Division 1 Results
Kerry 1-18 Dublin 2-14
Mayo 1-13 Cavan 0-11
Roscommon 1-10 Tyrone 1-10
Monaghan 0-11 Galway 1-9
Division 2 Results
Fermanagh 0-8 Kildare 0-6
Clare 3-13 Cork 1-10
Tipperary 3-9 Donegal 0-13
Meath 2-13 Armagh 0-13
Kerry and Mayo are setting the pace after three rounds of action in Division 1. Kerry’s performance in Tralee against the Dubs grabbed most of the headlines this weekend and rightly so. The game was played at a pace and intensity usually reserved for the Championship rather than a cold night in February. In the build-up to the game, much of the talk revolved around rumours of Jason Sherlock’s absence from the sidelines for the opening two games. However, those stories were put to bed by his appearance in Tralee. The other part of that story claimed that Diarmuid Connolly’s return to the panel was imminent, but Jim Gavin’s post-match comments would make that possibility appear remote.
The talk after the game was all about Peter Keane’s young Kerry side and if they can carry this form into the summer they look like the side most likely to challenge the Dublin five-in-a-row juggernaut.
The other game on Saturday night saw Mayo record their third win on the trot as they eased to a five-point win over Cavan in Castlebar. It was Cavan who set the pace early on as they raced into a three-point lead, however, Mayo didn’t panic and reeled them back in before the break and a fisted Evan Regan goal for the home side was the difference between the sides at the interval (1-7 v 0-7).
Both sides were somewhat sluggish after the resumption and a Lee Kegan point was the only score of the third quarter. The remainder of the game was played out at a slow tempo and James Horan will know that greater tests await his side. Next up for them is a trip to Croke Park to face Dublin on Saturday, February 23rd. Cavan are still yet to open their account and will be looking to get some points on the board at home to Roscommon next time out.
Roscommon and Tyrone played out an entertaining draw in the Hyde on Sunday. The home side raced into an early lead against a Tyrone side that looked a shadow of the side we saw reach the All-Ireland final last summer. With the backing of the breeze, Roscommon lead 0-10 v 0-4 at the break. During this spell, the home side played some delightful football and reeled off seven unanswered points during a ten-minute purple patch. The lead could have been even larger as Donnie Smith was unlucky to see a goalbound effort come back off the inside of the post.
However, Micky Harte’s men didn’t lie down and the regrouped for the second half. They began to pick off scores at will, while at the other end Roscommon’s scoring touch deserted them. An Ultan Harney goal was to be Roscommon’s only score in the second period. Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan got a spectacular long-range leveller from open play on 67mins to ensure as a share of the spoils. That was probably the fairest outcome from the game given both sides dominance of either half.
Monaghan and Galway met in Inniskeen in the final game of the round and it was the Tribesmen that came away with the points. The home fans arrived with great expectation after their opening day win over the Dubs. However, Galway sat deep and reduced the Farney men to shots from distance. Monaghan started well and scored the games first three points. The Galway backs and Sean Kelly in particular then began to win their personal duels and Monaghan struggled to break down the Galway defence thereafter, as the Tribesmen ate into the deficit and picked off points on the counter-attack.
Galway held a slender 0-5 v 0-4 lead at the break and a third-quarter goal from Johnny Heaney gave them a five-point cushion going into the closing stages. Monaghan, to their credit, fought back and four unanswered points reduced the margin to a single point. But as a late free dropped left and wide Monaghan were left to rue a host of poor wides as Kevin Walsh’s side departed with two league points. It was a good win, on the road, for a Galway side still missing their Corofin contingent and ten more of last years panel yet to return from injury. Next up for them is a home game against Kerry on Sunday 24th, While Monaghan travel to neighbours Tyrone for a 7 pm game the previous evening.
Division Two remains incredibly tight as four points separate the eight sides. Meath jumped to the top of the table with a two-goal win over Armagh. The old cliche ‘goals win games’ rang true as Tipperary recorded an impressive win over Donegal, while Fermanagh got the better of Kildare by 0-8 v 0-6 in a low scoring contest. Clare heaped more misery on bottom of the table Cork, a twelve point defeat for the Leesiders had many people questions the state of the game in the Rebel County.