Thursday, 30 October 2014

Nire seek Munster semi final spot

The Nire recently won their seventh County Senior Football. It came twenty one years after they won their first and six years after they won their sixth title.

After winning that title, The Nire did not get to represent Waterford in the Munster Club Championship as the Championship ran late after a call was made to suspend all championship games where members of the Waterford Senior Hurling panel were involved in after they reached the All-Ireland Final for the first time since 1963.

The men from under the shadow of the North west slopes of the Comeragh Mountains won their fifth title two years earlier, one that gave them great satisfaction as it stopped their great rival over the past decade and a bit – Stradbally from becoming the first Waterford Club to win five senior football Championship’s in a row.

The win was a great confidence booster and they went on to play in the Munster Final that year against a Dr Crokes side from Kerry that included Colm ‘Gouch’ Cooper in a game that was played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. On the day, The Nire played far better than anyone could have expected them to do, but had to settle for second best on the day, loosing out by a goal.

Having missed out on representing the county after their last win, and their latest win coming twenty-one years on from their first win, when they beat Dungarvan at a never to be forgotten day in Cappoquin in 1993, there can be no doubting that the side coached this year by Benjie Whelan will be going all out to win the championship this year, something if they achieve it would be a first for Waterford.

However to win that first Munster Senior Club Football Championship, the Nire will have a few more hurdles to get over before they cross the finish line.

The first of these hurdles comes this Sunday afternoon when they take on newly crowned Limerick Champions Ballylanders at Kilmallock.

Limerick football has come on a great deal in the last few years. They have appeared in Munster Finals and have also on a couple of occasions won one of the two places out of Division Four of the National Football league in recent years, and they will be one of three Munster teams to play in the third division of the league in 2015.

However, of Limerick’s most recognisable names when it comes to football, none of them come from the South Limerick Club.

This however does not take from the fact that the side are a good team and won this years championship on merit.

In their final played recently at Newcastlewest they always proved too strong for a Saint Patrick’s side that had beaten them earlier in the competition.

Within their ranks they have some excellent footballers including Jimmy Barry-Murphy, James Kirby, Danny Frewen, Eoin Walsh and Brian O’Connell as well net minder Ricky Slattery.  

Like The Nire, Ballylanders head into this weekend’s game having played eight games in the championship.

The early stages of both counties senior football championship sees twelve teams split into two groups of six. The only difference between the Limerick and Waterford Championships is that in Limerick the top team in each group get a bye to the semi finals, and the second and third placed teams meet in the quarter finals, where as in Waterford the top four teams in the two groups advance to the quarter finals of the championship.

The South Limerick Club head into this weekend’s game with seven wins from their eight games under their belts.

They began their championship campaign with a 0-17 to 0-12 win over Moonaleen. Round two saw them record another five point win, this time beating Saint Mary’s/Sean Finn’s on a 2-11 to 1-9 score line.

Round three saw things prove to be much closer for Ballylanders as they beat a fancied Dromcollogher/Broadford side on a 0-11 to 0-9 score line, and in Round four of the league section of the competition things were much more clear cut as Ballylanders ran out 1-12 to 0-6 winners over Newcastlewest.

Ballylanders winning run came to an end in the last round of games in the league section of the championship when they went under to Saint Patrick’s on a score line of 1-10 to 1-9.

Four wins from five games gave them a place in the quarter finals where they were paired with Newcastlewest a side they ran out 2-9 to 0-11 winners over.

In the semi finals it was another game against Dromcollogher/Broadford who were beaten this time by four points on a 2-10 to 0-12 score line.

The County Final was a repeat of the last round of games in the league section of the competition against Saint Patrick’s.

Regular readers on here will be aware that I have a belief that the side that looses the first game in a game between two clubs in the same competition, the side that looses the first game is the one that I tend to favour the second day out.

Just one point separated the sides the first day in Saint Patrick’s favour but in the championship decider they had to settle for second best as Ballylanders proved to be the better sides winning by four points.

They held a 1-6 to 0-4 lead at the break, the goal coming midway through the second quarter from James Kirby which gave his side a 1-4 to 0-3 lead at the time.

While Saint Patrick’s started the second half the better of the two sides, a second Ballylanders goal on forty-three minutes, this time from Danny Frewen proved to be a crucial score, giving his side a 2-7 to 0-6 lead.

The eventual champions in the closing moments of the game did concede a goal from a Eoin Hanrahan effort but it proved to be a mere consolation score on the day for ‘The Saint’s’.

The Nire will head to Kilmallock on Sunday morning with a one hundred per cent win record at their backs in the championship.

In the first two games of the league section of the competition, they recorded two big wins, the first a 3-22 to 0-2 win over Ballinameela and then a 2-10 to 1-3 win over Saint Saviours.

Game three was always going to be a table topper game as they took on Stradbally, proving to be too strong for the Cove-men winning 3-11 to 3-6, a win that five minutes from time looked as though it would be much bigger but for a late Stradbally surge who eventually ran out of time to get even closer.

The 2013 Intermediate Champions De La Salle were beaten 2-15 to 0-8 in the fourth series of games and The Nire rounded off the league section of the championship with a 1-9 to 1-7 win over Gaultier.

The quarter final pairing’s saw The Nire pitted with their cross Comeragh Mountain neighbours Rathgormack a game they won 1-8 to 0-8 and in the semi finals they had to work very hard again to beat An Rinn on a 0-10 to 0-9 score line.

Heading into the County Final, Stradbally were the favourites to win in the eyes of many, as in recent county battles between the two ‘The Red’s’ had the upper hand of the two clubs.

