Category: Archive

Galway go down; young Dubs prevail

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — As the National Football League moved into second gear following the postponements that had stalled the opening round, there was a minor reality check for Galway at the weekend. The reigning All-Ireland champions were looking to make a winning start to their Div. 1A campaign, but Tyrone had other ideas at Ballinasloe, emerging with a deserved 1-8 to 0-9 success.

Not that there’ll be any sleepless nights in Connacht at the moment — a bog of a pitch and incessant rain meant that the contest was far removed from summer, when Galway will surely be fizzing once again on the firm surfaces. However, Tyrone were extremely business-like once they had benefited from the tonic of an early Stephen O’Neill goal.

Even though the home side responded with points from Kieran Comer, Matthew Clancy and Paul Clancy, Tyrone were 1-4 to 0-6 in front at the interval. With 10 of their All-Ireland winning side on duty, Galway nevertheless badly missed the firepower of both Padraic Joyce and Michael Donnellan. With Chris Lawn outstanding in the Ulster team’s defense, they pulled clear to take the points despite the sending off of Brian Robinson for a second bookable offense six minutes from the end.

Dublin 2-10, Donegal 0-14

New Dublin manager Tommy Lyons made an impression before the throw-in of his side’s game against Donegal at Parnell Park. Selecting seven debutants, = his faith in untested material proved justified as the Dubs ran out winners.

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All over the pitch, there was evidence of purpose and determination as the players did their level best to impress Lyons, and while the veteran Declan Darcy did a solid stand-in job to replace Paul Curran at center-back, Darren Homan, Darren Magee and Ciaran Whelan also caught the eye. Equally, John McNally showed well at full-forward, and if Eoin Bennis failed to continue his scoring exploits of recent challenge matches, he still looks a good prospect.

A lively performance by Brendan Devenney kept Donegal in the hunt during the first half as he led both Peadar Andrews and Coman Goggins in a merry dance. A 1-point advantage didn’t appear sufficient for Dublin as they turned into the breeze, but a sharply taken goal by Alan Brogan, soon followed by another from Jonny Magee, settled the result. Despite the proximity on the scoreboard, Donegal manager Mickey Moran admitted that his team didn’t deserve to take anything from the game.

“We’re losing far too many close games, and it has to stop,” he said. “Those fellows will have to examine their consciences.”

Sligo 0-12, Kildare 0-12

In Div. 1B, the first competitive game of Mick O’Dwyer’s farewell season at Kildare generated a draw with Sligo at Newbridge and just a whiff of controversy. As Sligo’s Gerry McGowan fired over an equalizing score on the stroke of full time, it appeared that Kildare had infringed the rules by using six substitutes and may now have to forfeit their hard-earned point.

With several blood injuries to contend with, Kildare sent a total of 21 players into the action over the 70 minutes — even though the maximum is 20. While the home team was insisting that the changes were made after consultation with officials, it seems highly likely that a penalty will be imposed.

Still, O’Dwyer won’t be despondent, as without many of his regular squad, the newcomers performed impressively in the difficult conditions. Declan McCormack, who scored four points, looked the part in the half forward line, and there was also a quality contribution from goalkeeper Enda Murphy, while Tom Harris, whose last competitive outing for the county was in 1997, took his opportunity well.

As for Sligo, manager Peter Ford will be equally heartened by his side’s battling display. Four of McGowan’s six points come from play and Brendan Phillips, Michael Langan, Paul Quinn, Eamonn O’Hara, Dessie Sloyan and Tommy Brennan were outstanding.

Mayo 0-10, Down 0-5

Elsewhere in 1B, Mayo began their defense of the league title with a convincing success against Down in Ballina. Several classy scores by Marty McNicholas, James Gill and Conor Mortimer kept Mayo in control, as Down failed miserably to rediscover the form that had brought them a victory over Fermanagh in the first game of the campaign.

Cavan 1-15, Derry 1-10

An inspirational display by center-back and captain Anthony Forde set Cavan on their way to a valuable victory over Derry at Celtic Park. Jason Reilly cancelled out an early goal by David O’Neill, and with Eamonn Reilly and Colm Hannon shoring up the defense alongside Forde, Cavan were in complete control after the interval.

Fermanagh 1-14, Clare 1-8

Fermanagh bounced back following last week’s defeat to get the better of Clare at Enniskillen. The appearance of Raymond Gallagher, who came on as a substitute at halftime, made all the difference, and his total of four points, along with Paul Brewster’s excellent display at midfield, gave Fermanagh the upper hand.

Kerry 2-12, Leitrim 0-9

Kerry eased past the challenge of Leitrim at Kenagh in their first game in Div. 2A. Goals by Sean McGinley and Sean O’Sullivann set the Kingdom up for a comfortable win, while Fintan McBrien made sure that Leitrim were competitive with four points.

Armagh 2-10, Wicklow 0-13

Armagh had to battle hard to hold out for victory at Aughrim as Wicklow stormed back after they had trailed by 8 points at the break. Two early goals by Steven McDonnell left Wicklow in disarray, but some accurate freetaking by Paddy Dalton and a couple of excellent scores by Jonathan Behan kickstarted the revival, which ultimately fell just short.

Other games

Limerick scored an important 2-11 to 1-11 away triumph over Antrim at Casement Park, while Louth crushed London by 2-19 to 0-1 at Castlebellingham when Mark Stanfield contributed 1-8 to the winners’ total.

In Div. 2B, Laois created an early upset when they defeated Meath by 0-12 to 0-9 at Navan. Even if last season’s All-Ireland runners-up were going through the motions, Laois were deserved winners with Ian Fitzgerald scoring four points and Michael Lawlor three.

A late John Hegarty goal earned Wexford a dramatic 2-10 to 2-9 victory over Longford at Enniscorthy, while dual star Brendan Cummins kicked nine points for Tipperary as they got the better of Waterford at Ardfinnan by 1-17 to 1-10. Also, Monaghan were narrow 0-11 to 1-7 winners over Carlow at Dr. Cullen Park.

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