Saturday's GAA round-up
Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League
CLARE 1-20 CORK 0-21
Dr McKenna Cup
MONAGHAN 1-20 ANTRIM 1-12
Bord Na Mona O’Byrne Cup
LOUTH 1-17 WICKLOW 1-9
WESTMEATH 0-11 OFFALY 0-11
By Kevin Egan
Clare finished strongly to defeat Cork at Cusack Park with Colin Guilfoyle supplying the decisive goal.
At the interval Cork, prompted by six Declan Dalton frees, led by 0-13 to 0-7, but the Banner responded after the restart.
In the closing stages Clare reeled off 1-3 without reply to earn victory.
Monaghan proved too strong for Antrim at St Tiernach's Park, Clones.
A solid opening period from the home team ensured Malachy O'Rourke's charges were 0-11 to 0-6 in front at the turnaround.
Early in the second half James Mealiff planted a goal for Monaghan, who were firmly in command.
Antrim narrowed the gap when Ruairi McCann grabbed a major, but Monaghan ran out convincing winners.
Louth produced a devastating third quarter display hat powered them to their first win of the 2019 season at the expense of Wicklow, while Westmeath and Offaly played out a competitive and enjoyable draw in Mullingar that sets up a winner-takes-all clash between the Lake County and Kildare next Sunday in the two games that were played in the O’Byrne Cup this afternoon.
Nine different players scored from play for the Wee County as they overcame the sending off of Andy McDonnell after just 13 minutes of action to record a 1-17 to 1-9 win over their hosts at Bray Emmets GAA club.
The hosts took advantage of the familiar surroundings to open up an early lead through midfield duo Conor McGraynor and Padraig O’Toole, but Louth quickly settled to draw level, Ryan Burns getting the first of four first half points while defender James Craven also hit the target.
Despite losing McDonnell, Louth played some excellent football and led the game from the tenth minute onwards after wingback John Clutterbuck got on the end of a sweeping move, taking a well-placed pass from his fellow wing back Anthony Williams before accurately finishing to the net
Gearóid Morrissey stunned the visitors with a thunderbolt of a shot to get Wicklow back to within a point, but points for Burns and Sam Mulroy helped Louth into a 1-8 to 1-6 lead at the interval.
Wayne Kierans’ side were imperious after half time as they added six points on the spin to seal their win. Tommy Durnin kicked a point from a mark, Declan Byrne added two off the bench and midfielder Conor Early crowned a solid performance at midfield with a score, as they held Wicklow to just a solitary point during the first 25 minutes of the period.
The action at St. Loman’s GAA grounds in Mullingar was far more competitive, albeit with a high error count from both sides, where Westmeath and Offaly played out an 0-11 each draw on the grass pitch, the tie having originally been scheduled for the 3G surface at the venue.
These two midlands rivals struggled to get to grips with the four-handpass restriction and a lot of five and ten metre kick passes went astray as they tried to stay within the new rules, but when the ball did move forward, Offaly corner forwards Shane Tierney and Bernard Allen looked sharp. They kicked two points each while Rhode duo Niall Darby and Anton Sullivan also raised white flags as the Faithful men went into the dressing rooms 0-6 to 0-4 ahead.
Westmeath manager Jack Cooney sent for the cavalry and his call was answered as Ger Egan and Ger Leech put in good shifts after half time having been introduced, while Ronan O’Toole was superb. Kicking three points for the Lake County. They took control of the tie with four scores in succession, their dominance stemming from their improved performance in the middle third.
In these local contests however, it often falls to the players who feel the rivalry most keenly to step up and deliver, and that was exactly what happened as Bernard Allen, who went to school in Moate and lives just a few hundred yards from the border in Tubber, kicked one mark and two points from play to move Offaly back in front.
Westmeath levelled through O’Toole, Shane Tierney kicked a free to edge Offaly back into the lead, and with the last play of the game it fell to Westmeath’s Paddy Fagan to salvage the draw with his fourth score, crowning a fine individual performance.