Date Published: 15-Jun-2011
IF anyone thought that the Kilkenny hurlers were in serious decline after their admittedly untypical National League final capitulation to Dublin in Croke Park in early May, they were quickly brought back to their senses by the Cats’ routine demolition of flattering Wexford in the Leinster championship semi-final last Saturday evening.
There had been extenuating circumstances for Kilkenny’s defeat in that League showdown, most notably an injury crisis which saw them shorn the services of central figures such as Henry Shefflin, Richie Power and the under-rated Michael Fennelly. All three lined out in Wexford Park and, unlike their clash against Dublin when Eoin Larkin was sent off in the opening-half, they had 15 players on the field for the entire 70 minutes.
Still, it had looked a reasonable opportunity for Wexford to end their modern-day torment against their traditional arch rivals. Playing at home after a strong finish to the league campaign which saw them avoid demotion to Division Two, Colm Bonnar’s men were expected to really test Kilkenny, especially after their U-21s had turned over the Noresiders at the same venue earlier in the week.
Undoubtedly, they tried hard and with full forward Garrett Sinnott escaping JJ Delaney’s clutches to fire over three early points, hopes were raised that Wexford were about to give Kilkenny a serious testing. Gradually, however, it became clear that they weren’t up to it. Richie Hogan, who was particularly lively, fired home a fine goal as Brian Cody’s squad began putting daylight between the teams.
They were already eight points clear near half-time when Wexford were thrown a lifeline. Stephen Banville won a dubious enough close range free which corner forward Jim Berry drove low to the net. Now, only 1-13 to 1-8 behind and the big home crowd on their feet as the teams retired to the dressing rooms, Wexford must have thought that they were back in the contest.
They even managed to cut the margin to four points early in the second-half after an excellent effort from PJ Nolan, but they were to get no closer as Kilkenny upped the ante from there to the finish. Wing forward Michael Rice, in particular, was proving a real handful while Fennelly’s strong running from midfield was also putting Wexford under pressure. Hogan saw a second goal chance crack off the post, but Kilkenny still coasted home and had 11 points to spare at the finish.
Cody, however, will have some concern about his full back line and new goalkeeper Dave Herity had to justify his promotion with a couple of excellent reflex saves. The return of Power and Shefflin, though not that prominent in open play, added guile to their attack while debutant Paul Murphy did his chances of an extended run in the black and amber jersey no harm with a purposeful display in the half-back line. In the end, Kilkenny were in cruise control and Wexford had returned to reality.
The following afternoon in Thurles, Waterford had to rely on a deflected goal from John Mullane to squeeze past revitalised Limerick in a Munster semi-final which produced a cracking second-half. The Treaty men paid the penalty for hitting some bad wides at key moments of the match, while the failure to adequately clear their lines after saving Eoin Kelly’s late free also came back to haunt
Despite Donal O’Grady’s prominence around midfield, Limerick’s poor shooting was undermining a really spirited performance. They looked in trouble when trailing by six points approaching half-time, but an excellent goal from raiding wing back Wayne McNamara helped to provide the scoreboard with a more accurate reflection of the exchanges. Waterford still led by three at the break, but it was clear that they now had a real battle on their hands.
And that view was reinforced when towering teenager Kevin Downes picked off the first of his two second-half goals. Though the Limerick half backs were beginning to dominate, they were guilty of some loose marking too with impressive Waterford wing forward Paudie O’Mahony exploiting the space to register some neat points from play. A Shane Walsh green flag also helped to steady the Munster champions, but they were soon to fall behind again.
Downes’ second goal gave Limerick fresh impetus down the home stretch and when substitute David Breen and Moran fired over rousing points, the Division Two league winners appeared on the brink off causing a big surprise, but Mullane saved Waterford’s bacon and, in the process, set up a Munster final date with either Tipperary or Clare. It was tough luck on Limerick, but they are certain to build on this performance in the upcoming qualifiers.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.