Cillian O’Sullivan of Meath is pursued by Laois’ Conor Boyle in the Leinster semifinal at Croke Park on Sunday. Meath won by 3-13 to 0-11. For full sports see the print/digital editions of the Irish Echo out today. INPHO/RYAN BYRNE
By Frank Brady
Sligo 2-16 Kerry 0-12
In recent years the GAA has become quite statistically sophisticated in the analyses of performances with metrics such as percentages of possession, conversions rates, efficiency indices, turnovers and retention on restarts. Well apparently some senior teams in New York are unable to assign players the numbers that represents the positions that they line out in. Such a task does not require a degree in applied mathematics, but basic familiarity with the number line should suffice. Otherwise we are susceptible to false or fake news.
Meanwhile Sligo threw down a major marker as they had an emphatic victory over Kerry in the senior league final. Crucial to that victory was the performance of Kyle Cawley up front and their supremacy at midfield. In the opening ten minutes the exchanges were fairly even as both teams put four points on the board, but Sligo could have been further ahead as Pat Guerin saved brilliantly from a Cawley penalty. Kerry edged ahead with points from Keith Quinn and Darragh Carmody, but Mickey Lenaghan pointed a free to keep Sligo on their tail.
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Midway Kerry led by three as Sean Moore and Jack Savage were on target. However Sligo upped their performance as Cawley was either making or taking scores to bring his team level at the break, though both sides were denied goal-bound opportunities. Niall Madine crashed a rasper of the crossbar after he rounded his marker, and Guerin smothered an effort from Cawley after he left the Kerry defense floundering.
Sligo had a great start to the second half as Tony Donnelly announced his presence with a point, plus Rob Gorman and Lenaghan weighed in with minors. At the other end, Jack Savage, Kerry’s main marksman, hit over a brace. Then Sligo hit the turbo-charge as Donnelly blasted to the net after Ger McCullagh delivered an inch-perfect pass. Lenaghan was still busy tapping over another point before the score of the match arrived, a superb goal from Cawley. The former Yeats county player raced right through the Kerry defense and this time Guerin had no chance with the blistering shot to the corner of the net. Sligo were now playing the game very much on their terms and would comfortably add another four points while limiting the Kingdom to a point from Jack Savage. Last year Sligo won the double at intermediate level, with this performance they look to be on target for the double at senior level.
Sligo: Vinnie Cadden, Paul Kelly, Stephen Burke, David Maye, Brian Burke, Tom Cuniffe, Ger McCullagh, Stephen Lawless, John Collins, Rob Gorman, Darragh McConnan, Kyle Cawley, Mickey Lenaghan. Subs Tony Donnelly, Danny Corridan, Brian Glynn, Ryan McDonnell, Ryan O’Neill, Niall Judge, Shane Queenan.
Kerry: Pat Guerin, Tommy Shalvey, Redmond Hanna, Jack McCarthy, Tom Hanafin, Ger Walsh, Keith Quinn, Mike Dorgan, Cian Bradley, Jack Savage, Sean Moore, Niall Madine, Daryl Carmody. Subs. Luke Kelly, Jimmy Linane. Referee Ciaran Lee, Man of Match Kyle Cawley.
St. Barnabas retain title
St. Barnabas 1-17 Shannon Gaels 1-11
A youthful and slick-moving St. Barnabas side, anchored by the seasoned O’Connor brothers, Kenny and Ray, retained their junior B league title. Indeed the O’Connor brothers combined for the first four points with good deliveries from Kevin Rafferty, Gearoid Kennedy, Dylan Curran and company. Senan Price and Shane Reid got two back for the Gaels before Danny Fox and Shane Reid hit over to leave Barnabas ahead by 0-5 to 0-3 midway in the period. St. Barnabas were very much in the driving seat as penetrative runs ended in fouls which Mikey Brosnan tapped over to open up a five point gap.
Danny Corridan landed a fine point as did Shane Reid, but Kevin Rafferty was producing a Trojan effort which was parlayed into scores to propel his team to a well-deserved lead, 0-11 to 0-5 at the short whistle. Shannon Gaels upped their performance considerably in the second half with substitute Sean Smith having sizeable impact, and soon they added 1-2 to their tally, with Senan Price the goal-scorer. However Barnabas came right back with a Brosnan pointed free after Big Kenny was grounded. They added two more long range efforts from young Brosie and man of the match Rafferty. Shannon Gaels battled away to keep it close as Aidan Mooney chipped over, and Sean Smith landed another fine effort to leave two points between the sides midway in the period. Rafferty lofted over another fine point after a timely interception by Conor McGourty, but Smith replied in kind at the other end. However Barnabas locked the game away in the last ten minutes as Ray O’Connor and Mikey Brosnan pointed and the latter set up Gearoid Kennedy for the last score as the Bronx Boys ran out convincing winner with co-captains Danny Fox and Mikey Brosnan hoisting the John Joe McGovern Cup.
St. Barnabas: Matt Schumacher, Mark McMorrow, Adam Power, Jack Muldoon, Dylan Curran, Kevin Rafferty, Shane Brosnan, Gearoid Kennedy, Mike Brosnan, Danny Fox, Ray O’Connor, Conor McGourty, Tommie O’Shea, Ken O’Connor, Declan Ryan. Subs Rory Naughton, John Clarke, Liam Rafferty, Brian Cone.
