Men in Tights

The Irish team land in Oz.

With Australia set to field what is considered their strongest ever team in this weekend’s International Rules Test, it was an interesting piece of reverse psychology by Irish management to get the players to travel in fancy dress as Robin Hood’s men in Tights.

Yes we know, before the players and performance coaches get all antsy with us we know they were compression tights designed to keep the muscles in good order during the long haul, but they could have been removed before the lads pranced through departures. The Aussies will be dungin the togz watching that. Of course they will. As the oul fella says when he saw it on the telly, look at the shape of them bollixes. And when he recognized big Murphy the man was affronted completely.

Lets hope they win the match, then everyone will be wearing tights. Up with that sort of thing.

The Game for Anto

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. That’s what you have here tonight boys.”
Herb Brooks in Miracle

Once again the GAA community has shown itself capable of great things, supporting its own, getting behind a cause and supporting one of its own. A few years ago the thought of a GAA match in Ravenhill would have been fanciful nonsense, dismissed, derisory.

Anto Finnegan was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease a couple of years ago and determined to do something positive he established his deterMND campaign to do something about it. All those icebucket challenges you saw during the summer? Many were in aid of Motor Neurone Disease. It is incurable but Anto Finnegan has ensured it is not.

The Game for Anto was more than a game for Anto. The St Paul’s man captured the imagination of the public. The Irish News backed the concept from the start and had the brainwave to field their All Star team, a prestige outfit recognised each year for their exploits in Ulster and beyond. They had never fielded before. Many of the guys that played had been opponents of Anto over the years. A few were teammates.

With Casement Park currently undergoing redevelopment, the Ulster Branch of the IRFU agreed to host the event at the Kingspan Stadium, the stadium formerly know as Ravenhill, with proceeds going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association to support research into MND.

That in itself was an important moment for local sport. Much was made of the GAA allowing other sports to be played in Croke Park. It was significant and welcoming that the game was played on Ulster rugby’s home turf.

It shows that for the right reasons sport rises above a lot of the other nonsense in this part of the world. Sometimes it takes the likes of an Anto to come along and show us that. It was a fitting game, played in a good spirit. It was a great moment for local sport. And with it, perhaps there some a great opportunity.


Social Media Gives You The Skitter

Given the hullabaloo surrounding players and social media, boys ranting on about match officials and umpires on Twitter night and day and abusing unsuspecting journalists, the GAA has come down hard, too damn hard according to some people.

Folks are affronted that cubs don’t have the God given right to say whatever they want on Twitter. Many of these are the same people that pay a few pound into a club game and think that gives them the right to shout whatever they want at players. Gobshitery. It’s alive and well.

The solution’s close at hand. We’re working on a new social media platform that is safe to use in the quietness and decency of your own home. I suppose its social because it doesn’t annoy anyone but the trick is, it’s also antisocial because no-one can see it. Yes, that’s the secret. Once you write a message and hit send it is posted and absolutely no-one can see it. You get to absolve your frustration, vent your anger and flush your pipes without disturbing anyone, or worse still getting yourself suspended.

We’re still working on a name but The Skitter is the favourite. As in ‘have you got the skitter yet?’ Pretty soon everyone will be talking about it. Watch this space.

Fennelly auctions hurl and jersey from 2011 All-Ireland final.

By Jackie Cahill

2011 Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly is auctioning the jersey he wore and the hurl that he used in last September’s All-Ireland final in aid of charity.

Late last year, Fennelly spent a week building houses in the townships of South Africa and has donated his jersey and hurl to the Niall Mellon township trust.

Having participated in the Building Blitz week in November 2011, Fennelly witnessed at first hand the horrendous living conditions that local people must endure daily

He reflected: “When you actually see the poverty in front of your eyes, that’s when it hits home. I am delighted to be able to do anything I can to help and I hope that by donating my jersey and hurl that good will come from it.”

The proceeds from the sale of these items will enable the charity to continue a year round house building programme, helping some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in South Africa move from a shack to a house.

Fennelly recently presented his shirt and hurl to Liam Mullen, staunch Kilkenny supporter and veteran charity volunteer, who has travelled to South Africa every year for the past ten years. For further information on the Auction and charity visit or phone 01 4948200.

A direct link to Michael Fennelly’s auction page can be found here:


HE Camogie Round Up

The semi-finalists of the Ashbourne Cup were decided yesterday when University Limerick and University College Cork won their final group games.  UL defeated NUI Galway in Dangan while UCC overcame a spirited UUJ challenge in Dublin.


