Mayo 1-19; Kerry 0-17
Mayo are the great form busters of the GAA world. Expect them to win and they will let you down - write them off and they’ll surprise you.
Just like they did to All Ireland champions, Kerry, in their own backyard of Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday afternoon where the hosts hadn’t lost in 28 years.
After losing to Roscommon six weeks ago, Kevin McStay’s boys arrived under the radar with no one knowing what to expect.
Except maybe we should have. They may have lost 11 All Ireland finals since 1951 but they can still be a team for the big day… as long as they are not successive big days.
Manager McStay was happy with how his side hit the ground running despite the long lay-off from competitive action.
"I think we managed the six weeks quite well. We took two weeks off, just the nature of the calendar. It’s a funny one. We hadn’t planned for it! That’s being absolutely truthful, sure how could you plan for it? You’d be mad.
"Giving lads an opportunity to get away, I know a lot of them got away to the sun. Got a break from us, fed up listening to us for a while. When we came back we doubled down in terms of, 'Come on lads, we’ve put a lot of work into this. We can’t walk away from this, we have to plough on.’ We got a brilliant reaction."
The manager was especially happy with how his bench came up trumps on Saturday. "We had a feeling we could keep this game boiling like mad up to the 50th minute and then we knew we had a lot of experience on the subs bench. And we have other very fine players on that subs bench.
"But there is no point in just coming on, you have to make an impact. We have really been hammering that home. I'll have a look at the tape tomorrow or whenever I get a chance, but I feel they did."
His Kerry counterpart Jack O’Connor was downbeat after the comprehensive drubbing on home soil.
"Back to the drawing board. Mayo deserved to win and could have won by more but for our goalkeeper. But overall plenty of food for thought for us. David [Clifford] had a couple of half chances. Wouldn’t be blaming him today, he was immense," he stressed.
A big crowd of 23,128 at a sun-drenched stadium saw Mayo boss the show with a hunger than Kerry simply couldn’t match.
It is a tribute to the champions’ stubbornness that they refused to bow the knee and it was only when Eoghan McLaughlin got the only goal of the game four minutes after coming on that the curtain was drawn down on this game as a true contest.
Mayo started on fire and missed two good goal chances before points from play from the dangerous Ryan O’Donoghue and bustling Aidan O’Shea gave them a well-deserved lead.
When Kerry got on the scoreboard, Mayo kicked on with points from Pádraig O’Hora, James Carr, and O’Donoghue’s free and were 0-7 to 0-3 to the good before Seanie O’Shea reeled off two frees to close the margin.
Carr put the visitors three up again but then Dara Moynihan and David Clifford made it a three-point game again. By half-time Mayo had flexed their muscles again and were five to the good, 0-12 to 0-7, and O’Donoghue could even have got a goal to enhance that scoreline but for an excellent save by Kerry custodian Stephen Ryan.
When Mayo extended their lead to six with Matthew Ruane and Jason Doherty scoring on either side of a Clifford free, they looked confident though A Paul Geany point again chipped away at the margin. Colm Reape made a great save from Clifford the younger and a goal at that stage could have transformed the complexion of the game.
Clifford must have thought he was in for a goal almost immediately but Cam Callinan showed great defensive qualities to block his shot on the line with his goalkeeper stranded.
Clifford slotted over another point to cut the deficit to a goal - but the green flag which would have brought parity instead was scored by McLaoghlin to put six between the sides.
Clifford never gave up and two points from him kept the home fans hoping though once Paddy Durcan scored from an acute angle, the writing was on the wall
Next up for the Kingdom is a visit to traditional foes Cork on the bank holiday weekend with Mayo facing Mickey Harte’s Mayo in Castlebar on that weekend as well.
Mayo: C Reape; J Coyne, D McBrien, S Callinan; P O’Hora (0-1), C Loftus, D McHugh (0-1); M Ruane (0-2), D O’Connor; J Doherty (0-1), J Carney (0-1), J Flynn (0-1); A O’Shea (0-3, 0-2f, 0-1m), J Carr (0-3), R O’Donoghue (0-5, 0-2f) Subs: P Durcan (0-1) for Doherty, E Hession for Callinan (both 48 minutes), T Conroy for Carr (53 minutes), E McLaughlin (1-0) for O’Hora (56 minutes), S Coen for Coyne (60 mins).
