We’ll Leave It There So: Man United top rich list, O’Brien injury woe and all today’s sport

Connacht coach Pat Lam speaks at the Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress in the UL Sport Arena today.

Source: Liam Burke, Press 22

Home

  • Leinster back rower Sean O’Brien has emerged as a doubt for the start of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign as his calf injury is taking longer to heal than expected.
  • Bord Gáis Energy has been named as a new sponsor of the senior All-Ireland hurling championship having spent eight years partnering the U21 competition.
  • Bandon Grammar scored three tries against Castletroy College in the final 10 minutes to secure victory in their Munster Schools Senior Cup first-round tie this afternoon.
  • Former Kilkenny All-Ireland winner John Mulhall and ex-Limerick senior David Reidy will play hurling for Kildare for the coming season.
  • A late Midleton CBS goal from Liam O’Shea knocked defending champions Ardscoil Rís out of this year’s Harty Cup.
  • Irish athlete Ciarán Ó Lionáird has made his competitive return to the track after a horror run of injuries.
  • Cork City have announced that promising young defender John Kavanagh has signed a new contract with the club.
  • League of Ireland champions Dundalk will have a new pitch at Oriel Park for the 2017 season but it will once again be an artificial surface.
  • Liam Rushe’s inclusion at centre half-back is one of seven changes made by Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham for tonight’s Walsh Cup clash against Wexford.
  • Greystones golfer Paul Dunne got his year off to a great start with a four-under-par opening round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and sits four shots behind early leader Henrik Stenson.

Away

Denis Istomin celebrates his shock victory against Novak Djokovic.

Source: Aaron Favila

  • Manchester United enjoyed the highest revenues recorded by a football club last season as unprecedented income returned them to the top of the Deloitte Football Money League.
  • Defending champion and six-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic has been dumped out of the tournament in Melbourne by Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
  • Daniel Brennan, the son of former Ireland international Trevor, has been named in France’s U20 squad for the Six Nations.
  • Manchester City have completed the signing of Palmeiras forward Gabriel Jesus and the Brazilian could make his debut against Tottenham on Sunday.
  • Fifa is considering introducing penalty shootouts with a difference, including during the World Cup group stages, in 2026.

The Best Thing We Shared

Jack Kennedy has already built quite a reputation for himself as one of the biggest rising talents in horse racing. But it’s for riding winners, and not for these remarkable gymnastic skills he displayed in Thurles today, that he is widely known for.

Source: At The Races/YouTube

On The Record

I’m properly pissed off about that. I don’t see any benefit in charging down someone’s standing leg. I only see it as a danger or as a potential to get injured.

Munster scrum-half Conor Murray was far from impressed with some of Glasgow’s tactics in their Champions Cup clash last weekend.

The Fixture List

  • The group stages of the Champions Cup conclude this weekend and the two remaining Pool 4 fixtures will be played tomorrow night. Leinster can secure a home quarter-final with a victory at Castres Olympique, while Montpellier host Northampton knowing a bonus-point win could see them progress to the last eight. Both games kick off at 19.45.
  • In the English Championship, Chris Hughton’s Brighton can go back to the top of the table if they beat Sheffield Wednesday at the Amex Stadium (19.45).
  • The Africa Cup of Nations continues with Ivory Coast v Congo DR (16.00) and Morocco v Togo (19.00)
  • The Australian Open resumes in Melbourne with Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Angelique Kerber among the players hoping to advance to the fourth round.

Showbiz, Baby!

He may be an incredibly gifted player but even the sublime Russell Westbrook is guilty of the odd brain fade. He won’t be forgetting to dribble again any time soon.

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Fitzgerald continues unbeaten record as Wexford boss with three-point defeat of Dublin

Wexford 1-17 Dublin 0-17

DAVY FITZGERALD CONTINUED his unbeaten start to life as Wexford manager with a 1-17 to 0-17 defeat of Dublin tonight which sees his side advance to the semi-finals of the Walsh Cup in 10 days’ time.

A late scoring surge from the home side, including two timely points from the influential Lee Chin, saw Wexford prevail in an evenly-matched contest.

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Both sides came into tonight’s fixture, played at the Hollymount home of Shelmaliers GAA club, with two wins from two outings and knowing victory would secure a likely semi-final against Brian Cody’s Kilkenny, assuming the Cats overcome Westmeath on Sunday.

The sides were difficult to split early in the opening period, matching each other point for point for extended spells, before Wexford edged into an 0-8 to 0-5 lead after 15 minutes, with five of those scores coming from the superb Conor McDonald.

Wexford then tightened their grip on the contest with a timely goal from Podge Doran, the score which would ultimately prove the difference in this contest.

Dublin did rally through scores from Chris Bennett and Caolán Conway but Wexford kept the umpires busy at the other end and were five points to the good at the half-time break, 1-11 to 0-9.

Dublin began the second half the brighter of the two sides and found themselves back within a puck of the ball on 47 minutes thanks to scores from Niall McMorrow, a monstrous effort from wing-back Chris Crummey and a free from the returning Ryan O’Dywer  – his honeymoon having ruled him out of their first two Walsh Cup fixtures.

Substitute Dónal Burke then got in on the act soon afterwards, slotting a free over the bar from the halfway line and putting the minimum between the sides with less than 20 minutes to play.

It was nip and tuck from there on in as the Dubs drew level on a number of occasions.

McDonald edged the home side ahead with 64 minutes on the clock only for Burke to level matters once again from a free.

But a late surge from Wexford, which included points from substitute Richie Kehoe and a brace from Chin, eventually saw the hosts scramble their way over the line.

Dublin

1. Conor Dooley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

2. Patrick Smyth (Clontarf)
3. Shane Barrett (Na Fianna)
4. Conor Robinson (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

5. Seán McGrath (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. Liam Rushe (St Pat’s, Palmerstown)
7. Chris Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields)

8. Ben Quinn (Crumlin)
9. Caolán Conway (Kilmacud Crokes)

10. Domhnaill Fox (St Jude’s)
11. Niall McMorrow (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
12. Thomas Connolly (St Vincent’s)

13. Alan Moore (St Vincent’s)
14. Ryan O’Dwyer (Kilmacud Crokes)
15. Fiontán Mac Gib (Setanta)

Subs:
16. Gary Maguire (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
17. Matthew McCaffrey (Lucan Sarsfields)
18. Mark McCallion (Kilmacud Crokes)
19. Ciaran Dowling (Lucan Sarsfields)
20. Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes)
21. Canice Maher (St Jude’s)
22. Conor Burke (St Vincent’s)
23. Chris Bennett (Faughs)
24. Dónal Burke (Na Fianna)
25. Alex Quinn (Crumlin)
26. Seán Ó Riain (Setanta)
27. Johnny McGuirk (St Brigid’s)

Wexford

1. Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown)

2. Willie Devereux (St Martin’s)
3. Liam Ryan (Rapparees)
4. James Breen (Adamstown)

5. Simon Donohue (Shelmaliers)
6. Matthew O’Hanlon (St James’)
7. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s)

8. Shaun Murphy (Oulart-The Ballagh)
9. Barry Carton (Cloughbawn)

10. Damien Reck (Oylegate/Glenrbrien)
11. David Redmond (Oulart-The Ballagh)
12. Conor McDonald (Naomh Eanna)

13. Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s)
14. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers)
15. Podge Doran (Oylegate/Glenbrien)

Subs:
16. Oliver O’Leary (Buffers Alley)
17. Richie Kehoe (Faythe Harriers)
18. Eoin Moore (Oulart-The Ballagh)
19. Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn)
20. Cathal Dunbar (Ballygarrett)
21. Kevin Foley (Rapparees)
22. Eanna Martin (Geraldine O’Hans)
23. Shane O’Gorman (Adamstown)
24. David Dunne (Davidstown/Courtnacuddy)
25. Aidan Nolan (HWH Bunclody)
26. Andrew Kenny (Buffers Alley)
27. Nicky Kirwan (Oulart-The Ballagh)
28. Sean Murphy (Buffers Alley)
29. Eoin Conroy (Naomh Eanna)

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‘When I got up and tried to walk, I couldn’t because I’d no power whatsoever in my hamstring.’

A 10TH SEASON on the frontline with the Galway senior hurlers beckons for Joe Canning as he still chases that breakthrough All-Ireland win.

2016 saw that ambition to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup thwarted at the semi-final stage in a narrow fashion by Tipperary.

For Canning the disappointment of that loss was exacerbated by the serious hamstring injury that forced him off at half-time.

The Portumna man was in Dublin yesterday as Bord Gáis Energy were announced as the new All-Ireland senior hurling championship sponsors.

He revealed the latest on his injury recovery, reflected on recent near misses and spoke of the Galway hurling frustrations at the lack of games for the county’s underage teams and absence of home matches for their senior sides.

*********************

How’s the recovery from the injury going?

“Not too bad. It’s five months next Tuesday since the surgery, so they say it’s a seven-eight month kind of a thing. I’m a little bit ahead, but I’d say it will probably be March by the time I’m fully back.”

Was it close enough to a career ending injury?

“Yeah, I ripped the tendon basically. The muscle is fine. The tendon attaches the muscle to the bone in your arse basically!

“I’ve a centimetre-and-a-half left on the bone, so it’s just surgery to reattach that. But if it came off the bone, it usually brings a bit of the bone with it.

“So Paul O’Connell, let’s say for instance, would have brought some of the bone and that never really heals. You’d see a lot of rugby guys now retiring from it, the hamstring/tendon injury.”

Did you’ve any idea at the time of the severity of the injury?

“No. I thought, if we won the match, in my own head, I’d be back for the final. I thought – to be honest – I’d just pulled a muscle.

Joe Canning’s injury occurred in last August’s semi-final in Croke Park

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I never even heard of this kind of an injury before, so it never came into my head at the time. It wasn’t until a few days later, when the physios…they probably weren’t going to hit me with it straight away! They thought it might be, and then the scans obviously proved it right.

“I remember thinking, ‘F***, I’m after twinging something here.’ But then you realise fairly soon that I properly did something.

“When I got up and tried to walk, I couldn’t because I’d no power whatsoever in my hamstring. I couldn’t lift my leg behind me. So I knew then it was bother.”

How difficult was it to watch the rest of the championship and see Tipperary go on to win the final?

“It was tough, watching it. I wasn’t going to come (to the final) but then I got a ticket the day before the match, to come. I was still in the brace and on crutches after surgery.

“To be straight up about it, it’s not the best feeling looking at an All-Ireland when you lose a semi-final, and with a bit of luck you could be there.”

“You’d be kind of half-sickened, to be straight up. There’s no point in saying any other way. You become very selfish in those kind of situations and you’re kind of going, ‘F*** it, like, we could have been there, that could be us.’

“But still, if we got to the final, you don’t know what could have been the result. Kilkenny could have beaten us.”

Is it hard not to feel sorry for yourself in that situation?

“It’s not feeling sorry for yourself in any way. It’s just frustration, I suppose. You’d like to be a part of winning.

“You see other guys winning so many – Kilkenny winning ten, 12, in the last number of years, and you’re kind of going ‘Jesus, if I only got one I’d be happy enough’.”

Seeing double. @bgegaa became All-Ireland senior hurling sponsors today and they brought along to Croke Park some lads from their 2009 unveiling as U21 sponsors. Canning, Horgan, Murphy, Rushe and Callanan have seen their hurling careers take off since then. Aaron Graffin's travel plans ruled him out this time. #bgegaa #hurling #bordgais #gaa #crokepark

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For the group is it easier to face into this season that last given all the off the field issues then?

“It’s just a new year. We’re just trying to find our feet with a few new guys. We don’t have a full panel to pick from, anywhere near it, at the moment.

“There’s a lot of guys being bedded into the team, a lot of younger guys. I think we finished with four of last year’s county minor team the other night.