UCC 2-25 –v- UUJ 5-05



Referee: Donal Ryan


It was goal’s galore in the first half with no less than six three pointers hit between the sides before half time.  UUJ had the perfect start when Aimee McAtamney hit the back of the net within 30 seconds of the thrown in.  UCC responded with points from captain Denise Cronin and Cork team mate Joanne Casey, while Cliodhna MacSweeney was also on target for the Cork College.  The sides then exchanged points before UUJ full forward Karen Kielt scored her side’s second goal ten minutes into the first half.  Katrina Mackey and Waterford All Ireland winner Shauna Kiernan began to dominate at midfield and they provided the platform for the UCC attacks despite pressure from Down’s Paula Gribben.  The UUJ defence was under considerable pressure and despite excellent performances from Cathy Carey, Sabrina Larkin and Aileen Martin, UCC continued to raise the white flag through Mackey and Cronin while the industrious Marie O’Neill also tagged on two points.  O’Neill followed up on her two points with a fortunate goal midway through the first half before UCC full forward Sharon Hayes scored a goal with ten minutes of the half remaining.  The Belfast side then hit a purple patch with McAtamney and Kielt scoring a goal each, followed up by a pointed free from Derry’s Kielt.  UCC had the final say of the first half with a point from a placed ball courtesy of Katrina Mackey.


Half-Time Score UCC 2-14 –v- UUJ 4-03


UCC introduced Aoife Barry-Murphy and Nicola Moore at half time, while UUJ introduced Aimee McInerney at halftime to try and curtail the excellent Joanne Casey. The Cork side continued where they left off in the first half with points from MacSweeney, Casey, Denise Cronin and Nicola Moore.  Marie O’Neill was again to the fore in the second half adding on a further four points before the Belfast side scored their fifth goal of the game from Alex McLoughlin following a strong run from Sara Louise Carr.  UUJ did create more chances but excellent defending from Caomihe Shields and Eimear Mulhall forced mistakes and missed chances from UUJ.  UCC ran out comfortable winners in the end but UUJ can take heart from their performance.


As a result of this fixture UCC top the group ahead of UCD and compete in the Ashbourne Cup semi finals, while UUJ will play in the Shield.


UCC: Shauna Carroll (Offaly), Aideen McNamara (Limerick), Nicola Butler (Kilkenny), Caoimhe Shields (Kilkenny), Christina Murphy (Cork), Eimear Mulhall (Kilkenny), Patricia Buttimer (Cork), Shauna Kiernan (Waterford), Katrina Mackey (Cork), Joanne Casey (Cork), Marie O’Neill (Cork), Denise Cronin (capt, Cork), Cliodhna MacSweeney (Kildare), Sharon Hayes (Tipperary), Caitroina Brennan (Kilkenny) SUBS Aoife Barry Murphy (Cork) for Caitroina Brennan, Nicola Moore (Kilkenny) for Sharon Hayes


UUJ: Eleanor Mallon (Antrim), Sarah Maguire (Antrim), Aileen Martin (Antrim), Rebecca Mooney (Antrim), Cathy Carey (Antrim), Sabrina Larkin (Tipperary), Paula Gribben (Down), Lisa McPolin (Down), Shannon Graham (Antrim), Teresa McElroy (Derry), SaraLouise Carr (capt, Down), Niamh Donnelly (Antrim), Alex McLaughlin (Antrim), Karen Kielt (Derry), Aimee McAtamney (Antrim) SUBS: Aimee McInerney (Clare), Joanne O’Laughlin (Antrim)


The fixtures for the semi finals now read as follows.




Semi Final 1

University College Cork –v- University College Limerick


Semi Final 2

Waterford IT –v- University College Dublin



NUI Galway –v- University of Ulster Jordanstown

Ashbourne Match Report



Dublin star Kate McDonald inspires UCD to victory over UUJ with a player of the match display in the group stages of the Ashbourne Cup.

After suffering a defeat in the league UCD turned the tables on UUJ last night when they recorded a 2-14 to 2-08 victory in Round 2 of the Ashbourne Cup.  Played in freezing conditions in Dublin, UCD were the stronger side in the first half with free taker Kristen Farrell proving deadly accurate from placed balls.  Arriving late to the match UUJ were always on the back foot with Denise McGrath causing havoc in the UUJ defence, wearing number 12, McGrath took advantage of UUJ’s slow start when she rifled a shot past Jordanstown’s keeper Eleanor Mallon.  With joint captain Kate McDonald and Dublin’s Natalia Hyland dominant at midfield UUJ struggled to get any ball into their forward line.  UUJ could feel that they were penalised wrongly which allowed UCD to tag on a few points before UUJ responded with a well taken goal from Derry star Karen Kielt, followed by a point from a free from the same player shortly after.  UCD continued to pile on the pressure with points from Kirsten Farrell, Eileen McElroy and Emma O’Connor and but for the efforts of the UUJ defence led by Sabrina Larkin it could have been worse.  Dublin’s McGrath had the final say of the first half when she hit the top corner of the net for her second goal.

