The U21s were in action once again earlier on today – for the fourth Saturday in a row – when they faced Tipperary in the Hastings Shield final which was played at Keenan Park, Ardagh, Co. Longford. In a match where the atrocious weather that’s been swirling about the country all day seemed to play a major part, our lads were eventually edged out by two points, losing 2-10 to 2-8.
Tipperary played with the wind in the first half and they obviously made the most of the howling gale at their backs, recovering from the concession of an early goal scored by Kevin Gibbons for our lads to establish a four-point lead, 1-7 to 1-3, at half-time. Now playing with the wind, that kind of a deficit shouldn’t have been too daunting for Niall Heffernan’s charges but, having cut the gap to three, they suffered a hammer blow when the Premier County lads lashed in a second goal to widen the margin to six points. A late charge, with captain Adam Gallagher to the fore, saw that margin reduced to two but Tipp held out to secure the win.
According to @MayoGAA, our scorers today were Adam Gallagher (1-4), Kevin Gibbons (1-0), Anthony Jordan (0-2), Ronan Neary and Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1 each).
The same source also confirmed that the starting fifteen and subs introduced today were as follows:
Mayo: Michael Moore (Hollymount/Carramore); Darragh Ruane (Moy Davitts), Liam Kitterick (Westport), Aidan Butler (Claremorris); David O’Reilly (Claremorris), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Ger McLoughlin (Charlestown); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Gareth O’Donnell (Charlestown); Ronan Neary (Bonniconlon), Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels), Steven Contory (The Neale); Brian Heneghan (Moy Davitts), Anthony Jordan (Moy Davitts), Kevin Gibbons (Louisburgh). Subs: Padraig O’Hora (Ballina) for Butler, Cian Burke (Ballymun Kickhams, Dublin) for O’Reilly, Tom Clarke (Knockmore) for Neary, Aidan O’Sullivan (The Neale) for Heneghan.
So no Hastings Cup silverware (or whatever today’s Shield was made from) for the U21s but taking part in this tournament should certainly stand to them as they start to turn their attention to the Connacht championship, which gets underway in March. There’s no easy start for us to this campaign either as we’re down to play Roscommon – who, by the way, beat Cavan by 1-6 to 0-7 in the Hastings Cup semi-final today (further details on that one here) – in the preliminary round at MacHale Park on March 12th and it’ll take serious effort from us to ensure that we’re still in hunt for U21 honours this year after that one.
That was today’s fun and tomorrow’s comes in the shape of Kiltane’s All-Ireland Intermediate club semi-final clash with Cork’s Clyda Rovers at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, where throw-in is fixed for 2pm. Here’s hoping the Erris lads can do the business tomorrow and so secure their place in Croke Park for next month’s decider. The very best of luck to them in their endeavours.