Plenty of action on over the weekend and a bit of history made too. Not a bad bank holiday weekend, then, and there’s still the Monday to go yet.
The juniors came from behind to beat Leitrim in Aghamore on Friday evening. Trailing by six points at one stage in the first half, we ended up winning by two, 1-14 to 0-15, with Swinford’s Colin Dempsey posting a MOTM tally of 1-7, the bulk of those scores coming from play. Next up for the lads is a semi-final meeting with the Rossies next weekend.
The hurlers, meanwhile, never got to grips with Kildare in their do-or-die Christy Ring tie at McHale Park on Saturday. They were 1-4 to 0-0 in arrears after 15 minutes and the gap had stretched to a yawning 1-12 to 0-2 by half-time. We ended up losing by 1-20 to 2-10. Time to try our luck in the Rackard Cup next year, I wonder?
This afternoon it was the turn of the seniors, who recorded a facile 3-11 to 0-8 win over Antrim in a challenge match at Gilmartin Park in Kiltimagh. One of the lads over on gaaboard.com has penned an excellent report on the game and PJ, whom I spoke with since, corroborated most of the salient points from this account. PJ thought Kilcullen did well at midfield, that Campbell’s free-taking was a hell of a lot better than anything we’d seen recently (which, admittedly, wouldn’t be hard) and that Howley played the role of seventh defender very well. As a spectacle, though, PJ said he wasn’t all that impressed, especially when the bench-emptying got going in earnest after half-time.
If it’s a spectacle anyone was after, however, then Croke Park was clearly the place to be. Thousands made the trip down from Cavan for the day but by the time we had managed to get our hands on tickets and get ourselves inside the ground, the Breffni lads were well on their way to the kind of lacerating All-Ireland final defeat that we could readily identify with. Galway had done all the damage before we got there so it was hard to see who their stars were, though I guess we’ll be seeing a number of them filtering through to the senior ranks before too long.
There were hardly any Galway supporters in HQ to see their lads collect the county’s fourth U21 crown but there were plenty of Dubs there to see their hurlers bridge a 72-year gap in clinching their third ever NHL title a bit later on in the afternoon. It was a surreal performance as the Dubs outplayed a Kilkenny side who should, by rights, have had at least two more players ordered off along with Eoin Larkin, who walked in the first half for a wild swing on one of the Dublin lads. Kilkenny, amazingly, only managed a single point from play in the entire 70 minutes and Dublin were full value for their 12-point winning margin. And, boy, were the punters at HQ – including my own small Dubs – happy at the final whistle: