Post-Match Reaction: SSE Airtricity League First Division – UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – May 20 2017

Praise for in-form Matthew Whelan

Soccer

Daire Walsh

COBH Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson hailed the performance of Matthew Whelan at the UCD Bowl last night, after the teenager’s second-half goal propelled the St Colman’s Park men towards a hard-earned three points in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.

Whelan’s cool finish on 78 minutes was ultimately the difference between the Leesiders and an in-form UCD, and Henderson sees the 18-year-old as one to watch in years to come.

“That’s an unbelievable goal from Matthew Whelan. He’s only 18 years of age, and the strength he needed [to score]. Because I’m telling you, he was getting dragged, he was getting kicked, but he managed to stay on his feet and what a fabulous finish.

“A fine young talent, but all our lads are fine young talents. When they click, they’re very good to watch, and Whelan, he’s one for the future. I’m a bit nervous now, because somebody will start sniffing him on me!”

This was Cobh’s third consecutive 1-0 triumph over UCD, and when you consider that their opponents were on an unbeaten run of six games since their last meeting on April 1, it becomes all the more impressive.

While Henderson felt that UCD were the better team in the opening half, once Cobh improved the level of their passing after the restart, he believes they got the result they deserved.

“The first-half obviously was theirs. I think a lot of that was down to us. The passing was terrible from us, and we knew that. I think in the second-half, we passed the ball a little bit better, and we got a bit more width. Second-half, I thought we probably deserved it. The first-half was all UCD, but obviously 1-0 in the Bowl. Fabulous.”

This result means that Cobh have moved to within two points of table-toppers Waterford United, who they will entertain in the league next Friday evening.

However, despite swapping positions last night, Henderson praised UCD for the way they have maintained their promotion push in the opening half of the season.

“I think these [UCD] are the best team in the league, to be honest with you. They’re going to be there or thereabouts. This is going to keep changing. The only thing that hasn’t really changed is Waterford. Hopefully their luck can change at some stage.

“I just think it’s fantastic to be honest with you, that both ourselves and UCD are still so close to Waterford United. We’re nearly halfway through the season, and we’re still tipping away at them. I think that’s a credit to both these clubs,” Henderson added.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: SSE Airtricity League First Division – UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – May 20 2017

SSE Airtricity League First Division: UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – May 20 2017

Whelan fires Cobh to victory

SOCCER

UCD………………………………0

COBH RAMBLERS……………..1

Daire Walsh

MATTHEW WHELAN was the hero for Cobh Ramblers at Belfield last night, as his 78th-minute goal helped Stephen Henderson’s charges to secure all three points in a tense SSE Airtricity League First Division clash against UCD.

With clear-cut opportunities at a premium, Whelan eventually stepped forward to fire Ramblers into the lead, and they held out to leapfrog their opponents into second place in the table – just two points behind Waterford United.

The Cobh starting line-up was unchanged from the one that defeated Cabinteely seven days earlier, as captain Chris ‘Kaka’ McCarthy was still suspended following his red-card in a 2-1 defeat to Athlone Town at the beginning of the month.

They were aiming for a repeat of their performance at the home to UCD in April (when a Ben O’Riordan goal helped the Leesiders to claim maximum points), and the south Dubliners received a significant let-off just six minutes into the action.

A Jason Abbott shot from distance was parried into the path of Whelan by UCD netminder Niall Corbet, but even though the Cobh striker finished off the rebound, his effort was ultimately ruled out for offside.

A goal from this attack would have been a major tonic for Ramblers in a traditionally tough away assignment, but with Daire O’Connor offering plenty of pace for UCD on the right-wing, they needed to be on their toes for the remainder of the half.

Jason McClelland fired past the Cobh post – after Cian Coleman had been off-target at the opposition end – and though chances were few and far between, Paul Hunt came to the rescue of Ramblers in the 37th minute.

UCD’s Ben Hanrahan had miscued an initial attempt from a right-hand angle, and after the loose ball fell into the path of Georgie Kelly, the dependable Hunt turned away his subsequent shot.

The travelling Cobh faithful breathed a sigh of relief on this occasion, but following a looping header by centre-half Ben O’Riordan from an Abbott set-piece, Corbet produced a fine fingertip save.

