NHL Matchbox: Wexford and Waterford secure Division One quarter-final spots
National Hurling League
Cork 1-16 Tipperary 1-29
TIPPERARY will face Dublin in the Division One last-eight after an emphatic win over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
Leading by 10 points, 0-16 to 0-6, at half-time, Tipp would have expected a second-half wind-assisted onslaught from the Rebels, but it failed to materialise as the visitors continued to run up the score, with Jason Forde’s 41st-minute goal opening up a 13-point advantage that was never likely to be overturned.
Matters got worse for Cork 14 when captain Séamus Harnedy was given his marching orders and, although they did grab a goal through Aidan Walsh, it was largely academic by that point in the game.
Wexford 1-19 Kilkenny 1-12
REINGNING National League champions Kilkenny were dethroned by the Yellowbellies yesterday, as they produced a wonderful second-half performance at Wexford Park.
Wexford seized the assistance of the gale to outstrip their near neighbours by 1-11 to 0-2 in the last 35 minutes and secure a quarter-final clash away to Galway, while Kilkenny are doomed to a relegation play-off against Cork.
Lee Chin and the O'Connor brothers, Rory and Jack, were in fine form for the home side, while Kilkenny finished with 14-men when Conor Delaney was red-carded for a challenge on goal-scorer and substitute Cathal Dunbar.
Waterford 1-18 Galway 2-13
WATERFORD had a late, late Shane Bennett goal to thank for this victory over Galway in Walsh Park yesterday.
Bennet struck in the fifth minute of injury-time to give the Déise a dramatic two-point win and, in the process, set up a quarter-final clash with Clare.
Páraic Fanning’s home side trailed by 10 points at the break, having endured the harsh elements in in the opening half in front of an attendance of 3,371. However, Waterford completely dominated a second-half in which Galway recorded just two points before Bennett’s match-winning goal.
Offaly 1-16 Carlow 2-14
CARLOW kept their Division One status by the skin of their teeth in Tullamore yesterday, when they came from 11 points and one man down at half-time to edge out Offaly in a tumultuous Division 1B relegation final.
With a strong wind on their side from the restart, goals from Séamus Murphy and Chris Nolan laid the foundations for the Barrowsiders’ comeback.
Mark Kavanagh edged the visitors ahead for the first time via a free with two minutes of normal-time remaining before John Michael Nolan made it a two-point game.
Joe Bergin pulled a score back for Kevin Martin’s charges, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them dropping to Division Two for next season.
Westmeath 0-12 Kerry 0-10
IT WAS second time lucky for Westmeath yesterday, as Joe Quaid’s men put last year’s promotion final defeat to bed with a two-point victory over Kerry at Cusack Park, Ennis.
Killian Doyle was the star turn for the Lake county as they ensured they will be playing Division One hurling next year, despite trailing by five points at half-time.
Derek McNicholas gave Westmeath the lead for the first time in the second-half after Doyle had levelled matters and they never looked back as the Kingdom wilted in freezing conditions in Ennis.
Mayo 0-16 London 0-10
MAYO preserved their Division 2A status thanks to a three-point win over London in their relegation match in Ruislip.
Warwickshire 2-10 Donegal 0-14
DONEGAL were condemned to relegation back to Division Three as two second-half goals made the difference for Warwickshire as they came from behind in Saturday’s relegation play-off.
The Ulster men were easily the better side in the first-half, against the wind, leading by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break, but they found Warwickshire to be an entirely different proposition in the second-half.
Warwickshire’s first goal came just two minutes into the second period and gave them the momentum to power on to victory when a mishit free feel short to Emmet McCabe, who whipped it first-time to the back of the net.
Midway through the second-half, Warwickshire struck for a second goal when Kelvin Magee fired home from close range and some good point-taking from Willie Allen kept their noses in front thereafter.
If Warwickshire were expecting a late Donegal surge, it failed to materialise as the exiles held comfortably on for a two-point win.
Longford 2-15 Sligo 3-10
EXTRA-TIME was required at the Connacht Centre of Excellence yesterday before Longford emerged as Division 3B champions with victory over Sligo.
David Buckley (1-3), Cathal Mullane (0-4), Reuben Murray and Shane O'Brien were among the star turns for Longford, with a stunning goal early on from Buckley setting the standard for the Leinster men.
Sligo struggled to execute basic skills as a result of the cold and windy weather, although dual-star Gerard O'Kelly Lynch kept them in touch throughout the game from placed balls.
Division One quarter-finals: Galway v Wexford; Clare v Waterford; Tipperary v Dublin; semi-finals: Limerick v Tipperary/Dublin; Wexford/Galway v Clare/Waterford; Relegation play-off: Kilkenny v Cork
Dates, times and venues to be confirmed today.