Champs, Kingdom qualify with ease in Munster

Elsewhere, defending All-Ireland champions Cork and rivals Kerry began their Munster campaigns with comfortable victories. Cork demolished a disappointing Clare outfit by 1-23 to 0-11 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, while Kerry got the better of Tipperary by 2-16 to 0-11 at Fitzgerald Stadium.

In reality, this was little more than a training run for Cork. As usual, Daniel Goulding (0-8, six from frees) and Donncha O'Connor (1-4) made big contributions but the Man of the Match award went to the outstanding Ciaran Sheehan who kicked four points from play.

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The main disappointment for Kerry as they beat Tipperary was the 33rd minute dismissal of Tomas O Se. He got his marching orders for an off the ball incident with Tipperary full-forward Hugh Coughlan and he now faces the prospect of a two-month suspension.

Kerry mixed the good with the ordinary and were probably flattered by the final score. Colm Cooper finished with 0-5, two from frees, Bryan Sheehan contributed 2-1, and the impressive Declan O'Sullivan got 0-3.

Kerry can expect a tougher match against Limerick in the semi-finals on June 4, while Cork will face Waterford the following day.

In the Leinster Football Championship, Kildare proved much too good for Mick O'Dwyer's Wicklow, winning by 0-12 to 0-5. Wicklow were in the running when only trailing by 0-5 to 0-4 at half time but faded very badly after the interval, managing just one more point. The performance of John Doyle was central to Kildare's success. Switched from full-forward to midfield just before the start, he was outstanding, scoring 0-4.

Kildare will now play Meath in the quarter-finals, with the another quarter-final seeing Dublin facing Laois. The latter edged past Longford by 0-10 to 0-9 at O'Moore Park to qualify to face the Dubs.

Laois manager Justin McNulty was more relieved than pleased afterwards, stating that they they will be "obliterated" by the Dubs unless they show a huge improvement. Longord had every reason to feel disappointed, having hit 16 wides.

In Ulster, Derry more or less strolled to a 1-18 to a 1-10 quarter-final success over Fermanagh. Yet, their manager John Brennan was very critical of their second half display, describing it as "brutal".

The truth, however, is that Derry had the game won by then and simply took their foot off the gas. If they play as they did in the first half, then they are quite capable of providing their semi-final opponents, the winners of Armagh and Down, with problems.

After going ahead through an early free, Fermanagh had no answer to Derry's superior pace and skill. Derry scored an unanawered 1-10 in the next 25 minutes to kill the game as a contest.

Eoin Bradley was exceptional, contributing 1-4 and generally causing the limited Fermangh outfit problems whenever he saw the ball.

The only hurling championship match of the weekend saw Westmeath defeating Carlow by 4-10 to 1-14 in the preliminary round of the Leinster Championship. Carlow didn't help their cause by conceding three gift goals.

The prize for Westmeath is a first round match against Galway in Mullingar on June 4. The victors will then go on to face the winner of next Sunday's clash between Dublin and Offaly at Croke Park.