Kerry: S Ryan; D Casey, J Foley, T O'Sullivan (0-2); G O'Sullivan, T Morley, G White; D O'Connor, J Barry; D Moynihan (0-1), S O'Shea (0-3, 0-2f, 0-1 ‘45) P Clifford; T Brosnan, D Clifford (capt.) (0-8, 0-3f), P Geaney (0-3) Subs: P Murphy for Morley (blood sub 25-28 minutes); P Murphy for Casey, A Spillane for Brosnan (both half-time); R Murphy for Moynihan (46 minutes), B Ó Beaglaíoch for Morley (59 minutes), S O’Brien for Barry (64 minutes).
Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone).
Galway 0-16; Tyrone 0-13
While Dublin and Mayo and Kerry are the ones being looked at as potential Sam lifters this term, Galway are carrying on quietly in the background winning their matches and looking more and more real contenders.
At Pearse Stadium in Salthill on Saturday, they had to fight all the way against Tyrone but that said, they always had that bit more about them and were never in fear of losing against the outright winners from two seasons ago.
Leading by three points at half-time, the action was predictable as two Tyrone players were sin-binned while Shane Walsh punished any defensive indiscretions.
Galway led by 0-07 to 0-04 at the end of an eventful opening half which saw Tyrone reduced to 13 men at one stage in a game where outbursts of heavy rain made the surface slippery.
Tyrone didn’t just turn up to make up the numbers and points from Darren McCurry, Darragh Canavan and Cormac Quinn kept them in touch as Cillian McDaid lent a hand to Walsh on the scoring stakes.
Tyrone made an all-out bid to get back into contention on the resumption and when Mattie Donnelly, McCurry and Canavan raised white flags as Peter Cooke got Galway’s only score in the opening stanza, you wondered if they could cause a surprise by going on to win this game. However, Galway showed the ability to kick scores and with Walsh and Matthew Tierney finding the range to leave them 0-10 to 0-7 ahead, it needed a goal to reignite Tyrone’s challenge for glory.
Points kept being exchanged but the goal that would have made a difference for the visitors never came and Galway, after their successful Connacht campaign, are now looking good to advance from this group in the pursuit of Sam in ‘23.
Galway: C Gleeson; J Glynn, S Kelly, J McGrath; D McHugh, J Daly, C McDaid (0-2); P Conroy (0-2), J Maher; M Tierney (0-1), J Heaney (0-1), P Cooke (0-2); I Burke, D Comer (0-1), S Walsh (0-6, 0-4f) Subs: C Sweeney for Glynn (19), R Finnerty (0-1) for McHugh (35+3), T Culhane for Burke (h/t), C Hernon for Maher (40).
Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; C Meyler (0-1), C Quinn (0-1), P Harte (0-1); B Kennedy, C Kilpatrick; F Burns, M O'Neill, J Oguz; D McCurry (0-7, 0-5f), M Donnelly (0-1), D Canavan (0-2f) Subs: S O’Donnell for Oguz (50), N Devlin for O’Neill (57), K McGeary for O’Donnell (57, blood), M McGleenan for McNamee (66), R Canavan for D Canavan (70).
Ref: D Gough (Meath).
Clare 2-22; Cork 3-18
The two form teams of the Munster round-robin went head to head in Ennis and it was the home side who squeaked home by the narrowest of margins after a game which provided us with an edge of the seat finish - something this old competition has done to us for nearly a million years.
We thought that Cork’s defiance to recover and find parity would see a division of the spoils but Clare defender Diarmuid Ryan had other ideas and in the 74th minute he shot the winning score to break Rebel hearts.
The reward for that great moment from the Cratloe man was to ensure Brian Lohan’s side are in the Munster final where their opponents could be anyone of three - most likely Tipperary who are on four points and face Waterford, who are already out after three losses. However in the unlikely event of the Deise getting their first win of the series, then either Limerick or Cork, who meet each other in the Gaelic Grounds, could step in.
In all likelihood though, the current Munster and All Ireland champions and the Rebels will be looking to gain the third place that will allow them progress in the Liam MacCarthy series, which will be played for after the Munster and Leinster Finals are completed.
