There was plenty of inter-county action this past weekend with two semi-final replays in Ulster and two qualifier games also taking place. Here’s a roundup of this past weekend’s action.
Tyrone 5-18 Cavan 2-17
Tyrone booked their place in the Ulster final by demolishing Cavan on Sunday.Peter Harte found the back of the net twice in the first half and there were further goals from Connor McAliskey, Rory Brennan and Mark Bradley after the break as the Breffni men bowed out. Cian Mackey and Jack Brady did score late goals for Cavan but Tyrone had already done the damage. Cavan got off to a good start hitting early scores through David Givney,Gearoid McKiernan and Mackey.The sides were level on four occasions in the opening 18 minutes but the Red Hands moved well clear thanks two Peter Harte goals in the space of 90 seconds. Tyrone were out of sight and continued their dominant display in the second half.A devastating counter-attack produced a third Tyrone goal eight minutes into the second half.Possession was turned over deep in their own half, the ball was moved swiftly by Sean Cavanagh to McAliskey, who sprinted in from 65 metres to plant a low shot past Galligan.The game was over for Cavan by the 50th minute, when Ronan O’Neill and McAliskey combined for substitute Rory Brennan to finish with a fist at the far post with his first touch.Cavan did pull back a goal through Mackey, and as gaps opened up in the Tyrone defence, there were points for McKieranan, Feargal Flanagan, Conor Moynagh and Mackey. There was no stopping the rampant Red Hands who tagged on a fifth goal in stoppage time through Mark Bradley.Jack Brady’s late strike didn’t trouble Tyrone who ended the match ten points better off.Tyrone will face Donegal in the decider which will be the Red Hands first appearance in the provincial final since 2010.
Monaghan 2-10 Donegal 0-17
Donegal downed champions Monaghan with a 0-17 to 2-10 replay win at Kingspan Breffni Park to reach the Ulster SFC final for the sixth successive season on Saturday.The gripping encounter went right to the wire much like last weeks encounter. Michael Murphy, Paddy McBrearty and Marty O’Reilly fired home the vital scores that secured victory. Monaghan found the back of the net twice in the first half with Shane Carey and Conor McManus (pen) executing the required finishes.Despite playing the final ten minutes with 14 men, following the second yellow card dismissal of Rory Kavanagh, Rory Gallagher’s side held on for a slender win. Donegal got off to the better start making the most of their counter attacks. Donegal captain Murphy contributed three points from placed balls including a well struck ’45.Monaghan, on the other hand, struggled to find the target from frees, with Rory Beggan and Conor McManus both striking wide. However they got going when Shane Carey finished low to the net after being picked out by a quickly taken McManus free. Donegal responded with points from Murphy,Paddy McBrearty and Marty O’Reilly. However in the 33rd minute McManus brought his side level from a penalty, smashing home his kick after Thompson brought down Ryan Wylie, earning a black card for the infringement. However Donegal hit back with a couple of points, and carried a 0-10 to 2-02 lead into the interval.
The second half saw Donegal absorb plenty of pressure as McManus,Carey and Owen Duffy pushed for Monagahan. Both sides added on scores before Rory Kavanagh’s rash challenge earned him a second yellow card in the 65thminute, and Monaghan narrowed the gap to a single point. Donegal used all their experience to see the game out, with Murphy bringing his tally to the day to five, all from placed balls.
Laois 1-11 Armagh 1-10
Laois saw off Armagh at the second time of asking on Saturday putting the seven substitute fiasco to the back of their minds in the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.Armagh were given a lifeline two weeks ago when Laois found out they had used seven substitutes instead of the permitted six forcing a replay. The Ulstermen however couldn’t overcome Laois despite a strong second half display.Armagh trailed by seven at half-time and fought back to lead by two with 12 minutes remaining only to relinquish their lead late on as Laois finished strongest. Conor Meredith’s first-half goal was crucial for Laois while substitutes Ross Munnelly and Gary Walsh had a masive impact late on, contributing three points between them to secure a Round 2A clash with Clare in Ennis next weekend.Micheal McKenna scored Armagh’s only point of the opening half. It came in the 15th minute and admittedly could have been a goal as his lobbed effort beat the goalkeeper but landed on the bar and bounced over.Paul Cahillane converted a free to stretch Laois’ lead before Meredith’s goal approaching the break. Kieran Lillis played a diagonal ball in and Meredith did well to sidestep Andy Mallon and fire a low shot back across the goals in the right corner of the net.
Armagh outscored Laois by 1-05 to 0-01 in the first 15 minutes of the second-half to level the game up at 1-06 to 1-06. Rory Grugan’s 45th-minute goal was the score that turned the game on its head, beating Laois goalie Graham Brody to a high ball and slotting home from close range. Armagh took control and points from Stefan Campbell and Colm Watters put them into a 1-08 to 1-06 lead. Laois had strong substitutes in veteran Munnelly and Walsh and two points from Munnelly tied the game again before Laois pushed ahead. John O’Loughlin’s 68th-minute point for the hosts ultimately proved the winning score.
Sligo 2-15 Leitrim 0-10
Goals from Kyle Cawley and Darragh Cummins saw Sligo cruise past Leitrim at Markievicz Park on Saturday evening.Sligo led by 0-12 to 0-04 at the break and never surrendered control of the clash, with the second-half goals sealing their biggest ever win in the All-Ireland qualifiers. The home side never looked troubled and ran put convincing winners.Sligo made the most of the wind when they had it in the opening half and full-forward Niall Murphy was a superb target man, picking off 0-05 in the first-half to break Leitrim’s hearts.Emlyn Mulligan got Leitrim off the mark with a point after six minutes, but Murphy took over after that and landed the first of his excellent scores from the left.Leitrim simply had no answer to Murphy’s power and he added two more before Mark Breheny’s first from play pushed Sligo 0-07 to 0-01 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.Leitrim had to wait until 25 minutes for their first point from play when Donal Wrynn slotted over to halve the gap to 0-08 to 0-04.Sligo resumed control after the re-start and Cawley soloed through from the left to find the net after 49 minutes.
There was never any chance of Leitrim staging a comeback after that and to make matters worse they finished the game with 14 men when Gary Reynolds was black-carded in stoppage time with all six subs on the field.Cummins added insult to injury when he scored Sligo’s second from close range in the closing stages.