“Two guys in the full-forward line – Cian Salmon, Evan Niland, Evan’s still doing his Leaving Cert. It makes me feel old, to be honest, 28, to be looking at these guys, because my nephew was hurling with them last year.

“It’s a funny kind of a start to the year, for me personally, because I’m not involved. But it’s exciting too. We know what the management want from us this year and how we want to play and how we want to go about things.”

Did you think you’d still be chasing the Holy Grail at this stage of your career?

“No. I don’t know if it’s just naivety or something like that. When you are younger you think you can and you have a chance.

“You think you have a chance every year to win an All Ireland. We’ve had a couple of shots at it and it hasn’t worked out

“But you are always thinking you are good enough, because you wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t think deep down that you were good enough. I thought I might have one anyway.”

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A dejected Joe Canning after Galway’s 2015 All-Ireland final loss to Kilkenny

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Is the long layoff any blessing in disguise for you, a chance to come back fresher?

“I think that’s bullshit really. All this talk about burn-out is ridiculous really because we get so well looked (after) by a county team, by a medical team.

“No player is going to get flogged. All you want to do is play games.”

Would you not be a candidate for burn-out given you’ve been playing a high level between club and county for so long?

“I took a year out. I was 19 (starting) in 2008. We played a lot of club back then. That was a good while ago. (We) won one again in 2014.

“You’re not training at the same level as county when you’re with the club. You’re probably missing out in a way on what your pre-season should be for championship.

“You need that harder training further on in the year. At the same time, when you’re with the club you’re trying to peak much earlier in the year.”

Would finishing the entire hurling season in one calendar year help in that case?

“Richie Hogan said it last year, maybe two groups of eight, Champions League style, would be the way to go.

“Play it off in a certain amount of weeks, say 12-14 weeks over the course of the summer, vecause we want to play matches.

“Every week or every second week I’d love to have a game, championship or whatever. Run it off that way. I’d love to see two groups of six, top two go to semi-finals, and play more matches.

“The amount of training compare (to matches). If you win a Munster or Leinster title, you’ve five weeks to wait.”

Joe Canning’s sole Leinster title win to date came in 2012

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

What about the motion from the Galway club Liam Mellowes seeking the county sides to move to Munster?

“I don’t see the benefit of going into Munster. What are we going to do? Munster mightn’t let us play home games either.

“It’s the underage thing, that the minors and U21′s get more matches. They’re missing out on development. At that level there is a huge gap.

“I know the U21 is knock-out – you can get back in after losing one of the minor games – but some counties have just one game a year, while other counties have four or five games throughout the year developing.

“Wexford the last three or so years have won three Leinster (U21) titles. They have a serious crew coming through that have played seriously competitive matches.

“Whereas all of our guys at 22, 23, have probably played three games over the last three years.”

You’ve only played two senior hurling championship games in Salthill for Galway, that must be something you’d like to see change?

“It’s the same with Kilkenny. The boys have only played two or three as well.

“In Galway, we’re fighting with a lot of other sports, rugby and soccer. It’s to promote the game down the west of Ireland rather than anything else.

“It’s very hard for people in Connemara for people who love hurling to travel an hour to Galway and then two hours to Dublin or wherever to see a game.

“Like we’ve played five or six games for the last couple of years, even if we got one game per year.”

When you look at the Connacht rugby success, that has stemmed in part from the Sportsground experience?

John Muldoon and his Connacht teammates have made major strides in recent seasons

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“100 per cent. They can see them playing on a certain weekend in the Sportsground. That’s who they want to be, Johnny Muldoon or Tiernan O’Halloran or whoever because they see them up close and personal every second weekend.

“That’s understandable as well. If I was young again, I’d probably be the same, probably be drawn into the rugby because they are successful.

“When you’re a young guy, that’s what you aspire to.”

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‘When you lose the one match you’ve been training all year to win, it’s a waste of a year’

THERE’S NO SHORTAGE of people who were happy to see the back of 2016, and for Paul Murphy, Kilkenny’s All-Ireland final defeat meant that the last 12 months were “a waste of a year.”