HALF TIME SCORE:  UCD 2-06 –v- UUJ 1-01

After some strong words from UUJ manager Aisling Jackson at half time UUJ started the second half brightly with two points inside the opening two minutes.  UCD responded with an excellent team score after the hard working Sandra Tannion provided a lay off to Eimear O’Connor who duly slotted over a point from an acute angle.  UUJ responded with a point from a free, before Eileen McElroy scored after an impressive solo run through the UUJ defence.  UCD followed this up with two points from frees before UUJ responded with a point from Shannon Graham.  It was score for score for the next ten minutes before UUJ sparked to life scoring 1-03 without reply.  Strong running from UUJ captain Sara Louise Carr created space in the UCD defence and when Carr laid the ball off to full forward Kielt, she duly finished to the net with a hand passed goal.  It proved to little too late for Jordanstown who now play UCC next week in a game, which they must win if they are to stand any chance of going through to the Ashbourne Cup semi finals.

Best on the night for UCD were Sandra Tannion, Kate McDonald, Denise McGrath and Eileen McElroy.  While Tipperary native Sabrina Larkin and Lisa McPolin performed best for the Belfast side.

FINAL SCORE UCD 2-14 –v- UUJ 2-08

UCD Team:  Emma Staunton, Emma Doyle, Ger Stapleton, Frances Doran, Ruth Kaiser, Leanne Fennelly (capt), Elaine Tannian, Kate McDonald (capt), Natalia Hyland, Sandra Tannian, Eileen McElroy, Denise McGrath, Eimear O’Connor, Kirsten Farrell, Emma O’Connor

UUJ Team: Eleanor Mallon, Aimee McInerney, Sarah Maguire, Rebecca Mooney, Cathy Carey, Sabrina Larkin, Lisa McPolin, Teresa McElroy, Paula Gribben, Dania Donnelly, Sara Louise Carr (Capt.), Shannon Graham, Alex McLaughlin, Karen Kielt, Niamh Donnelly

Asbourne Round Up

Waterford IT 2-13 University of Limerick 1-9

Jacqui O’Connor reports on the first of the Round 2 Ashbourne Cup fixtures.

The second round game in pool A of the Ashbourne 2012 was played yesterday in UL in which the home side and visitors WIT served up a well contested game for the strong cohort of supporters in attendance.  A bright crisp spring day and relatively good underfoot conditions lent itself to a good open fast game with both sides keen to progress in this year’s championship.  After a very lively start both sides exchanged scores from placed balls; Emma Comerford for WIT and Tipp senior Cait Devane for UL.

A ding dong battle then ensued with both defences and mid field parings doing well as the intensity of the game grew. Despite the strong defending of UL captain Susan Vaughan and Maria Walsh at centre back and the hard working Bolger sisters it was WIT who managed to dominate the next quarter with two well taken goals by Marie Dargan and Emma Comerford and from placed balls by Patricia Jackman and Emma Comerford before UL added another point from a free. Just before half time WIT captain Katie Power tacked on two good points from play. The second half very much belonged to UL who got off to a flying start and with great work by Niamh O Dea, Niamh Richardson, Cait Devane and Cork senior Julia White saw them notching up 1-2 before Patricia Jackman added to her tally for WIT from placed balls and Denise Gaule’s  well worked point from play. Further points were soon exchanged for both sides by their respective top free takers; Cait Devane for UL and Emma Commerford for WIT, each pointing from the penalty spot before bringing the game to a close. Though disappointed UL who were without their full back Shona Curran, a star from Waterford’s  Junior All Ireland winning side last year will take much heart from their second half display as they head into their second group game against NUIG next week and which should prove to be a very eagerly contested encounter. WIT now progress to the Cup semi finals and will know that despite some good patches of play that more will be required over the full sixty minutes if they are to secure a place in the final.

