If the entire Football Championship is as good as this weekend’s action, we’re in for a good one. From last minute equalisers, to Leaving Cert goals scorers, to controversial black cards and excellent point taking, it had it all. John Ivory ranks the Top 5 players from the footballing action.
5. Benny Coulter – Down
Benny Coulter only got 35 minutes to turn things around for Down, and that was all he needed. Of course he wasn’t the only man in James McCartan’s side who upped their game, Conor Laverty, Donal O’Hare and Kevin McKiernan also impressed. Coulter however, exerted a huge influence around midfield, an area where Down were absent in the first period. The 15-year veteran scored 0-1, won ball and used it well, something Down couldn’t do in the first half, and they will need him to do the same next Saturday evening.
4. Paddy Keenan – Louth
For the second season in a row Louth have upset the odds to win their opening game in the Leinster Football Championship. Paddy Keenan was the driving force behind their victory away to Westmeath. Without doubt forwards such as Derek Maguire, who scored 0-5 from play, Declan Byrne, (0-3) and Ryan Burns, (1-0) were all key contributors. but without Keenan, the supply of ball, and therefore their chances, would HAve been much more limited. Keenan himself chipped in with 0-3, all from play, to cap off an inspiring display from the St. Patrick’s clubman.
3. Ciaran Murtagh – Roscommon
On his first start for the Rossies in the Championship, Ciaran Murtagh caught the eye as he proved a crucial player for John Evans’ charges. Lively from the outset, Murtagh scored 0-2 from play. What he converted himself was only half of it. Murtagh continuously won ball that was accurately delivered to him and was economical in his use of it. He set up Ronan Stack for Roscommon’s telling goal just before the interval. Senan Kilbride and Donie Shine were also impressive, but Murtagh can be very proud of his performance.
2. Sean Cavanagh – Tyrone
When Tyrone need someone to convert a tricky free with the last kick of a game to keep them in the Ulster Championship, it will almost certainly be Sean Cavanagh taking it. The man from Moy showed all his experience and talent to get Tyrone a draw in Omagh. Kyle Coney and Darren McCurry also put in excellent performances. Tyrone opened up a 7 point lead with 15 minutes to go, which was promptly eradicated by a Down resurgence. Ultimately, Cavanagh’s contribution of 0-5, with two coming from play, one off each foot, was crucial.
1. Ross Munnelly – Laois
Ross Munnelly was the standout player for Laois in their matchup against Wicklow in Aughrim. Any day you score 0-9 points is a good one and when you take into account four of his final tally came from play, it turns into a brilliant performance. Donie Kingston and John O’Loughlin ably assisted with 0-6 and 0-3. Laois’ Captain Munnelly knocked over points at crucial stages against the men from ’The Garden County’. The Arles-Kilcruise clubman was imperious from placed balls and can now look forward to a quarter final clash with Dublin.