The Allianz Leagues have firmly kicked into gear after an entertaining week two that saw a heap of draws, a Croke Park triple-header and more misery piled onto Páirc Ui Chaoimh.
Dublin bounced back from defeat to Monaghan whilst the Farney County came crashing down to earth after conceding a late goal to Roscommon.
In hurling, Clare toppled Kilkenny in an entertaining game whilst Limerick continued in their rich vein of form with victory over Tipperary on Saturday.
By the end of next week, each of the divisions in both codes should begin to take shape. But for now, let’s take a look at some of the big talking points following this weekend’s action.
Carlow Snatch Draw With Galway
Last year the Carlow footballers made all the headlines with a first promotion in 34 years, followed by a Leinster championship victory over Kildare.
In that time though, the rise of Carlow’s hurlers has gone under the radar. They backed up Christy Ring success in 2017 with a Joe McDonagh Cup win last season and are now plying their trade in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.
Carlow fell to an agonising opening day defeat to Dublin last week, but that didn’t deter them as they returned to Dr. Cullen Park for the visit of 2017 All-Ireland champions Galway.
Under the stewardship of Tipperary’s Colm Bonnar, Carlow have improved significantly and this was proven as they were able to hang in with Joe Canning and co. throughout the 70 minutes before a Martin Kavanagh free deep into stoppage time earned them a famous draw.
Mayo Are Motoring
James Horan’s return to the Mayo hot seat has gotten off to an impressive start as they backed up their opening day come-from-behind victory over Roscommon with the complete destruction of Mickey Harte’s Tyrone.
Horan will have been pleased with his side’s performance in Healy Park, in particular, the performance of established stars like Lee Keegan who seems to have settled nicely into the centre back position, and Keith Higgins who ghosted up the field from the full-back line to hammer home a goal that Moran, O’Connor et al would have been proud off.
The most pleasing thing for Horan will have been the performance of the somewhat lesser known guys, particularly in the forward division. Fionn McDonagh grabbed 1-03 from play yesterday, whilst Ciaran Treacy on the other wing hit two monster first-half scores. Brian Reape looks like a real gem inside and could link up well with Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran come the summer time.
Páirc Ui Chaoimh Chaos
More misery was heaped onto the recently refurbished stadium yesterday following the double-header that saw Cork take on Kildare in the Allianz Football League, whilst the hurlers welcomed Wexford to Leeside.
The big news coming out of the two games was the state of the playing surface as it was constantly dug up throughout the 140 minutes of action, which has since prompted the GAA to move Cork’s Allianz Hurling League clash with Clare to Páirc Uí Rinn over fears for player safety.
Since the venue was refurbished in July 2017, trouble has come at every corner. First, it was the Liam Miller fiasco, then recently it was revealed that the costs of the revamp were about to exceed €100 million and now this. Desperate times for Cork GAA
Cork Footballers To Division Three
Keeping with Cork, their footballers fell to a three-point defeat against Kildare yesterday, this follows on from their opening day draw with Fermanagh.
Whilst it is still early days, Cork are languishing at the bottom of Division Two and face a very real threat of being relegated to the third tier which would be catastrophic for football in the county.
They face Clare next week who will be very confident going into the game having snatched a late draw with Armagh on Sunday. Clare also defeated Cork in the McGrath Cup final last month and will fancy their chances against a wounded Rebel side.
Kerry’s Keane Endears Himself To Kingdom
The Kingdom have been impressive so far in 2019 with a dominant victory over Tyrone last week backed up with a Sean O’Shea masterclass in Breffni Park to sink Cavan.
Peter Keane has come on board with the Kingdom this season as they look to end Dublin’s dominant run.
The new manager really endeared himself to Kerry fans following their victory over Cavan as he climbed on board a supporters bus before leaving to thank them for making the trip north. You can watch the clip here.
There were a few question marks over his appointment, but so far so good for Keane and his Kerry men.