The Christmas trees may only be beginning to come down, but the start of the 2014 inter-county football season is already upon us with a full programme of games in the pre-season competitions today.
Power NI Dr McKenna Cup Round 1
In the Power NI Dr. McKenna Cup, Ulster champions Monaghan were beaten by Derry at Clones, where James Kielt was the star of the show for the hosts, hitting 1-5 in a fine display. Malachy O’Rourke’s side moved three points ahead with a goal from Chris McGuinness at the start of the second half, but seven points without reply put the Oak Leafers in the driving seat.
At O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, Donegal’s Michael Murphy scored a goal and had a penalty saved as his side succumbed to a three-point defeat to Mickey Harte’s Tyrone. Goalkeeper Niall Morgan hit 0-3 for the Red Hands upon his return to the side after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The very first black card of the day came at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh, where the home side’s Robbie Tasker was replaced by Stefan Forker in their defeat of Queen's. Despite going in level at the break at 0-8 apiece, Armagh goaled through the impressive Niall McConville (1-2) and ran out five-point winners.
Mark Poland hit 0-5 and Peter Fitzpatrick hit the only goal of the game two minutes into the second half as Down eased past UUJ, while Kevin Tierney (2) and David Givney scored the goals in Cavan’s 3-12 to 0-12 defeat of Antrim in Creggan.
New Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath will have to wait a few more days at least to run the rule over his charges after his side’s scheduled game against St Mary’s was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Brewster Park.
Donegal 1-7 Tyrone 0-13
Armagh 1-17 QUB 0-15
Fermanagh P-P St Mary’s (match postponed due to an unplayable pitch at Brewster Park)
Monaghan 2-11 Derry 2-15
Antrim 0-12 Cavan 3-12
UUJ 0-7 Down 1-15
Click here for fixture details for the entire 2014 Power NI Dr McKenna Cup.
McGrath Cup Quarter-finals
As expected, Cork and Kerry, the two inter-county sides competing in the McGrath Cup this year, ran out convincing winners over LIT and IT Tralee respectively this afternoon.
John Hayes hit 1-4 on his return to the Cork set-up, while Kevin Crowley and Andrew O’Sullivan hit the other goals for the Rebels, who led by 1-15 to 0-0 at half-time in a very one-sided contest.
Bryan Sheehan kicked six points in Kerry’s nine-point defeat of IT Tralee at the John Mitchels GAA Club. Kerry face CIT, winners over Mary I, at home in the semi-finals, while Cork also have home advantage when they face UL, who had a dramatic win over UCC in a free-scoring game, in the second last four game.
Kerry 0-17 IT Tralee 0-8
CIT 5-17 Mary I 2-6
Cork 3-22 LIT 0-7
UL 5-18 UCC 4-16
Click here for fixture details for the entire 2014 McGrath Cup.
FBD Insurance League
Former Kildare forward James Kavanagh had a superb debut for Galway, crowning a super display with a fine point eight minutes from time, as the Tribesmen kicked off their 2014 campaign with an 11-point win over Sligo. Eoin Concannon (2) and Michael Martin scored the goals for Alan Mulholland’s men.
Reigning champions Leitrim opened the defence of their crown with a routine win over GMIT, while Roscommon and IT Sligo played out an entertaining draw in Kiltoom.
Roscommon 1-14 IT Sligo 1-14
Galway 3-10 Sligo 0-8
Leitrim 1-14 GMIT 1-11
Click here for fixture details for the entire 2014 Connacht FBD League.
Bord Na Móna O’Byrne Cup (Leinster)
Louth and DCU got the ball rolling when they met in Group D of the Bord Na Móna O'Byrne Cup in Haggardstown on Saturday night, with the students winning on a 1-15 to 0-9 scoreline. DCU led by 1-8 to 0-6 at the break thanks to Wicklow native Conor McGraynor's goal after just two minutes and were always in control in the second half.
With just two of their All-Ireland winning side from last September starting, Dublin still proved too strong for Westmeath at Cusack Park, where Ciarán Kilkenny kicked the winning point for Jim Gavin’s side. Dessie Dolan, who hit two points after coming on as a sub, put the Lake County ahead with 10 minutes to go, but Eric Lowndes leveled and then Kilkenny proved the match-winner with his late intervention. Paul Hudson caught the eye for the Dubs with 0-3 in the first half.
Kildare were the big winners on the opening day of the season, recording a 24-point win over Athlone IT. The Lilywhites had 1-11 on the board before the students managed to register a score in the 23rd minute, with captain for the day Eoghan O’Flaherty netting their goal. Adam Tyrrell registered a second major before the break for the inter-county side, and the game was over as a contest when O’Flaherty scored his second and Pádraig Fogarty converted a penalty in the second half.
Louth 0-9 DCU 1-15
Wexford 2-13 Laois 0-11
Offaly 0-13 UCD 0-12
Carlow 2-7 Longford 1-19
Kildare 4-24 Athlone IT 0-12
Meath 4-11 DIT 1-14
Wicklow 1-9 IT Carlow 0-11
Westmeath 0-11 Dublin 0-12
Click here for fixture details for the entire 2014 Bord Na Móna O'Byrne Cup.