Another hectic week of action in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge saw strong wins for Louth and Wicklow Gold in Group F while Mayo overcame a plucky Sligo side in Group G.
Louth overcame a determined Cavan side following a fest of goal scoring action with Wicklow Gold also proving a force to be reckoned with in front of goal.
Here is our round-up of the action from Group F and G of the BOI Celtic Challenge.
Louth Pip Cavan In Dundalk Goal Fest In Celtic Challenge
Louth 6-12 Cavan 5-14
Louth and Cavan shared eleven goals between them in a tense tussle at Pairc Clan na Gael in Dundalk.
Cavan’s Dylan Greenan got the nod at corner-forward in what was their only change to the team that lost to Kildare Cadets the week previous. Whilst injury prevented Louth goalkeeper, Josh Murtagh, from lining out between the sticks, Pearse Óg’s Aidan O’Brien who lined out at half forward against Monaghan in Round 1, deputising in goal for the night.
Cavan started the brighter of the two sides with early points from midfielder Brían O’Rourke and James Smith before Louth registered their first score through Brandon Johnson. The next 15 mins allowed Louth to steal a march on their opponents, racing into a 2-8 to 1-4 lead thanks to goals from the impressive Conor Murphy and Jake McNamara, whilst Cormac Smith responded with a goal on his own for Cavan, kicking the sliotar out of a ruck and into space to fire past Aidan O’Brien in the Louth goal. Both teams traded points in the lead up to half time to leave the score Louth 2-9 Cavan 1-7.
Cavan started the second half brightly registering 1-2 in the first five minutes. Once again, Smith with the Cavan goal from some distance, following some good build up play from Odhran Keating in the Cavan defence.
However, Connor Geraghty, just on as a sub, then found the back of the Cavan net. This was followed by another Louth major, this time from Conor Murphy. The difference between the sides had widened to six points heading into the final stretch of the game.
Then came the goal fest, four goals in four minutes, firstly from Louth’s Tiernan McKenna then Cavan’s Brían O’Rourke powered one home before another Louth major from Conor Murphy following a superb solo run from the wing. In injury time, with one final play in the game, James Smith steadied himself to fire a free to the back of the Louth net to leave just one score between the teams. Fortunately for the home side, the final whistle went, and they recorded a first win of the year.
Best and Fairest Awards went to Louth No. 11 Conor Murphy who finished with 3-6 to his name and Cavan No. 9 Brían O’Rourke who was outstanding in the middle of the park for the visiting side.
Report by: Francie McMullen
Louth: Aidan O’Brien, Fionnán Mc Gurk, Seamus Birch, Niall Quigley, Zac Lennon, Brendan Prendergast, Seán Magill, Conor Byrne, Jake Mc Namara (1-1), Brandon Johnson (0-3), Conor Murphy (3-6), Cillian Mc Kenna, Connor Geraghty (1-0), Ronan Reid, Fionn Cumiskey (0-1), Tiernan Mckenna (1-1), Robert McCaughey, Jack McCaughey, Paddy Wehrly.
Cavan: Shea Denning, Dwayne Mulvey, Jack Dunne, Cormac Clarke, Tadhg Larkin, Odhran Keating (0-1), Sean McMahon, Ross O’Gorman (0-2), Brían O’Rourke (1-1),Cillian Boyle (0-3), Jamie Masterson, James Smith (1-6), Dylan Greenan, Cormac Smith (2-0), Gavin Fitzpatrick (1-0), Josh McKiernan, Conor Bannon (0-1), Colm Brady, Michael Wall, Colin McCauley, Ryan Galligan, Declan Mernagh, Andrew Harten, Fionn Keating, Gary Tully, Aaron Crowe, Daniel Harten, Jack Kelly, Piaras McManus, Caelum Faughnan.
Wicklow Gold Put Five Past Plucky Monaghan In Celtic Challenge
Monaghan 1-10 Wicklow Gold 5-12
Wicklow Gold maintained their winning streak in the BOI Celtic Challenge with a strong victory over Monaghan in round two.
Played in far from seasonal weather conditions, this was an intense physical meeting from the throw-in. Wicklow Gold opened the scoring in the second minute before following it up with a goal by Tom O’Brien which set the pace of the game.
Monaghan settled into the game soon afterwards through a number of frees by Mikey Carville and a point from Conal McHugh. Monaghan, only too aware of Wicklow’s goal-scoring abilities, defended bravely but Wicklow Gold were now on a goal-scoring blitz with Tom O’Brien and Charlie Cruise on fire. By the interval, Wicklow Gold had scored three goals on a scoreline of 0-5 to 3-09.
