29 May, 2011

GAA Championship 2011 underway "for real" this weekend as London almost create shock of the decade in what is a real sign of the recessionary times:

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EVER INFLUENTIAL:   Tipp's All-Star captain Lar Corbett
TITANIC STRUGGLE:  Tipp v Cork at Thurles
While it's the fourth Championship weekend, it was only the phoney war until now.  When Cork & Tipp's hurlers meet, you know the Championship is really underway.  The All-Ireland Champs were hammered
 "Nobody'll fancy playing Cork in the qualifiers and if their next game is easy; I could see them going on a very goood run"

in the corresponding fixture last year, were out for revenge and lead by eight points, five minutes into the second half.  However, Cork had the scores levelled up on 55 minutes.  Tipp showed why they are Champions though, reeling off four unanswered points and when Benny Dunne 
scored Tipp's third goal four minutes from time, it was game over and Tipp ran out 3-22 to 0-23 winners; though that score flattered the Premier County.  "Nobody will fancy playing Cork in the qualifiers and if their next game is an easy one; I could see them going on a very good run, maybe to the (All-Ireland) Quarters or Semi-Finals.  I don't think they can reach an All-Ireland Final, but they can definitely go a long way and are a young, ever improving side," - said Cyril Farrell on the RTÉ television panel.  Ger Loughnane added:  "This was a very important game for Tipp.  Whilst it was only the first round, they couldn't afford to go the back door again this year.  They've had tough routes to the last two All-Ireland Finals and it would have been a step too far to go the back door again this time."
In what was probably the story of the day; Mayo needed extra-time to overcome London in what would have been a supposed "humiliating" Connacht Championship defeat.  However, one wonders is the it a sign of the times as places like London are attracting some of Ireland's top talent; including some top GAA talent in these recessionary times.  London led for most of the 70 minutes; but a late rally prevented England's capital from winning their first Championship fixture since 1977 as the full-time whistles saw the scores level at 1-9 to 0-12. 
Mayo get scare of their lives but empty bench to eventually pip London
The Exiles tired in extra-time and the visitors landed three points in a row to finally attain a sizeable gap with a 0-16 to 1-9 lead.  A late goal from the home side meant the closing minutes were exciting but Mayo held on to win 0-19 to 2-10 in front of a crowd of some 4,000 souls at Ruislip.

Late Peadar Carton goal finally saw Dublin home
Elsewhere; National Hurling League Champions Dublin were pushed all the way by Offaly, before eventually pulling through 2-21 to 1-20 with a last minute goal finally sealing victory.   The fact that The Faithful had a man sent off early in the second half also had to contribute to the Dub's win, though Paul Ryan's free-taking was vital to the men in blue who admitted afterwards that  "We were lucky to get the win today."

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