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Best of Luck to Kilkenny Footballers This Weekend

By Mary Morgan Fri 14th Jun

Inter County Junior Football Championship Quarter Finals This weekend sees Kilkenny, Scotland, London and Hertfordshire go in search of the final two quarter-final places, as things really begin to heat up in the All Britain Junior Football Championship. Kilkenny continue their travels of Britain with a trip to Edinburgh, following last weekends defeat to Lancashire, to take on Scotland. Despite leading at half-time, and having played against a stiff breeze, the Cats just couldn’t keep the men from the North-West at bay, and were behind by the minimum when Mark McLoughlin called a halt to proceedings. They were, however, very impressive in beating Hertfordshire on the opening weekend, and backboned by the Aylwards of Ballyhale in the centre of their defence, and with Stephen Duggan and Graham Lawlor in top form up front, the visitors will no doubt be hard to beat. Scotland, following an impressive opening round victory over Yorkshire, just couldn’t recover from a slow start against Warwickshre last time out, and will be looking to be much sharper from the off this time around. With Shane Garry and Robbie Howe lining up in ther centre of the park, and John Loftus again likely to lead the attack, the home side will give themelves a big chance of upsetting the odds. With a large Dunedin Connollys contingent on board, the Scots won’t lie down easy on their home patch and it looks like anyone spending Saturday afternoon in the North of picturesque Edinburgh will be in for a treat. Throw-in 2pm. Action moves South on Sunday, as London play host to neighbours Hertfordshire in Ruislip. London succumbed to a mighty Lancashire performance first time out, but stripped much fitter last week against Gloucestershire, and will be looking to emulate their Seniors and reach a Provincial semi-final. With Westmeath due in town soon for the Senior Hurling qualifiers, all things GAA are on a high in the English capital at the moment, and Aidan Thompson will be hoping the good vibes rub off on his charges. Hertfordshire arrive here on the back of little resistance from Yorkshire, but there’s no doubt they’ll be going all out as the battle for bragging rights with their high-profile nighbours. Having suffered a couple of long-term injuries against Kilkenny in their Round 1 defeat, the pressure will be on them here, but Marty McManamon can be expected to have his men ready for the battle and the result should go right to the wire. Throw-in 2pm.      Inter County Junior Football Championship Round 2& Lory Meagher Cup Final The clash of the big hitters from Round 1, Kilkenny and Lancashire, kicked off the weekends Junior Football Championship action and they didn’t disappoint. In a close, tough tussle, where scores were hard to come by, the Cats played very well into the breeze and went in at the break leading 1-4 to 0-3. The defening champions looked under pressure, and down to 14 men and playing into the breeze, their task looked an impossible one. However, the men from the North West aren’t known for lying down and they certainly didn’t this time either, and at the end of a mammoth battle, came out on top by the minimum, 0-9 to 1-5 to book their semi-final place. Sunday saw two games, with Scotland and Warwickshire meeting in Manchester. Warwickshire got off to a lightning start, and led 2-3 to 0-1 by the quarter hour mark and looked in untouchable form. Scotland, probably disrupted by delays in their journey down, eventually settled though, and got a foothold in the game. The effort of the comeback proved too much however, and they just couldn’t draw back level, eventually failing on a scoreline of 3-11 to 2-11. Gloucestershire were the visitors to Ruislip, as they looked to book a place in the quarter-finals. The home side were in a mean mood however, and took some delightful scores on their way to an impressive 2-14 to 1-5 win. Beaten by Lancashire the previous weel, London were much sharper here and showed that they’ll have a big say in the destination of this years title. Following Londons great win over Sligo a fotnight ago, Croke Park was the scene for the latest piece of history for British GAA. Seeking their first ever Lory Meagher title, few could have expected that Warwickshire would take the crown in such convincing fashion, but convincing it was. In an even first half, Enda Lyons speculative effort found its way to the Longford net to give Warwickshire a 1-9 to 0-8 half-time lead, with Hawk-eye making its first appearance in a game of hurling to deny Sean Hennessy a point from a 65. What happened next however, can only be descirbed as awesome, as Stan Murray-Hession and Steve Aherns’s men completely took control soon after the restart. On a day when everyone was a hero, it was fitting that the ever consistent Eamonn Gleeson should finish with a 3 pointer, his long range effort going all the way to Eanna Dalys net, to give Warwickshire a 2-16 to 0-10 win, and signal rapturous scenes of excitement as Conall Maskey accepted the Lory Meagher Cup.  Inter County Junior Football Championship Round 2& Lory Meagher Cup Final Round 2 of the Junior Football Championship kicks off on Saturday evening in Páirc na hÉireann, with Kilkenny and Lancashire going head to head at 4pm. These two looked like two of the heavy-hitters in Round 1 and this should be a cracking tussle. On Sunday, Scotland and Warwickshire travel to Old Bedians GAA Grounds in Manchester for a 2pm throw in, while Hertfordshire and Yorkshire clash in Páirc na hEireann at the same time. Gloucesteshire and London wrap up the weekends action when they face off in Ruislip at 3pm. On Saturday, the hulers of Warwickshire head to Croke Park in search of history, and a first Lory Meagher win. Longoford provide the opposition and, following a close encounter in Round 1 of the competition, there should prove to be very little between the sides. Longford come in off the back of a very comprehensive victory over Fermanagh, with Joe O’Brien and Declan Tanner in fine scoring form and they’ll no doubt be confident of over turning the result from their Páirc na hÉireann visit. Warwickshire have had a good year to date, and with the like of Liam Knocker, Eamonn Gleeson, Cormac Behan and Sean Hennessy all in top form, the men from Britain will go all out for success, as they end a 40 year wait for an All-Ireland Final appearance. Inter County Junior Football ChampionshipRound 12nd & 3rd June Action get underway on Saturday evening in Luton, with Kilkenny visiting Sundon Park to take on the home side, Hertfordshire. Kilkenny got off to the perfect start, goaling early and by half-time, led 1-6 to 0-4. Try as they might, Marty McManamons’ side just couldn’t bridge the gap and the Cats goaled again with the final attack the leave the final score 2-14 to 0-6, and give the visitors a historic first win in the Britain Junior Football Championship. Sunday saw a double-header in Páirc na hÉireann, with Warwickshire and Gloucestershire opening the bill. The men from the West country got off to the perfect start, finding the Warwickshire net within two minutes. It proved only to be a wake up call for the home side, who dominated possession for the remainder of the half to lead by two points at half-time. Six clear on the 40 minute mark, it was beginning to look all too easy for the Midlanders but, to their credit, Kevin McDonaghs’ team battled hard and were, amazingly, level with six minutes to play. A couple of missed opportunities proved costly however, and Warwickshire quickly found their shooting boots to run out victors on a scorleine of 2-12 to 2-6. London and Lancashire formed the second part of the program, in a game that served to show just how powerful an outfit the defending champions are once again this year. Lancashire took some beautiful scores, with their goal coming from a neatly taken spot-kick by Des O’Malley. London stuck to their task as best they could but the power and pace of the men in yellow proved too much, and the scoreboard read 2-12 to 0-8 when Mark McLoughlins final whistle blew, O’Malley converting another placed ball from 12m. In Newcastle, Yorkshire and Scotland came face to face in a repeat of last years Round 1 game. Featuring County Secretary Alan Ward at full-forward, Scotland settled quickest and had built up a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the time 20 minutes had elapsed. Slicker on the ball, and sharper in front of goal, Scotland continued to find the range, and ran out winners by 15 points to 9 in an entertaining encounter.

By Mary Morgan Fri 14th Jun

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