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Powerful Galway pushes aside Leitrim

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

Galway 6-13, Leitrim 0-8

The National Football League kicked off last weekend and the good times continue to roll for reigning All-Ireland champions Galway. If there was any suspicion that Ireland’s premier team were feeling the after-effects of one celebration too many, Galway emphasized their present well-being with a 6-13 to 0-8 demolition of Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon.

A Div. 1A game that, at the outset, had appeared to be a tough obstacle for manager John O’Mahony and his players quickly turned into a rout. Leitrim were competitive for the opening 20 minutes, but then they were ripped apart by four goals — from Padraig Joyce, who cracked home two, Michael Donnellan and Paul Clancy.

That left Leitrim trailing by 4-6 to 0-4 at the interval and the second half proved to be little more than a kickabout for a sharp and well-organized Galway. Joyce completed his hat trick and Niall Finnegan added a sixth goal as the winners continued to move the ball with pace and imagination.

Meanwhile, a minute’s silence was observed before the throw-in for Shane McGettigan, the young Leitrim player killed in a work accident in Boston during the summer, and for Joe McInerney, the chairman of Leitrim Supporters Club in New York, who died last weekend.

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"These are tough times for Leitrim," said O’Mahony, who was once in charge of the county. "They were missing players and in Leitrim — as I know better than anyone — you can’t afford to be short."

Offaly 1-12, Cork 1-12

Last season’s League champions, Offaly, were held to a 1-12 apiece draw by Cork in Tullamore, where Philip Clifford’s fisted goal in the final minute deprived the home team.

Even though Roy Malone struck for an early goal, it was Cork who played the more inventive football in the opening half as Padraig O’Mahony and Clifford played havoc with the Offaly defense. That didn’t please manager Tommy Lyons and neither did the referee’s decision to brandish five yellow cards (for bookable offenses) in the direction of his players.

However, Offaly began to find their feet and with Frank Weir and Vinny Claffey hitting form in attack they surged four points ahead. Cork, to their credit, showed admirable character when the game looked up and Clifford leveled it after Mark O’Sullivan had created the chance.

Dublin 1-15, Tyrone 1-9

The underachievers of Dublin got their campaign off to an impressive start with a thoroughly convincing 1-15 to 1-9 win over Tyrone at Parnell Park.

Introducing Ray Cosgrave and Mick O’Keeffe into the attack, Dublin had virtually killed off the contest when they raced into an 8-point lead at the break.

As Dessie Farrell, Declan Darcy and Brian Stynes constantly stretched Tyrone, who were without the injured Peter Canavan, Dublin then added a goal from Ciaran Whelan early in the second half.

"I was satisfied with that," said manager Tom Carr. "It was a good start by a new team and I really liked their attitude."

Tyrone managed to retain some credibility, thanks to a goal by Ciaran McBride and Eoin Gormley’s accurate free-taking, but the Ulster county clearly have a lot of work to do.

Donegal 1-10, Armagh 0-6

If a total of 64 frees and seven yellow cards spoiled the game in Ballybofey as a spectacle, Donegal were still happy enough to take the points with a 1-10 to 0-6 success against Armagh. With Tony and Manus Boyle both unavailable, the winners’ forwards managed to prosper and Brendan Devenney’s second-half goal was the decisive score.

Kildare 1-12, Down 0-7

In Div. 1B, Kildare made light of an understrength selection to see off the challenge of Down by 1-12 to 0-7 at Newbridge. "An important win for the morale of the team," manager Mick O’Dwyer said afterward as Kildare embark on another season in pursuit of elusive glories.

With serious training not resuming until next February, the Lilywhites managed to unearth a player for the future in the guise of Cathal Sheridan. The former Meathman contributed an impressive 1-5 while Willie McCreery and Dermot Earley took control at midfield.

For Down the League is a rebuilding exercise with manager Pete McGrath able to call on just five players from the All-Ireland winning team of 1994.

Mayo 1-10, Derry 1-4

There was little for returning Derry manager Eamonn Coleman to shout about as his team were well beaten 1-10 to 1-4 by Mayo at Charlestown. Missing eight regulars, Coleman’s patchwork selection was unable to cope with the Mayo attack in the first half as Kieran McDonald and James Nallen took full advantage.

McDonald smashed home a goal that started a 6-minute spell of eight points and Mayo never looked back. Pat Fallon, Maurice Sheridan and McDonald himself were all on target and a second-half reply by Paul Murphy never threatened to bring Derry back into the game.

Other games

Trailing by five points at the changeover, Meath rallied to turn the tables on Clare at Miltown Malbay. With the wind at their backs, the visitors chipped away at Clare’s lead and a Ray Magee goal 10 minutes from the end sealed a hard-earned 1-8 to 0-6 victory.

Laois have no manager and no points after they were beaten 0-11 to 1-6 by Monaghan at Scotstown. The losers’ lack of preparation showed, but they still managed to push the home side after Danny Doogue had given them a boost with an early goal.

Kerry, meanwhile, were pipped in Div. 2A when Roscommon edged the verdict by 0-11 to 0-10 at Hyde Park, and Westmeath were comfortable 3-10 to 1-12 winners over Antrim at Casement Park.

In Div. 2, Cavan beat Sligo by 2-10 to 1-9, Carlow took the honors ahead of Longford by 2-13 to 2-8, Wexford were 1-11 to 0-5 winners over Waterford, and Tipperary and Fermanagh finished level on 0-11 apiece.

County hurling

There were four county hurling titles up for decision last weekend and Imokilly retained the Cork championship with a 1-10 to 1-5 victory over Blackrock at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Athenry got the better of Abbey-Duniry by 1-15 to 1-12 in the Galway replay, Graigue-Ballycallan defeated Fenians by 1-14 to 0-12 to triumph in Kilkenny for the first time, and Toomevara went back to the top in Tipperary thanks to a 0-16 to 1-10 win against Clonoulty Rossmore.

Meanwhile, the Ulster county final ended in stalemate when Ballycastle of Antrim and Down’s Ballygalget drew on a scoreline of 3-7 to 1-16.

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