This ensured that the sides remained inseparable at the midway point, and with O’Riordan and underage international James McSweeney forming a strong partnership at the heart of the Cobh defence, it was going to take something special for UCD to break down the visitors.

A fierce volley by McClelland drifted just past Hunt’s post, and despite forcing further pressure on the opposition goal, Cobh almost fell behind on the hour mark.

After McClelland’s cross from the left-flank was only half-cleared, Greg Sloggett was the quickest to react.

The UCD midfielder’s right-footed drive was met by the head of Kelly, but much to the delight of Ramblers, his effort floated agonisingly wide of the mark.

Moving into the final-quarter, it was difficult to see where a breakthrough was going to come from, but the tireless Whelan finally opened the scoring with 12 minutes of normal time remaining.

The teenage centre-forward chased down a long-ball from full-back Kyle McNamara, and after using his strength to hold off the retreating UCD rearguard, he found the bottom corner of the net with a crisp left-footed shot.

Ramblers now had another victory in their sights, and despite being on the back-foot in the dying moments, they were closing out the game impressively.

Hunt dealt effectively with a series of high balls into the box, and after UCD’s Maxum Kouogun head over in stoppage-time, Cobh recorded their eighth league triumph of 2017.

Cobh now face a massive top-of-the-table clash with Waterford next Saturday night in Cobh.

Waterford, who were one nil winners at home to Longford Town last night are the favourites for the title, but Cobh Ramblers in this form, and in front of what they hope will be their biggest crowd of the season, will be ready for this game, knowing a win will see them go top of the table.

UCD: Niall Corbet; Daniel Tobin (Josh Collins 81), Liam Scales, Maxim Kouogun, Evan Osam; Daire O’Connor, Greg Sloggett, Gary O’Neill, Jason McClelland; Georgie Kelly, Ben Hanrahan.

COBH RAMBLERS: Paul Hunt; Charlie Fleming; Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Kyle McNamara; Stephen Christopher, Cian Coleman, Craig Donnellan, Ian Mylod; Matthew Whelan (Dean Swords 89), Jason Abbott.

Referee: Damien McGrath (Mayo).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League First Division: UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – May 20 2017

Dublin Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘E’ Championship Semi-Final: Colaiste Pobail Setanta V Old Bawn CS – The Evening Herald – May 18 2017

DUBLIN JUV HURLING ‘E’ S-FINAL

O’Neill hat-trick crucial for Setanta

Daire Walsh

PAUL O’Neill claimed a hat-trick of goals last Friday, when Colaiste Pobail Setanta secured a 6-15 to 4-11 victory over Old Bawn CS in an entertaining Dublin Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘E’ Championship semi-final.

The Clonsilla outfit had advanced to the last-four with an emphatic win against Colaiste de hIde, but Old Bawn had also impressed in their own quarter-final success at the expense of Moyle Park College.

Indeed, the Tallaght school made a bright start to the contest, before Setanta’s Fionn O’Moore gradually exerted his influence on the play.

He was linking up effectively with midfielder Eoin Kinsella, and although there was little to separate the sides in the opening period, Setanta were in fine form after the restart. Old Bawn were proving to be a tough nut crack, though, and Setanta needed goals by Conor McLeod and Conor Gorman to keep themselves in a winning position.

However, Moore and O’Neill were the key performers for Carthach Ban Breathnach’s side on the day, and their goals in the closing stages helped CP Setanta to finish with 10 points to spare.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Dublin Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘E’ Championship Semi-Final: Colaiste Pobail Setanta V Old Bawn CS – The Evening Herald – May 18 2017

Tom Quinlan Shield Final: Skerries CC V St Mac Dara’s CC – The Evening Herald – May 18 2017

GAELIC FOOTBALL – TOM QUINLAN SHIELD: SKERRIES CC 7-9 ST MAC DARA’S 2-10

EARLY BLITZ WORKS A TREAT FOR SUPER SKERRIES

Quick-fire goals pave the way for northsiders in Shield final against St Mac Dara’s in DCU

Daire Walsh

AN early scoring blitz proved key for Skerries CC at the DCU Sportsgrounds on Tuesday morning, as the northside school defeated St Mac Dara’s CC in the Tom Quinlan Shield decider.