Shannon Gaels: Ryan Corrigan, Aidan Mooney, Dylan Nolan, David McNamara, Luke Duggan, Paidi Mathers, Sean O’Connell, Eoghan Doran, Robert Corridan, Shane Reid, Danny Corridan, Nick Corbett, Senan Price, Oisin McDonagh, Sean Corridan. Subs Justin Connaughton, Sean Smith, Pearse Crowley, Justin Connaughton. Referee Mike Burke, Man of Match Kevin Rafferty
Kingdom take Junior A
Kerry 2-16 St. Barnabas 1-13
Though St. Barnabas jumped into an early lead in the Junior A league final with points from Ryan Kerly and Dylan Curran, it was short lived. The Bronx Boys gifted Kerry a needless penalty which David Culhane scored, and Sean Liddy steered a poor clearance to the net for goal number two. Neither was their case helped as many of them had played in the earlier game, plus corner forward Killian Langan tortured them with points from frees and open play.
The Kingdom led by 2-5 to 0-2 midway before Barnabas regained their composure to run off four consecutive points from Kevin Rafferty, Mikey Brosnan, Dylan Curran and Dion Norney. Kerry finished the period strongly as Langan (2) and Brendan Flavin pointed to leave them ahead by 2-8 to 0-7 at the break as Norney pointed a Barnabas free. On resumption Kerry were still calling the shots as they hit over six points with Langan and Culhane being the chief flag raisers, while Barnabas had a brace from young Brosie.
However the Bronx Boys came off the ropes for the last ten minutes with a Dylan Curran point being the call for renewed action. Gearoid Kennedy calmly slid a penalty to the net after Kieran Bennett was upended. Mikey Brosnan added another point before Referee Pat Donoghue correctly awarded another penalty, but quickly cancelled it as Barnabas were guilty of indiscipline. Both sides finished with a brace, Culhane and Langan for Kerry, while Mikey Brosnan, Barnabas’s chief score-getter replied for the Bronx Boys.
Kerry: Jack Hannigan, Mike Cronin, Ed Myers, Dylan Wallace, Sean Liddy, Pa Glynn, David Langan, James Smith, Tom Callaghan, Keelan Hickey, Brendan Flavin, Shane Smith, Killian Langan, David Culhane, Conor Levine. Subs Mike Leneghan, Steve Flavin, JJ O’Sullivan, Jack McCarthy.
St. Barnabas: Matt Schumacher, James Bennett, Shane Dennehy, Kieran Bennett, Ryan Kerley, Kevin Rafferty, Dylan Kerley, Dylan Curran, Conor Rafferty, Shane Rafferty, Rory Redican, Eddie Hogan, Gearoid Kennedy, Tom O’Shea, Dion Norney, Mike Brosnan. Subs Adam Power, Ray O’Connor, Danny Fox. Referee Pat Donoghue, Man of Match Killian Langan
Kerry/Donegal extend dynasty
Kerry/Donegal 1-7 Cavan 1-3
Kerry/Donegal certainly maintained their firm grasp on the Annie Keaney Cup as they saw off the challenge of Cavan in the final. They have a well-established dynasty as this was their seventh consecutive title. Kerry/ Donegal started well as Kelly Roche opened the scoring after a good pass from Loretta Cunningham. Courtney Traenor followed with another point, but a goal was also on. Then another strong run by Kelly Roche was illegally impeded, and Loretta Cunningham punished the indiscretion with a point. The siege on Cavan’s defense was finally lifted by Mairead Ruane as a great individual effort ended with a point. Then Paula Clarke spotted Alisha Jordan inside Kerry/Donegal’s defense, and delivered a great pass inside, Soon Jordan had the twines bulging and Cavan went in leading by 1-1 to 0-3 at the break. On resumption Kerry/Donegal regained the lead with a Loretta Cunningham goal after a pass from Courtney Traenor. At the other end keeper Jen Moran came to the rescue with a superb save from Ruane, while Catherine Brady was on hand to pick up the rebound. Indeed Moran executed several crucial saves as she dealt with shots that came in high and low. Kerry/Donegal kept the pressure on with resolute defending by O’Keefe, Brady, McVann and company, while Roche and Traenor were making and getting scores. Soon they lead was 1-6 to 1-1, but Kelly Donoghue pointed after Ruane set her up. Alisha Jordan let go with a rasper but Moran parried it to safety. Kelly Donoghue closed out the scoring for Cavan, while Linda McKeon saw her long distance free hop over the bar as Kerry/Donegal were deserving winners as they played with much greater pace and purpose. Congrats to Michelle McVann and Mike Graney as they will stroll down the aisle on Saturday.
Kerry/Donegal: Jen Moran, Sonia Clarke, Sara Roche, Catherine Brady, Kerlyn O’Keefe, Linda McKeon, Michelle McVann, Courtney Traenor, Michelle Dowd, Kelly Roche, Loretta Cunningham.
Cavan: Nora Kilkenny, Katie Kilkenny, Shannon Laheen, Caroline McBrien, Tara Murphy, Mairead Ruane, Paula Clarke, Ashley Callery, Kelly Donoghue, Rosie O’Reilly, Alisha Jordan. Subs Caitlin Hynes, Emma Farrelly. Player of Game Jen Moran, Referee Dean O’Connor.