NHL Matchbox: Galway put an end to Limerick's unbeaten run
National Hurling League
Division One Group A: Galway 0-26 Limerick 1-17
LIMERICK'S 21-month unbeaten run came to an end at Pearse Stadium yesterday as Galway put the All-Ireland champions to the sword.
Galway led by 0-7 to 0-4 by the first water break. The sides were level twice in that period, with David Reidy and Evan Niland exchanging frees and then, when Brian Concannon and Niall Burke pointed for Galway, Reidy and Peter Casey responded for the Treaty men.
Efforts from Ja Mannion and Conor Whelan opened up a 0-10 to 0-5 lead for Galway before Séamus Flanagan the found the net after the superb Gearóid Hegarty soloed through to set him up and his low shot beat Eanna Murphy.
Niland and Reidy again exchanged frees but then Galway pushed on to land three points in succession, two of them from Niland and a second of the game from midfielder David Burke. The final two scores of half went to the visitors, through Reidy, to cut the gap to a goal.
There was little between the sides in the third quarter, with Galway, having introduced Joe Canning, leading by 0-19 to 1-14 at the second water break, while Aaron Gillane hit a couple of superb points after his introduction.
Whelan and Reidy exchanged points before Galway began to pull away with a brace of frees from Niland, a long range effort from Canning and one from Cathal Mannion to lead by 0-24 to 1-15 with five minutes remaining.
Limerick never looked like manufacturing the goal they required to get back in contention. Gillane added a free, but Niland again cancelled it out before Canning landed a trademark point as Galway chalked up a deserved victory.
Division 2A: Down 3-20 Carlow 3-18
DOWN gave their survival ambitions a huge shot in the arm as they held out to record a memorable win against 14-man Carlow on Sunday.
Home advantage of Ballycran was quickly forgotten when Kevin McDonald struck Down's goal before 60 seconds had elapsed. Down were on the backfoot early on as Carlow led 1-05 to 0-2 with just over ten minutes played.
However, Ronan Sheehan's men are well-drilled, and they started picking off scores and in a dominant spell Paul Sheehan, Daithi Sands and Caolan Taggart closed the gap to 0-09 to Carlow's 1-09.
Mark Kavanagh increased the Leinster sides' lead with a converted free before Conor Woods levelled the score with a rasping strike from the penalty spot to tie the game with 30 minutes played.
Down's tails were up and three points in two minutes from Paul Sheehan put Down in front for the first time and they led 1-12 to 1-09 at half-time.
Carlow were reduced to 14-men only three minutes into the restart when James Doyle picked up a straight red card. This was an opportunity Ronan Sheehan's man couldn't allow to slip and further points from Paul Sheehan and Chris Egan kept Down ahead although Martin Kavanagh's steady free-taking meant that Carlow stayed in touch.
Former county footballer Pearse Og McCrickard tapped over for Down, but they were given a scare when Carlow hit a goal and a point within a minute. Kavanagh converted a free and John Michael Nolan scored Carlow's second goal to give the Reggie men a one-point lead.
But Down's response was immediate as a minute later Paul Sheehan struck the Carlow net and Donal Hughes' point gave the Mourne hurlers a 2-17 to 2-14 lead at the last water-break.
Conor Woods' goal and Oisin MacManus' point gave Down a healthy cushion on the scoreboard and it was one they needed as Carlow plundered a third goal only two minutes from time,
However, the Mourne men held out for a fantastic win and Ronan Sheehan's men travel to Wexford at the weekend where victory should keep them safe ahead of games against Offaly and Kerry.
Down scorers: P Sheehan (1-9, 0-8 frees), C Woods (2-0, 1-0 pen, 1-0 free), C Egan (0-2), P Óg McCrickard (0-2), D Hughes (0-2), D Sands (0-2), C Taggart, O MacManus, L Savage (0-1 each)
Carlow scorers: M Kavanagh (0-12, 0-10 frees), J Nolan (2-2), C Nolan (1-2), J Kavanagh (0-2)
Division 2B: Kildare 4-29 Donegal 0-14
DONEGAL suffered a miserable afternoon in the company of Kildare at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge on Saturday. Following last week's opening day win over Roscommon the nature of this 27-point defeat at the hands of the Lilywhites was even more stark.
James Burke's penalty helped Kildare to a 1-12 to 0-5 half-time lead. While Burke (2-1) had earlier missed from the spot the goals kept coming in the second period as Johnny Byrne (1-3), Conor Dowling and Burke again all rattled the net. Brian Byrne also chipped in, putting over 0-11 for the home side.
Declan Coulter's personal tally of 0-7 was one of the few bright spots on a grim afternoon for the Ulster men. Next up for Donegal is a home clash with Mayo this Sunday.
Division 3A: Armagh 2-21 Longford 0-16
THE Orchard hurlers set out their stall with a convincing win over Longford at the Athletic Grounds.
Armagh manager Padraig O'Connor gave youth a chance, but it was seasoned campaigner Eion McGuinness who got the ball rolling with an early point before Stephen Keenan cracked his shot into the net.
By the eighth minute Armagh had registered their second goal, with Danny Magee on target, and they never looked back.
Fionntan Donnelly finished top scorer with 11-points, while the lively Aaron Fox, Paddy McBride, McGuinness and Keenan (1-2) gave Armagh a comfortable 2-11 to 0-06 half-time lead.
Joe O'Brien's free taking was one of the bright sides of an otherwise poor Longford display although his team-mate Steven Creaven picked out two long-range beauties soon after the restart.