Skerries were aiming to build on their semi-final victory against Portmarnock CS, and with just over two minutes gone, a fast-paced move was finished to the net by corner-forward Ronan Mulcahy. This was an early confidence boost, and subsequent goals by the attacking duo of Luke Whelan and Charlie Clear ensured that the Townspark boys were nine points to the good inside the opening five minutes.

REGISTERED

Whelan also registered a point from play, before Mac Dara’s finally interrupted this scoring sequence with a close-range Michael Lawlor free in the ninth minute. There was no let-up from Skerries in the first-quarter, though, and a placed-ball effort by midfielder Ethan Dunne was supplemented by a 1-2 salvo from Whelan. They created further daylight with unanswered points courtesy of Whelan, Dunne (free) and Tomas Hegarty, but as the half drew to a close, Mac Dara’s began to show what they are capable of.

A brace of goals from half-forward Adam Danaher gave the Wellington Lane boys a glimmer of hope, but two more points from the reliable Dunne made sure that Skerries brought a 4-8 to 2-1 lead into the interval.

They reinforced their superiority with a scrambled three-pointer from Clear three minutes after the restart, but to their credit, Mac Dara’s (who are coached by former Dublin and Clare footballer Pat Burke) persevered with their challenge. Substitute Sean Kirwan split the posts from an acute angle, and five points on the trot from inspirational inside forward Lawlor substantially reduced their deficit.

RESPONDED

Yet, this was as close as the the Templeogue school managed to get to Skerries, who responded with a sixth goal by wing-back Liam Cullen in the 44th-minute. Lawlor’s seventh point of the action followed, but this was eventually cancelled out by Whelan’s first score of the second-half.

Shane Scully and Lawlor were on target for a gallant Mac Dara’s in the closing moments, but another Clear goal in stoppage-time (which completed his hat-trick) secured this first year football crown for Skerries on a scoreline of 7-9 to 2-10.

Scorers – Skerries CC: L Whelan 2-4, C Clear 3-0, E Dunne 0-4 (3f), L Cullen, R Mulcahy 1-0 each, T Hegarty 0-1. St Mac Dara’s CC: M Lawlor 0-8 (5f), A Danaher 2-0, S Scully, S Kirwan 0-1 each.

SKERRIES CC: B Carroll; K Harford, E Gielty, O Bourke; J Ericsson, E O’Connor Flanagan, L Cullen; E Dunne, T Hegarty; C Kelly, T Grehan, A Rock; C Clear, L Whelan, R Mulcahy. Sub: J Kenny.

ST MAC DARA’S CC: R Synnott; R Hurley, L Bentley, A Farrell; L McCarthy, C Farrell, S McDonnell; S Scully, L Lynch; A Danaher, I Lynch, C Carolan; P McNally, C Sweeney, M Lawlor. Subs: C Farrell, L Darcy, C Cheetham, D O’Conor, T Keegan, A O’Loughlin, S Kirwan, J Murray, R O’Donoghue, S Moody, D Macken, L Devlin, C Keogh, M Kealy, C Dunphy, L Devlin.

Referee: D Sweeney (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh).

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Tom Quinlan Shield Final: Skerries CC V St Mac Dara’s CC – The Evening Herald – May 18 2017

Tadhg Beirne Interview: European Rugby Champions Cup – Leinster V Scarlets – The Kildare Nationalist – May 18 2017

LEINSTER OLD BOY LOOKING TO MAKE HIS MARK AT THE RDS

TOMORROW’S Guinness PRO12 semi-final at the RDS will be a hugely significant one for Tadhg Beirne, as the Scarlets second-row returns to face his old club Leinster for the second time in the 2016/17 season.

Since making his big switch last summer, the Eadestown man has become a key figure for the Welsh side – and has made a total of 16 first-team appearances in the PRO12 under head coach Wayne Pivac.

After biding his time in the early weeks of the campaign, Beirne has established himself as a regular starter in recent months, and he believes that the Anglo-Welsh Cup gave him a chance to show what he was capable of.