However on the day The Nire proved to be the better of the teams with Conor Gleeson in his first senior final playing a pivotal roll in a 0-11 to 0-6 win.

After that game Conor Gleeson received some rave reviews and rightly so, as he put in a terrific performance, but he was not the only player to stand out on the day as Brian and Diarmuid Wall, their first Cousin Shane Ryan as well as Michael O’Gorman also stood out for the winners.

It was reported in recent days that members of the Ballylanders Club were in the stand in Fraher Field to see the game, and will be impressed with what they say.

No doubt in the two weeks since they will have tried to come up with a plan in trying to stop Conor Gleeson putting in another Man of the Match performance, but if they were to pay too much attention to one player, it could well allow other players to be the match winner on the day.

The bookies are making The Nire favourites to win this game, but it could well prove to be a close one.

Ballylanders have seven wins from eight games as already pointed out, The Nire have eight wins from eight games.

The Nire have hit twelve goals in their eight games to now, Ballylanders have hit ten. The South Limerick club have conceded three goals up to now, the West Waterford club have conceded five goals, three of which came in the one game.

Ballylanders have averaged just over fourteen point six points a game to now and conceded an average of ten point six. The Nire have faired a little better averaging sixteen point five scores on their side of the score sheet and have conceded eight points a game.

The bookies are seldom wrong but they do at times get things wrong, sometimes terribly wrong.

As a Waterford Supporter and someone that likes to see neighbouring clubs to my own win when my own club is not involved, let’s hope that this is one of these occasions that the bookies are right and the Nire will advance to a meeting with Clare champions Cratloe in the semi finals.

But for this to happen they will have to get over Ballylanders on Sunday, a game that could well prove to be close.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Old Parish reach first County Final since 1976


This was a year which saw former Taoiseach John A. Costello die at the age of 84 in early January, the Taoiseach of the day, Liam Cosgrave and his wife were meet in the White House by the then President of the United States of America Gerald Ford and his wife Betty on March 18 and a few days later the Sallins Train Robbery occurred in County Kildare, with a large amount of money stolen from a CIE train.

In mid May, Tim Severin in a boat called Brendan set out from Dingle across the Atlantic to America tracing a route of a sixth century monk by the same name.

In the last week of September a band was formed in Dublin that would go on to become known all around the world. The name of the Band was U2.

In October, President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh resigned following the famous ‘Thundering Disgrace’ remark from Paddy Donegan who was the then Minister for Defence. 41 days later, Patrick Hillery is inaugurated as the sixth President of Ireland.

In December, the first Mosque is established in Ireland by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.

Former Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock, Republic of Ireland International Shay Given, former International soccer player Steve Finnan, former international rugby player Denis Hickie, TV host Daithi O Sé, actor Colin Farrell, Singers Shane Lynch and Steven Gately, former Galway hurler Ollie Canning and Journalist were all born.

The Olympic Games that year were head at Montreal in Canada, but most sovereign African nations boycotted the Games when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would not support, as had other international sporting organisations, the banning from competition of those countries whose athletes had participated in sporting events in South Africa as long as apartheid continued.

Kevin Heffernan’s Dublin beat Kerry in the All-Ireland Football final on a score of 3-8 to 0-10 and in hurling, Cork beat Wexford in a high scoring game, the final score was 2-21 to 4-11.

A little closer to home, John Mitchell’s beat Dunhill in the County Senior Football final with six points to spare at the end of the hour and in hurling, Portlaw trounced Tallow on a 7-12 to 1-5 score line in the Senior Hurling final.

O yes, something else happened, Cappoquin won the County Intermediate Championship, a competition they would not win again until 2014, and Old Parish won the Western Junior Football Championship, a competition they won again for the first time in thirty-eight years last weekend.

Last weekend’s game was in fact a replay. Just over a week earlier at Fraher Field the two sides had fought out a 1-9 to 1-9 draw.

Colligan went into the drawn game as favourites as they did in the replay having won last years final before loosing to Mount Sion in the final, but Old Parish were to ‘Shock’ them.

But was it a Shock? I know I for one had a feeling that Old Parish would win. They had appeared in the final in recent years, they had some experienced players, adding to their panel this year, bringing Declan Ryan a member of last years Midleton team that won the Cork Senior Hurling Championship into their set up and they also had John Phelan from South Tipperary who had worked with The Nire for a long number of years involved in the club and he had put in the region of one hundred training sessions and games in with the club this year.

In the drawn game, Colligan had a tonic start, with Johnny Wall kicking a brace of early points and Mark Flynn hit one to give them an early lead.

But the lead was cancelled out on twelve minutes when Graham Guiry having been set up by Ray Terry and Brendan Hogan beat Dean McKenna in the Colligan goals.

Points from Declan Ryan and Cormac Nugent had Old Parish in front and things were starting to look rosey for ‘The Shock’s’.

On 21 minutes Colligan introduced former Inter County footballer Sean Dempsey into the team and he made an immediate impact hitting a point for the 2013 champions.

Prior to the break, both sides would score once more, Ray Terry hitting a point for Old Parish and Ray Bannon for Colligan which gave Old Parish a 1-3 to 0-5 lead at the turn around.

Old Parish began the second half extending their lead to three after Cormac Curran and Shane Power had white flags waved.

Johnny Wall pulled a point back for Colligan on thirty seven minutes and three minutes later they were in front for the second time in the game when inter county hurler Colin Dunford having been set up by Ray Bannon beat Aidan Power to give his side a 1-6 to 1-5 lead.

