GAA: Mayo Hold Off Cork As Monaghan Scrape Past Lilywhites


All-Ireland Quarter Finals

Mayo 1-19 Cork 2-15

Mayo held off a resilient Cork side to secure a semi final date with Kerry following a narrow one point win at Croke Park.

The first half started at a slow pace with Mayo wasting a lot of opportunities, as Cork began to settle down more quickly. Cork took the lead with some excellent scores from Brian Hurley in the opening part of the first half. Mayo took longer to find their shooting boots, but when they did get going they got right back into the game. The game was point for point for most of the rest of the first half with a tense atmosphere developing between both sides.

The second half saw Mayo exert some control over the game and they looked like pulling away as they built up some a big lead with great points from Alan Dillon and Andy Moran. Mayo stepped off the gas which allowed the rebels back into the game and the reliable Donnacha O’Connor notched up 1-3 for his side with a superbly well taken goal to reel back the westerners. Mayo remained composed and their patience paid off when Aidan O’Shea rounded the Cork goalie Ken O’Halloran to give Mayo a much needed boost. It was to be tense once more as straight after this Brian Hurley cut through the Mayo cover to blast his shot to the Mayo net to keep the rebels within the game. Mayo seemed a little nerve wrecked after conceding this goal, but they stuck to their task and added some late points to ensure their victory despite some late pressure from Cork.

Kerry 1-20 Galway 2-10

Eamon Fitzmaurice’s men marched onto another All Ireland semi final with a seven point win over Galway at headquarters.

Galway started the game well and got a lot of possession around midfield but failed to breach the Kingdom’s defence. Kerry on the other hand took their opportunities and started building a big lead, helped by James O’Donoghue’s goal. Galway took a long time to settle down and missed a lot of early opportunities but they got going when Michael Lundy opened their account. Kerry showed some weaknesses in their defence as a very long run from the middle of the field from Tom Flynn resulted in him finishing his low shot to the net to keep Galway’s hopes alive.

The second half was a more even affair as Galway’s Shane Walsh was a lot more involved in the play and added scores for the westerners. Galway soon struck for a second goal of the afternoon when Lundy got past the Kerry defenders to finish another low shot to the Kerry net. Kerry remained calm and never lost sight of the play with some good points from O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney and the influential substitute Barry John Keane ensuring Kerry had more than enough at the finish. Kerry will now play Mayo in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.

All-Ireland Qualifiers Round 4B

Armagh 0-18 Meath 0-13

Armagh look set to ruffle some feathers this year and the orchard county seem set to finally peak following a lengthy absence from the decisive rounds of the All Ireland in recent years.

Meath started the first half at a blistering pace with two early scores from Andrew Tormey and Michael Newman giving them a positive start. The game soon settled after the opening minutes as Armagh were brilliant from general play and notched up eight points in a row. Armagh were turning over a lot of possession and intercepting poor hand passes from the Meath side. Armagh looked like a team possessed after the excellent display of point scoring, but they failed to push on as Meath clawed their way back with some good scores late in the first half to cut the gap to a single point at half time.

The introduction of Graham Reilly in the first half sparked a greater urgency in the royal county, but it failed to turn the tide in the second half as Armagh again began to get a foothold on the game. Armagh just showed more appetite to win the game than the Royals, as Armagh hit a second dominant period in the second half when a flurry of points ensured their day out in Croke Park.

Monaghan 2-16 Kildare 2-14

Monaghan and Kildare played out a thoroughly entertaining game in Croke Park at the weekend despite the poor weather conditions. Monaghan’s extra time goal from Chris McGuinness gave Monaghan the much needed boost in extra time to reach the All-Ireland Quarter Finals.

The first half started slowly with both sides lining out defensively. Emmet Bolton was the key figure for Kildare in the opening part of the first half when he made a surging run through and blasted his superb shot to the top corner of the Monaghan net. He soon scored a second goal for the Lilywhites when he punched the ball to the net to capitalise on some poor Monaghan defending. Monaghan never collapsed after conceding these two goals and reduced the gap to just three points at the break.

The second half would be an interesting prospect as Kildare hadn’t really let their guard down yet and with Bolton being black carded, the momentum was beginning to swing in Monaghan’s favour. Monaghan seemed to be growing in momentum and consolidated such when Vinny Corey found the net to give them the lead. Kildare to their credit kept going at Monaghan and some late scores from Alan Smith, Eamonn Callaghan and Eoin O’Flaherty looked like sending them through but Conor McManus converted a late free to bring it to extra time in Croke Park.

McGuinness’ goal in extra time ultimately sealed the deal for the farney county, who now face a daunting task against the All-Ireland Champions Dublin next weekend.

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