The second-half opened as the first one finished and immediately after the restart Wicklow Gold took control again, dominating all positions on the field and extending their lead. Monaghan, though struggling, kept their work rate up throughout. Wicklow were once again guilty of another series of wides in the third quarter. Monaghan introduced fresh legs and in the last 10 minutes of the match stepped up to the mark and saw the match out on a positive note as super sub Darragh Walters netted their only goal of the game. By the final whistle, Monaghan had narrowed Wicklow Gold’s winning margin with a final scoreline of 1-10 to 5-12.
So, Wicklow Gold’s perfect start to the BOI Celtic Challenge continues as they face Louth in Round 3 while Monaghan will regroup taking many positives from this encounter as the face Kildare Cadets next week.
Report by: Mary McEneaney
Monaghan: Niall Berminghan, Zach McArdle, Caleb McArdle, Paudie Heavin, Senan O’Brien, Daniel Boyle, Darragh O’Callaghan, Ronan Boyle, Shane Slevin, Leo Maloney, Conal McHugh (0-02), James Slevin (0-02), Mikey Carville (0-05), David Moorehead, Cillian Hanratty.
Replacements: Thomas Keenan, Conor Brennan, Cathal McCooey, Mark Cassidy, Darragh Walters (1-01) Jack Mohan, Tristan Moyna, Kieran Martin, Aiden McKenna, Padraig Treanor, Jack Cassidy, Pauric Bolger.
Wicklow Gold: Daniel O’Reilly, Aaron O’Rourke, Conor Wafer, Dillion Byrne, Shane Arthur, Tommy Collins, Ciaran Harmon, TJ O’Neill, Jack Byrne (0-01), Tom O’Brien(2-02), Fionn Doogan (0-02), Brian Nesbit (0-01), Bill O’Brien (0-01), Charlie Cruise (3-03), Cormac Redmond (0-01)
Replacements: Matt Curran (0-01) Casey Doyle, John McElhinny, Luan Ruddy, Rian Mac Maolain, Seosamh Kelly, Tadgh McCarty, Oscar Harty, Jamie Ryan.
Mayo Edge Out Sligo Following Tight Celtic Challenge Group G Encounter
Mayo 2-14 Sligo 2-09
Mayo had to dig deep at the finish to stave off a mammoth Sligo revival in round two of this hugely entertaining Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge.
Sligo struggled to contain a rampant Mayo sextet up front who landed some marvellous points from play in the opening half. Captain Paddy Dozio hit five magnificent frees, Tommy Scahill and the industrious Tom Fahy landed two apiece from play with Mayo corner-back Declan Henry meandering upfield to land Mayo’s tenth and best point in the opening half. Sligo worked tirelessly to keep in touch but apart from Tommy Cawley’s two frees they got little exchange out of a teak tough Mayo rearguard in the opening thirty minutes.
Mayo drove for home early in the second half with Mark Gibbons striking an early point from play before they were gifted a fortuitous goal. Ronan Tracey was first to react and bundled the sliotar over the line. To their credit, Sligo never wilted and the deadly accurate Tommy Cawley kept the scoreboard ticking over with some brilliant frees from all angles. Mayo looked home and hosed when Tom Fahy pounced to send a pile driver to the Sligo net with ten minutes still to play.
In a Lazarus like comeback, Sligo found their rhythm when all seemed lost and reeled off 2-03 without reply in the dying minutes. Fionn Connolly started the revival with a brilliant point from play before wing-forward Liam O’Kelly Lynch drove in from the right side to send a rocket into the roof of the Mayo net. The Yeats County men weren’t finished yet and with one minute to play Thomas Cawley wriggled his way past three Mayo defenders to find the net with a glorious individual goal to leave just six points between the sides 2-14 to 2-8. In the dying seconds, it was all Sligo as they tried desperately to snatch something from the game but a late, close in Cawley free went sailing over the bar when another goal beckoned.
Thomas Cawley was presented with the ‘Best and Fairest Award’ for Sligo with the Mayo ‘Best and Fairest Award’ going to Ciaran Treacy.
Report by: Pierce O’Reilly
Mayo: Niall Fleming, Declan Henry (0-1), Tom Rushe, Ciaran Treacy, Ruairí Haran, Padraic Murphy, Aaron Ketterick, Cian Mulchrone, Paddy Dozio (0-7), Mark Gibbons (0-1), Tom Fahy (1-3), Oisin Farrell, Ronan Treacy, Tommy Scahill (0-3), Kevin Gannon.
Sligo: Ronan Lane, Harry O’Donnell, Paul Gallagher, Senan O’Rourke, Eoin Kerrigan, Shane Molloy, Keelan Davey, Ethan Scully, Fionn Moylan, Anthony Fogeon, Thomas Cawley (1-8), Liam O’Kelly Lynch (1-0), Fionn Connolly (0-1), Ciaran O’Reilly, Eoghan Donagh.
Referee: Paul Fahy (Galway)
Elsewhere in Group G, Roscommon had a narrow 1-14 to 1-12 win over Donegal.