The 2013 champions were now expected to press on and while they did hit the next score through Johnny Wall, they were not able to pull away any further on Old Parish.

Declan Ryan from a free and Bryan French hit points to draw the sides level at 1-7 a piece with the name about to enter its final quarter.

Colin Dunford and Declan Ryan swapped scores on forty-six and forty eight minutes, before Johnny Wall edged Colligan back in front with ten minutes to spare.

Both sides missed chances over the next six minutes before Declan Ryan levelled matters once more at 1-9 a piece and when Colligan broke forward with the hour played it looked as though they would win the game, but instead of popping the ball safely over the cross bar, a goal was went for but Aidan Power made a fantastic save to keep his side in the game and send the game to a replay.

Last Sunday, Colligan won the toss and elected to play with what advantage the wind can be at times, at their backs. But the wind does not always win games. In fact I have yet to see a GAA trophy with the wind engraved on it as the winner.

It can be an advantage to playing with it but when you play a carful and clever style of football when playing against it, it might not prove to be a disadvantage.

Old Parish in this game started very brightly. Ray Terry set up Cormac Nugent for the first score of the game on forty-two seconds which was followed by a Michael French score followed by a brace of scores from Declan Ryan to give Old Parish a 0-4 to 0-0 lead with just over four minutes played.

Johnny Wall hit Colligan’s first score of the game from a free on seven minutes. Soon afterwards Aidan Power the hero from the drawn game with a late great save to send the game to a replay, made another excellent stop this time from Alan Walsh.

Sean Browne halved Old Parish’s lead on nine minutes, but this was to prove to be his sides last score of the half despite playing with the wind.

In fact Old Parish were to hit one further score in the final twenty minutes of the first half, but it was not from the want of trying.

Graham Guiry missed chances to have green flags waved on nineteen and twenty-six minutes, but the Shocks would make no mistake a minute from time when Graham Guiry played Padraig Healy into the Colligan square with a clever flick and when the Old Parish man was pulled down, Thomas Walsh had no hesitation in awarding the side in red and white shirts a penalty and from twelve metres Cormac Nugent made no mistake to give his side a 1-4 to 0-2 advantage at the break.

Having scored a goal a minute from the end of the first half, Old Parish began the second half by adding a second goal inside a minute of the restart, the Veteran Ray Terry again playing a key roll in finding Graham Guiry who beat Dean McKenna to give his side a 2-4 to 0-2 lead.

Colligan however would hit a purple patch after this hitting the next three scores, Johnny Wall hitting a brace of scores and Gavin Whelan hit one to leave the 2013 champions trailing 2-4 to 0-5 with the game heading for the final quarter.

However, by this stage it could have been a lot worse for Colligan and it would have been but for a time intervention by John Flynn to deny Graham Guiry a second goal of the game.

Declan Ryan put Old Parish six points up with nine minutes to play, and a minute later the same player found Bryan French from a sideline kick and the youngster made no mistake in putting the ball over the Colligan crossbar.

If Colligan held any hopes of staging a late fight back in this game, they were ended seven minutes from time when Brendan Hogan an Shane Power combined to set up Graham Guiry for his second goal of the game which put Old Parish 3-6 to 0-5 in front.

John Morrissey and Mark Flynn would hit points for Colligan before the hour mark was up but in added time Declan Ryan from a free put Old Parish nine points or three clear goals (3-7 to 0-7) back in front.

The game however would end on a sour note as following a Melee involving a number of players, John Morrissey and Shane Power were sent off on straight reds meaning Old Parish will now have to select without Shane Power in the County Final in just over a weeks time, when they take on Kill at Walsh Park.

Old Parish: Aidan Power; Andy Walsh, Patrick Conway, Dan Murphy; Stephen Conway, Michel French, Ian Curran; Cormac Nugent, Shane Power; Tomás Curran, Declan Ryan, Declan Power; Ray Terry, Graham Guiry, Padraig Healy. Subs: Brendan Hogan for Tomás Curran, Bryan French for Declan Power, Patrick Keating for Ian Curran, Diarmuid Curran for Ray Terry, Sean Wade for Padraig Healy, Raymond Power for Graham Guiry.

Scorers: Graham Guiry 2-0, Declan Ryan 0-4 (3f), Cormac Nugent 1-1 (1-0 Pen), Michael French, Bryan French 0-1 each.

Colligan: Dean McKenna; Sean Browne, John Morrissey, John Flynn; Ross Browne, Peter Moloney, Ray Bannon; Mark Flynn, Darren Dunford; PJ Coffey, Alan Walsh, Gavin Whelan; John Wall, Sean Dempsey, Colin Dunford. Sub: Michael McGrath for Sean Dempsey.

Scorers: Johnny Wall 0-3 (3f), Sean Browne, Gavin Whelan, John Morrissey, Mark Flynn 0-1 each.

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Modeligo).

Brickeys win back place in Senior Football CHampionship at first time of asking.

Portlaw’s last appearance in a County Final was in 2012. It was the Intermediate Hurling decider and they travelled to Fraher Field believing just like many others that they could beat An Rinn in the final. As things turned out, Portlaw and those that fancied them to win were to be left disappointed as An Rinn romped to a very easy win at the end of the hour.

Portlaw were back in a county final last weekend when they took on Brickeys in the Intermediate Football Final at Walsh Park.

Many did not give them a chance. The experts were saying that it was going to be an easy win for the Bushy Park outfit. I believed that the Brickeys would win the game, but that it was going to be much closer than most were expecting it to be and when asked by two Portlaw supporters in Dungarvan in the days leading up to the game as to how I honestly believed the game would go, I said without hesitation that the Brickeys would win by two or three points.

