The national stages of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge got underway last weekend with teams competing across five different divisions.
Forty teams competed across the quarter-finals of the Corn Michael Hogan, Corn John Scott, Corn William Robinson, Corn Jerome O’Leary and Corn Michael Feery.
Read our round-up of the action below.
Derry Get The Better Of Offaly In Topsy Turvy BOI Celtic Challenge Affair
Derry defeated a very well organised and disciplined Offaly team in the Corn William Robinson quarter-final of the BOI Celtic Challenge at Abbotstown.
Offaly began strong and were two points up after two minutes from a long-range effort from wing back Shane Ryan and the busy Lee Hogan. Padhraig Nelis and Offaly’s Kevin Tierney traded points before goalkeeper Leo Passmore stepped up and sent two frees over from his own 65 against a swirling breeze.
The play of the game came as a moment of brilliance from McGilligan and Nelis. McGilligan set up a sideline from 45 metres but went across the pitch to Nelis. He returned the ball to McGilligan who dummied the oncoming defender and sent Derry into a two-point lead.
Offaly did not lie down and after some good tussles in both defences, Cian Burke scored followed by two frees from corner forward Loughlann Quinn, who was very accurate from placed balls for Offaly. Quinn and McGilligan traded points to leave the score at 0-10 to 0-08 to Derry at the break.
McGilligan started where he left off and had another Derry point from the throw-in but they failed to deal with a long delivery into their square. Enormous pressure from Offaly led to a fumbled ball which broke right and was pulled to the net by Lee Hogan.
Derry never panicked and moments later, Nelis set up Cassidy who stepped inside and raised the green flag.
Offaly’s Calum Flannery was battling hard in midfield and his work paid off with a fine score on 37 minutes, but from the resulting puckout, the ball broke and the ever-present Cassidy stepped in lifted, dummied and found the back of the net.
Offaly responded well as centre forward Burke hit the sliotar from 25 yards, but his shot took a deflection and found the net.
After an intense battle, it wasn’t until the 48th minute when the Oakleafers began to gain a lead but Offaly again came back, with two frees from Quinn and one from play from wing forward Adam Landy.
The game then finished with another free from Quinn and a final point from Derry’s Best & Fairest player, Shea Cassidy.
Report by: Kevin Kelly.
Derry: Leo Passmore (0-2f); Karl McGilligan, Jack Conway, Mark McEldowney; Aodhan O’Hagan, Niall McGonigle (0-1), Jack Cassidy; Eoin McCallion, Darragh McGilligan (0-6); Ryan McPeake, Padhriag Nelis (0-2), Dara O’Kane; Kosta Papachristopoulos, Lee Colville (0-3); Shea Cassidy (2-4, 0-2f);
Replacements: Michael Murray (0-1) for McPeake, Keelan Doherty for Papachristopoulos, Thomas McKeagney for Nelis (inj)
Offaly: Martin Lawlor; Darragh Landy, Liam Miller, Oisin Kilmartin; Shane Ryan, John Coughlan, Charlie Bracken; Pat Phelan, Callum Flannery; Kevin Tierney, Cian Burke, Adam Landy; Lee Hogan, Eamonn Dolan, Loughlann Quinn.
Replacements: Adam Carroll, Jack Ormonde, Mark Kelly, Joel Troy, Daniel Coughlan, Sean Rattigan, Eoin Murphy, Jacob Mahon, Barry Connolly, Ruairi Dunne, Jack Kelly, Cathal Erritty, Kian McDowall, Luke Standish, Eoin Egan.
Late Tribesmen Goals See Off Spirited Laois in BOI Celtic Challenge Quarter-Final Clash
Galway Tribesmen 2-15
Galway Tribesmen sealed their place in the semi-final stage of the Corn William Robinson in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge after their great win over Laois.
It might have ended with a seven-point win for the Tribesmen but this match was much closer for 50 minutes of the game. The opening half exchanges were evenly contested with Cillian Dunne & Phelim O’ Reilly trading scores for both teams who were level at the break with 0-6 apiece.
Laois goalie Ben Campion contributed to the teams being level with two super saves to deny Galway goals.
The third quarter continued in a similar vein with scores hard to come by and Messrs Dunne and O’Reilly remaining clinical from placed balls.
With 10 minutes to go, the Tribesmen finally breached the Laois goal with two great finishes in quick succession.
Galway smelt blood and followed up with three more unanswered points. Laois, to their credit, kept fighting and when a free was dropped in around the square, Jack Foyle was on hand to bury it into the back of the Galway net.
This was as good as it got for Laois, however, and Galway Tribesmen had enough in reserve to run out deserved winners.
Laois’ Lochlan Conway and Galway Tribesmen’s Aaron Barrett were both awarded the Best & Fairest Players for their respective counties after two brilliant performances from the young hurlers.
