UFC 257: Conor McGregor V Dustin Poirier – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 24 2021

McGregor falls to surprise reversal on UFC comeback

By Daire Walsh

Conor McGregor suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier on his return to UFC action at Fight Island, Abu Dhabi in the early hours of Sunday morning (Irish time).

Having overcome Poirier with relative ease in a previous duel in Las Vegas in September 2014, the Crumlin native (who also has strong ties to Lucan) was expected to do likewise in the 27th mixed martial arts bout of his career.

It seemingly had been going according to plan, until his Louisiana opponent gained the upper hand with a flurry of punches in the second round. While this was McGregor’s fifth MMA loss in total, it was just his third reversal since making his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut back in 2013.

After previously losing out to Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov through submission, this was also the first KO of McGregor’s career. He has already announced his retirement on three separate occasions and this latest defeat will cast fresh doubts on the future of the 32-year-old.

McGregor had spent just over a year out of the UFC – his previous fight being a victory against Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout on January 18 of last year.

He was returning to the lightweight division that had served him so well in the past and with a number of his right-handed jabs landing on Poirier, it looked set to be a fine night at the office for McGregor in UFC 257.

Instead, Poirier landed a right hook to put his Irish counterpart under pressure and after he continued to pile on the punches while McGregor was on the canvas, referee Herb Dean called a halt to proceedings with two minutes and 32 seconds gone in the second round.

McGregor had hoped a win here would potentially lure Nurmagomedov out of retirement for a rematch encounter.

It remains to be seen if this will still be a possibility, though one suspects that McGregor won’t be far from the limelight no matter what path he chooses from here.

Posted in Mixed Martial Arts | Comments Off on UFC 257: Conor McGregor V Dustin Poirier – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 24 2021

Piece On Jonathan Afolabi: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 10 2021

Abuse of Tallaght’s Jonathan Afolabi condemned by Dundee

By Daire Walsh 

Dundee have moved to condemn what they describe as “vile racist messages” received by Republic of Ireland U21 international Jonathan Afolabi on social media.

Having found the net for the Dens Park men in their extra-time Scottish Cup win over Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday evening, Afolabi was subjected to a torrent of abuse from one user on his Instagram account.

The Tallaght man shared the messages he was sent on his platform and in a statement released on Sunday, Dundee revealed this is the second incident of this nature they’ve had to confront in 2021 alone.

“Dundee Football Club utterly condemns racism in any form. Racism has no place in society.

“We have reported these unacceptable messages and will look into what further steps can be taken.

“Sadly, this isn’t the first incident in the last seven days which has seen one of our players being subjected to abuse.

“After last weekend’s match with Heart of Midlothian, another player received disgusting messages which have also been reported,” the statement read.

The son of Nigerian parents, Afolabi (who turns 21 on Thursday) is currently on loan at Dundee from Celtic.

Having lined out for Lourdes Celtic, Shamrock Rovers and St Joseph’s Boys at youth level, he was subsequently snapped up by Southampton in 2016.

He went on to represent The Saints’ underage sides on five occasions in the Football League Trophy, before making the switch to Parkhead in August 2019.

He scored two goals in six loan appearances at Dunfermline Athletic last season and now has three goal in 10 games (all competitions) for Dundee in their current campaign.

Posted in European Football, General Sports News Piece | Comments Off on Piece On Jonathan Afolabi: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 10 2021

Piece On Lisa Fallon Becoming Galway United Coach: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 21 2021

Clondalkin trailblazer Fallon to reunite with John Caulfield at Galway United

By Daire Walsh

Clondalkin native Lisa Fallon is set for a busy start to 2021 after it was announced that she is to be the new first-team head coach of League of Ireland First Division outfit Galway United.

This move sees her reuniting with manager John Caulfield, who Fallon worked alongside at Cork City. Having initially operated as an opposition analyst for the Leesiders, she later progressed into a coaching role, helping City towards a league and cup double in 2017.

Previously a sports reporter for Today FM and FM104, she made history in 2013 when she became the first female head coach of a senior men’s team in Ireland.

