The start of the 2019 championship began his weekend, fans up and down the country came out in their forces to support their teams and seen the return of the best sport in the world!
Ulster Senior Football Championship-Tyrone v Derry
The opening round of the Ulster Football championship commenced with current Ulster champions Tyrone welcoming division four league winners, Derry to Healy Park.
Many thought a gulf in class would make for a whitewash contest, but the Oakleaf’s fought all the way and made Micky Harte’s side work for their six-point victory. A slow first half didn’t give fans much to cheer about, with the home side leading 0-10 to 0-7 at the interval.
Tyrone controlled the scoring through Cathal McShane and Richie Donnelly at the center of most attacks. Derry kept plugging away and got an excellently worked goal through Shane McGuigan at the 55-minute mark.
This score brought the teams level for the first time at 1-10 to 0-13 and it was game on. Derry went ahead through Christopher Bradley to take their first lead of the game, 66 minutes gone.
Tyrone regrouped right from the kick-off, with forward Darren McCurry finding the net. Tyrone took full control outscoring Derry 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing stages of the game.
The Derry men will hold their heads high with key men Chrissy McKaigue and Shane McGuigan putting in solid performances. This should give them belief going into the back door qualifiers, with Tyrone advancing in the Ulster championship to face Antrim. The scoreline read Tyrone 1-19(22) to Derry’s 1-13(16).
Joe McDonagh Cup-Antrim v Kerry
The Antrim hurlers began their Joe McDonagh quest to win a Leinster championship playoff-spot this past Saturday.
The Saffrons welcomed Kerry to Dunloy in a contest that was a potential banana skin for the home side, who tasted defeat to The Kingdom in last years competition.
Kerry took an early three-point lead with two from Shane Conway and one fom Michael O’Leary, until Antrim’s Eoin O’Neill and Ryan McCambridge got scores on the board for their side after 10 minutes. Both sides then traded scores, with Saffron Captain Conor McCann getting his first of the game.
A lovely moved started by midfielder Nicky McKeague from a sideline cut found James McNaughton, who slipped the ball into the hands of Ciaran Clarke, who expertly slotted the ball past keeper Martin Stockpoole.
Antrim led 1-6 to 0-7 with 32 minutes gone in the second half. A further point by Eoin O’Neill had the Saffrons leading by a single point at half time.
Start of the second half Nicky McKeague struck a high ball into the Kerry defense, which awkwardly bounced in front of keeper Stackpoole finding its way into the net. The home-side now lead 2-9 to 0-11 with six minutes gone in the second half.
Two scores from talisman Neil McManus put five between the teams, with Kerry’s Shane Conway striking over a free but was unable to stop the onslaught of the Antrim attack. Substitute Nigel Elliot scored Antrim’s third goal of the game, brilliantly bolting towards the goal about 50 yards out, beating chasing defenders and driving the ball into the net.
3-15 to 0-12 now read on the scoreboard with 28 minutes left in the game. Scores from substitutes Joe Maskey and Kevin Rice secured victory for Neal Peden’s side. The final scoreline read 3-19 (28) to 0-14 (14).
The Saffrons will now travel to Portlaois to face Laois in the next round of the Joe McDonagh.
Munster Senior Hurling championship
Clare 1-20 to 0-22 Waterford
Tipp 2-28 to 1-24 Cork
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
Galway 1-24 1-18 Carlow