Wheel turns for Ferris
Conor Ferris would have felt very low after the All-Ireland final defeat to Kilcoo in early 2022, when his team failed to bail him out after he drove an errant ball upfield late on. Though that was not totally on him, his amazing save from Conor Glass’ last-gasp goal attempt was all about the Kilmacud Crokes’ netminder.
A brilliant dive low to his right that ensured the Andy Merrigan Cup would return to the capital, and give Ferris the perfect day at Croke Park. Redemption, indeed.
Models on the move
Charlie McGuckian has very much established himself as a crucial part of the Wexford engine room. The citog was on the ball continually during the Saturday evening Walsh Cup victory at home to Kilkenny, winning it in the air and on the floor.
An issue for Darragh Egan to address has to be the consistent shooting from ridiculously long range which once more produced a very low scoring efficiency. When the ball was delivered inside to Conor McDonald and Oisin Pepper, the Cats struggled to keep the white flag from being raised.
Richie Lawlor (playing out the field and inside), sub Corey Byrne Dunbar and Conor Hearne also impressed for the Model County, as a new generation begins to establish itself on Slaneyside.
Cats giving veterans a chance
Liam Ryan tried a stick-pass to his goalkeeper on the hour mark but failed to notice Bill Sheehan waiting to pounce. The Kilkenny forward took the ball and stretched the net to put the Cats in front.
Derek Lyng is bringing through plenty of fresh blood but Sheehan, Padraig Walsh, Cillian Buckley and Niall Brassil are more experienced campaigners who are getting further chances to lay down a marker.
Christie has Longford humming
Success is a rarity for the Longford footballers so their comprehensive O’Byrne Cup final victory over Mickey Harte’s Louth on Saturday — 3-13 to 0-12 — has hopes high for the season ahead.
New boss Paddy Christie is unbeaten in his four games at the helm and the former Dublin defender has crucially managed to lure several of Longford’s best players back into the fold for 2023.
Dessie Reynolds was in sensational scoring form for the winners with a tasty 3-3 haul and his third goal was a thing of beauty, particularly in demanding conditions at this time of the year.
While all eyes will now turn to their Division 3 League opener away to Fermanagh next Saturday, silverware is always welcome and Christie will be hoping that his side can now make an assault on promotion.
O’Dwyer back in big boost for Tipp camogie
New Tipperary camogie manager Denis Kelly has received a huge boost for this season with AFLW star Orla O’Dwyer set to line out for the Premier once again, having been named in their 2023 squad.
O’Dwyer has been blazing a trail Down Under with the Brisbane Lions, winning an AFLW Premiership medal in 2021, but the Cashel King Cormacs player will mix codes this year as she returns to the small ball.
Meath football star Vikki Wall is another AFLW recruit who will juggle two codes this year having been given clearance from North Melbourne to play for the Royals as they search for a third All-Ireland senior crown in succession.
Dunloy beaten but unbowed
The Antrim men gave a strong performance in their All-Ireland final defeat to Ballyhale Shamrocks but we once again saw the value of giving the ball to the man in the best position. Five Dunloy shots dropped short to Dean Mason, and occasion they were selfish, forced errors — other times mishits when running at full tilt.
Shamrocks continue to lead the line at club level, and Eoin Cody’s haul of 1-5 was huge in this win. When playing inside, the former Young Hurler of the Year did his best work, and that positioning may be where Derek Lyng looks to use him moreso this year, with occasional jaunts further outfield.
Moloney makes long awaited return to inter-county scene
Aishling Moloney scores seven points on her return from long-term injury as Tipperary beat Westmeath 1-13 to 1-11 in their opening game of the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 2.
Complications during her recovery from a cruciate tear cost the Cahir sharpshooter all of last year’s inter-county season, with Moloney’s last appearance for Tipperary coming against Dublin on June 5 2021.
A timely boost for manager Peter Creedon as he hopes to guide his side into Division 1.
Kilmacud trio unable to support club due to hurling duty
It must have been a strange one for Eddie Gibbons, Dara Purcell and Fergal Whitely to be involved with the Dublin hurlers in the Walsh Cup against Westmeath in Kinnegad while their club Kilmacud Crokes were playing an All-Ireland club SFC final in Croke Park.
That trio were part of a famous day at GAA HQ before Christmas when the Stillorgan club competed in Leinster hurling and football finals on the same day but they were unable to be there this time around.
Surely there is something wrong with GAA fixture scheduling when the biggest day in the club calendar clashes with several different games around the country? At least the trio will be able to join in the celebrations!
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