That position at Leinster Senior League side Lakelands FC is one of several that Fallon has held in recent years, across a variety of sporting disciplines.

A Round Tower Clondalkin camogie star in the past, she was recruited by former club-mate Jim Gavin to the backroom team of the Dublin men’s senior footballers in 2018. It was a wildly successful year in this role for Fallon as the Sky Blues were crowned National League, Leinster and All-Ireland champions.

In July of the same year, she ended a six-year stint as part of the support staff for the Northern Ireland men’s international side, working once again in the area of opposition analysis.

Following a later spell as a game and tactical strategy coach with Chelsea in the Women’s Super League, Fallon was appointed as head coach of London City Lionesses in the Women’s Championship in May 2020. She spent just over four months in this role, before returning home for family reasons.

Combining her journalistic and sporting backgrounds, Fallon has also been a regular contributor to RTÉ as both a sports analyst and co-commentator in the past couple of years. In this capacity, she became the first-ever female to cover the men’s Champions League and senior men’s internationals.

The ex-Lucan United footballer is set to continue her trailblazing at Galway – their first-team coaches have been exclusively male up to this point – as they look to forge a promotion bid in the coming months.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Piece On Lisa Fallon Becoming Galway United Coach: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 21 2021

Gaelic Football Inter-County Retirements: The Backdoor GAA – January 13 2021

Gaelic Football: Inter-County Squads Altered By Retirements

By Daire Walsh

With uncertainty remaining over when the senior inter-county season will get underway, there has been more discussion about who won’t be featuring in 2021 as there has on those who will be.

Although a number of high-profile hurlers – such as Cork duo Anthony Nash and Stephen McDonnell – also called a halt to their county careers in recent weeks, the raft of departures in the Gaelic football world has captured the most attention.

Between Mayo and Kerry (the two biggest threats to Dublin in recent years), a total of seven players have announced their retirements since the end of the 2020 championship.

David Clarke, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons have all played their final games for Mayo, while Shane Enright, Jonathan Lyne and Brian Kelly are the ones to say a fond farewell to the Kingdom set-up.

Despite being the eldest of the quartet at 37 (38 in November), it is Clarke’s loss that will arguably affect Mayo manager James Horan the most. Whereas the remaining trio were peripheral figures in recent months – Vaughan and O’Shea saw no championship action, Parsons was a late substitute in their All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary – Clarke was an ever-present throughout as the westerners reached yet another Sam Maguire Cup decider.

He has had to battle with the likes of Rob Hennelly – who is expected to take his place between the sticks – and Kenneth O’Malley for the number one spot over the years, but has generally been a safe pair of hands since making his competitive debut against Kildare way back in 2002.

Vaughan, O’Shea and Parsons were previously mainstays in Mayo’s starting line-up but, for a variety of reasons, have slipped down the pecking order in recent years. A horrific injury sustained in a Connacht SFC semi-final clash with Galway back in 2018 significantly curtailed the latter part of Parsons’ career.

Having suffered damage to his knee, calf and hamstring, he faced a long road back to full fitness. He managed to return in time for the business end of the 2019 championship, but couldn’t quite force his way back into the Mayo side.

Whilst all four men end their inter-county careers with multiple provincial titles, All-Ireland success ultimately eluded them.

From this point of view, Enright, Lyne and Kelly can feel fortunate as they look back upon their journeys with Kerry. This triumvirate were all part of the last panel outfit to secure Sam Maguire Cup glory – a 2014 triumph at the expense of Donegal.

Kelly was the last line of defence for this victory and Shane Enright also played his part as a second half substitute for Fionn Fitzgerald. Lyne was an unused substitute for the final, but had kicked two crucial points in their extra-time success over Mayo at the semi-final stage.

Again, like their outfield counterparts in the West, their respective decisions to call it a day are perhaps unsurprising. None of them were called upon for Kerry’s Munster championship defeat to Cork in November or indeed the previous year’s All-Ireland final replay reversal to Dublin.

