GAA Sunday

It's a Croke Park double-header as the Leinster championship takes centre stage

Eamon Donoghue Sun, Jun 26
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  • Hello and Welcome... It's still underway in Lyon, but once that's finished (hopefully with a late Irish win) attention turns to the Leinster football semi-finals.

    First up Westmeath play Kildare and then it's Meath and Dublin. Tasty. We'll have all the action right here. Be sure to get in touch throughout via either the comments section ('Contact Us' tab) or on Twitter (@DonoghueEamon).

  • Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship

    Westmeath v Kildare, Croke Park, 4.15pm (RTE)

    Referee: Derek O'Mahoney (Tipperary)

    Dublin v Meath, Croke Park, 6.35pm (RTE)

    Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

  • Team news (named):  

    KILDARE:  Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Ollie Lyons; Johnny Byrne, Eoin Doyle, Cian O'Donoghue; Tommy Moolick, Fergal Conway; Adam Tyrrell, Morgan O'Flaherty, Eoin O'Flaherty; Cathal McNally, Niall Kelly, Neil Flynn.

    WESTMEATH:  Darren Quinn; Jamie Gonoud, Francis Boyle, Kevin Maguire; Killian Daly, Alan Stone, James Dolan; Ger Egan, Denis Corroon; David Lynch, Paul Sharry, Ray Connellan; Kieran Martin, John Heslin, John Connellan.

  • DUBLIN:  Stephen Cluxton; Philly McMahon, Jonny Cooper, David Byrne; James McCarthy, Cian O'Sullivan, John Small; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley; Dean Rock, Kevin McManamon, Ciaran Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Diarmuid Connolly, Bernard Brogan.

    MEATH:  Paddy O'Rourke; Donnacha Tobin, Donal Keogan, Mickey Burke; Darragh Smyth, Padraic Harnan, Alan Douglas; Harry Rooney, Cian O'Brien; Graham Reilly, Cillian O'Sullivan, Eamon Wallace; Dalton McDonagh, Andrew Tormey, Mickey Newman.

  • So yes, Irish disappointment aside - first up Westmeath take on Kildare. Westmeath looking to go into consecutive Leinster finals, despite their ongoing woes in the league.

    Kildare under the new tenure of Cian O'Neill looking to make the most of the enormous talent within their ranks. This should be a tight one.

  • Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin there with a frank account of his team's chances today. A big boost for them is the return of Ray Connellan from his AFL trial in Australia.  

    “Yes, Ray Connellan is a big addition, definitely. He was a bit of a loss the last month, but is back now, in great condition, and in very good form.”

    Read that preview in full here

  • Late change for Kildare: Emmet Bolton in for Cathal McNally
  • Pre-match Cian O'Neill and Tom Cribbin both  empathising the importance of winning their quarter-finals - depsite both struggling to get by Offaly and Wexford.
  • Game underway in Croker - a lot of empty seats and a flat start by both teams
  • Westmeath 0-1 Kildare 0-0 (2') What a score to get this game underway. Paul Sharry with a golf-like ping. Outside of the left. A great score after a grim opening few minutes
  • Westmeath playing with two sweepers so far. Both teams struggling for any fluidity with lots of poor hand and kick passing
  • Kieran Martin wins a free - blood subbed off for a knock on the nose he broke after the Offaly game
  • Westmeath 0-2 Kildare 0-0 (7') John Heslin floats over a free for Westmeath. They can trust in him to convert anything from inside the 45.
  • So far Kildare look so restrained - a little too much focus on tactics, structure. They seem scripted and Westmeath are finding them very easy to contain after the first 10 minutes. In which they have not scored
  • Westmeath 0-2 Kildare 0-1 (11') Neill Flynn slots a free from distance off the ground. Great strike
  • Westmeath 0-2 Kildare 0-2 (12') And Kildare are level. Fergal Conway takes on his man, and gets his shot up with plenty of air, avoiding the attempted block. Fine score
  • Kieran Martin, now wearing number 27 - is back on
  • Westmeath 0-3 Kildare 0-2 (13') Another beautiful free by Heslin. About 40m out. Then Fergal Conway makes a brilliant block on David Lynch while through on goal
  • After 15 minutes - this really has been tough stuff to endure. Slow build up. Poor execution of passing and finishing. And a lack of intensity
  • Westmeath 0-4 Kildare 0-2 (16') Heslin's third free after a late, silly foul by Tommy Moolick. He picks up Kildare's third yellow as a result. Three yellows in such a flat opening shows a lot of inexperience
  • Westmeath 0-5 Kildare 0-4 (22') Another placed ball - this time Paul Sharry form a 45. A beautiful strike with minimal run up. His second point. Emmet Bolton then responds with a point from play, quickly followed up by another from Niall Kelly.  
  • Kildare only a point down having not at all got going thus far
  • Westmeath 0-6 Kildare 0-5 (25') Great point by Kieran Martin after winning his own ball. He and Heslin inside are a real threat if they get the right ball. Emmet Bolton responds with his second point
  • Adam Tyrell hits Kildare's sixth wide. Lots of wild shooting from them
  • Westmeath 0-6 Kildare 0-6 (30') Johnny Byrne hits the post with his effort for a point. The ball eventually comes back to him though and he gets his point
  • Narrow wide for Westmeath half forward David Lynch. Good work by James Dolan should have been rewarded. Both teams still lacking any real intensity.
  • Westmeath 0-6 Kildare 0-7 (33') Kildare go ahead for the first time in the game after a beauty from Adam Tyrell. Really though, this has been dire so far. Both teams so flat, no runners off the shoulder. Scary to think either of these teams will be playing Dublin (or a team that beats Dublin) in a Leinster final in a few weeks
  • One minute into two minutes of first half additional time being played
  • Both teams unwilling to leave themselves open whatsoever in that first half. The pace of the game is that of a pre-season challenge, Westmeath playing laterally before kicking long hopeful balls in the pursuit of frees or a scrappy goal chance.  

    Kildare playing laterally before shooting speculatively from distance. Neither tactic delivering.

  • First-half scorers:

    Westmeath: John Heslin 0-3(3f) Paul Sharry 0-2 (1 45); Kieran Martin 0-1

    Kildare: Emmet Bolton 0-2, Johnny Byrne,  Neill Flynn (1f),  Fergal Conway, Adam Tyrell, Niall Kelly 0-1 each