Report by: Oonagh Maher
Laois: Ben Campion, Lochlan Conway, Mick O ’Brien, Jack Phelan, Philip Tynan, Aodh Bowes, Darragh McSpadden, Joe Corby, Daniel Bowe (Captain), Josh O’ Brien Holmes, Jack Foyle, Ryan Costigan, Sam Quinn, Jim O’ Connor, Cillian Dunne.
Subs: Keelan Kelly, Sam Birane, Paddy Hassett.
Galway Tribesmen: Jamie Doyle, Oisin O’Toole, Gavin Summerville, Tom Collins, Paul Ronan, Bryan Horgan, Jason McDonagh, Ryan Duffy, Kevin Walsh, Oisin Dillion, Eamon Enright, Phelim O’ Reilly, Reece Ryan, Padraic Ó Conghaile.
Westmeath Comeback Pips Down In BOI Celtic Challenge Thriller
Westmeath produced a thrilling comeback in the quarter-final of the Corn William Robinson in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge in a sun-kissed Abbottstown at the weekend.
The first half of the game was a quiet affair with Westmeath captain Eamon Cunneen’s six pointed frees mainly responsible for ensuring that his side had a two-point advantage at the break. Oisín Coulter, Eoin Magee and Francis Caldwell were the danger men for Down target men, however, Westmeath were five points clear when Cunneen pointed his first from open play, midway through the half.
Westmeath kept the pressure on Down with frees and it took fine points from Jon Fisher and Owen McDermott to keep Down within three points of their Lake County opponents. Eoin Magee popped over a beautiful point which proved to be the last score of the half to leave Westmeath two points ahead at the break.
Thirty seconds into the second-half Caldwell slipped a great pass into the path of the on-rushing Magee and he smashed the sliotar into the Westmeath net to put Down into the lead for the first time in the match.
Warric Kirby replied a minute later to level the scores but Down had their tails up. In the space of the next two minutes, both Ryan O’Neill and Caldwell had scored goals for the Mourne County. James Duggan and Cunneen traded frees before Oisín Coulter gave Down an eight-point lead with fifteen minutes to play.
Down seemed to be cruising at this stage, but Westmeath pulled a masterstroke by sending in substitute Aaron Ready with 15 minutes to go and with his first possession, he pointed. The second time Ready got the sliotar in his hand, he was not so forgiving, and he drove the ball to the back of the down net.
With eight minutes left to play, Westmeath were awarded a penalty, however, Cunneen’s shot was saved by Lavery. Tom McGrattan then pointed for Down but in the remaining two minutes, Westmeath fought back and scored 1-2 from play without reply, the goal coming from Ready. Cunneen scored the last point of the game to ensure his side’s place in the semi-final of the Corn William Robinson.
At the end of the game Down’s Cahal Lavery & Westmeath’s Michael Lynam were presented with their Best & Fairest awards for their fantastic performance and sportsman’s like conduct on the field.
Report by: Dermot Donnelly
Down: Cahal Lavery, Ciaran Savage, Darragh Kelly, Eoin Pucci, Imran Hussain, Owen McDermott (0-1), Lukas Boyd (Capt.), Jon Fisher (0-1), Tom McGrattan (0-1), James Duggan (0-1), Eoin Magee (1-2), Ryan O’Neill, Ryan O’Neill (1-0), Finn Collins, Francis Caldwell (1-2), Oisín Coulter (0-3).
Replacements: Eamon Blaney, Nathan Kelly.
Westmeath: Oisin Loughlin, Peter Dalton, Michael Lynam, Aaron Fenton, Cian McCarthy, David Weir, Donál Mulvihill, Warric Kirby (0-1), Mark Cunningham, Oisin Murray Michael Moffatt, Eamon Cunneen (0-11), Oliver McClair (0-2), Mark Cully, Brian McGrath.
Replacements: Aaron Ready (2-1), Tomas Turks.
Sligo Book BOI Celtic Challenge Semi-Finals Spot Following Strong Win Over Monaghan
Sligo are through to the semi-final stages of the Corn Michael Feery in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge following a dominant display against Monaghan in Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh.
Sligo raced into a three-point lead before Monaghan got their first point from the hardworking James Slevin. Sligo, spurred on by the success of their senior team in the Nicky Rackard semi-final, dominated play for the remainder of the half.
Thomas Cawley was highly impressive, grabbing his first goal midway through the half while a sideline cut from him resulted in Sligo’s second goal from the stick of Fionn Moylan. James Slevin and Cillian Hanratty replied for Monaghan to leave them trailing by 2-8 to 0-3 leaf at the break.
After the break, Monaghan were given a lifeline when a scramble at the goal led to Jack Cassidy hitting the back of the net. Just when it looked like a comeback was on, Monaghan hearts were broken when a fine pass by Ciaran O’Reilly found Thomas Cawley who scored his second goal.
