Category: Archive

Kingdom’s captain blows fuse, may get lengthy ban

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Firstly, the All Ireland champions turned in a most unconvincing performance to kick-start their drive for three titles in a row, and secondly, and more importantly, it seems as if they now might controversially lose their captain, Paul Galvin, for most or even all of the campaign.
The game was meandering towards its inevitable conclusion following Colm Cooper’s goal just after half time when Galvin became embroiled in an incident with referee Paddy Russell which culminated in the Kerry captain losing his cool and being sent off.
It seemed initially that Galvin had attempted to draw the lineman’s attention to some off-the-ball foul play by Clare defender, John Hayes, however, Russell saw the situation differently and decided to show Galvin a second yellow card. Infuriated that he was being sent off, the player then knocked Russell’s notebook out of his hands and remonstrated with the linesman before being restrained by teammate Tomas O Se.
Given that any physical interference with a match official carries a minimum 12-week suspension, Galvin could now be banned until Sept. 7, a fortnight before the All Ireland final. After missing the entire National League series through injury, he could now miss nearly of the championship season.
Galvin, who intimated that he was more sinned against, later apologized for his actions. “I was out of order to do what I did. It was born out of a huge level of frustration for me. I’m captain of Kerry and I haven’t kicked a ball since the All Ireland final last year and it was a big day for me, a huge honor for me. And I just felt it was all taken away. I’d like to apologise to the match officials, to the Kerry management, to my teammates and particularly the Kerry supporters who I feel like I’ve let down.”
With Galvin facing another long spell on the sidelines, there was more bad news for the Kerry faithful when Declan O’Sullivan was stretchered off with what looked like a serious knee injury.
Leading by only three points at the break, Kerry had struggled to find a decent rhythm, but a quick burst of scoring effectively finished the game as a contest. “When you play a first round against Clare, it’s a no-win situation,” said manager Pat O’Shea. “Look, that was a physical game, and I’m sure it’ll stand to us.”
While there was much less controversy at the Gaelic Grounds, there was a much better game as Cork scored two late goals to dramatically edge out Limerick by 2-9 to 0-12 and earn themselves a place in the Munster decider against Kerry.
With Limerick leading by three points a little over a minute before injury time, it seemed as if last year’s All Ireland finalists were heading for the qualifiers just like their fellow hurlers, however, Daniel Goulding equalised with a goal after an error by Limerick goalkeeper, Sean Kiely, and then following a speculative James Masters’s lob towards the square, Graham Canty was on hand to palm home the winner.
As John Galvin and John Hayes delivered outstanding performances, Limerick can count themselves desperately unlucky not to have earned at least a draw. “Sport is cruel, and it couldn’t be more cruel than that,” said manager, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan. “They say the best team always wins, but I don’t think the best team won out there. I’m very proud of the players, they brought pride and respect back to Limerick.”
His counterpart, Conor Counihan, found it hard to explain Cork’s flat display. “Tension, nerves, I don’t really know, it was our first championship game and we were facing a really fired-up team. It was one we dragged from the depths, and I have to give our lads a lot of credit for that.”
Meanwhile, there was even more drama, if that was possible, in Ulster as Down upstaged Tyrone with a shock quarter-final replay victory at Newry where it finished 1-19 to 0-21 after extra time.
After the teams had been level at 0-16 apiece at the end of normal time – sub Tommy McGuigan had kept injury-hit Tyrone on course with 0-6 in the second half – Down produced the vital score of the match when Benny Coulter struck for a goal coming up to the end of the first period of extra time.
“Obviously, it gives the players a lot of heart,” said Down boss, Ross Carr. “There’s more a sense of relief than celebration because a core of our team has continually been beaten by Tyrone in championship matches at all levels over the past seven or eight years.”
A resurgent Down now take on Armagh, who got the better of Cavan by 0-17 to 0-13, in the semi-final at the end of the month. There were doubts over Armagh who hadn’t won in the championship since 2006, and who had never beaten Cavan at Breffni Park, but they were even more convincing winners in the end than the scoreline suggested.
Four points clear at the interval with Paul McGrane controlling matters from midfield, there were never in any real trouble in the second half even when Cavan managed to cut the deficit to two. Dermot McCabe’s presence on the edge of the square, as well as Seanie Johnston’s promptings, kept Cavan in the contest, but the losers coughed up the ball far too easily at times.
Steven McDonnell with 0-6 and Stephen Kernan with 0-3 were Armagh’s top scorers while Johnston contributed 0-6 including three frees for Cavan.
Galway’s 2-14 to 1-13 Connacht semi-final success over Leitrim at Pearse Stadium had the appearance of one quality team just doing enough to thwart an enthusiastic underdog, however, in this case, appearances deceived.
Leitrim were more than brave and committed, and they played some really impressive football, which makes their passage to the Tommy Murphy Cup instead of the qualifiers something of a travesty, and perhaps also a relief for some of the contenders awaiting the draw for the qualifiers.
Ultimately, they were undone by sub Cormac Bane’s 55th minute goal created by a superb Padraic Joyce pass, but not before defenders Michael McGuinness and John McKeon, as well as Emlyn Mulligan and Declan Maxwell in attack had made their mark.
If Galway were unconvincing as they wait on the winners of the Mayo-Sligo semi-final, they had enough class in Joyce, Michael Meehan and midfield sub, Barry Cullinane, to see them through to a fourth successive Connacht decider.

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