It’s been a week of epic wins, interesting fixtures and even more controversy. In case you missed any of it, we’ve broken down the top five GAA stories of the week.
Mayo crash out of the championship at the hand’s of Kildare
It’s hard to believe this story is less than a week old it but was just last Saturday that Kildare progressed to the final round of the qualifiers with a victory over Mayo. It was a fixture that attracted huge interest because of all the talking happened beforehand about venue changes with the GAA bowing to pressure and allowing the game to be played in Newbridge.
The challenge for the Lilywhites was to bring the same fighting spirit they showed in their protest onto the pitch and my word, did they deliver. Mayo could not shake off Kildare and build up a substantial lead and in the seven minutes of additional time, Cian O’Neill’s team came from behind to win by three.
While the victory and plaudits must go entirely to Kildare, it’s hard not to sympathise with Mayo, a team that has contributed so much to the game, contesting four of the last six All Ireland finals. Stephen Rochford and his team must now spend the summer contemplating the future of Mayo football while Kildare look forward to a qualifier showdown with Fermanagh this weekend.
Diarmuid Connolly makes his debut for Donegal Boston
GAA fans were very interested in seeing the first photos of Diarmuid Connolly in the yellow and green of Donegal Boston following his move. And he showed that he hasn’t lost his scoring prowess with 3-01 to his name in his first game.
Connolly wasn’t the only inter-county star in action Stateside during the week as Tipperary stars, Ronan Maher and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher helped Tipperary New York over Hoboken who’s side included their Tipperary teammate, Cathal Barrett.
Meanwhile it was announced that Mayo duo Diarmuid O’Connor and Conor Loftus had flown over to Chicago to Join McBrides CLG the day after Mayo were knocked out of the championship.
Cork win two Munster titles in four days
It’s fair to say that it’s been a good week for the Rebel county. The fight and spirit they showed to beat Clare in the Munster final was hugely impressive. They were only four points behind at half-time but it should have been a lot more, such was the dominance of Clare.
Cork were a completely different animal in the second half with Seamus Harnedy and Patrick Horgan leading the pack. They bullied Clare out of contention with their clever movement and clinical finishing and deservedly claimed their 54th Munster title.
It was much easier for their U21 contingent in their Munster final against Tipperary on Wednesday night. With 10 senior panelists involved including Mark Coleman, Shane Kingston and Robbie O’Flynn they breezed past the Premier County with the final scoreline, 2-23 to 1-13. Both teams can rest now as they prepare for the All Ireland semi-final stages in August.
It’s coming home… To Galway?
The Galway seniors may not have been able to clinch the Leinster title last Sunday after a last minute point from TJ Reid secured a draw with Kilkenny, but the All Ireland champions will be looking to make amends next Sunday in the replay. It was a game which they will feel they should have won only for some superb defending from Kilkenny as well as some questionable discipline from the Tribesmen.
Meanwhile their U21’s were involved in what was probably the game of the season so far in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise when a goal in the last second of extra-time saw them claim the Leinster U21 title in their first year of being in the competition. It a was a huge victory for Galway against a fired-up Wexford side who were leading by two points going into the final minute.
Will the seniors be able to join their U21’s in Leinster success and march on to the All Ireland semi-finals?
Donegal v GAA: The fight that never happened
On Tuesday evening it seemed as though we had another standoff on our hands as Donegal released a statement saying that they had requested a meeting with the GAA to clarify the rules that were allowing Dublin to play two games in Croke Park during the Super 8’s series.
Donegal are due to play the All Ireland champions in GAA HQ on July 14. The rules, agreed at Congress state that each participating team will play one home game, one away game and one game at a neutral venue which will be Croke Park – thus effectively allowing Dublin play two home games.
By Thursday, all was settled as it was announced in a joint statement from Donegal and the GAA that the game will go ahead in Croke Park though the matter will be reviewed at a later stage as requested by the Ulster champions.
So no catchy hashtags to jump upon this time I’m afraid.