  • 67 per cent of Westmeath's scores from play - while Kildare have six of their seven points from play.
  • Second half is back underway! Here's hoping for a better second half
  • Westmeath 0-6 Kildare 0-8 (36') Neil Flynn gets his second point, his second free. After winning it himself on the edge of the D
  • Westmeath 0-6 Kildare 1-8 (39') A Kildare free drops in to the square, not dealt with and Tommy Moolick bundles it in over line line.  
  • Kildare are five up - but they have not opened up here at all. They look like a team who are  conscious of every thing they are doing. Obviously trying to implement a lot of new systems under Cian O'Neill but so far it's not at all clicked
  • Westmeath 0-7 Kildare 1-9 (42') Eoin O'Flaherty and Paul Sharry, with his third point, exchange points
  • Westmeath come in with the play, then work it back out. Then side to side. All very flat. Ends with a Ger Egan wide. And that play sums up the game
  • Westmeath 0-9 Kildare 1-9 (46') A double by Ray Connellan. The first a tap over, but the latest was an outside of the left effort. An absolute beauty by the young Athlone man who spent the three weeks previous to this game on an AFL trial in Australia
  • GOALL Westmeath!
  • Westmeath 1-9 Kildare 1-9 (48') Level game again. Westmeath are at their best when they go for it. The multi-talented Callum McCormack, on off the bench, combines with John Helsin to free up James Dolan for a one on one. And he slides it in.  
  • Emmet Bolton replaced for Kildare and after two points from defence - he's not happy with Cian O'Neill. Kevin Murnaghan comes in
  • A wide by Heslin from a tight angle in the left corner. Game is still level
  • Westmeath 1-10 Kildare 1-9 (54') Black card for Niall Kelly - a very silly pull back. He'll be a big loss for Kildare. His UCD team mate Heslin then slots the free with a beauty from the right hand side.
  • Athlone's John Egan comes on for Westmeath as Cian O'Donoghue is on for Kildare. John Connellan and Ciaran Fitzpatrick make way
  • Westmeath 1-11 Kildare 1-9 (57') Kieran Martin gets his second point from play. Like the first he uses his power to make space and get his shot underway quickly
  • Westmeath have upped a gear and Kildare so far have no reply. They seem afraid to take a chance. Down by two with 10 minutes left in a very flat encounter in Croke Park
  • It's been 20 minutes since Kildare's last score
  • Ronan Foley is on for Ray Connellan - looks like an injury-forced change. You would imagine
  • Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-9 (64') Another Kildare wide. They look short on ideas. Then Callum McCormack down the other end takes on his man and slots a beauty from the 45m line
  • Westmeath have hit 1-6 without reply. McCormack making a big impact off the bench
  • Poor, poor wide from a close range by Neill Flynn. Just three in it but Kildare's body language suggests it's beyond them
  • Neill Flynn determined to make up for his earlier missed free. Sidesteps beautifully but his shot hits the post. Unfortunate
  • Kildare goal disallowed
  • Like their first goal, a high ball in on the square - Moolick adjudged to have fouled the Westmeath goalkeeper (very harsh) - ball falls to Cathal McNally who pulls on it to the net. But the referee brings it back for a free
  • Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-10 (70') Neill Flynn puts two in it with a free - four minutes of additional time to be played with Westmeath playing keep ball
  • Kildare not pushing up and Westmeath happy to keep the ball in their own half  
  • Kildare turn them over at last and Tommy Moolick wins a free
  • Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-11 (73') Kevin Maguire gets a black card. Goal was on for Kildare and he dragged down Moolick. Neill Flynn slots the free and they have one more chance
  • Kildare win the kick out. They have a free in the middle
  • Seconds left - they have the ball on the 45' and no one fancies it
  • Pick up off the ground  and it's a free out to Kildare
  • FT Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-11 - Westmeath back in the Leinster final. A terrible semi-final in Croke Park but they were certainly the better team. They played with more intent in a very flat game that lacked intensity even with a minute left and a point in it
  • Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin: "Dublin are ahead and the rest of us are fighting to get up there with them.

    "We've come back a good few time this year and it was very emotional on the line there."

  • No score in almost a half an hour of that second half for Kildare. They were seriously poor. Afraid to take a chance. And for all the talent in their ranks that performance was absolutely no reflection of such.  Injuries to Kevin Feely and Paul Cribbin didn't help, but still - very poor stuff with no fight on display.  

    Westmeath not much better.

  • Attention now turns to the Meath Dublin game - throw in at 6.35pm
  • Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship

    Dublin v Meath, Croke Park, 6.35pm (RTE)

    Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

  • "On this weekend 20 years ago, the world may as well have been square. Dublin went into a Leinster semi-final as defending All-Ireland champions alright but after that, the comparison starts to get a bit raggedy. They played Louth in Navan and just about kept air in their lungs..."

    Read Malachy Clerkin's piece in full here - 'The days when Dublin went seven years without a Leinster title'

  • This week's GAA Statistics column there, dedicated to Meath - and how their best bet of making a real Meath-Dublin game out of it today will come via pace and goals.
  • While earlier in the week Ian O'Riordan caught up with Dennis Bastick - who was discussing the modern Meath-Dublin rivalry:

    "There’s a different mentality between Meath and Dublin and there’s always this bit of (he pauses)... I wouldn’t call it fear, but a bit of trepidation, if they come with a really good game.  

    “We do remember 2010. It’s not that long ago either. We were off our game that day. And there is that bit of history, obviously, with the older generation and recently enough with 2010."

    Read that piece in full here

  • Some pretty scathing stuff there from Adrian Flynn  
  • With 15 minutes to throw in Croke Park still looking quite empty
  • One of the Meath subs has picked up a pretty serious injury in the warm-up - being stretchered off now. A few minutes untill throw in
  • The ball is in and Dublin win the throw in.. Game on!
  • Dublin 0-0 Meath 0-1 (1') Meath start well, they turn over Dublin. And Graham Reilly is at the end of the counter attack and sticks over a fine score
  • Dublin 0-1 Meath 0-1 (2') Patient play by Dublin, they find Bernard Brogan and he gets them underway
  • Diarmuid Connolly hits the first wide of the game - resultant kick out is grabbed by Harry Rooney
  • Meath goal chance - long ball into Dalton McDonagh and he's denied by a double save by Stephen Cluxton. Meath missed six goal chances against Louth and they've already missed one here. Can't afford to do that today though
  • Dublin 0-1 Meath 0-2 (4') Cillian O'Sullivan slots the 45 that follows
  • After a second Dublin wide, Ciaran Kilkenny's effort is caught over the crossbar by Paddy O'Rourke. Then Diarmuid Connolly hits a third wide. Six minutes gone
  • Wide from a 50m free by Micky Newman - Meath need to take every half chance. Down the other end Dean Rocks hits the Dub's fourth wide. The chances will inevitably come easier for the champions though
  • Dublin 0-1 Meath 0-3 (9') Graham Reilly's second point, again on the counter. Dublin respond with a fifth wide
  • Dublin 0-2 Meath 0-3 (11') Bernard Brogan fields a high ball - and wins a free. Looked harsh but nonetheless a classic example of Brogan's threat. Dean Rock converts
  • Dublin 0-3 Meath 0-3 (12') Dean Rock's second free and Dublin are level. This one from further out, about 35m
  • Dublin 0-4 Meath 0-3 (15') Great block by Pariac Harnan on Paul Flynn's toe - but it's recycled to Brian Fenton who sneaks inside to put his team in front
  • Dublin 0-4 Meath 0-4 (17') Flat start has suited Meath. Micky Newman nails a huge free from distance on the left.
  • Dublin 0-5 Meath 0-4 (19') Kevin McMannamon dragged down and Dean Rocks slots the free
  • Dublin 0-7 Meath 0-4 (21') McMannamon again involved - Paul Flynn cuts across him and floats over a beauty. Bernard Brogan quickly adds another
  • Dublin 0-8 Meath 0-6 (22') Another absolutely wonderful free by Newman - over on the left he wraps it in. Having won the free himself. Diarmuid Connolly responds from play with a classy looping score
  • Dublin 0-9 Meath 0-7 (25') On the 45, slightly more central than the last two. And Mickey Newman curls over another beauty. Dublin need to cut out the frees as this man will punish them. Again Connolly responds from play - this time an absolute beauty on the outside of his right boot
  • Dublin 0-9 Meath 0-7 (26') Meath break at pace, Reilly gives it to Wallace and he breaks through the D and taps over a lovely score
  • Dublin 0-10 Meath 0-7 (29') Ciaran Kilkenny is fouled by Donal Keogan and Dean Rock nails the free. We are getting an exhibition of free taking here
  • Dublin 0-10 Meath 0-8 (30') Graham Reilly does well to dive out and tap the ball to Cillian O'Sullivan and he slots over. As against Louth Meath's half forward line carrying the charge
  • Incredible block by Harnan and Mickey Burke - combined. On Philly McMahon. From the break though Burke adjudged to have fouled. He went in very hard and got himself a yellow card
  • Resultant free again caught by Paddy O'Rouke
  • We are a minute into two additional minutes at the end of the first half
  • Dublin 0-11 Meath 0-8 (36') Paul Flynn's second point. From distance, Dublin with some fine scores although they are not really carrying a goal threat
  • Dublin happy to take their points so far. Some early wides and some sloppy fouling has kept Meath in the contest. The next 10 minutes though will be crucial as Dublin look to put the foot in.

    As expected Meath are back in numbers, and the pace of their half forward line has been their major outlet. With Wallace, O'Sullivan and Reilly getting all their points from play.

  • First-half scorers:  

    Meath: Mickey Newman 0-3 (3f); Graham Reilly, Cillian O'Sullivan (1 45') 0-2 each; Eamon Wallace 0-1.

