Clare Secretary Barney Breen submitted a letter to New York Chairman Seamus Dooley withdrawing from the 2005 Championship and expressing his hope that Clare will return next season.
This brings to three the number of teams that have withdrawn since the end of last season, and leaves only six clubs to compete for the New York Senior Hurling Championship.
Coupled with the apparent demise of the Junior Hurling Championship, New York hurling has hit a low ebb.
Left to battle it out for the 2005 New York title are defenders Connecticut State, Tipperary, Offaly, New Jersey/Kilkenny, Galway, and Waterford. The Clare players who are without a team will now become free agents.
Donegal 0-13 Westmeath 0-7
Donegal pitched a near shutout in the second half to break the match open after the first half ended at 0-6 each. Westmeath midfielder Vinny Gavin and Donegal full forward Paddy O’Kane swapped points in the opening moments of the senior football ‘A’ showcase at sunny Gaelic Park on Sunday.
The small crowd was treated to an entertaining first half with periods of good play by each side. Keith Hennessey was doing some good work at midfield for Westmeath and was combining well with long time Stamford club mates Tommy Williams, Justin O’Halloran, and Dave Fitzgerald.
But Westmeath were beginning to be pinned in their own end of the pitch by consistently short kick outs. In contrast, Donegal’s backs were relieved of that pressure by Eunan Doherty’s booming kick outs traveling well over 60 yards from the new kicking tee.
Doherty hasn’t lost a step and his 15th minute save on Gavin was an absolute gem. Frees from Paddy O’Kane kept Donegal in touch and a late Kevin Mitchell point leveled the match at the break.
Mitchell’s late point was the harbinger of things to come in the second half as the three Mitchell brothers got rolling. James and Matthew Mitchell began to control the middle of the park and center back Matthew contributed a rarity, back-to-back 50s.
After Kevin Lilly started the second half with a well taken point when he fielded a short Westmeath kick out, Matthew Mitchell took over. Mitchell had missed wide on a first half 50 but he was unnerving on consecutive tries as Donegal pushed out to a three point lead.
When Mitchell’s 50-yard free hit the upright, brother Kevin was on hand to rifle over the rebound. Westmeath kept grafting as they tried to get untracked.
The Lake County men nearly got right back in the match when full forward Niall McArdle rose highest in a crowded Donegal square to make an outstanding catch.
McArdle’s quick accurate shot eluded Doherty but fullback Gary Duggan came to the rescue with a timely hip save. Kevin Lilly and the Mitchell brothers were now in command as Westmeath began to see their chance slip away.
Westmeath finally got on the second half score sheet in the 23rd minute from a McArdle free and despite Donegal’s second half dominance, the midlanders trailed by only 0-4. A Westmeath goal would set up a race to the finish, but was not in the cards and the next and final two scores were points on the Donegal side of the ledger courtesy of Conor Hunter and Kevin Mitchell.
? Man of the Match: Matthew Mitchell.
Donegal: Eunan Doherty, Gary Duggan, Martin Donaghy, Shaun Campbell, Matthew Mitchell (0-2, 2 50s), Anton Diver, Vernon Gallagher, James Mitchell, Kevin Lilly (0-2, 1 fr), Kevin Mitchell (0-4), Conor Hunter (0-1), CJ Molloy, Paddy O’Kane (0-4, all fr), Kevin O’Connor.
Westmeath: Kevin Wilson, Tom Quinn, Pat Coyne, David Baile, Ciaran Walsh, Peter Dalton, Sean Roche, Vinny Gavin (0-1), Keith Hennessey (0-1), Barney Healy, Justin O’Halloran, Tom Williams (0-1), Barry Smith, Niall McArdle (0-3, all fr), Dave Fitzgerald (0-1)..
Referee: John Fitzpatrick
Down 1-14 Roscommon 0-7
Roscommon seemed none too anxious to leave the comfort of their dressing room, delaying the start of Sunday’s first match at Gaelic Park by 20 minutes.
A look at the Connaght side’s lineout when they finally fielded supplied the answer to their reluctance. Missing were Paul Levins, John Walsh, and Elvis Keaveny, and another key player, Danny O’Sullivan, was limping badly from the start. Roscommon’s diminished lineout was a disappointment as a good match was expected between two teams entering play at 3-0.
Despite the signs, Roscommon were first on the board from an Ed Cleary free. The Rosses only lead of the match was however short lived as Mark Dobbin quickly equalized with a Down free.
Down began to assert their authority on the proceedings as they eased into the early lead. Veteran corner forward Martin McGivern was to the fore early vacating his corner to win a lot of ball. McGivern’s distribution was key as the Mournemen built an early 0-6 to 0-1 field.
