Tiernan Mathers of New York is tackled by Conor Heffernan of Laois. [Inpho/James Lawlor]

Big Apple close to big upset

Laois 1-13  New York 1-9

Few would’ve given New York much chance in the Tailteann Cup as they hadn’t played for nearly two months and Laois had plenty of games. The Leix lads also had impressive scores. Indeed the New York’s chances seemed to be further hampered as a few players were unable to travel. 

Well, in fact, the Big Apple team came very close to being the big upset in the Tailteann Cup. On eight occasions the sides were level and a late goal and long range frees saw Laois survive a big scare from the under-rated Yanks. Plus the new additions after the Mayo game played quite well. 

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The game at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, Laois, started well for the home side as Paul Kingston pointed two early frees resulting from fouls. However, Shane Brosnan capitalized on a three-player movement involving Shane Bolger and Liam Kearney to get New York’s first score after five minutes. Then it seemed as if Evan O’Carroll was about to goal, but the shot was deflected out for a “45”, which keeper Roche failed to score. Laois kept the pressure on resulting in points by Mark Barry and O’Carroll. Then a well-taken goal by Bobby O’Regan soon had the teams level. It resulted from a well-directed Jack Reilly pass and O’Regan looked as if he shooting for a point, but it deceived keeper Roche to end in the roof of the net. 

Midway Killian Roche pointed the first of his long distance frees after Brian Byrne was fouled. At the other end Joey Grace dropped a “45” short before Bobby Regan had a point after a pass from Emmet O’Connghaile. Indeed there could have been legitimate calls for a penalty here, but after consultation, the referee accepted the point. Jack Reilly and Evan O’Carroll exchanged points before goalkeepers Grace and Roche sailed over long range efforts.  Grace’s “45” resulted from  a goal-bound O’Regan shot that was deflected. 

With five minutes left, Killian Butler put New York ahead, but a Niall Dunne score restored parity. Still a Killian Butler free saw Exiles lead by 1-6 to 0-8 at the break, plus stern defending had made life difficult for the highly touted Laois attack.  

On resumption Laois went on the attack with Jamie Boyle clearing off the line before they were back in front with points from Rioghan Murphy and Mark Barry.  Then New York got a break as Shaun Fitzpatrick got a second yellow card, thus Laois were down to 14 players. Midway Killian Butler had New York ahead with a brace before Paul Kingston pointed for a foul on Evan O’Carroll. 

Then came the miss of the game for New York. Jack Reilly had garnered a long ball from O’Connghaile inside the defense but he blasted wide. The magnitude of that miss was greatly accentuated minutes later when defender and oldest player Mark Timmons scored a brilliant goal. Killian Butler narrowed the gap with a pointed free but Mark Barry responded from play. Soon New York were down to 14 players as Noel Hatton got a black card. Keeper Roche added the insurance with a fine long-range free from the sideline. Overall, a close competitive game and a valiant New York effort, but they will rue their misses and failure to capitalize on the extra player.  Still it was great to see a half dozen American-born players lining out for New York. 

Laois: Killian Roche(0-3), Dylan Kavanagh, Kieran Lillis, Mark Timmons(1-0), Seamus Lacey, Brian Byrne, Simon Fingleton, Damon Larkin, Conor Heffernan, Mark Barry(0-3), Eoin Lowry, Kevin Swayne, Rioghan Murphy(0-1), Evan O’Carroll(0-2), Paul Kingston(0-3). Subs Conor Browne, Eoin Buggie, Ciaran Burke, Niall Corbett, Brian Daly, Niall Dunne(0-1), Shaun Fitzpatrick, Jack Lacey and Aaron McEvoy.

New York: Joey Grace(0-1), Shane Bolger, Noel Hatton, Jamie Boyle(capt), Shane Brosnan(0-1), Cian O’Dea, Robert Wharton, Liam Kearney, Emmet O’Connghaile, Tiernan Mathers, Mikey Brosnan, Eoghan McElligot, Killian Butler(0-5), Jack Reilly(0-1), Bobby O’Regan (1-1). Subs Ryan Corrigan, Michael Boyle, Israel Ilunga, Caolain Mathers, Kevin Rafferty, Niall McCarthy, Adam Loughlin-Stones, Danny Corridan, Sean Reilly, Oisin Mathers, James Walsh. 

Man of Match Mark Timmons,

Referee David Murnane(Cork)

Furious encounter

Clare 1-17   Westmeath 0-15

During the week there were claims from these hurling rivals that there would be little quarter asked or given, and it certainly lived up to its billing. It was a fast, physical, and furious encounter with exchanges a tad tempestuous at times.  Meanwhile Westmeath had the better start to score three early points, courtesy of David Mangan (2) and Phearse Philips before Conor Cooney opened Clare’s account. Indeed the Galway star making his debut for the Banner team would proceed to have a very productive performance. Meanwhile it was soon tit for tat as points from Oisin Flannery and Cooney had the teams level after 10 minutes. The see-saw nature of the game continued as David Mangan scored from play and Donal Hunt did likewise after a powerful run that left several players in his wake. Another strong run by midfielder Philips drew a foul and set the scene for another point from a Mangan free. The water-break did little to dampen the intensity of the exchanges as Daryl Gaughan soon had the sides level. 

