Allianz NHL Division 1 Match Reports

From www.gaa.ie

National Hurling League Division One – Clare 0-16 Cork 2-13

Cork’s 2008 hurlers returned to the field of play after their long absence on Sunday and a late surge saw them earn the Rebels’ first NHL win of the season as they downed Clare at Cusack Park.

Cork’s last competitive win was against the men from the Banner county in last summer’s All-Ireland quarter-final and they repeated their fine comeback of that day with another late, late show to leave Clare with four defeats from four.

Ben O’Connor was Cork’s star man in last year’s Championship campaign and was at the fore again on Sunday. He was right back at it from the off sending over the first point of the day. Colin Ryan quickly equalised and then did the same to cancel out a Cathal Naughton score as the sides were level at 0-2 apiece in no time at all.

Pat Horgan then sent a great chance for a Cork goal wide before points from Niall McCarthy and O’Connor had the visitors 0-4 to 0-3 ahead.

Ryan then led a Clare surge, however, Jonathan Clancy and Barry Nugent all scoring as they went 0-7 to 0-4 clear of the returning men from Leeside. The in-form Ryan then continued to boss events, having 0-7 by the break as Clare led 0-11 to 0-6, Tony Griffin also adding to the hosts’ tally.

With the breeze at their back, Cork were hoping to hit back on the restart but quickly lost Ronan Curran to a yellow card. Griffin went the same way for Clare, but they were the first to score in the second 35 minutes, Pat Vaughan sending over a lovely point to see his side ahead on double scores.

Cork’s troubles grew when McCarthy was shown a straight red card after an altercation, but having staged a stirring comeback to beat Clare in that Championship game last summer, they looked like they might do it again when O’Connor hit the game’s first goal. The evergreen attacker’s sideline cut went all the way in as goalkeeper Philip Brennan failed to get a touch.

That prompted action from both sides. Ryan, Diarmuid McMahon and Tony Carmody all fired over points for the Banner. But O’Connor continued to lead Cork, hitting two before Horgan slammed in a goal from 20 yards to set up a breath-taking finish, O’Connor’s subsequent point seeing the Rebels trail by just one at 0-16 to 2-9.

It was all Cork from there on as Kieran Murphy of Erins’ Own dragged the Rebels level before his namesake from Sarsfields saw them into the lead. O’Connor and Horgan then added the last scores of the day to get the Rebels off the ground and put much of the off-field drama that has gone on so far this year a little deeper into the memory.

Dublin 0-15 Waterford 1-11

Dublin came from behind to surprise Waterford in NHL Division One at Parnell Park on Sunday, Alan McCrabbe shining as his side bagged their third win of the camapaign, despite the Munster side having a four-point interval advantage.

Points from Dublin duo David Treacy and David O’Callaghan sandwiched the Deise’s first score from Gary Hurney, but Davy Fitzgerald’s men quickly raised the green flag after a fine through-ball from Jamie Nagle to Stephen Molumphy led to the forward smashing the ball to the back of the Dublin net.

Alan McCrabbe, a star all season for the Dubs, brought Anthony Daly’s side back within one quickly but he then had the chance to put his side in front after O’Callaghan was fouled in the area. Unfortunately for the home side, McCrabbe’s penalty was taken off the line by a visiting defender.

Ace Deise attacker Eoin Kelly then took centre stage with a treble of fine points, the first from play, the second with a ’65 and the third from well within his own half.

Joey Boland’s score had Dublin back within a goal but two more from Kelly helped Waterford extend their lead slightly and Fitzgerald’s men were 1-7 to 0-6 up at half-time.

The Dubs had hit no wides at this point and started the second half in the same manner as McCrabbe was given four chances and took all four, mainly from frees. Hurney had scored in the interim for Waterford, but their lead was now just one at 1-8 to 0-10.

McCrabbe continued to shine with two more scores and along with points from Shane Rankin and Kevin Flynn, Dublin were all of a sudden ahead against a Deise side whose large tally of wides had become very costly.

Kelly took the option to go for a point late on when a goal chance might have been on and was left to regret it as the final whistle went straight away, his side suffering their second defeat of the season as Daly’s Dubs continue to impress, Waterford accepting defeat from the grasp of victory.

Galway 1- 14 Limerick 1-12

Two late frees from returning Portumna star Joe Canning helped Galway to a narrow two-point victory over Limerick at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

Galway had led for the entire game but a superb second-half fightback from Limerick, albeit aided by the wind, got them level before Canning’s late efforts sent the home side to victory.

Canning returned to the side along with fellow Portumna man Eugene McEntee after their club’s spectacular All-Ireland win last weekend. Points from Joe Gantley and David Tierney gave Galway an early lead which was preserved by Colm Callanan’s excellent save from Limerick’s David Breen.

Galway’s goal came about after a long ball into the square from Adrian Cullinane ended up with Joe Canning and Fergal Healy bludgeoning the ball over the line. It was unclear which of the two attackers got the final touch.

Galway led 1-9 to 0-6 at the break and the game was scrappy for a while after the restart, with Niall Moran and Canning getting a point each for their teams.

However, Limerick were inspired by the increasing influence of Moran and when he goaled from a 21m free, things were level. But commeth the hour, commeth the man and Canning’s late brace ensured that for another weekend at least he would take the headlines.

Kilkenny 5-17 Tipperary 1-12

Kilkenny utterly obliterated Tipperary in a one-sided game at Nowlan Park on Sunday.

The All-Ireland champions won by 17 points in a jaw-dropping display that sees Brian Cody’s men return to the sort of form which suffocated all opposition last year.

Kilkenny hit five goals in the first half, and led by 20 points at the break. Tipperary managed to claw something back in the second half but by that stage the wounds had long been set and it will take a long time for Tipperary to escape the agony of this mauling.

The Kilkenny tide was irrepressible from the off, Richie Hogan knocking over an early point before he set up Martin Comerford for the opening goal. Noel McGrath got Tipperary’s first score with a fine point but just 20 minutes in and Kilkenny were 2-5 to 0-2 up, their second goal coming from Aidan Fogarty.

Tipperary looked like they might muster a renaissance when James Woodlock pointed but then Kilkenny, through the lighting conduit of TJ Reid, took over. Reid smashed in a majestic goal and then set up Comerford who dispatched his second goal of the game with a sharp finish. That made it 4-10 to 0-4 and already Tipperary fans were streaming out. Indeed, Comerford had a hat-trick to his name before the half was out.

Richie Hogan and Michael Fennelly quickly pointed for Kilkenny after the break but Tipperary showed some vestiges of spirit to minimise the damage, Michael Webster’s goal limiting what was already a trauma of the most savage kind.

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