“I didn’t start the way I would have liked, and didn’t get into the team as much as I would have liked. Obviously the Anglo-Welsh Cup over here gave me a good opportunity to showcase my ability,” Beirne remarked.

“I got an opportunity against Leinster at home and played well. Since then I haven’t really looked back. Jake [Ball] had a kid and Aaron Shingler had a kid. Then obviously Dave Bulbring picked up that shoulder injury. There was a bit of luck involved, but I’d like to think I took the opportunities well. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed my rugby.”

Despite winning the British & Irish Cup with the Leinster ‘A’s back in 2013, Beirne found it difficult to break into the first-team set-up during his time with the Blues. He admits it was frustrating that he couldn’t push on from the adductor injury he sustained while in the Academy, but is grateful that Leo Cullen gave him some much-needed opportunities in his final season with the province.

“I had a pretty stressful time in Leinster. My first year in the Academy went really well and things were looking really good, and then obviously I picked up that adductor injury – and it took me a long time to recover from it. In that period, a lot of people passed me out.

“From that perspective, it was frustrating. I have no regrets in staying there, but in hindsight, I could have left earlier. In that last year, I had to work really hard to stay on, and Leo [Cullen] gave me another chance. That gave me the opportunity then to come here, so there’s no regrets at all, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Leinster.”

One of only four defeats for Leinster in the PRO12 this season came in an away meeting with Scarlets on 25 November of last year, but they gained revenge with an outstanding 45-9 victory over the Llanelli outfit at the RDS just over two months ago.

It is expected that both teams will have drastically different line-ups for this latest encounter in the Ballsbridge venue, and Beirne believes they can’t dwell too much on how that game developed.

“The last time we were there, we didn’t really stick to out game-plan as much as we would have liked. We had a good first-half, and then with how strong Leinster are. Especially in the second half of the season, they have really been kicking on.

“They outplayed us then, but I think going into this game, we know what they’re about and we know how strong they are. With the way we have been playing, we can’t really dwell on that scoreline too much, because we had a different team out and we’ve been playing really good rugby since then.”

Beirne will come face-to-face with a number of his own county men tomorrow, including PRO12 Young Player of the Year, Joey Carbery. The Athy youngster has enjoyed a whirlwind 12 months since securing the Ulster Bank League title with Clontarf, and as a winner of the competition in 2013 and 2015 with Lansdowne, Beirne believes it was hugely important towards his own development as a player.

“Lansdowne was massive for me and my development. From the U20s all the way up to the seniors. Between Declan Fassbender and Mike Ruddock, they both taught me a lot. Obviously won a lot with them – two All-Irelands.

“Just getting the game time you need when you’re not getting selected for your province, it’s hugely important back home. You can see that from Joey [Carbery] and especially the boys I played with – Matt Healy, Craig Ronaldson and Heffo [Dave Heffernan]. They’re all in Connacht now and playing really well. It just shows how good that league is.”

With four starts in the European Rugby Champions Cup (including a draw with eventual champions Saracens in January) also under his belt, Beirne’s move to the Scarlets has certainly helped to raise his profile. A potential return to the Irish system could boost his chances of an international call-up, but with another year left on Scarlets contract, he isn’t looking too far into the future.

“I’m taking it as it comes. I need to focus on Scarlets. I can’t jump ahead and think internationally or anything like that, because I’ve only just broken into the first team this year.

“I have another year with Scarlets, so I’ll just see how that goes. We’ll go into contract discussions then I’m sure. I’m not looking that far into the future, if I’m being honest,” Beirne added.

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Tadhg Beirne Interview: European Rugby Champions Cup – Leinster V Scarlets – The Kildare Nationalist – May 18 2017

Ireland U20s Squad Announcement: World Rugby U20 Championships – The Irish Examiner – May 18 2017

Peter Malone relishing another crack at Baby Blacks in championship

Ireland U20 head coach Peter Malone is looking forward to having another crack at New Zealand as he prepares to bring his side into battle for this summer’s World Rugby U20 Championships in Georgia, writes Daire Walsh.

The squad for the tournament was announced yesterday in PwC (the team’s sponsor) on Dublin’s North Wall Quay, where the Limerick native — who stepped up from his assistant coaching role following Nigel Carolan’s departure at the end of this year’s Six Nations — included a total of six uncapped players in his 28-man selection.

Ireland defeated New Zealand in last year’s competition, and although the initial focus will be on Pool B encounters with Italy and Scotland, Malone believes his players can head into their June 8 meeting with the Baby Blacks in a confident manner.

“It’s good to get another crack at them. They’re a great rugby nation, and it was great to beat them last year,” he said.

“I think the one thing we can take from that, when we come to that game, is that belief that the green jersey can beat New Zealand. That’s something to have in the back of the mind, whereas in previous years, teams didn’t have that.”

In addition to original skipper Cillian Gallagher (Lansdowne’s Paul Boyle has now taken over as team captain), the quartet of Bill Johnston, Jordan Larmour, Johnny McPhillips, and Tommy O’Brien have also been ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Their absence will be felt ahead of their opening fixture against Italy at the Kutaisi Stadium on May 31, but Malone isn’t prepared to look at it in a negative light.

“We knew that they would be missing from a fair way out, and we planned for it. Players are selfish beings, they won’t really care about the guys that are missing,” he said.

“The players who are injured have to deal with it, they’ll manage it and get back. The guys who are stepping in — they have to take the opportunity because in rugby that’s where opportunity comes from.”

Indeed, three of the key performers in last year’s squad (James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale, and Andrew Porter) will now be part of Joe Schmidt’s set-up for the upcoming tour of the US and Japan, and Malone isn’t surprised by the progress they have made.

“I was delighted to work with those three guys last year, and delighted that they made that step up so quickly. We’d have always felt that those three names would have had great potential to play international rugby.

“This is a high-level competition, and it is a good base camp preparation for the rigours of professional rugby. It is only base camp, and there is another step that they have to go, but I’m delighted the three lads have made that step to get into the squad.”

IRELAND U20 SQUAD (WORLD RUGBY U20 CHAMPIONSHIP):

P Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster), C Connolly (DUFC/Leinster), J Conway (UL Bohemians/Munster), G Coombes (Young Munster/Munster), P Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), C Doris (St Mary’s College/Leinster), O Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster), J Duggan (Naas/Leinster), J Foley (Shannon/Munster), R Kelleher (UCD/Leinster), S Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht), T McElroy (Lansdowne/Leinster), M Rea (Queen’s University/Ulster), J Regan (UCD/Leinster), F Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), A Curtis (Queen’s University/Ulster), C Dean (UCD/Leinster), C Frawley (UCD/Leinster), C Hogan (DUFC/Munster), J Kelly (DUFC/Leinster), D McCarthy (Garryowen/Munster), G Mullin (UCD/Leinster), C Nash (Young Munster/Munster), J Stafford (Shannon/Munster), J Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster), M Silvester (DUFC/Leinster), A Tynan (Young Munster/Munster).

Posted in U20 Rugby World Cup | Comments Off on Ireland U20s Squad Announcement: World Rugby U20 Championships – The Irish Examiner – May 18 2017

Guinness PRO12 Semi-Final Preview: Leinster V Scarlets – The Kildare Nationalist – May 16 2017

Leinster looking to end season on a high

RUGBY

By Daire Walsh

The RDS will be the venue on Friday evening, when Leinster face the Scarlets in their second competitive semi-final of the current season.

The Blues will play host to their Welsh counterparts in the Guinness PRO12 play-offs, and following their Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Clermont Auvergne on 23 April, they will eager to end 2016/17 with some silverware to show for their efforts.

Since the Grand Final system was re-introduced to the competition in 2009/10, Leinster have contested seven deciders from a possible eight. The exception in this sequence was two years ago – when the Blues finished outside of the top-four – but that was after they had claimed back-to-back successes under the guidance of Joe Schmidt and Matt O’Connor.

The sole championship win for the Scarlets was in 2003/04, and this is their first time reaching the PRO12 play-offs since 2013. However, with 17 victories from 22 games in the regular season, they have shown that they are a forced to be reckoned with.

They have already secured a major scalp on Irish soil in this calendar year, as they defeated Munster on a scoreline of 30-21 at Thomond Park at the end of February – which ended a nine-game winning streak for the southern province in the PRO12.