Likewise, recently-retired Meath stalwart Graham Reilly hadn’t featured for the Royal County in the championship since the Super 8s in 2019 – despite Andy McEntee’s charges having played three games over the course of their 2020 Leinster campaign.

The same is true for Johnny Byrne, Tommy Moolick and Keith Cribbin, who brought the curtain down on their Kildare careers after missing out on their county’s provincial championship encounters with Offaly and Meath. Nevertheless, Lilywhites boss Jack O’Connor will still be disappointed to lose these experienced figureheads as he looks to close the gap on the all-conquering Dublin side in the east.

Elsewhere, Gareth Bradshaw has bowed out of the Galway set-up with three Connacht senior titles and a National Football League Division Two crown to his name. He arguably still had plenty to offer to his former team-mate Pádraic Joyce, who introduced the Moycullen man off the bench in their narrow Connacht final defeat to Mayo.

Given he turned 34 in the closing weeks of 2020, it is understandable that Paul Kerrigan is solely focusing on lining out with his club Nemo Rangers for the year ahead. He too retires as an All-Ireland senior winner, albeit he claimed his Celtic Cross all of 11 years ago.

Conor Maginn was a substitute for Down in that 2010 final and he recently joined Laois’ Denis Booth in ending his inter-county odyssey.

Though the volume of these retirements may open up a wider debate surrounding the commitment required of county footballers in the modern era, it is important to look at it in a fuller context.

Of the 14 players listed above, only Clarke started a game in the 2020 senior championship. Having waited so long for the return of the elite level of Gaelic football, there would have been understandable frustration amongst the remaining men at the lack of game-time they received.

Arguably, a number of them may have stayed on for this year’s championship – which, if everything goes according to plan, will finish in July – if they had been featuring more prominently over the past few months.

Also, whereas the absence of social media meant Galway attacker Niall Finnegan was able to quietly slip away from inter-county football during the foot and mouth scare of 2001, retirement announcements tend to create greater traction these days.

However, with inter-county potentially taking an initial back seat to club football in 2022 as part of a proposed split season, there may be more retirements to follow later this year.

It was 15 years ago that Chris Barrett, Keith Higgins and Colm Boyle were all part of a Mayo side that secured an All-Ireland U21 title.

Now playing his club football in the capital with Clontarf, Barrett was a regular starter for the green and red but it remains to be seen if he will stay on beyond this year. Higgins and Boyle are no longer guaranteed their spots in the Mayo defence, which means 2021 could be their last hurrahs.

As of yet, no one from the Dublin panel has followed Diarmuid Connolly and Darren Daly into retirement. This comes as little surprise, given the Sky Blues are hot favourites to claim a seventh consecutive All-Ireland.

Yet, there are several players within their ranks who have considerable mileage on the clock.

Remarkably, Stephen Cluxton will turn 40 this year and the Metropolitans may soon have to contemplate life without their legendary custodian.

Michael Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper (both 31), James McCarthy and Dean Rock (both 30) all look like they still have a few more campaigns left in their locker, but father time is catching up on a few others.

Kevin McManamon and Michael Darragh Macauley were both held in reserve for their recent All-Ireland final victory over Mayo. Neither player has officially committed for another season just yet and with both of them turning 35 in 2021, they could well bow out either side of the upcoming championship.

Philly McMahon (33), Cian O’Sullivan, Paddy Andrews (both 32) and Rory O’Carroll (31) are others who are entering the twilight of their inter-county careers. With Dublin manager Dessie Farrell and his predecessor Jim Gavin preferring younger players in their favoured positions, it has been difficult for them to gain substantial minutes on the field of play.

With 11 players on their panel in the 30+ bracket, you might be inclined to think that the blues’ powers might be on the wane. This is far from being the case, but when any of these players do decide to ride off into the sunset, they will undoubtedly be afforded the same glowing tributes that were deservedly bestowed upon the recent retirees from the game.

