That’s four games now and no wins. The great Westmeatch experiment needs to see some results and soon.
For Tommy Lyons, last Sunday brought a touch of respite and breathing space. Senan Connell and Mossy Quinn helped him out, swinging over four points each. Indeed Quinn looked that rarest of things — a reliable Dublin free-taker. Ciaran Whelan had a faultless afternoon and Paddy Christie played through a cold to his own habitual high standards. Of the Westmeath players, only Dessie Dolan can claim to have done likewise.
MAYO 0-16, LONGFORD 0-8
So Longford finally run out of road. After doing more than most to set the early stages of the league alight with wins over Kerry and Westmeath, they were given a lesson in finishing last Sunday from the least likely of teachers. Seldom has score-taking been something Mayo can show other teams how to do but this year, in Austin O’Malley, they finally appear to have come across a forward with the skill and the nerve to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
O’Malley scored seven points last Sunday in Ballina, three of them from frees, and was generally the spiky, speedy presence he’s been since the season began. He was helped out throughout by a fine showing from Billy Joe Padden, who might not be just a league player after all and only sporadically by Damien Munnelly who almost certainly is.
KERRY 2-18, FERMANAGH 0-6
Fermanagh’s long, hard season shows no sign of getting any shorter or softer. They were never in this game, one Kerry had always at their mercy and won fitfully at their ease. They were 0-13 to 0-2 ahead at halftime with Declan Quill and Declan O’Sullivan doing the lion’s share of the damage on the scoring front and Mike Frank Russell the creator in chief. And two minutes into the second half they killed the game when Quill finished off a slick move to score a goal. The rest of the game was played out in pointless lethargy by both sides, the biggest cheer of the day greeting Colm Cooper’s return from a groin injury.
LAOIS 1-15, MEATH 1-12
The best game of the day saw Laois pull a brilliant comeback out of nowhere to give Meath a taste of the medicine they’ve been so adept at handing out to other teams for years. Meath led by 1-6 to 0-2 with only five minutes of the first half remaining and yet managed to cough that 7-point lead up, thanks in no small part to the tireless work of Ross Munnelly and Noel Garvan, Laois’s spry half-forward and workhorse midfielder.
Munnelly ended the game with seven points, Garvan with his hand in just as many and between them, they refused to allow Meath run away with as entertaining a league game as you could wish to see. Mick O’Dwyer’s side pulled themselves back into contention by continually running directly at the Meath defence and when Garvan’s midfield partner Kevin Fitzpatrick scored a goal in the 61st minute, the turnaround was complete.
CAVAN 3-12, ARMAGH 0-8
Cavan completely overran a totally out of sorts Armagh side at Breffni Park. Goals from Jason and Finbarr Reilly put the gloss on their performance but the game never really had the prospect of an Armagh victory as a prospect. Last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists only scored two points from play the whole afternoon.
GALWAY 4-11, LIMERICK 1-10
Limerick had a halt firmly put to their gallop by a rampant Galway side in Ballinasloe. A hat trick of goals from Matthew Clancy took the headlines but it was Michael Donnellan’s majestic performance that most caught the eye. Donnellan had a hand in two of Clancy’s goals and found the time to pop up and score on of his own. All Ireland contenders beware.
WEXFORD 3-17, SLIGO 0-13
A sparkling display from Mattie Forde in which he scored 2-10 of Wexford’s final total was the highlight of and main reason behind this result. Sligo were utterly blown away by a Wexford side who scored 3-14 from play and who move up to fourth place in the Div. 1B table as a consequence.