UL: S Moynihan, E Frisby, S Vaughan (capt), C Motherway, E Ryan, M Walsh, N O Dea, Lisa Bolger (1-0,free), Linda Bolger, F Keely, R Byrne, C Devane (0-9, 0-8 frees) (, J White, N Richardson, M Scanlon, subs: J Mulcahy for M Scanlon (20 mins) C O Leary for F Keely (24 mins)

WIT: K Keneally, R Jones, SA Fitzgerald, L Keena, P Jackman (0-4,frees), C Dormer, A Carroll, K O’ Donoghue, K Parrock, K Power (0-2), M Quilty, S Farrell, M Dargan (1-0), D Gaule (0-1), E Comerford (1-6, 0-5 frees)

Referee: Mike O Connor

More Balls and OddBalls!

More Balls

This week we’re taking a look at some of the marvellous coaching resources out there, if only you knew where to look for them.

Here some coaching reosurces from the early 1960s.


Hoppy and You Know It

We’re not sure who Hoppy is, but he has his own views on coaching gaelic football. Enjoy!

Hoppy on Scoring

Hoppy on Tackling


Armagh Harps raised both our eyebrows when we learned that they are sponsored by a local undertaker and also that they ran a Phil Coulter concert as a fundraiser. Armagh people just have to be different though, don’t they?

Armagh Clinch All Ireland Camogie Crown

Shame about the singing but the girls from the County Armagh can clearly do their singing on the pitch, blowing the opposition away, sticks in hand.


2012 Táin Hurling League


Any Club wishing to enter the 2012 Táin Club Hurling League should do so as soon as possible by completing the attached application form.

The competition is for senior teams and is open to all hurling Clubs in Ulster as well as clubs from Leitrim, Sligo, Longford and Louth.  It is proposed to run the group stages off on:

–             Saturday 4th February?-

–             Saturday 11th February?-

–             Saturday 18th February?-

–             Saturday 3rd March?-

–             Saturday 7th April

The Semi-Finals are scheduled for the weekend of 21st April, while the Finals will be played on the weekend of 28th April.

This competition will be administered by the An Lár Choiste Cheannais na gChomórtaisí (Central Competitions Control Committee) and all fixtures must be honoured.

All clubs are asked to make a special effort to ensure that all fixtures schedules are adhered to, and failure to do so will result in fines being imposed.

Teams who wish to play in this competition must return their registration forms before 4.00pm on Monday 7th November 2011.


All forms must be submitted in email via the County Secretary and sent to:




Level 3 Diploma Coaching Course

For the first time ever Gaels from across Ulster will have the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in ‘GAA Performance Sports Coaching’ and ‘GAA Sports Management’, both of which are accredited Level 3 Diploma courses.

This exciting initiative has been designed in times of economic hardship and unemployment, with the aim to provide GAA volunteers the opportunity to develop new skills and competencies that will benefit them when seeking employment.

Ulster GAA working with Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI) and Skills Active will deliver these Level 3 Diploma Courses in Armagh from Wednesday 5th October.

Speaking at the launch of this new initiative Ulster GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail said, “Gaels across Ulster will no doubt be intrigued by this new initiative which offers for the first time ever an opportunity to receive a Diploma in GAA studies.

“We have thousands for volunteers who give their time freely coaching in their clubs from U8s right up to Senior teams.  They do so because they have a love for the Association, for the games, for their club and their community.  Now the GAA wants to give back to those volunteers by providing the opportunity for our members to obtain a recognised qualification so that they can use that for further education or employment.

“I have no doubt that there will be massive interest in these courses.  We have developed the timetable with volunteers in mind and as such the courses will be delivered once a week in the evening time in Armagh City.”

Welcoming the joint initiative Brendan Clarke, CEO of Open College Network Northern Ireland said,  “Sport is an integral part of our life here in Ulster, supporting young players and adults alike to make a valued contribution to their local and national community, as well as to themselves and their families – this aligns well with OCNNI’s mission as a charity focused on supporting learning.    To be associated with this key development, and able to support it by accrediting such a distinctive and important activity as the GAA coaching programme, is a source of significant pride to the OCNNI.

“The accreditation of this programme will enable the skills and knowledge gained by GAA coaches to be formally recognised through a national awarding body via a national qualification.   Coaches will gain a tailored national qualification issued through OCNNI’s status as a national awarding body.”

NI Manager for Skills Active Siobhan Weir has also welcomed the launch of the new GAA Diploma courses by saying, ““The formal accreditation of this important qualification is an excellent achievement for Ulster GAA.  Accreditation benefits everyone – from the learner who will achieve external recognition of their skills and the tutors who will be guided by an experienced awarding organisation through to the wider sporting industry which aims to ensure that the hard work of volunteer coaches count towards career development and job satisfaction.”