I don’t know if I was believed or not, but not for the first time I wished I a few euro on the game the way my mind was telling me the game would end up.

Portlaw got off to a good start in this game with Man of the Match Paul Power hitting a point on two minutes.

Four minutes later they had a good chance to extend the lead but Richie Fitzpatrick shot wide shooting for goal, but had he passed to an unmarked Paul Power the outcome could have been different.

Brickeys got their first score of the game on eight minutes, after Christopher Mackey finished failed to deal with a Conor McGrath effort and when the ball fell in the direction of Emmet Gaffney he made no mistake in hitting the net with his fist to strike the ball.

Shane and Conor McGrath further stretched the Brickeys lead to four by ten minutes, only for Portlaw to real it back to one thanks to a brace of Paul Power points and one from John Hartley.

Carthach Shalloe hit a second goal moments later for Brickeys. He will have be counting himself lucky as he clearly was attempting to put the ball over the head of Christopher Mackey in the Portlaw goal but it dipped at the last second and fell into the net.

Mark Shalloe followed up with a point for Brickeys and when Conor McGrath added a third goal for the eventual winners shortly before the half time whistle, following some good work by Carthach Shalloe and Cormac O’Grady the writing looked to be on the wall for Portlaw.

Portlaw however started the second half brightly. John Hartley, Shane Power and Niall Fitzgerald all combined to set up Paul Power for a goal.

Points from Darren Long and Michael Donnelly followed for the Eastern Champions by the fortieth minute which left Portlaw trailing 3-3 to 1-6 and many were wondering could a result unforeseen by many actually happen.

Brickeys however would pile on the pressure in the time that remained in the third quarter. Carthach Shalloe with a brace and Cormac O’Grady would land points to extend Brickeys lead to a more comfortable six points.

Put Portlaw refused to throw in the towel. Paul Power landed a brace of points which was followed by an effort from Carthach Shalloe.

Paul Power would cancel out Shalloe’s effort and when Portlaw won a free it looked as though the Brickeys lead would be cut even further but Paul Power somehow saw his effort hit the upright go across the goal hit the other upright and drop down in front of the goal and the ball was cleared by the Brickeys defence.

Michael Donnelly put three between the sides when he pointed on fifty five minutes and moments later it looked as though it was going to be curtains for Portlaw but Cormac O’Grady saw his effort hit the side netting.

Another Michael Donnelly point followed for Portlaw in the second last minute of the game there was just two between the sides.

However there was to be no fairy-tail finish to this game as Brickeys at the end of the hour hit the endurance score through John Morrissey to move back up to the senior ranks for 2015, twelve months after they lost their place for this years competition.

Brickeys: Joe Grant; Carthach Barry, Philip Walsh, Kieran O’Neill; Tommy Lynch, Mark Cummins, Diarmuid Tobin; Conor Phelan, Darragh Duggan; Shane McGrath, Conor McGrath, Mark Shalloe; Cormac O’Grady, Emmet Gaffney, Carthach Shalloe. Subs: John Morrissey for Emmet Gaffney, Cormac Curran for Darragh Duggan, Olan Casey for Mark Shalloe, Jamie Kiely for Cormac O’Grady.

Scorers: Carthach Shalloe 1-3 (0-2f), Conor MCGrath 1-1, Emmet Gaffney 1-0, Shane McGrath, Mark Shalloe, Cormac O’Grady, John Morrissey 0-1 each.

Portlaw: Christopher Mackey; Noel Mackey, Paul Shankey, Blake O’Connor; James Rooney, Darren Rockett, Gary Morahan; Frank Galvin, Michael Donnelly; Niall Fitzpatrick, John Hartley, Shane Power; Richie Fitzpatrick, Paul Power, Mark Morahan. Sub: Darren Long for Richie Fitzpatrick.

Scorers: Paul Power 1-6 (0-2f), Michael Donnelly 0-3, John Hartley, Darren Long 0-1 each.

Referee: John Condon (An Rinn).

Friday, 24 October 2014

Lismore begin quest for back to back Munster Finals with a semi final clash with Tipperary Champions Borrisoleigh.

The past twelve months or so have proven to be a memorable time for the Lismore Camogie Club.

September 2013 saw the club regain the county senior camogie final in Lemybrien against a Saint Anne’s side that had beaten the Cathedral Town side in the 2012 decider between the two at Ardmore.

The Cathedral Town side went on to represent the county in the Munster Intermediate Championship (the club championship is graded on the level the inter county team play at) and beat opposition from Cork and Clare (after a replay) to lift the Munster Crown for the third time in the clubs history, and haven beaten the Ulster Champions in the All-Ireland semi final, drew with Kilkenny side Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All-Ireland Final at Croke Park before beating them in the replay at Clonmel.

In May Lismore lost out to Saint Anne’s in the Senior League Final, but it was no surprise that the two would meet again in the championship decider a little over four months later, although whether it will be a surprise that the big two do not meet in future finals remains to be seen as there is a number of clubs quickly closing in on the standard currently set by Lismore and Saint Annes.

Had Lismore not got the result they did from that game few could have complained.

Saint Anne’s really put it up to Lismore on the day and had their chances to earn a draw or even win the game but it was not to be for the mid county side.

Four minutes into added time at the end of the second half, Karen Kelly stood over a free on her own sixty-five metre line but her effort to force another meeting of the two went just wide. Earlier in the second half, a Niamh Rockett effort appeared to sneak inside the upright but the umpire waved it wide.

Lismore’s opposition on Sunday will be Tipperary side Borrisoleigh who will be playing the game on their own sod.

They have come through a good Tipperary Intermediate Championship, beating Kilruane 1-9 to 0-7, Moycarkey 2-11 to 0-14, Drom and Inch 2-15 to 0-8 and Shannon Rovers 2-15 to 1-10.

Nicole Walsh is without doubt the Tipperary side’s leading player and is their top scorer by some distance. She is also a quality free taker and will punish teams for any in-discipline they show. Others that could play a vital roll include Teresa Ryan at centre back, Aoife Delargy and Julie Kelly in the middle of the field and Moira Maher in attack.

In the semi final’s Borrisoleigh had a narrow 1-12 to 2-7 win over Kilruane with Nicole Walsh mot for the first time proving to be the sides leading mark person on the day accounting for 1-10 of her sides total with Sarah Kinnane and Deirdre Corcoran also getting on the score sheet.

In the final, Drom and Inch provided the opposition a The Ragg in a most local of local derbies.

On the day Borrisoleigh proved to be the better of the two sides winning 2-13 to 1-7 with Nicole Walsh again finishing top scorer with 1-7. Deirdre Corcoran with 1-1, Moira Maher with 0-3 as well as Mary Bradshaw and Sarah Kinnane also got on the score sheet for the winners.

19 different players have started for Borrisoleigh in their last two games and the side for this weekend’s game could well be picked along similar lines.

Carmel O’Brien is the side’s regular net minder and she could well have Michelle Ryan, Shauna Rabbitte and Niamh McGrath in front of her.

Further out the field Nora O’Brien and Teresa Ryan have started the last two games with Cloda Scanlon and Noreen Stapleton starting in the number seven position in the semi final and final respectfully.

In the middle of the field the Tipperary side has a settled pairing of Julie Kiely and Aoife Delargy.

In attack Deirdre Corcoran, Nicole Walsh, Moira Maher, Jane McCormack and Chrissy Kenny have rotated in different positions over the past two games with Grace O’Mahony and Mary Bradshaw have filled the full forward position.

Others that could play a roll for the Tipperary club include Sarah Kinnane who has come on in the last few games and hit important scores, Lauren Butler-Ryan, Louise Fahey, Patricia McElwee, Aisling Kiely and Grace O’Mahony.

Lismore in their County Final win over Saint Anne’s had a number of changes to the team that beat Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All-Ireland Final replay back in March.

Tanya Morrissey has replaced Aisling O’Brien in goal. The full back line of Sarah Coughlan, Shauna Prendergast and Marie Russell was the same. Shauna Kiernan remained at centre back with Aoife Houlihan in the number five position and Grainne Kenneally who missed much of 2013 moving from centre forward to wing back in place of Sarah Fenton.

Shona Curran was at centre field in both the All-Ireland and county Final but had a different partner last time out Laura Buckley came in to play alongside the captain with Nicola Morrissey who was Shona Curran’s partner in the All-Ireland moving to attack.

Lismore have a possible double goal scoring machine in Catriona McGlone their hat-trick hero at Clonmel last March playing with Ruth Geoghegan in the inside forward line.

The remaining other four positions in attack could well be a contest between a number of players. Nicola Morrissey, if not selected in the middle of the field in a swap with Laura Buckley, Johanna Houlihan and Aoife Hannon would all be expected to start in three of the four remaining forward positions, but where they start could well prove to be a lottery such is their versatility. In the county final, the selectors opted to start Sharon Williams in the final forward positions and could well start their again this time round.

Sarah Fenton who replaced Johanna Houlihan in the county final is another option to start in attack for Lismore is this game while Niamh Molumphy who replaced Ruth Geoghegan in the same game is another option, possibly coming in at corner back with Marie Russell moving out to the half back line and Grainne Kenneally moving to attack.

Aisling O’Brien, Kate Heneghan, Sarah Geoghegan, Ellen Curran who is new to the panel this year as is Alice Russell could also play a roll if given the nod to start.

The Current Borrisoleigh Club was reformed in 2007 and has won the Junior Championship in the Premier County in 2012 and the Intermediate Championship this year.

The club has grown from strength to strength since it re-formation has grown from strength to strength and currently has over 100 members.

Lismore this year celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the club and have already marked that anniversary with an All-Ireland and would love no doubt as they head for the next major milestone begin a new era with repeating what they achieved towards the end of last year and earlier this year.

Lismore will know going into the game that they will be the favourite’s in the eyes of some to advance from this game, but they don’t need me to remind them that favourite’s do not always win and those over the team will be making their charges aware of this.

Lismore will travel to Borrisoleigh confident they will win, but playing on their own sod, Borrisoleigh will also be hopeful of pulling off a win and winning a place in the Munster Final. Lismore will also be respecting the challenge of Borrisoleigh and will be hoping that the experience they have gained in the last few years winning several county finals, winning three Munster Finals and one All-Ireland as well as playing in a higher grade in the county club championship will see them march on from this game.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Munster Minor and Under 21 hurling and Football draws are made

The draws for this years Munster Minor and Under 21 Hurling and Football Championships in 2015 were made by the Munster Council this evening.

In under 21 hurling, Waterford will be away to Cork in the quarter finals in Pairc Ui Rinn. Should Waterford win that game, the side will travel to Ennis in the semi finals to play Clare and if Cork come through the quarter final game, the game with Clare would take place in Pairc Ui Rinn.

The other semi final will see Tipperary travel to the Gaelic Grounds to play Limerick.

In Under 21 Football, Waterford are again on the road for a quarter final game to play Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis. The other quarter final will see Cork take on Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds.

In the semi finals, the winner of the Clare and Waterford game will play Tipperary at Thurles, while the winner of the Cork and Limerick game will play Kerry. If Cork beat Limerick the game is at Pairc Ui Rinn and if Limerick win the game is in Tralee.

In the Munster Minor Hurling Championship Tipperary will play Waterford at Thurles while Cork will play Limerick at Pairc Ui Rinn in the two first round games. The winners of both games will advance to the semi finals along with Clare while the two first round losers will play off to see who be the fourth team in the semi finals.

In the last four Clare will play the winner of the Tipperary and Waterford game. If it is Waterford that come through the game will be at Cusack Park in Ennis, if Tipperary beat Waterford the game is in Thurles.

In the other semi finals the winner of the Cork and Limerick game will play the winner of the game between the two first round losers.

In Minor Football, in the first round games, Clare will play Kerry at Tralee, Cork play Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds and Waterford will travel to Thurles to play Tipperary in the first round.

In the play off’s the loser of the Cork and Limerick game will play the looser of the Tipperary and Waterford game with the winner of this game playing the looser of the Clare and Kerry game to see who will be the fourth team in the semi finals.

The semi final draw sees the winner of the Clare and Kerry game will play the winner of the Cork and Limerick game with the winner of the Tipperary and Waterford game playing the team that comes through from the play off games between the three first round losers.

Clonea Power their way to County Final Win

In a few weeks time the Waterford GAA Board officers and the clubs of the county will sit down and review the year that we are currently in and set in place plans for the year ahead.

Such meeting’s (Conventions) in the last number of years have become rather dull events with little happening at them. Most years in fact the only think that needs to be decided and we have to be honest in saying this, is to find out who will have the first word words spoken after the Chairman throws a topic out to the floor and then to see who will have the last word before the chairman moves on the evenings proceedings to the next topic.

Again we have to be honest and admit a game is played during the evening, a simple game, one we all have played at one time or another – Musical Chairs.

Some years back Central Council introduced a rule which restricted officers apart from full time secretaries and treasurers to holding any position for more than five years.

While the ‘Five Year Rule’ as it is known is in place now with a few years, in the main it is the same people are involved at administration level in most counties as officers having to step down from one position often just move seats to take the place of another officer that has to step down as well.

December 2014 will be one of the years when ‘Musical Chairs’ is played in Waterford. Already names are been mentioned for different positions, with canvasing already believed to be going on, which at times if reports are to be believed could be likened to a person trying to fill a Dáil seat in a General or Bye Election.

One officer that has to step down this year is the County Chairman Tom Cunningham. Some weeks back reports doing the round suggested that there was four people interested in replacing the Stradbally Man in the main chair at the top table but this past weekend reports suggests that the number interested at this point could be down to two.

No doubt who ever that takes over will set out their hopes for the next few years prior to and again at the meeting and no doubt those interested in the job will make different hopes known.

One thing in the eyes of many that follow the GAA across different levels within the county that will have to be looked at is the Junior competitions within the county.

Some may be aware that every so often I can be heard on Community Radio Youghal on the stations GAA Programme on a Friday evening (GAA This Week) and while talking to the Presenter Mike O’Brien be it while on the show or before it while talking off air we might discuss games that are on in West Waterford that weekend and when it comes to talking about the Junior competitions it can get very confusing.

We have Junior ‘Proper’ Junior ‘Senior Attached’ and Junior ‘Intermediate Attached’. Try and explain Senior Attached and Intermediate Attached to someone outside the county, and then try and explain why we have Junior First string teams playing in an Attached Competition and then explain how a club that has its main team playing in the Senior Hurling or Football Championship could end up playing a second string side of a side who’s main team plays Intermediate or Junior and how a team who’s main team play Junior or Intermediate could end up playing a club who’s main team plays in the senior grades.

I may now be confusing others as much as I am confused myself at times so lets move on.

Clonea (who have their main team play in the Eastern Intermediate Hurling Championship) are Junior ‘Senior Attached’ County Hurling champions after they proved too strong for Ballyduff Upper (who have their main team play in the County Senior Hurling Championship) on Sunday afternoon last at Fraher Field.

Playing with a strong wind at their backs in the opening half, Clonea at the break were five points in front, a lead that many would have said they needed such was the strength of the wind and Ballyduff Upper were expected to come fighting back in the second half.

Clonea opened the scoring in this game with five minutes played when full forward Robert Kenny pointed.

Clonea with the wind at their backs continued to look to be the stronger of the two sides, but did not add to their tally on the score board till the tenth minute and just like a London Bus two scores came almost together.

Paul Keating was first to score, a point which was followed by the waving of another white flag, this time from a David Hallahan effort.

On the quarter of an hour mark, the sides were level on the score board after Eoin Scanlon bore down on the Clonea goal and with a powerfully struck shot with a deflection off the stick of Tony Power the ball passed the Clonea goal guarded by William O’Brien.

The goal was cancelled out six minutes later as Clonea restored a three point advantage on the scoreboard when Robert Kenny finished to the net after a quickly taken sideline from the stand side of the field was sent into him and from close range he beat Jamie Keating in the Ballyduff Upper goals.

Gerdie Power from the middle of the field and Gavin Sheehan from out near the sideline added further points for Clonea to increase their lead to five before Ballyduff Uppers most industrious player on the day Eoin Scanlon pulled a point back in the first minute of added time, but Clonea would restore their five point advantage after Paul Keating pointed just before half time.