An intimate gathering looked on from the sun drenched Gaelic Park bleachers as Noel Magee, McGivern, Mickey Cooke, Mark Dobbin, and Liam Farrell found the target for Down. Roscommon were overmatched but to their credit they kept heads up and pulled two points back to halve Down’s lead.
It could have been closer had Cleary’s second point found the net, but his penalty try carried high. Roscommon earned the penalty when Roscommon veteran Danny O’Sullivan used all of the guile at his disposal to get referee John Fitzgerald to point to the spot.
The 0-6 to 0-3 half-time score suggested that Roscommon were still in this match, but it was merely a suggestion.
The second half was all Down as the Ulster side roared out to a 1-3 to 0-1 start, effectively sealing the deal. Mark Dobbin was the goal scorer finishing well after neatly side stepping the keeper, off good set up work from Barry Annette and Mickey Cooke.
Down were never going to be caught after that as they improved to an impressive 4-0. Roscommon will try to get healthy and get back on the winning track next time out. Man of the Match: Noel Magee.
Down: Darren Quinn, Chris Feeney, Mark Kelly, Darren Farrell, Ed Flynn, Eugene O’Hagan, Kevin Coulter, Noel Magee (0-3), Barry Annette, Mickey Cooke (0-1), Mark Dobbin (1-7, 3 fr) Seamus Kelly, (0-1), Marty McGivern (0-1), Kieran Fearon, Liam Farrell (0-1).
Roscommon: John R. Stack, Niall Milvihill, Darren O’Neill, Ollie Hoare, Mark Killean, Declan Coyne, Niall Naughton, Paul Scannell, Sean Carney, Dan O’Sullivan, Aiden Murray (0-1), Ed Cleary (0-5, 1 peno, 2 fr), Aiden Smith, Jimmy Naughton Sub: Paul O’Brien (0-1).
Referee: John Fitzpatrick.
Sligo 0-15 Tyrone 0-10
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Sligo evened their record at 1-1 with a solid performance that saw Tyrone fall to 0-2. Sligo were the more consistent of the sides and their 0-5 victory could have been more but for a second half penalty miss when the Yeats County were already leading 0-10 to 0-7.
Sligo used their sanctions wisely this year and they were sparked by Paddy Feeney, Ryan Quinn, and especially midfielder John McAreavey, who walked off with Man of the Match accolades. The Down U-21 led Sligo from his midfield spot scoring 0-5, but contributing much more through his ball winning and passing abilities.
The first quarter was well contested but Sligo led 0-6 to 0-3 after 15 minutes on two McAreavey points and points from four other players in a balanced attack.
Tyrone were relying on the free taking of PJ Ward and the big full forward notched 0-5 of Tyrone’s 0-6 first half tally. Four of those Ward points were from frees and the New York County star was getting very little breathing room from Sligo full back Declan Coyne.
Tyrone were first out of the gate in the second half with a point off the opening throw in from Barry McElduff. Midfielder Rory Meenan bounced off a couple of tackles to spring McElduff.
Three Sligo points followed, from Matt Kilroy, Bob O’Neill, and McAreavey. Corner forward Mike Ramsbottom could have put the issue beyond doubt but his penalty rolled wide of the Tyrone goal and a second goal chance also missed the mark.
Two very good points kept Tyrone very much in the match, trailing just 0-11 to 0-9. Martin McGreesh made them both happen with McElduff and Ward the sharpshooters.
McAreavey was at the center of it all for Sligo but he was by no means a one-man show. Veteran Enda Henry, Ryan Quinn, and Kilroy were forming a very effective half forward line and inside forwards Mike Creegan and Ramsbottom were keeping the Tyrone rear guard off balance. Creegan settled for a point when Tyrone keeper Colm O’Neill pulled off a fine save and two Ramsbottom points finally shook off the Tyrone challenge.
At 0-2 Tyrone can’t afford too many more losses in this competitive SFB division and Sligo will be happy to get back to the 500 mark with plenty of season left to play.
Man of the Match: John McAreavey
Sligo: Dermot Flynn, Pat Brennan, Declan Coyne, Damien Drake, Kevin Hegarty, Paddy Feeney (0-1), James Walsh, John McAreavey (0-5, 4 fr), Tomas Maher, Matt Kilroy (0-1), Ryan Quinn (0-2), Enda Henry (0-1), Mike Creegan (0-1), Bobby O’Neill (0-1), Mike Ramsbottom (0-3).
Tyrone: Colm O’Neill, Kevin Bennett, Lee Kelly, Mark O’Neill, Richie O’Connor, Steven Mullan, Barry McGrath, Michael McQuaid, Rory Meenan (0-1), Conor Skeffington, Peter McNamee, Barry McElduff (0-2), Barry McNamee, PJ Ward (0-7, 5 fr), Martin McCreesh.