface.

Other games

Leitrim took the points at Carrick-on-Shannon with a 0-11 to 0-6 success over Antrim, while Wicklow were comfortable 2-13 to 0-5 winners over London at Aughrim. Leitrim, meanwhile, paid the penalty for having 12 first-team regulars unavailable when they were hammered 3-17 to 0-8 by Westmeath in Mullingar.

Down in the depths of Div. 2B, Kildare had too much class for Tipperary, running out easy 1-18 to 0-6 victors at Clonmel, while eight points by corner forward Padraig Bradley earned Down a 0-13 to 0-12 success over Monaghan at Scotstown. Longford got the better of Carlow by 3-10 to 2-8 at Pearse Park and Wexford’s 2-10 to 0-7 win over Waterford at Lemybrien was marred by sendings off – three from Waterford and one from Wexford.

Athenry prevail

Eugene Cloonan was the star of the show as reigning All-Ireland club champions Athenry captured a third Galway hurling title in succession with a 2-14 to 3-7 success over Sarsfields in last Sunday’s final at Ballinasloe. Cloonan crowned a brilliant individual display by scoring 2-10 of the winners’ total.

Coill Dubh took the Kildare hurling title by defeating Naas 1-11 to 1-7 in the decider, while Fr. Murphy’s won their first-ever London title by beating Sean Treacy’s by 2-10 to 2-7 at the Emerald Gaelic Grounds.

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