The expected fight back from Ballyduff Upper apart from a short period mid way through the third quarter never happened.

Gavin Sheehan opened the second half with a brace of pointed frees which was followed by a point from the impressive Paul Keating which gave Clonea am eight point lead five minutes into the second half.

That lead was cut a minute later after Ballyduff Upper won a free inside their own sixty five metre line struck by Eoin Scanlon appeared to go all the way to the Clonea net, although on route a number of hurleys from both sides tried to connect with the ball.

The same player hit two more points for Ballyduff to leave just three (1-9 to 2-3) between the sides with forty one minutes played, but this was as close as it got for Ballyduff Upper.

David Hallahan pointed for Clonea on forty-four minutes which was followed with point from Paul Keating and another from Gavin Sheehan in extend their sides lead and when Sheehan stuck for a second Clonea goal on forty six minutes after he was set up by Robbie Flynn the game was as good as over as a contest.

Eoin Scanlon pulled a point back for Ballyduff on forty-seven minutes but it was followed by a brace of Gavin Sheehan frees.

Ballyduff had a chance to cut the lead somewhat seven minutes from time when they won a twenty metre free just right of the right hand upright as Ballyduff played into the road goal but substitute Wayne Power saw his effort for goal rise over the crossbar.

Two further frees from Gavin Sheehan went between the uprights for Clonea to give them a 2-16 to 2-5 lead with four minutes remaining. Sean Tanner pulled a point back for Ballyduff but the impressive Paul Keating in added time closed the scoring for the afternoon in this game when he struck his fifth of the game in added time to help his side to an eleven (2-17 to 2-6) point victory.

Clonea: William O’Brien; David McNamara, Tony Power, Kevin Dunne; Aidan Flynn, Anthony Power, Peter Foran; Liam Mulligan, Gerdie Power; David Hallahan, Paul Keating, Robbie Flynn; William Brazil, Robert Kenny, Gavin Sheehan. Subs: Noah O’Brien for David McNamara (50 mins), Seanie Lacey for Robert Kenny, Eamon Cahill for William Brazil (both 59 mins), Simon Kenny for David Hallahan, Christopher Mackey for Gavin Sheehan (both 60 mins).

Scorers: Gavin Sheehan 1-8 (0-6f), Paul Keating 0-5, Robert Kenny 1-1, David Hallahan 0-2, Gerdie Power 0-1.

Ballyduff Upper: Jamie Keating; Conor Hannon, Aidan Feeney, Denis McDonagh; Kenneth Geary, Michael Drislane, Colm Horgan; Eoin Scanlon, Sean Brackett; David Walsh, Tommy Feeney, Edward Molumphy; Colin Keane, Martin Feeney, Kevin Moroney. Subs: Wayne Power for Martin Feeney (33 mins), Sean Tanner for David Walsh, Seamus Mills for Edward Molumphy, Conor Geary for Kevin Moroney (all 48 mins), Sean Drislane for Colin Keane (57 mins).

Scorers: Eoin Scanlon 2-4 (1-2 f), Wayne Power, Sean Tanner 0-1 each

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Modeligo)

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Nire celebrate 21st Anniversary of first senior county final win with a seventh county final win

In Ireland certain mile-stones are marked. Not many of us get to celebrate our 100th Birthday and when ones come’s around, it is only right to celebrate the occasion. For many of us, down the years our 21st Birthday was a big occasion. That in more recent years transferred to out 18th.

It’s not only Birthday’s that we celebrate. Other Anniversary’s such as marriage ones and other significant occasions are also marked.

The 21st is something that many of us celebrate and this past weekend one team within the county celebrate a significant 21st.

A teacher I had at Saint Anne’s Post Primary School in Cappoquin (one I can’t remember the name of at this moment) often said to me, often sarcastically when I might have been bored out my mind or paying little attention (which often happened) in a class used to say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

Shortly before the start of this year’s JJ Kavanagh & Sons County Senior Football Championship final between The Nire and Stradbally, for some reason something came into my mind. It was 21 years since The Nire won their first ever Senior Football Championship when they beat Dungarvan 2-7 to 1-9 on a very wet day at Cappoquin, the last venue outside of Fraher Field or Walsh Park used to stage such a final, and in winning they denied the Old Boro what would have been a four in a row of finals.

That was a day that I remember well. The rain that fell that day was terrible but it did not stop a big crowd gathering to see the game. I was one of the lucky one’s that day, I was able to get into the sideline and sit in the dug out along side a man that would in later years become a friend of mine Irish Examiner journalist – John A Murphy. Johnnie as he was known to so many was not a native Dungarvan man, but he was it like the Normans back along the years who became more Irish than the Irish themselves, Johnnie became more of a Dungarvan Man in his 60 plus years in the Old Boro than many a person born and who lived in Dungarvan all their lives. During the game, not for the first time and not for the last when Dungarvan were playing, Johnnie got very excited on the day and more over when Dungarvan were behind and making mistakes. After the match, heading back to the car parked near Lincons shop there was at least one Dungarvan man that was not too down in the dumps about the win as well known Dungarvan singer Joey Sullivan had many people standing listening to him sing despite the rain that was falling.

In previewing the game before the final, I said I would love to see the club next door my own club (Sliabh gCua/St Mary’s) pull off a win in a county final just as another club on the other side of the parish – Modeligo had done a week earlier at the same venue, but said I felt that Stradbally would come out on top.

After it clicking that The Nire was looking to win a seventh county senior football final twenty-one years after they won their first senior county final, I was wondering could they mark that win with a win. After all would there be a better way of celebrating that first win. Stradbally went into the game as favourites, but favourites do not always win, even in a two horse race.

