Category: Archive

GAA Roundup: Meath outduel Clare with 2nd-half surge

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

Ireland’s sporting winter kicked in last weekend as the National Football League got under way with All Ireland champions Meath taking their first points of the campaign Sunday at Navan.

Meath were pushed to the limit to overcome Clare by 0-13 to 0-11 in what were difficult, blustery conditions. It certainly wasn’t a classic encounter, but manager Sean Boylan staunchly refused to join in the criticism of the new competition.

“The players put a lot into it and I was pleased with a few of our newcomers,” he said. “That’s how young players get their opportunities and that was a good match. If Clare were understrength then they must have a very good panel of players.”

Meath’s victory was soured by a injury to Evan Kelly, who was stretchered off following a collision. Kelly was apparently slipping in and out of consciousness and it was decided to take him to hospital.

“Evan was in shock, so he went to hospital as a precautionary measure,” Boylan said.

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With nine of their All-Ireland side in the starting lineup, Meath moved Trevor Giles to center back, where he proved his versatility with an outstanding performance. But not even Giles could stem the tide as Clare took full advantage of the wind to build up a 0-7 to 0-2 lead at the interval.

Typically, Giles inspired the comeback with three frees before Meath drew level with a Nigel Crawford point 10 minutes from the end. Clare kept up their challenge until further scores from Kelly, Cormac Murphy and Ronan Farrelly left Meath two points clear.

Elsewhere in Div. 1B, a young Kildare side got the better of Down by 1-10 to 0-10 at Newry. Short several front line players due to a club dispute in the county, manager Mick O’Dwyer threw a number of teenagers into the fray with impressive results.

“Some of those young lads gave a great display,” O’Dwyer said. “They were prepared to fight for every ball. It was very exciting, wasn’t it?” Kildare even made up for the loss of both Anthony Rainbow and Cathal Sheridan, who had to go off injured.

Level at 0-5 each at the break, a Karl O’Dwyer goal midway through the second half proved to be the winners’ vital score. Strengthened by the return of Conor Deegan and Gregory McCartan, as well as continuing service from Mickey Linden and Ross Carr, Down still couldn’t disrupt their young rivals.

New Mayo manager Pat Holmes failed to get off to a winning start when his team lost out to understrength Derry by 0-10 to 0-6 at Celtic Park. The Westerners appeared to be in a good position when they only trailed by two points at the break despite playing into a gale force wind.

But the Derry defense got on top during the second-half with Sean Martin Lockhart in impressive form and Ronan Rocks and Kevin O’Neill kicked the vital points.

Meanwhile, Raymond Gallagher produced a superb scoring display with 10 points as Fermanagh got the better of Sligo by 1-14 to 0-13 at Enniskillen. Sean Quinn added a goal and Fermanagh’s defense held out as Sligo pressed hard in the closing 15 minutes.

In Div. 1A, manager Tom Carr had no sympathy for his players as Dublin crashed to a disappointing 1-13 to 0-9 defeat against Tyrone at Healy Park.

“Think of every derogatory word you can and that’s how I feel about the performance,” Carr said.

To make matters, Jason Sherlock was sent off in the 54th minute following a rash, rather than mischievous, tackle on Tyrone goalkeeper Martin Conway. At that stage, things were already going rapidly downhill for Dublin as they trailed by 1-10 to 0-6.

Not surprisingly, Peter Canavan was at the heart of most of Tyrone’s best moments, but he received some tremendous support in the half forward line from Brian Dooher and Gerard Cavlan.

It was Cavan’s brilliantly taken goal early in the second half that unsettled Dublin, and from that moment on, Tyrone never looked back.

Cork are still clearing suffering from the after effects of their All-Ireland final defeat and Kerry took full advantage at Pairc Ui Rinn, strolling to a 0-19 to 0-7 success.

With Mike Frank Russell and John Crowley in good scoring form and Seamus Moynihan sweeping all before him at midfield, the Cork defense was repeatedly unhinged and by half-time the contest was over with Kerry 0-12 to 0-1 in front.

Galway have reserve talent to spare if their 1-15 to 1-8 victory over Roscommon at Ballinasloe is anything to go by. Four teenage debutants played important roles in this victory and manager, John O’Mahony, chose to single out Joe Bergin and Kieran Comer for special mention.

Donegal were lucky to come away from the Athletic Grounds with the points, as Armagh failed to capitalize on early dominance. It finished 0-10 to 0-9 in Donegal’s favor, but midway through the first half, Armagh had led by 0-7 to 0-2.

In Div. 2A, Offaly survived a late Louth surge to come through by 1-16 to 2-11 at Tullamore. Ahead by eight points, Offaly sat back and Louth got through for two goals in the closing stages.

Meanwhile, Antrim got off to a good start with a 2-11 to 0-7 win over Leitrim, Des Dolan guided Westmeath to a 1-12 to 0-10 success against Limerick and Wicklow got the better of London by 1-11 to 0-11.

Monaghan hit the ground running in Division 2B with an impressive 1-16 to 1-9 victory over Cavan at Breffni Park, Laois were comfortable 1-13 to 1-4 winners against Tipperary, Wexford hammered Waterford by 4-13 to 1-4 and Carlow rallied to pip Longford by 2-12 to 2-10.

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