It was a hat trick for the GAA in Britain over the weekend, as all three hurling representatives secured impressive championship wins.
In the Lory Meagher Cup, Warwickshire overcame tough competitors Sligo in comfortable fashion at Pairc na hEireann. The result sets them out as the favourites to life the cup in Croke Park next month, as Sligo were seen to be the other strong contenders in the group, before the 11-point loss in Solihull.
Elsewhere in the Lory Meagher, Lancashire hosted their first home inter-county hurling game and were boosted by a 13-point win in only their second outing of the year. The 2-22 to 0-15 home victory against Fermanagh was bolstered by the efforts of Corkonian Ronan Crowley, and it is a good sign that Lancashire will be accepted by Croke Park into the national league set up sooner rather than later.
In the second-tier hurling championship London sailed through their must-win Christy Ring Cup tie against Roscommon to secure a quarter-final berth against Down this weekend.
London books its place in quarter final against Down
Roscommon hurlers will not have too many happy memories of their first competitive game on the magnificent new pitch at Dr Hyde Park when they were totally outclassed by a powerful London team on Saturday evening last.
The small crowd who gathered on a fine but cold evening witnessed a total mis-match that was over long before the referee even blew the half-time whistle. London exploded from the starting blocks in the first half and they completely overwhelmed a dispirited home side and by half-time they had already won the game when they led by a whopping 22 points.
The second half saw a slight Roscommon improvement in the third quarter but London kicked on again towards the end of the game to record as easy a win as they could ever have hoped for. The Exiles were 0-6 to 0-0 up after 13 minutes with the outstanding Kevin O’Loughlin in razor sharp form and Edmund Kenny was not far behind with two fine early strikes.
Roscommon got their first point, a Robbie Fallon free in the 15th minute, but it was brief respite as London totally dominated proceedings. Inevitable PJ Rowe flicked home a 16th minute goal and by the 20th minute it was 1-9 to 0- 1.
Roscommon did score two frees in succession by the 25th minute but in the final 10 minutes of the half London pulled away into the distance even further. In the 29th minute Martin Duggan pulled first time to the Roscommon net for goal number two and less than a minute later Kevin O’Loughlin fired home London’s third goal.
By half time the score was an incredible 3-17 to 0- 4 with the homes sides’ only first half point from play coming from Robbie Fallon in the 28th minute. With an entire half of hurling still to be played the game was over.
In fairness to Roscommon they made a fist of things in the third quarter, but it may have been more a case of London taking their foot off the accelerator. Points from Padraig Kelly ad Shane Curley was followed by a goal in the 49th minute when Naos Connaughton’s shot was half blocked down but was flicked to the net by Johnny Coyne. By the 50th minute it was 3-20 to 1-9, but London kicked on again in the final 10 minutes.
The sides had a number of subs on now as the game meandered to it’s inevitable conclusion, but there was still time for Shane Lawless to fire home a 68th minute goal to complete the rout.
I doubt if London will have had many easier championship games and they will surely have sterner tests ahead.
For Roscommon this was a hammering that will do no good for the morale of the side. The reality is that even with competitions like the Christy Ring Cup there are a couple of divisions in terms of standard and they were just totally outclassed on the day. It was very disappointing end to their Christy Ring Cup campaign particularly as they had scored 1- 20 in Ballycran the previous week.
A relegation clash against Mayo now awaits Johnny Kelly’s men and the management team will have a huge job on their hands to get the players ready for that encounter in three weeks time.
For London Enda Cooney, Shane Lawless, Edmund Kenny and man of the match Kevin O’Loughlin were outstanding while for a very poor and totally outplayed Roscommon side Shane Curley, Robbie Fallon and Padraig Kelly did well. But it was a day the home side will want to forget.
LONDON: Eoin Kelly (0-2, frees); Mark Conroy, Ger Mahon, Paul Horkan; Stephen Bardon, Brian Regan (0-1), Oisin Gately; Tadgh Healy (0- 1), Enda Cooney (0-3); Martin Duggan (1-0), PJ Rowe (1-0), Shane Lawless (1-3); Kevin O’Loughlin (1-7, 3 frees, 2 ‘65’s), Edmund Kenny (0-3), Mark Dwyer (0-3). SUBS: Neil Rogers for Kenny (h/t), Daryl Roberts for Rowe (43), Shane O’Donnell (0-1) for Duggan (49), Richard Murphy for O’Loughlin (61), Alan Griffiths for Cooney (67).
ROSCOMMON: Noel Fallon; Pat Nolan, Peter Kellehan, Alan Moore; Micheal Byrne, Padraig Kelly (0-1), Tomas Seale; Shane Curley (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ’65), Cathal Dolan; Gary Fallon, Gearoid Keenan, Naos Connaughton; Eamon Flanagan (0-1), Johnny Coyne (1-0), Robbie Fallon (0-3, 2 frees). SUBS: Hugh Rooney (0-1) for R Fallon (39), David Loughnane for Nolan (45), Jerry Fallon for Gary Fallon (46), Eoghan Costello (0-1), for Coyle (55), Gearoid Egan for Moore (63).
REFEREE: Gearoid McGrath.
Photos by Andrew Fox