Sligo continued to dominate proceedings and when Fionn Moylan’s long-range shot landed in the net, the win was sealed. The side’s fifth goal came courtesy of Eoghan Donaghy after a fine pass from Cawley.
Monaghan’s goalkeeper Niall Bermingham moved outfield early in the second half and he got the final touch on his side’s second goal. Sligo’s Kenneth Mitchell got the final score of the game, a goal following a great pass from Fionn Connolly.
Thomas Cawley was awarded the Best & Fairest award for Sligo while Darragh O’Callaghan was given the award for Monaghan.
Report by: Frances Hanley
Sligo: Ronan Lang, Senan O’Rourke, Paul Gallagher, Stephen Mahon, Harry O’Donnell, Shane Molloy, Ethan Scully, Ciaran O’Reilly, Fionn Connolly, Liam O’Kelly Lynch, Fionn Moylan (2-1), Brian Byrne (0-1), Anthony Fidgeon, Thomas Cawley (2-10, 7f), Eoghan Donaghy (1-0), Eoin Kerrigan, Nathan McArdle, Kenneth Mitchell (1-0), Robert O’Kelly Lynch, Daniel O’Connor.
Monaghan: Niall Bermingham (1-0), D Waters, Caleb McArdle, Conor Brennan, Zack McArdle, Paudie Heavin, Senan O’Brien, James Slevin (0-3, 2f), Thomas Keenan, Cillian Hanratty (0-1) Jack Cassidy (1-0), David Morehead, Darragh O’Callaghan, Aiden McKenna, Daniel Boyle, Leo Maloney, Pauric Bolger, Cathal McCooey, Kieran Martin, Padraig Treanor.
Late Tyrone Blitz Overcomes Defiant Meath In BOI Celtic Challenge
Tyrone continued their prolific goalscoring record to overcome a defiant Meath team in the quarter-final of the Jerome O’Leary in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge.
They had to fight hard before blitzing the Meath goal in the final 15 minutes of the match, scoring 2-6 in the last quarter to finish the game with a convincing 10-point win.
Meath enjoyed the stronger start to the game when Liam Callanan hit the back of the net in the second minute following a scramble in front of goal. Tyrone started to put the pressure on and a minute later had a great goal chance themselves only to find the Meath corner back Harry Cottrell in a perfect position for a timely block.
Tyrone scored their first point in the ninth minute and it settled the side. They hit the back of the net twice in the next four minutes through Conall Molloy and Fionn Devlin while they also converted a free to lead by three points.
Meath hit back immediately and Jack Meagher brilliantly created a goal chance which unluckily whizzed narrowly wide. With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Liam Callanan bagged his second goal which was quickly followed by a Meagher point to level the match once again.
Tyrone then hit again with Ferguson taking advantage of a gap in the Meath defence to slam Tyrone’s third goal home. Meath outscored Tyrone 0-3 to 0-1 in the last minutes of the half to leave them a single point in arrears at the break.
While Tyrone started the second half brightly, Meath’s half backs Cian Smith, Oisin Bright and Luke Moran made life difficult for them. Tyrone then forced a tremendous save from the Meath goalkeeper Jack Fagan, who followed this up with three further top class stops in the last quarter of the match to stop Tyrone running absolute riot.
Tyrone did, however, manage to score a further 2-6 to Meath’s 0-2 in the closing stages to run home deserving winners on the day and seal their place in the Jerome O’Leary semi-final.
Report by: Paul Hamilton.
Meath: Jack Fagan; Evan Cole, Eoin Donegan, Harry Cottrell; Cian Smith, Drew Hamilton, Oisin Bright(c); Matthew Cully (0-1), Rory Fagan (0-2); Sean Donnelly (0-4), Jack Meagher (0-4), Joey Cole; Kevin Mulligan (0-1), Josh Harris (0-1), Liam Callanan (2-0).
Replacements: Ryan Douglas, Luke Moran, Liam Boyle, Eoghan McCormack, Ciaran Rogers, Gavin Halton, Harry Smyth, Evan Geoghegan, Simon O’Keefe.
Tyrone: Conrad McKeown, Josh Campbell, Anthony Crossan, Oisin McCallan, Jack Donnelly, Mickey Little, Matthew Duffy, Cain Ferguson, Conor Fitzgerald, Mark McCann, Conal Molloy, Byron O’Neill, Jason McAteer, Fionn Devlin, Adam Toner,
Replacements: Tiernan Cox, Cathair Conroy, Jude Kane, Conall McKee, Sean Doran, Eoghan Orr, Turlough Mullin, Matty Neill, Eamon Hughes, Villius Macadulskas, Cahir Munroe, Padraig Quinn