Anyone interested in applying for the Level 3 Diploma in ‘GAA Performance Sports Coaching’ or ‘GAA Sports Management’ should contact Course Co-ordinator Roger Keenan on 02837517180 or email .  Ulster GAA website has full details also


TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Final

Cork 2-7 Monaghan 0-11

By Jackie Cahill at Croke Park

GOALS proved crucial for Cork as the Leesiders captured a sixth TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship crown in seven seasons at Croke Park this afternoon.

The Munster champions lost to Tyrone at the quarter-final stage last year but have hit back in impressive fashion in 2011, adding the Brendan Martin Cup to the Bord Gáis Energy National League and Munster championship crowns collected earlier in the season.

Cork routed Monaghan by 14 points in the 2008 decider but just two points separated the sides today as the Ulster champions put up a huge fight.

Monaghan came from two points down to lead by a point twice in the second half but then the Farney girls conceded a killer penalty in the 43rd minute.

Monaghan sub Isobel Kierans hauled down Cork replacement Orla Finn and Rhona Ni Bhuachalla made no mistake to hand the winners a 2-5 to 0-8 advantage.

It was the second time that Monaghan had conceded a goal at a crucial time, as Nollaig Cleary’s 21st minute effort gave Cork a 1-3 to 0-3 lead.

And again, it was an avoidable score from a Monaghan perspective as Linda Martin’s mistake was pounced on by Cleary, who lobbed the unfortunate goalkeeper at the Hill 16 end.

For much of the game, Monaghan stood toe to toe with their much-vaunted opponents as they chased a first All-Ireland senior crown since 1997.

But ultimately, they were left empty-handed once again; suffering a sixth defeat in their eighth final appearance, but this was a hugely respectable performance by Gregory McGonagle’s team.

Experience counted for a huge amount in Cork’s victory but there was a black spot on the afternoon as captain Amy O’Shea suffered suspected cruciate knee ligament damage in the second half.

The corner forward has already experienced the dreaded injury in both knees and addressed the media after the game with a protective brace on her right knee.

O’Shea scored a hat-trick of goals against Laois in the semi-final and went close to another in the third minute today, with her third minute deflected shot rattling the Monaghan crossbar.

The sides were level three times in the opening twenty minutes before Cleary struck that crucial goal in a low-scoring first half.

O’Shea could have added a second but in untypical fashion, she fouled the ball when through on goal in the 23rd minute.

At the other end, Ellen McCarron blazed over the crossbar on the stroke of half-time with a goal for the taking.

But Monaghan opened the second half in determined fashion as Ciara McAnespie pointed within 20 seconds of the restart, before Niamh Kindlon added two points to put Monaghan a point clear, 0-7 to 1-3.

The sides traded scores as Monaghan edged clear again before Geraldine O’Flynn surged forward for an inspirational Cork score with twenty minutes remaining to level the scores at 1-5 to 0-8.

Then, disaster struck for Monaghan when Kierans fouled Finn and from the resultant penalty, Ní Bhuachalla made no mistake.

Monaghan did get back to within a point, 0-11 to 2-6, in the closing minutes but midfielder Rena Buckley banged over a 55th minute point for Cork to restore a two-point buffer.

And calling on all of their experience in the game’s dying embers, Cork cleverly used possession to run down the clock.

Defensively, this was an impressive display from the Rebelettes, with full-back Angela Walsh and corner back Deirdre O’Reilly outstanding.


Scorers for Cork: N Cleary & R Ní Bhuachalla (pen) 1-0 each, J Murphy 0-3 (2f), G O’Flynn, R Buckley, G Kearney & V Mulcahy 0-1 each.


Scorers for Monaghan: C McConnell (2f) & N Kindlon (2f) 0-3 each, E McCarron 0-2, C McAnespie, C Mohan & L McEnaney 0-1 each.


CORK: E Harte; A.M. Walsh, Angela Walsh, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, B Stack, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, R Buckley; N Cleary, M Kelly, G Kearney; V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, A O’Shea.


Subs: C O’Sullivan for O’Shea (inj, 38), O Finn for Mulcahy (39), N Kelly for Cleary (46), A Sheehan for Ní Bhuachalla (53), Annie Walsh for Buckley (55).


MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; A McAnespie, N Fahy, L Connolly; A Casey, C Courtney; T McNally, E McCarron, C McConnell; C McAnespie, N Kindlon, C Mohan.


Subs: I Kierans for C Courtney (25), L McEnaney for Kindlon (42), C Courtney for McCarron (42), E McElroy for Kierans (50).


Referee: J Niland (Sligo).