On the day, there could be no disputing the fact that the better team won on the day. All over the field they won every battle.

Teenager Conor Gleeson was the press member’s choice as Man of the Match on the day, scoring five points in his first senior final, which is no mean achievement. But in truth the award could have gone to a number of other players as Brian Wall one of two 35 year olds starting the game was also magnificent, as was younger brother Diarmuid while Michael O’Gorman also had an outstanding game, not allowing the fact he had his head bandaged for 48 minutes plus the added time affect him.

Great credit was given to Stradbally for their semi final win over 2013 champions Ballinacourty in the semi finals a week earlier, while many people talked down the chances of The Nire for their narrow win over An Rinn, but not many praised the Gaeltacht Club for the part in the semi final game, and did not recognise the fact that a number of clubs, An Rinn being one of them are fast closing in on the big three within the county when it comes to challenging for honours.

From the off The Nire were always the better side of the two in this game.

They were unlucky not to have hit a goal inside the opening two minutes of the game, when Michael O’Gorman was put through by Conor Gleeson but the 28 year old Farmer somehow had his shot stopped from reaching the goals to test Eoin Cunningham in the Stradbally goal.

Shane Ryan opened the scoring for The Nire on three minutes. The 21 year old is one of the most under-rated footballers in the county and is as good and maybe sometimes better than some of those that we often say are the best footballers within the county.

Over the past few years he has become the side’s regular free taker and using a stance identical to older sister Michelle who is one of the leading ladies footballers in the county he kicked a free.

Eight further minutes passed before another score was registered, going in the direction of Stradbally courtesy of Michael Sweeney who was the youngest player involved in this years final, whose effort went over the crossbar but for a moment just before going between the uprights it looked as though it could rattle the Nire net.

On thirteen minutes Stradbally went in front when Shane Ahearne put over a free, however it was not to be his day kicking frees as just over a minute later, his side won another free and playing against a very strong wind, for what to him normally would be an easy kick at goal went wide of the near post as he looked at the target.

Liam Lawlor levelled matters for The Nire on fifteen minutes which was followed with a brace of scores from Conor Gleeson on sixteen and seventeen minutes.

Michael O’Gorman put The Nire three points up a minute later and two further minutes later, The Nire kicked the last score of the half through Shane Ryan from a free.

Playing towards the road goal and with the wind at their backs for the second half, many felt that Stradbally would come right back into the game, but they fell further behind on thirty three minutes when man of the match Conor Gleeson hit his third of the game.

David Grey pulled a point back for Stradbally from a free on thirty five minutes but the score failed to ignite Stradbally as many of the Cove Men’s supporters would have liked to see happen.

Shane Ryan and Shane Ahearne swapped scores, both from frees in a two minute spell before David Grey and the brilliant Conor Gleeson swapped points to give The Nire a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Down the last number of years since Stradbally began to dominate the football scene in Waterford many of the games they won were won in the last few minutes of the game.

They hit a point through Andy Doyle on fifty two minutes which had those supporting the reds hoping that the score would start a late surge.

But this score would prove to be Stradbally’s last of the game.

In the eight minutes plus the stoppage time that remained, as was the case for the majority of the game, The Nire proved to be the stronger of the two sides.

Conor Gleeson kicked his fifth and final score of the game six minutes from the hour mark and in added time Shane Ryan hit his fourth score of the game, all from frees to extend his sides lead to five.

The Nire now march on to the Munster Club Championship. Down the years they have come very close to recording a first Munster Championship win for Waterford. They will head into this years competition confident of putting a good run together. They begin their quest to do so in two weeks time when they play Limerick champions Ballylanders which would be an interesting game for at least one household in the Ballymacarbry area between now and then.

Should The Nire come through that game they will face the Clare champions Cratloe in Dungarvan which could well prove to be an interesting game if the East Clare side were to beat Ballygunner in this weeks hurling quarter final game at Walsh Park as it would mean that they would have only a seven day turn over from their semi final against the Tipperary champions and have to turn attention from hurling to football.

The Nire: Tom Wall; Justin Walsh, Thomas O’Gorman, Tommy Cooney; Seamus Lawlor, Brian Wall, Diarmuid Wall; Shane Walsh, Craig Guiry; Michael O’Gorman, Maurice O’Gorman, Jamie Barron; Conor Gleeson, Shane Ryan, Liam Lawlor. Subs: Michael Moore for Michael O’Gorman (BS 8-12 mins), Michael Moore for Craig Guiry (41 mins), Jack Guiry for Justin Walsh, Keith Guiry for Maurice O’Gorman (both 56 mins), Dermot Ryan for Conor Gleeson (BS 59-61 mins), Alan Lawlor for Liam Lawlor (62 mins). .

Scorers: Conor Gleeson 0-5, Shane Ryan 0-4 (4f), Liam Lawlor, Michael O’Gorman 0-1 each.  

Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham; Paddy Doyle, Shane Lannon, Kevin Coffey; Jack Mullaney, Michael Walsh, Luke Casey; Paddy Kiely, Robert Ahearne; Shane Ahearne, John Coffey, Ger Power; Michael Sweeney, Shane Ahearne, David Grey. Subs: Andy Doyle for Luke Casey (30+1 mins), Kevin Lawlor for Paddy Doyle (36 mins).  

Scorers: Shane Ahearne, David Grey 0-2 each (2f each), Michael Sweeney, Andy Doyle 0-1 each.  

Referee: Dessie O’Leary (Erin’s Own)