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Gaelic Football Inter-County Retirements: The Backdoor GAA – January 13 2021

Anthony Nash Club Transfer Piece: The Backdoor GAA – January 12 2021

Anthony Nash Set For Transfer To South Liberties In Limerick

By Daire Walsh

Just a few short weeks after announcing his retirement from inter-county hurling, Cork’s Anthony Nash finds himself back in the headlines.

According to various reports that circulated on Monday evening, the 36-year-old is set to transfer from his home club of Kanturk to Limerick outfit, South Liberties.

In doing so, he will link-up with his first cousin Barry Nash, who recently starred for the Treaty County at left corner-back in their emphatic All-Ireland SHC final success at the expense of Waterford. Anthony’s uncles Declan and Mike (Barry’s father) are also members of the club and represented Limerick themselves in the past.

Mike starred at full-back in the county’s All-Ireland final defeats to Offaly and Wexford in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Declan lined out at left half-back in the ’94 decider, before assuming his nephew’s current position two years later.

The Leeside Nash’s proposed move has already been given the go-ahead by the Limerick County Board and now awaits the seal of approval from the Munster Council. It may be some time before he can make his official South Liberties debut, but he will be eager to start a new chapter in his hurling career.

At inter-county level, Nash had the misfortune of joining the Cork senior panel in the months that followed their most recent All-Ireland triumph in 2005. He was a non-playing substitute on the Rebels’ Oireachtas Cup-winning side on October 31 of the same year, a mere 50 days after the Munster men had defeated Galway in a Liam McCarthy Cup showpiece.

Over the course of the next 15 years, he won four Munster senior titles, but missed out on an All-Ireland glory in both 2006 and 2013. Having been back-up Donal Óg Cusack in his first season on the championship panel, he was between the sticks for the two-game saga against eventual champions Clare seven years later – rattling the Banner County net in both encounters.

He did win an All-Ireland minor crown with Cork in 2001, however, and had added an impressive four All-Ireland intermediate winners’ medals to his collection by the end of the same decade.

A Fitzgibbon Cup champion with UCC in 2009, he has enjoyed considerable success with Kanturk in recent years. After helping his club to secure a Cork Junior Football Championship in 2011, he was the captain for their Intermediate Hurling Championship win of 2013.

He was on board as Kanturk annexed a Cork Premier IHC crown in 2017, with Munster and All-Ireland intermediate titles following in the same season. In the latter, he converted two long-range frees to squeeze the green and white past St Patrick’s, Ballyragget of Kilkenny.

Considering his age profile, Nash’s transfer to South Liberties will come as something of a surprise to many.

In this year’s Limerick county championship, Liberties reached the quarter-final stage, where they suffered a 3-20 to 2-12 defeat at the hands of Doon. Barry Nash has a more advanced role at club level and contributed 3-5 in their comprehensive group stage win over Murroe-Boher.

Reaching the last-eight was a marked improvement on the previous year’s competition, when South Liberties suffered five straight reversals at the group phase.

With a high-profile recruit joining their ranks, they will aim to go a couple of steps further in 2021.

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Anthony Nash Club Transfer Piece: The Backdoor GAA – January 12 2021

Damien Duff Departing Ireland Coaching Role: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 8 2020

Duff steps aside from Ireland coaching role

By Daire Walsh

The Football Association of Ireland announced this evening that Damien Duff is stepping down from his coaching role with the Republic of Ireland senior men’s international side.

Along with former team-mate Keith Andrews, the Ballyboden native had been named as part of Stephen Kenny’s backroom team last April. He initially looked set to combine this position with his coaching duties at Celtic, before family commitments saw him departing ways with the latter two months later.

While it remains unclear for the time being why he has decided to leave the Irish set-up, Duff did have the following to say to FAI:

“I want to thank Stephen Kenny for the opportunity he gave me to coach with the senior Ireland team and I wish Stephen, Keith and the players all the very best of luck for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.”

Since bringing his playing career to an end in December 2015, Duff has enjoyed a steady rise up the coaching ladder.

