OurGame looks back over the big incidents of the weekend in GAA.
Hayes saved by lenient decision
Kyle Hayes was hugely fortunate not to be sent to the line in the 66th minute of Limerick’s 0-24 to 0-19 over Galway.
The dominant half-back, who had scored 0-3 after just 18 minutes, lashed out and connected with Brian Concannon’s face guard by the sideline.
Already on a yellow card, referee Sean Stack must not have had a good view of the incident as it merited a second caution at the very least.
Galway had come from eight points behind to within two at that stage, and a numerical personnel advantage may have allowed Galway claim the points, but it wasn’t to be.
Five minutes later, Hayes was barrelling forward and winning a free that was popped over by metronomic wing-forward Tom Morrissey.
Henry Shefflin would not have been impressed with the first-half performance as his side trailled 0-14 to 0-7, with Jack Grealish, Concannon and Conor Whelan sprung from the bench in the second half.
This was anything but a free-flowing classic with John Kiely calling it a solid performance, which it most certainly was outside of the Tribe’s purple patch midway through the second half, and again Limerick look the team to beat.
Tipp take spoils in the capital
Micheál Donoghue would have been worried by the performances of his Dublin forwards against Tipperary.
Save a virtuoso display from Donal Burke who hit 15 points — including eight from play – only Alex Considine made any real impact.
Danny Sutcliffe made his seasonal return off the bench in the win over Antrim, and may still be looking to find top gear heading into the new season, while Fergal Whitley and Cian Boland are capable of much more.
Liam Cahill put out a half-forward line containing real industry in Alan Tynan, Gearóid O’Connor and Seamus Kennedy, with the bulk of scoring expected from Jason Forde, Jake Morris and Mark Kehoe.
This is very much a work-in-progress, but certainly the signs are very positive from the blue and gold.
They look like they’re playing within themselves and have another gear, while the likes of Conor Bowe could be set for a big season.
Wexford cannot afford to be without big guns
Some teams can afford the luxury of adjusting adequately to some big-name losses when the need arises, but Wexford certainly are not one of them.
When big-hitters like Lee Chin and Rory O’Connor are absent, the Model men look distinctly average and they took an awful pasting from Clare on home soil.
Conceding six goals and suffering a 22-point defeat is hardly good for Model morale and they need all of their front-liners to stand any chance of coming out of this year’s Leinster SHC.
Captain Chin, O’Connor, Matt O’Hanlon, Kevin Foley and Mark Fanning were among a high-profile cohort to train fully in Glynn-Barntown this morning before the game against the Banner and they are all badly needed back in action.
Model boss Darragh Egan is also still in the dark about whether wing-back Paudie Foley will be available to him for their provincial campaign.
“He’s not home at the moment. We’ll see how the next few weeks go,” Egan said of the towering defender.
Kerry back on track as Donaghy switches codes
It certainly wasn’t vintage fare but All-Ireland SFC champions Kerry got the job done in Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Saturday evening to get their Division 1 campaign back on track.
Fireworks were expected with David Clifford starting his first game of the season for the Kingdom, but they never materialised with Armagh adopting a safety first approach to thwart the reigning Footballer of the Year.
They achieved that with the Fossa superstar’s contribution reduced to four frees in a defensive affair but Jack O’Connor’s bench came to his rescue down the home straight.
Late scores from substitutes Tony Brosnan and Donal O’Sullivan tipped the scales narrowly in the home side’s favour, 0-12 to 0-11, before Armagh coach, and Kerry legend, Kieran Donaghy made a quick getaway to switch codes and tog out for the Tralee Warriors in the Irish Basketball Superleague.
Five in the running in Division 4
It looked like Laois were in pole position to streak ahead in Division 4 of the FL but Wicklow ripped up the script in O’Moore Park on Saturday night.
In doing so, Oisin McConville’s side gave their own promotion hopes a real shot in the arm but they also blew the door open for others with Leitrim and Sligo joining Laois on six points while Wicklow are nearby on five points, along with Wexford.
Wicklow hit Laois for 5-15 in last year’s Leinster SFC meeting but bizarrely started as 5/1 outsiders – despite the home side being without injured captain Evan O’Carroll – and goals from Jack Kirwan and JP Hurley helped to seal a two-point win, 2-12 to 2-10.
Five into two doesn’t go so the next three rounds will be fascinating in football’s fourth tier as a quintet chase a pair of promotion places.
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