Yet, they were brought crashing down to earth with a 45-9 reversal against Leinster in the RDS on 4 March, and will be aiming to avoid a repeat of this encounter when they return to the Ballsbridge venue. Scarlets have since bounced back with five wins on the bounce, but despite coming up short away to Ulster last Saturday week, Leinster are still expected to progress from this final-four encounter.

Injuries to Rob Kearney and Naas’ Jamie Heaslip robs them of valuable experience, but this has been a season when the younger members of the Blues’ squad have stepped up to the mark when required.

Jack Conan has proven to be an able deputy for Heaslip in the back-row, while Luke McGrath has established himself as first-choice scrum-half under the stewardship of Leo Cullen. It has been a very profitable campaign for the Kill duo of Adam Byrne and James Tracy, but the real revelation for Leinster has been Athy youngster Joey Carbery.

His memorable displays at both provincial and international levels led to him being named as Young Player of the Season at the Guinness PRO12 Awards in Dublin recently, and having filled in for Jonathan Sexton at out-half in the Ulster game, it is anticipated that he will join club captain Isa Nacewa in the back-three on Friday.

Fergus McFadden (a native of Suncroft) also appears to be in a good position to feature on the night, and with Eadestown’s Tadhg Beirne – who made four first-team appearances for Leinster before his summer move to Llanelli – now a key member of the Scarlets pack, it should prove to be a perfect showcase for Kildare rugby.

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Guinness PRO12 Semi-Final Preview: Leinster V Scarlets – The Kildare Nationalist – May 16 2017

Match Analysis: FAI Intermediate Cup Final – Cobh Wanderers V Liffey Wanderers – The Evening Echo – May 15 2017

So close to realising FAI Cup dream on historic day for club

MATCH ANALYSIS

Daire Walsh

THERE was heartbreak for Cobh Wanderers at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon, when the most significant day in the club’s history ended in the most dramatic circumstances imaginable.

After Conor Meade had twice rescued his side from the brink of defeat, Anthony Gray’s cool finish in a sudden death penalty shootout ultimately ensured that it was Liffey Wanderers who claimed the 2017 FAI Intermediate Cup crown.

This was the first time that Cobh had reached the final of this competition, and a magnificent 3-2 quarter-final win over defending champions Crumlin United made them favourites to get over the line against their Pearse House counterparts.

With some notable exceptions, this was the biggest game to date in the playing careers of this Cobh team. Ian Stapleton and Brian Fitzgerald were previous winners of the competition with Avondale United – who are top of the roll of honours list with seven titles.

Veteran goalkeeper Michael Devine is another player with a wealth of experience, and in addition to being a key player for Cork City during their 2005 League of Ireland success, he also won the FAI Senior Cup with the Leesiders two years later.

However, because Lansdowne Road was being redeveloped, that narrow final win over Longford Town actually took place in the nearby RDS Arena. He was hoping for better fortune than his last visit to the Ballsbridge venue all of 12 years – when Cork suffered an FAI Cup defeat to Drogheda United – but they could take great encouragement from the support they received from Cobh Ramblers in the build-up to the game.

Nine of the starting line-up selected by Michael Deasy have been contracted to Ramblers at some point, and they were aiming to replicate the previous triumphs of the St Colman’s Park men in this competition in 1980 and 1983.

They certainly weren’t overawed by their new surroundings, and as they lined up in front of a red carpet to meet the various dignitaries (which included FAI President Tony Fitzgerald and Cobh chairman Frank McCall), they appeared to be in a confident and relaxed mood.

Indeed, when Stapleton fired home from close-range, after a thunderous 15th-minute drive by full-back Eoin Hastings had been parried by opposition netminder Philip O’Connor, the music on the Aviva’s PA system indicated that Cobh had broken the deadlock.

However, much to the disappointment of the Cobh faithful, the goal was ruled out after the linesman deemed Stapleton to be in an offside position. This did little to temper the supporters, though, who continued to shout on their team.

The deadlock remained unbroken at the midway stage, but after they significantly increased the pressure on Devine’s goal when the play resumed, Liffey opened the scoring through a Clayton Maher header on 72 minutes. This threw down the gauntlet to Cobh, but after a cheeky back-heeled effort by Stephen Griffin was turned away in the 85th-minute, Meade’s quick reaction forced the game into extra-time.

A neat strike courtesy of Aidan Roche (the eventual man of the match) four minutes into the additional periods moved Liffey back into the ascendancy, and this was another test of Cobh’s resolve.

Their never-say-die attitude was evident in the dying moments, however, and the decision to transfer Fitzgerald into a centre-forward role gave them a new dimension – as Liffey attempted to hold on to their slender lead.

He dominated the aerial battle in the opposition penalty area, and deep into stoppage-time at the end of the second additional period, Meade got on the end of his knock-down to fire into the roof of the net.

Unfortunately, after being shown a second yellow-card for removing his shirt in celebration, Meade was absent for the ensuing penalty shootout. In a scenario that mirrored Wexford’s FAI Women’s Cup showdown with Shelbourne in the same ground two years ago, the conclusion to this engrossing contest took place while the teams from the FAI Junior Cup final (Sheriff YC and Evergreen) warmed up on the opposing end of the field for their evening time kick-off.

This made it quite surreal for those in attendance, but even though it began badly when Stapleton fired past the post, Devine got Cobh back on track with a brilliant stop from Liffey’s Conor Riddick. With the sides still inseparable (4-4) after five rounds of penalties, Cobh midfielder Michael O’Shea was the next player to take the long walk forward.

However, O’Connor guessed right to place Liffey into the driving seat, and their hard-working full-back Gray stepped up to the mark to give the Metropolitan side a second lower-grade Cup victory in the space of three seasons – hot on the heels of their 2015 Junior Cup triumph.

Following such a memorable journey to the final, this was a gut-wrenching way for Cobh’s campaign to end. Their commitment to the cause was deservedly applauded by their loyal fans, and you get the sense that this won’t be the last we hear of this Wanderers side.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Match Analysis: FAI Intermediate Cup Final – Cobh Wanderers V Liffey Wanderers – The Evening Echo – May 15 2017

Dublin Senior Football Championship Second Round: St Sylvester’s V Lucan Sarsfields – The Evening Herald – May 13 2017

DOGGED SYLS ABLE TO FIND THAT BIT EXTRA

ST SYLVESTER’S…………………………..1-16

LUCAN SARSFIELDS………………………1-12

Lucan battle back bravely but Malahide men recover

Daire Walsh

FOLLOWING an engrossing encounter in Fingal last night, St Sylvester’s booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Dublin Senior Football Championship with a hard-fought extra-time victory over Lucan Sarsfields.

Despite Lucan being behind for the majority of normal time, a late free from Thomas Brennan ensured that there was two additional periods of 10 minute each at Erin’s Isle GAA. However, with substitutes Shane Doyle, Conor Meaney and Alan Foy all getting their names on the scoresheet, Syls ultimately booked their spot in the last eight.

The Malahide outfit (who are managed by former Lucan Sarsfields star Jack Sheedy) enjoyed a dream start to the action, as Glen Hazley palmed to the opposition net with just 15 seconds gone on the clock. This was a major confidence boost for Syls, and they opened up an early eight-point advantage with subsequent scores from Ed Walsh, Ross Hazley, Dylan Connolly (two) and Jack Hazley.

Lucan finally opened their account through full-forward Brendan Gallagher in the 12th minute, and even though Syls replied through the industrious Niall Coughlan, unanswered points from Brennan (free), U21 county star Darren Gavin and Emmet O’Conghaile moved Sarsfields back into contention.

Goalkeeper Philip Greene also converted a ’45’ in the latter stages of the half, but thanks to points by Andrew Cunningham and Connolly, Sylvester’s brought a 1-8 to 0-5 lead into the interval. The influential attacking duo of Brennan and Gallagher reduced Lucan’s deficit to four points with quickfire scores after the restart, but a 0-2 salvo by Walsh kept Syls in the driving seat.

Indeed, after Gallagher and Jack Hazley traded points, the northsiders remained six points to the good with just nine minutes of ordinary time left to play. Yet, it was at this point that Lucan increased the pressure on the Syls defence, with the outstanding Brennan finding the target in the 52nd and 55th minutes respectively.

A coolly-converted penalty by Brendan Gallagher cut the gap to a bare minimum heading towards second-half stoppage-time, and Brennan’s coolly-struck 63rd-minute effort meant that extra-time required.

Momentum appeared to be with Lucan at this point, but either side of Brennan’s sixth score of the contest, Doyle and Walsh (’45’) split the posts to give Syls a slender advantage on the stroke of 70 minutes (1-13 to 1-12). Slowly but surely, the Church Road men were re-discovering their high intensity levels, and courtesy of consecutive contributions from Foy, Meaney and Walsh, they finished with four points to spare.

Scorers – St Sylvester’s: E Walsh 0-4 (1 ’45, 1f), D Connolly 0-3 (3f), G Hazley 1-0, J Hazley 0-2, S Doyle (f), A Cunningham, R Hazley, N Coughlan, R Palmer, C Meaney, A Foy 0-1 each. Lucan Sarsfields: T Brennan 0-6 (3f), B Gallagher 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), P Greene (’45), E O’Conghaile, D Gavin 0-1 each.

ST SYLVESTER’S: M Shiels; A Cunningham, C McIntyre, C Quinn; B Sexton, G McArdle, J Peacock; R Hazley, J Hazley; G Hazley, N Coughlan, R Palmer; E Walsh, G Sweeney, D Connolly. Subs: S Doyle for Connolly (46), C Ryan for Sexton (58), C Meaney for Coughlan, A Foy for Sweeney (both 61), F Carney for Cunningham (69).

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: P Greene; O Ennis, D Gallagher, C Smith; D Gallagher, S Cleary, C O’Conghaile; K Moran, E O’Conghaile; S Newcombe, S O’Shaughnessy, D Gavin; T Brennan, B Gallagher, P Casey. Subs: D O’Shaughnessy for D Gallagher (h-t), J Carey for Newcombe (42), J McCormack for S O’Shaughnessy (46), Newcombe for Carey (61), J McCormack for C O Conghaile (62).

Referee: J King (Garda/Westmanstown Gaels).

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Dublin Senior Football Championship Second Round: St Sylvester’s V Lucan Sarsfields – The Evening Herald – May 13 2017

The Herald School Sports Awards: St Aidan’s CBS Piece – The Evening Herald – May 11 2017

Five-star showing from Aidan’s aces at school awards

By Daire Walsh

IT was a special day for St Aidan’s CBS at The Herald School Sports Awards in the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, when five of their students were honoured with weekly prizes.

With a total of 26 weekly awards (presented by Dublin hurler David Treacy and rugby analyst Brent Pope) handed out, this was a strong representation for the Collins Avenue school. Sean Lowry’s impressive personal haul of 1-2 made him a winner in Week 16 – as Aidan’s claimed their fourth successive Dublin Schools Junior ‘A’ Football Championship title at the expense of Colaiste Eoin.

He acknowledged that it was nice to be one of the five players from Aidan’s to be honoured on the day, and feels the dedication of both teachers and students has played a big part in their success this year.

“There’s a lot of good athletes in the school, and its nice to be one of the good ones. I think its just a lot of dedication of the teachers. All taking time off school to train, and all the kids are just really dedicated to sports,” Lowry said.

Joining Lowry on the day was Lee Gannon, who was honoured for his outstanding contribution for Aidan’s in a triumph over St Mel’s College in a Leinster Senior Football ‘A’ Championship encounter last December.

Sport in Aidan’s extends beyond GAA, though, and Cameron McCormack was recognised for his part in an U19A Basketball Cup quarter-final win against Malahide CS. Judo also has a presence in the northside school, and just last month, Fintan Farry was named Sports Star of the Week after securing back-to-back gold medals at the Dublin Schools Spring Judo Championships.

Lastly, April was a special month for Steven Nolan, as not only did he score his first goal at senior level for League of Ireland outfit Bohemians, he was also the final winner of The Herald’s weekly award for his part in the Ireland U18 boys school side’s Centenary Shield campaign.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on The Herald School Sports Awards: St Aidan’s CBS Piece – The Evening Herald – May 11 2017