During his final season as a player with Shamrock Rovers, he also helped out with the club’s U15 team and later returned to manage the same side in July 2016. He had a similar role with the Republic of Ireland at the same age group before accepting a reserve team coaching position with Celtic in January 2019.

Within a matter of weeks, first-team manager Brendan Rodgers had tendered his resignation  from the SPL giants and his replacement Neil Lennon promoted the two-time English Premier League winner to a revamped coaching set-up.

Although Kenny’s opening eight games at the helm haven’t yielded the results he wanted, he will undoubtedly miss the input of Duff for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

In the meantime, Duff is expected to remain in charge of the Shelbourne U17s, having been appointed to that position last June.

Posted in International Soccer | Comments Off on Damien Duff Departing Ireland Coaching Role: The Tallaght Echo (Online) – January 8 2020

Jack Byrne Move To APOEL Nicosia – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – December 28 2020

Jack Byrne poised for move to Cypriot First Division

By Daire Walsh

JACK Byrne looks set to bring a successful two-year stint at Shamrock Rovers to an end by signing personal terms with Cypriot First Division outfit APOEL Nicosia in the coming days.

Should the deal go through as planned, the Dubliner will be reunited with former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy. Byrne was handed his senior international debut by McCarthy as a substitute in a friendly victory over Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium in September 2019 and was subsequently given a starting berth against New Zealand in the same venue two months later.

He has since added a brace of caps under Stephen Kenny in the UEFA Nations League and will hope that his impending move to Cyprus can keep him in the frame for future Ireland squads.

Provided there are no last-minute complications – he will have to complete a medical after he receives the results of a mandatory Covid-19 test – Byrne is expected to pen a two and a half year contract with APOEL.

Even if it was always likely that he would eventually pursue options elsewhere, his departure will be keenly felt by Rovers and their loyal fan base. In both of his seasons at the Tallaght club, Byrne was named PFAI Player of the Year.

Having helped the Hoops to claim the FAI Cup for the first time in 32 years at the end of his first campaign, he was an integral figure in their unbeaten march to the 2020 Premier Division title.

As well as galvanising Rovers, the return to his native city re-energised Byrne’s career after a difficult couple of years in the UK.

Following an impressive loan spell in the Netherlands with Cambuur, the former Manchester City prodigy had brief stints at Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Oldham Athletic and Kilmarnock before being snapped up by Stephen Bradley in December 2018.

Posted in International Soccer, League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Jack Byrne Move To APOEL Nicosia – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – December 28 2020

SSE Airtricity U19 League Final: St Patrick’s Athletic V Bohemians – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – December 22 2020

Burns the extra-time hero for St Patrick’s Athletic in U19 final

By Daire Walsh

St Patrick’s Athletic were crowned SSE Airtricity U19 League champions with a dramatic extra-time victory over Dublin rivals Bohemians at the UCD Bowl on Tuesday night.

The Gypsies were seeking to complete an underage double, having defeated Shamrock Rovers in the U17 decider on Monday.

For large stretches, it looked like a penalty shootout would be required in order to determine the final outcome of this contest.

That was until Pat’s were awarded a spot-kick with 118 minutes gone on the clock, following a foul on Ben McCormack.

One of the Saints’ best performers in the game, Darragh Burns stepped forward to fire beyond the reach of opposition netminder Kian Moore and thus ensure the title will reside in Inchicore during the Christmas period.

Both sides had their share of possession and chances in the early exchanges and the deadlock was eventually broken by Pat’s in the 33rd-minute.

Striker Kyle Robinson has been enjoying a prolific campaign for Jamie Moore’s charges and diverted home a Burns cross on the right-flank to give his side a strong platform.

Pat’s remained in the ascendancy at the break, but Bohemians fired back just six minutes after the resumption through Colin Kelly.

The same player rattled the woodwork in the dying stages of normal time, before forcing Saints custodian Josh Keeley into a fine one-on-one stop in the opening minute of the first additional period.

Due to tired legs on both teams, opportunities subsequently became few and far between. Yet when Burns was afforded the chance to become the St Pat’s hero, he delivered with considerable aplomb.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity U19 League Final: St Patrick’s Athletic V Bohemians – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – December 22 2020

All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Championship Final Feature Interview: Niamh O’Sullivan (Meath) – Peil Magazine – December 22 2020

Back with the Big Guns

By Daire Walsh

‘What a difference a year makes’ is a well-worn saying in the lexicon of competition sport but, in the case of Meath ladies footballer Niamh O’Sullivan, it is a rather apt one.

A designated water carrier for her county’s All-Ireland intermediate championship final defeat to Tipperary 15 months ago, the Dunshaughlin Royal Gaels club star returned to play a starring role at Croke Park on December 20 as Meath finally regained senior status with a 2-17 to 4-5 victory against rivals Westmeath in a compelling Mary Quinn Memorial Cup decider.

Having captained the Royals during their intermediate showpiece reversal to Tyrone in 2018, O’Sullivan subsequently ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament while travelling abroad. Nevertheless, she was made to feel at home upon her return to these shores and this encapsulates the indomitable spirit of a gifted Meath group.

“The amount of people that told me I was mad to go [travelling], but the girls were brilliant. Unfortunately when I went away I got an ACL injury, but Paul [Garrigan, Meath joint-manager] was unbelievable to me and kept in contact with me. The minute I landed back in Ireland, they got me down to a training session straight away,” O’Sullivan explains.

“Roped me in and made me feel part of the team. To be playing in Croke Park a year later, I didn’t think that would come through. Having come through an ACL injury. No words can describe how happy I am. Only for the girls, the Meath management, my club and everyone behind me, I wouldn’t be back here.”

In reaching the summit of the All-Ireland intermediate football championship, Meath had to overcome considerable adversity. Inside the opening six minutes of an unprecedented Christmas time affair, they had conceded three goals to a rampant Westmeath attack.

Instead of tearing up the script at this point, O’Sullivan and her team-mates never panicked and ultimately banished the heartbreak of final defeats in the past two seasons.

“We were always going to press up for their kick-outs and we knew they were going to go long. There was a chance they’d win breaking balls and they’d let the ball in quick. We stuck to our game plan, we never reverted to anything else. I think the most important thing was we answered any score they got. We went up to the other end of the field and we got a point or a goal.

“We had Maire [O’Shaughnessy] there. She’s a fantastic captain, she drove us on. Vikki [Wall] there getting crucial scores for us. There was something different this year. I knew coming to Croke Park, there was definitely a lot of fire in the belly and we knew it was going to be our day. That we couldn’t leave it behind.”

A primary school teacher at St Seachnall’s NS in her hometown of Dunshaughlin, O’Sullivan was kept busy during lockdown but still managed to strike a nice balance between work and leisure. She wasn’t alone in doing so, with the Meath squad discovering new ways to maintain their fitness in advance of ladies football’s eventual return to the limelight.

“A lot of Zoom calls. A few girls met up for socially distanced running with each other, to push each other on. It was hard during lockdown when you’re running on your own. Girls in the same club paired up and just egged each other on for that one per cent margin to get us over the line and I think that all proved pivotal [against Westmeath].

“When we were training with our clubs it was fantastic and then when we got to train with our county again, it was a nice little break that you could go out and see other people. Get a bit of a breather from your house. My school have been so supportive of me. It was great to have those distractions during lockdown.”

Had the season continued as initially planned, O’Sullivan might well have had a fight on her hands for a starting place in this Meath team. She was restricted to cameo roles against Clare and Armagh in rounds four and five of the LIDL National Football League, having missed out on earlier Division Two clashes with Tyrone, Cavan and Monaghan.

However, the lockdown afforded O’Sullivan ample time to work on her fitness and after getting a succession of club games under her belt, she worked her way into Meath’s full-forward line for the remainder of the season.

“The break definitely benefited me, getting a few club games. I got on in a few league games, but it was hard to break into the team. The lads didn’t really see me playing, so it was great that the club championship was on. That favoured me big time.”

Meath’s success over Westmeath was part of a double triumph for Leinster counties on the penultimate Sunday of a turbulent 2020, with Mick Bohan’s all-conquering Dublin side capturing their fourth consecutive All-Ireland senior title courtesy of a hard-earned 1-10 to 1-5 win at the expense of Cork.

The Royals are now guaranteed to face the Jackies in next year’s Leinster championship decider – the Metropolitans were the province’s only senior outfit in 2020 – and could well face the Rebelettes depending on how the draw for the Brendan Martin Cup pans out.

While it will represent a massive step-up in quality regardless of who they face, O’Sullivan and her inter-county colleagues are ready to embrace the challenges that lie in wait.

“These are the teams you want to be playing against, Dublin and Cork. These are the girls you watch day in, day out. You want to see where you’re at by playing against them.

“Playing Dublin in a Leinster final next year is definitely going to be a huge challenge and I think the girls will be really, really raring to go in 2021. Just to see where we are against a senior team. We do fancy ourselves against the bigger teams,” O’Sullivan added.

Posted in Ladies GAA | Comments Off on All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Championship Final Feature Interview: Niamh O’Sullivan (Meath) – Peil Magazine – December 22 2020

All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Final: Cork Player Ratings – The Evening Echo – December 21 2020

Cork player ratings

Martina O’Brien: Committed a foul on Carla Rowe for the Dublin attacker’s penalty in the second half, but the Clonakilty netminder was solid throughout and produce a fine save from Nicole Owens in the 14th-minute. 7.

Eimear Meaney: Did a fine marking job on Dublin captain Sinead Aherne and was part of an excellent defensive effort in the first half. Found it tougher after the resumption. 7.

Roisin Phelan: A current club-mate of Dublin forward Noelle Healy at St Brigid’s, Phelan held her own for large stretches and force some fine turnovers. 6.

Shauna Kelly: Went toe-to-toe with the influential Lyndsey Davey and snuffed out a number of scoring opportunities. 7.

Melissa Duggan: Did her best to stem the tide in the second period, but with Dublin attacking in waves, she was increasingly on the back-foot. 6.

Ashling Hutchings: The Fermoy club woman worked tirelessly to transition defence into attack, even when the tide was beginning to turn against her side. 7.

Erika O’Shea: Starting her first final at 18 years of age, O’Shea was one of Cork’s best performers and appears to have a bright future in front of her. 8.

Maire O’Callaghan: Drove Cork forward in the opening period, before a tactical tweak saw Dublin taking control of the middle-third. 6.

Hannah Looney: Working in tandem with O’Callaghan, Looney played her part in helping the Leesiders to build a half-time advantage. 6.

Eimear Kiely: The first player to be withdrawn, the Valley Rovers attacker showed plenty of industry without cutting loose. 6.

Ciara O’Sullivan: Caused major problems for the Dublin defence in the first half and kick an excellent second period point under pressure. 7.

Orla Finn: Finished with 0-3 to her name and though she was replaced in the closing moments, was a lively presence while on the field. 7.

Áine Terry O’Sullivan: Enjoyed a blistering opening, registering 1-1 in a whirlwind start to the contest. Dublin defence kept a close watch on her after the break. 7.

Doireann O’Sullivan: The Cork captain foraged to good effect at times and while living off scraps, she did set-up a second minute goal for her namesake Áine Terry. 6.

Saoirse Noonan: Struggled to get into the game, bar one or two brief moments. Difficult end to the year for the Nemo Rangers, following last week’s FAI Cup final defeat with Cork City. 6.

Subs: Niamh Cotter: A member of the Kilmacud Crokes club in Dublin, Cotter was Cork’s first substitute but arrived on the field at a difficult time for her team. 6. Sadhbh O’Leary, Libby Coppinger, Aisling Kelleher and Meabh Cahalane; not on long enough to be rated.

Ratings by Daire Walsh

Posted in Ladies GAA | Comments Off on All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship Final: Cork Player Ratings – The Evening Echo – December 21 2020