    Dublin: Dean Rock 0-4 (4f); Bernard Brogan, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn 0-2 each; Brian Fenton 0-1  

  • Second half underway and Michael Dara McAuley is on for the Dubs. Bastick off
  • Long ball caught by Newman on the square but he slips when shooting. Kickout taken quick, and down the other end Dublin engineer a 45
  • 45 drops short - Paddy O'Rourke charges out and flaps at it - but it breaks out for a wide
  • Very poor wide on the D with time aplenty by Mickey Newman. meath need to take every chance they get and that was a straightforward one
  • Dublin 0-12 Meath 0-8 (40') After five minutes Dean Rock gets the first point of the second half - off a quickly taken free
  • Dublin 0-13 Meath 0-8 (41') Dean Rock then slots a free
  • O'Sullivan gives a pass to Graham Reilly on the burst through the centre - he's pulled back by James McCarthy. The Ballymun defender gets a yellow card
  • Newman misses the free - from 35m. Poor miss
  • Dublin 0-14 Meath 0-9 (44') Newman makes up for it with a point from play - made by Graham Reilly. Bernard Brogan responds with his third point
  • Dublin 0-15 Meath 0-9 (47') Meath have Diarmuid Connolly surrounded but lose their head with some rash fouling. Free is then brought in for back-chat. Dean Rock converts
  • Dublin 0-16 Meath 0-9 (48') Another Rock free. This time off the ground. Dublin cruising  
  • Meath really lack a dangerman inside. Their scoring threat is carried nearly entirely in the half forward line, as well as from frees
  • Paul Mannion on for Bernard Brogan - Dublin will empty their bench now and hope the fresh legs bury the Meath challenge for good
  • Dublin 0-16 Meath 0-10 (54') Mickey Burke and O'Sullivan to the fore and Graham Reilly gets his fourth from play. He's been excellent
  • Dublin 0-17 Meath 0-10 (56') Another beauty by Dean Rock - his eighth free and his ninth point
  • Dublin 0-17 Meath 0-10 (57') Donncha Tobin is a great battler and he drives up to win a 13m free. Which Cillian O'Sullivan misses
  • Dublin 0-18 Meath 0-10 (59') Paddy Andrews is on for Kevin McMannamon as Diarmuid Connolly slots his third point. Down the other end a ball had dropped to Dalton McDonagh on the 21 metre line, which he failed to pick up. Meath have had opportunities here but they've not been clinical enough to really threaten the champions. it's been a very mannerly performance by the Royals
  • Dublin 0-19 Meath 0-10 (62') Dublin have sleep walked their way into a nine point lead. Dean Rock from a free gets his 10th point
  • Six minutes left as Dublin play keep ball - Meath fans walking out of Croke Park
  • Dublin have had the ball for almost three minutes just passing around - Meath sat back waiting...  

    Paul Mannion goal then disallowed for a throw ball - let off

  • Dublin 0-20 Meath 0-10 (68') Double scores! Fitting that it's Diarmuid Connolly who does that with his fourth point. All equally beautiful scores
  • Five minutes of additional time to be played
  • Dublin are at training pace - kick passing around the pitch playing keep ball. Meath aren't even trying to push up and get it back
  • Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-10 (73') After all their passing Dublin eventually draw Meath to shrug out to them, then Diarmuid Connolly finds Paul Mannion inside them and he points when a goal was on
  • Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-11 (74') Jones gets one back for Meath with a nice point. We are into the final minute
  • FT Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-11 - Meath are beaten by 10 points in a result and performance that shows the gulf in class between the two counties.
  • Meath were almost mannerly in their failure to press and challenge Dublin in the second half. The champions strolled to victory, they never even had a goal attempt as they were happy to tap over the points and just roll through the 70 minutes
  • Meath fans will be fuming more so at the acceptance of the result rather than the defeat itself. Meath never went for it even when 10 points down. Saying that, against Dublin's power, pace, fitness and quality of kickpassing - it's easy to lose heart. Dublin stretched Meath and sucked away their heart.
  • That's that for today then. Dublin will play Westmeath in the Leinster final - a repeat of last summer's decider. And on today's showing that's looking like another  foregone conclusion.

    Westmeath had a little more intent and intensity against a dire Kildare. While Dublin eased past Meath's tame challenge.  

    We'll be back again next weekend - and until then, thanks for joining us, and stay tuned on the site for the day's match reports.

  • Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship

    Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-11

    Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-11