This weekend’s Gaelic football action has drawn to a close with Tipperary, Mayo, Kerry and Donegal claiming victories. Here, we give you the five top performers of the weekend.
Paddy McBrearty (Donegal)
McBrearty put in a game-winning performance at Crok Park yesterday as Donegal saw off a spirited Cork challenge. The Kilcar man kicked eleven points, with seven of those coming from play. In a post-match interview, Cork manager Peadar Healy admitted that the Rebels couldn’t handle McBrearty. Four different Cork defenders tried to keep the 2012 All-Ireland medal winner quiet. However, McBrearty withstood each challenge as he gave one of the best individual displays seen at Croke Park for years.
Michael Quinlivan shone at the edge of the square as Tipperary claimed a historic win over Galway at GAA HQ today, to reach their first All-Ireland semi-final in 81 years. Any Tipperary player from 1-15 could make this list but Quinlivan shone, displaying huge pace and power to guide the Premier county to a semi-final berth. Quinlivan chipped in with 1-4 with 1-3 of that coming from play. His link-up play was superb and his ball-winning ability further out the field were all critical to Liam Kearns’ side’s fantastic win.
Donal Vaughan (Mayo)
Donal Vaughan was one of the few Mayo players who starred in their unconvincing win over beaten Leinster finalists Westmeath. Vaughan’s engine, work-rate and composure was critical for Stephen’s Rochford’s men as they recovered from a second-half collapse to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with Tyrone next Saturday. Vaughan set up Jason Doherty’s early goal before slotting over a crucial second-half point.
Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry)
Kerry defeated Clare in a lacklustre All-Ireland quarter-final earlier today, with Darran O’Sullivan’s performance proving to be one of the few highlights. Although named to start at corner-forward, O’Sullivan performed brilliantly at centre-forward. The 2009 All-Ireland winning captain scored 1-02, including a beautiful second half goal which ultimately killed the game as a contest. O’Sullivan’s pace and skill was a thorn in the Banner’s defence for the duration of the contest.
Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)
Any one of Bill Maher, Brian Fox, Robbie Kiely and the midfield duo of George Hannigan and Peter Acheson could have made the cut here but we went with goal-scoring hero Conor Sweeney. Sweeney bagged 2-2 as Tipperary claimed a historic win. The young corner-forward followed on from his match-winning exploits last weekend against Derry, with a super display at Croke Park today. Sweeney’s performances over the last two weekends have been critical to Tipperary’s success.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena