The Championship is now in full swing, and this weekend featured Ulster Football and Munster Hurling, along with Leinster Qualifying games and Connaught football. John Ivory ranks the top performers from the weekend.
Patrick Horgan – Cork
Horgan is for Cork what Pauric O’Mahony is for Waterford. He had unnerving accuracy from placed balls and kept the Rebels in the game against the Déise when they were playing poorly for long stretches against Waterford.
Karl Lacey/ Leo McCloone – Donegal
Lacey was given the task of nullifying Mark Lynch for Derry, and he was very successful in this mission. He found himself in the right place on countless occasions setting up attack after attack, along with the equally effective Leo McCloone. Scoring 1-1 from centre back was the icing on the cake for McCloone who built the foundations for Donegal’s win in Derry.
4. Pauric O’ Mahony – Waterford
O’Mahony has assumed the role of Waterford’s talismanic leader, and he once again proved he is up to the task. Some may argue that nine of his eleven points came from frees, but these were the result of Waterford pressure, and O’Mahony was almost perfect from placed balls. Alongside Gleeson and Dunford in the half-forward line, O’Mahony led the Déise attack admirably and knocked over two well taken points from play. Before the game, he would have been seen as Waterford’s marquee forward, and only bolstered his reputation with this fine display.
3. Michael Murphy – Donegal
After a first half to forget for all involved, Murphy was the orchestrator of Donegal’s three-point victory over Derry. In a game where positions meant nothing, Murphy led Donegal’s attack, sometimes from inside his own half. The second half saw him installed in his most dangerous position on the edge of the square. He sold a quite frankly, rude, dummy to Chrissy McKaigue and converted a Maurice Fitzgerald-esque side-line with the outside of his right boot. Finishing with 0-4, Murphy capitalised on the platform provided by McCloone, Thompson and Lacey at the back.
2. Austin Gleeson – Waterford
Derek McGrath introduced youth into his Waterford side and in Austin Gleeson his decision was vindicated. Confidence oozed from the 19-year-old and he would eventually rack up a personal tally of 1-2. Defensive endeavour and a pointed side-line from 45 metres were good, but his second half goal is a contender for goal of the season, as he rifled the ball high into Nash’s net after a fifty metre solo run. If his debut is anything to go by, Gleeson will be someone we hear a lot about in the future.
1. Alan Cadogan – Cork
Making his debut, Cadogan was Cork’s best forward from play by a country mile. He gave a master class in corner forward play as he registered a highly impressive 0-4. Efficient in use of the sliothar, Cadogan was first to the ball invariably, and the proof of his prolific display was seen in his marker being substituted in the second period. If that wasn’t enough, he won several frees for the Rebels which Patrick Horgan duly converted. That performance has shown why Alan Cadogan is another to look out for this summer.
John Ivory, Pundit Arena.