Lohan will be a little worried at the way his side left Cork back into the game when they appeared to have done the hard work and established what looked like a winning lead. Goals from Declan Dalton and another from veteran Patrick Horgan saw them roar back into the contest on 2-17 to 3-14 with the end line in sight. To the Banner’s credit, they were the ones to come up with the big scores thereafter with a brace of points from David McInerney and one from Diarmuid Ryan enough to see them through.
Clare: E Quilligan; R Hayes, C Cleary, A Hogan; D Ryan (0-3), J Conlon, D McInerney (0-2); R Taylor (0-2), C Malone; D Fitzgerald (0-3), T Kelly (2-4, 1-0 pen), S O’Donnell (0-2); P Duggan (0-1), M Rodgers (0-1), A McCarthy (0-3, 0-2f) Subs: S Morey (0-1) for Cleary (34, inj), I Galvin for Rodgers (46), A Shanagher for McCarthy (53), S Meehan for Galvin (68)
Cork: P Collins; N O’Leary, S O'Donoghue, D Cahalane (0-1); T O’Connell, C Joyce, R Downey; B Roche (0-2), L Meade; D Dalton (1-1, 0-1f), D Fitzgibbon (0-2), C Cahalane (1-0); C Lehane, S Harnedy (0-2), P Horgan (1-9, 0-6f) Subs: G Millerick for O’Connell (37-41, BS), S Kingston (0-1) for Lehane (43), S Barrett for C. Cahalane (45), Mellerick for O’Connell (46), T O’Mahony for Meade (61), B Hayes for Dalton (67),
Ref: J Murphy (Limerick)
Westmeath 4-18; Wexford 2-22
Just over half an hour into this match, there were old hurling aficionados asking why Westmeath were allowed to play at this level at all —- but by game’s end when the midlanders had turned around a 17-point deficit to record a stunning two-point victory at Wexford Park, those same people were marveling at the enjoyment of it all.
Sub Niall Mitchell was the hero of the hour (plus 15 minutes) as his brace of late goals caused seismic shocks along the south east coast as the Lake County representatives recorded arguably their finest ever hour at this level.
Wexford led by 17 points after 32 minutes and were still 16 to the good at the break. It seemed like the boys in purple and gold felt the game was done at that stage and mentally left for home to think about the upcoming Kilkenny game.
Wexford should have remembered how Westmeath fought out a draw with them last season. Wexford native Joe Fortune led them to these great results and must be the only hurling man from that county on a high this week.
The result means that Wexford are not only out of the championship but could be relegated if Antrim were to beat Westmeath and Kilkenny record an expected home win against their neighbors.
Westmeath: Nl Conaty; C Shaw, T Doyle, J Bermingham; A Craig, R Greville, D Egerton; S McGovern, C Doyle (0-11, 0-10f); E Keyes (0-1), N O’Brien (2-3, 0-1f), C McCormick; O McCabe, J Boyle (0-1), D Glennon Subs: P Clarke (0-1) for McGovern (HT), C Boyle for McCormick (HT), N Mitchell (2-0) for Glennon (51), D McNicholas (0-1) for Doyle (66).
Wexford: J Lawlor; S Reck, L Ryan, C Devitt; I Carty (0-1), M O’Hanlon, S Donohoe; J O’Connor (0-4, 0-2 l-bs), C Dunbar (0-1); L Óg McGovern, L Chin (0-6, 0-4f), O Foley (0-2); R O’Connor (0-3), C McDonald (2-2), M Dwyer (0-1) Subs: C McGuckin for Dunbar (60), C Hearne (0-2) for Dwyer (60), D O’Keeffe for Foley (70).
Ref: C Mooney (Dublin).
Munster SH Round-Robin Championship
Clare 2-22; Cork 3-18
Tipperary 0-25; Limerick 0-25
Leinster SH Round-Robin Championship
Galway 5-29, Antrim 1-22
Westmeath 4-18; Wexford 2-22
All Ireland Championship
Mayo 1-19; Kerry 0-17
Donegal 0-14; Clare 0-9
Galway 0-16; Tyrone 0-13
Laois 1-11; Offaly 1-11
Meath 3-17; Waterford 1-14
Down 2-18; Tipperary 0-6
Sligo 0-14; Kildare 0-14
Cavan 0-18; London 2-6
Limerick 1-19; Carlow 0-14
Longford 3-17; Wicklow 2-9
Antrim 2-15; Wexford 0-14
Fermanagh 1-19; Leitrim 2-7