Reuban Murray, David Buckley, John Mulhern and O'Brien all notched points for Longford while Jim Shortt, McBride, Donnelly and Keenan did the needful for Armagh. The second half was level at ten points each in a period that failed to excite but the Orchard hurlers had the hard work done in the opening half.
Armagh travel to Sligo at the weekend where they will expect a tougher test, but O'Connor has his side playing quick and direct hurling with confidence and there is no reason they shouldn't be confident of making it two wins from two.
Armagh scorers: F Donnelly (0-11, 0-4 frees, 0-2 65'), S Keenan (1-2), D Magee (1-1), A Fox, E McGuinness, P McBride (0-2 each), J Shortt (0-1)
Longford scorers: J O'Brien (0-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 65'), S Creaven (0-3 frees), C Mullane, D Buckley, R Murray, J Mulhern (0-1 each)
Tyrone 1-25 Monaghan 2-13
TYRONE seized control in the closing stages to take both points from their league opener at Healy Park.
Having trailed for most of the contest, they hit 1-7 without reply to turn the game around and give new manager Michael McShane a winning start.
Former Antrim dual player CJ McGourty made his Tyrone debut following a high profile county transfer, chipping in with a couple of points.
But it was Damian Casey who sparkled with a 1-16 haul, while Bryan McGurk's inspirational midfield display was a huge Red Hand asset.
Monaghan started with confidence, and when Stephen Lambe charged through to rifle home a ninth minute goal, they led by 1-3 to 0-1.
The Red Hands responded with scores from Rory Weir and Damian Casey, but with Lambe and Shane Slevin picking off neat points, the Farney men held a 1-4 to 0-3 advantage at the first water break.
Bryan McGurk's tireless efforts were rewarded with a fine score, with Casey adding to his tally, and moments after the former had come close to grabbing a Tyrone goal, the visitors struck for their second.
Lambe finished from close range, and while Casey responded with two exquisite points, his side trailed by 2-7 to 0-11 at the interval.
Tyrone went in front for the first time in the 65th minute, and their superior fitness had them very much on top in the closing stages.
Casey drilled a penalty to the net, and added six more points as his side hit 1-7 without reply, with former Antrim star CJ McGourty marking his Tyrone debut with a second point.
Lorcan Devlin, Chris Kearns and Conor McNally were steady at the back, while Cain Ferguson, Dean Rafferty and Mickey Little made an impact off the bench as the Farney fight was quelled.
Tyrone: C McElhatton; C McNally, C Kearns, S Donaghy; A Crossan, L Devlin, P McHugh; C Grogan, B McGurk (0-2); T Morgan (0-2), CJ McGourty (0-2), D Grogan; L Armstrong (0-1), D Casey (1-16, 1-0 pen, 0-12f), R Weir (0-1); Subs: D Rafferty for D Grogan, C Ferguson for McHugh, SP McKernan (0-1) for Crossan, M Little for Armstrong.
Monaghan: P Bermingham; C Merrick, K Crawley, E Walsh; C Guinan, D Hughes, C McNally; B Flanagan, H Byrne (0-1); S Slevin (0-1), S Lambe (2-2), M Treanor (0-1); N Garland (0-1), F Rafter (0-6, 4f, 1 '65), A Burns; Subs: J Guinan for C Guinan, P McGahon (0-1) for Burns, S Tierney for Slevin, C McHugh for Garland, B McGuigan for McNally
Referee: S Guinan (Offaly)
Division 3B: Cavan 1-19 Fermanagh 2-16
FIRED-UP Fermanagh were denied at the death as Cavan grabbed a draw from the jaws of defeat in a highly competitive tie at Kingspan Breffni Park, writes Kevin Óg Carney.
The Ernesiders led for the final 42 minutes of the game only for Cavan freetaking ace Brian Fitzgerald to arrow over the equaliser in the final seconds of added-on time.
The hosts suffered a double whammy in the 28th minute when Fermanagh's Barney McAuley drove home a penalty after a foul on livewire Tom Keenan which resulted in Cavan ‘keeper Sheridan being black-carded.
Fermanagh built on their 1-9 to 0-8 interval lead by stealth with Mark Slevin's 37th minute goal making it a six point game.
In perfect conditions, the second half was a much more high tempo affair but Fermanagh failed to hammer home their advantage though and Cavan kept nipping away at their heels with Caoimhín Carney goaling in the 51st minute.
The impressive Sean Corrigan arrowed over a brilliant free (64) to catapult Fermanagh into a four point lead but the battling blues hung in there and Fitzgerald's point from play (70) and free three minutes later ensured stalemate at the death.
Cavan: D Sheridan; N Neary, D Crudden, M Moffett; A Sheridan, E Shalvey (0-2), P McCabe; M Hynes, F Hughes; C Sheanon (0-2), D Carney (0-1), K Conneely; Cillian Sheanon, B Fitzgerald (0-13, 12f), C Carney (1-1); Subs: N Clerkin for F Hughes (32); F Hughes for N Clerkin (38); P Brady for F Hughes (58); B Nannery for M Moffett (inj, 61).
Fermanagh: M Curry; D Bannon, R Porteous, A Breslin; R Bogue (0-1, f), B McAuley (1-0), J P McGarry; F McBrien, T Cleary; C Duffy (0-2), K McGarry (0-3), C McShea (0-2); S Corrigan (0-8, 5f), M Slevin (1-0), T Keenan; Subs: A Flanagan for B McAuley (h.t); L McCusker for T Cleary (37).
Ref: C Ryan (Westmeath)