Entering the last 10 minutes Westmeath enjoyed their best spell as they hit four unanswered points  courtesy of Mangan (2), Owen McCabe and Mikey Cullen to lead by 0-9 to 0-5 with just five minutes left in the period.  Well as they say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and that definitely was the case here as Clare hit four straight points, three coming from scorer-in-chief Cooney and the other from Seamus Cronin. Westmeath’s Sean Loughlin-Stones had the last score of the period to leave his team ahead by 0-10 to 0-9 at the intermission. 

Upon resumption Clare maintained the momentum to be ahead by three points after 10 minutes, 0-13 to 0-10, Cooney had a trifecta and Morgan Carey had a singleton. However Westmeath were still in contention as midfielder Cullen and fullback Shane Power sent over two fine long-range points to reduce the deficit to the minimum. Then, two events confluenced to limit Westmeath’s chances. First a player was red-carded, and secondly Cooney was the last link on a four-man movement to crash home a goal. He immediately followed the major with a minor to open up a five points lead midway in the period, 1-14 to 0-12.  In fairness to Westmeath they battled back to score the next three points, courtesy of their top scorers Mangan(2) and Cullen to reduce the deficit to a brace, but that’s a close as they would get. 

Clare finished in style with points coming from Evan Duggan, Tadgh Connellan  and of course man of the match and top scorer Conor Cooney, whilst defenders Enna Barry, Tadgh O’Connell, Eoin Coulter and company ensured that there were no soft options. Westmeath hung in for a good while but the odds were against them when a forward scores 1-10, a player is red-carded and of course the Lakesiders were also short a few of their reliable regulars. 

Clare: Ronan Callanan, Tadgh O’Connell, Eoin Coulter, Sean Collins, Pearce Lillis, Enna Barry, Tadgh Connellan(0-1), Evan Duggan(0-1), Donal Hunt(0-1), Shane Harrision, Conor Cooney(1-10), Morgan Carey(0-1), Daryl Gaughan(0-1), Oisin Flannery(0-1), Seamus Cronin(0-1). Subs Ryan Mulligan, Kenny McNamara, Paudie Kyne, Paudie Brady, Colin O’Connor, Cian O’Connor, Ciaran O’Connor,  Sean Dilger, Trevor Fallen.

Westmeath: Danny Mottran, Conor O’Shea, Shane Power(0-1), Alan Sherlock, Cian Murray, Ger. McPartland, Conor Caulfield, Phearse Philips(0-1), Mikey Cullen(0-3), Owen McCabe(0-1), Dave Mangan(0-8), Gary Curliss, Aidan Long, Tiernan Doherty, Enda Conaty. Subs Sean Loughlin-Stones(0-1), John Melia, Aidan McQuillan, Padraic Doolen, Stephen Harten, Conor Lyneham. Man of Match Conor Cooney, Referee Patrick McNeilis.

Hoboken edge it

Hoboken 3-17   Limerick 3-14

This was another highly contested hurling battle with the issue going right down to the wire. Unfortunately there was a bout of bellicose buffoonery after the final whistle.  There were plenty clashes of the ash resulting with enough hurleys smashed that would keep the hearth-fire burning on a long winter’s night.  

Meanwhile on the playing field, the first quarter was relatively even as Limerick registered 1-5, while Hoboken hit for 2-3. Limerick’s points came from Tom Gearty and Gearoid Kennedy got the goal. Hoboken’s danger-man Kevin Hannigan got most of their scores, while Declan Fahey hit for a goal.  

The second quarter after the water-break was almost totally dominated by Hoboken as they put six straight points on the board while holding Limerick scoreless. Corner-man Hannigan and “forty-man” Daire Walsh combined very well to set up the scores. Hoboken led by 1-9 to 1-5 at the break.  

Upon resumption Limerick stepped up their performance  as their chief-scorer Tom Gearty hit over three points. However, the three points were soon negated after Dara Walsh goaled after a good pass from Liam O’Donovan, who quickly followed up with a brace and Hannigan added another to leave the score at 3-12 to 1-9 at the last water-break. The last quarter was Limerick’s best period, they registered 2-4 while limiting Hoboken to 0-4. Tom Gearty started the spree with a point before Conor O’Hare blasted in a goal from the penalty spot and then tagged on another point from play. Hoboken added two points before another mini-scoring spree reduced the deficit to the minimum.  Tom Gearty scored a point before Owen Kennedy added 1-1 to narrow the gap, 3-13 to 3-14. However even though Limerick added another point, they did not get any closer as Hoboken’s Enda Fahey(2) and Kevin Hannigan scored late  points to ensure Hoboken stayed ahead.  

Hoboken: Owen O’Callaghan, Jack Martyn, Rory Lawless, James Rodgers, Jarid Woods, Pauric McNamara(0-1), William Maloney, Harry O’Connor, Enda Fahey(1-1), Tom Gordan, Dara Walsh(1-5), Stephen Power, Liam O’Donovan(0-2), Declan Fahey, Kevin Hannigan(1-7). Subs. Conor Sheedy, Alex Harvey.

Limerick: Evan Deveney, Mick Invers, Fiachra McDonagh, Pat Brennan, John McAllister, Aaron Dunlea, Evan Ryan, Gearoid Kennedy, Tom Gearty(0-10), Conor Higgins, Lorcan Kennedy(1-0), Dylan Grace, Sean Garvey, Daire Murphy. Subs Evan Curley, Shane Mahoney, Owen O’Toole, Owen Kennedy(1-1)Kalen Walsh, Emmett Hunter, Conor O’Hare(1-2). Man of the Match, Dara Walsh, Referee Thomas Hennessy.