Murphy stepped out into Croke Park last September hoping to make it a perfect five wins from five on hurling’s biggest day.

But instead of the familiar walk up the Hogan Stand steps, the Danesfort All-Star and his defensive colleagues were given the runaround by a lethal Tipperary attack.

Tipp’s full-forwards exploited the wide open spaces that they were afforded and finished with a massive 2-21 of the 2-29 total that day, 2-15 of their haul coming from play.

Kilkenny’s full-back line — Murphy, Joey Holden and Shane Prendergast — were scrutinised for their failure to cope, but the Cats star said that no pundit’s criticism affected him quite like his own analysis of that nightmare afternoon.

“The glaring thing was 2-21 and of course we have analysed it ourselves,” he explains.

“I suppose if I was 19 or 20 and I was in that position, I may have taken it a lot harder from the point of view of people outside talking.

“I took it hard on myself, my own performance and the full-back line as a unit, but in terms of the outside talk, people are entitled to talk and do analysis on it and have their opinions, and you have to respect that.

“I didn’t take it on board myself. I didn’t take it hard, that this person talking is right or that person. I just didn’t pay any attention to it.

“I broke it down myself. We talked about it ourselves. That’s what I take on board from it.

“Look, I was in the best position that year to see what happened. I don’t need anyone else to tell me what happened that day.”

Murphy and Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy: a rare losing feeling.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

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A few days short of his 28th birthday, Murphy already has four All-Stars and six All-Irelands to his name — one apiece at U21 level and in the junior club championship along with his four Celtic Crosses.

The defeat to Tipp was the first time that he has gone back to a losing All-Ireland dressing room and the contrast in emotions could not have been more stark.

“When you sample both dressing rooms, it gives you a great picture of the greater scheme of things,” he says.

The winning one is obviously great, you want to get back into it, but the losing feeling, I don’t think, compares to the winning one for spurring you on.

“The losing one, there’s a serious fire there. You don’t want to be in the losing dressing room, that’s the thing, and that’s nearly more scary than trying to get into the winning one. You want to be in the winning one but the fear of being in the losing one is nearly worse than being in the winning one.

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“Certainly it is motivation,” he continues. “It’s a new angle. It’s my seventh All-Ireland but the first time I sampled it.

“It is somewhere you don’t want to be going back into and it is great, you do enjoy going back now because you’re feeling you’re getting the wheels in motion to try and get things right as you would feel it, get back and make a mark in both the league and the Championship.

“You have to learn from these things and bring them on with you. There’s no point in experiencing a feeling like that and just leaving it there. You might as well bring it with you and it could be the difference between winning and losing a match somewhere along the year.”

Murphy, Liam Rushe, Seamus Callanan, Joe Canning and Patrick Horgan at Thursday’s announcement.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

It’s a basic tenet of Kilkenny’s winning culture under Brian Cody that first is first and second is nowhere.

But it is the words of one of Cody’s selectors, James McGarry, that have stuck with Murphy.

A year without an All-Ireland is a year wasted.

“It’s such a strange feeling when it happens and it’s such an anti-climax really. There’s nothing for second place, there’s nothing for the loser. It’s such an anti-climax and it’s such a waste of a year really, is what it is.

“It is hard to get your head around and as you go on over the winter, it just comes back to you every so often. You’re at different events and you’re reminded of it yourself just working day-to-day. It does stick with you and, like I said, it sticks with you more than the winning ones. It would affect you more than winning one.

I suppose James McGarry was the person who said it a few years ago. It was drilled into us for the last while – it is, in our minds, a waste of a year. I don’t know what way other teams picture it, everybody to their own. That’s the way we picture it, it is a waste of a year.

“When you’re putting yourself in contention for these things, it’s just the way you have to see it because you want to be winning them and when you’re training like we’re training the last 10 days now, up until September, to lose the one match that you want to win, that’s effectively a waste of a year because that’s what you’re training for – to win the All-Ireland.

“You’re not training to win the Walsh Cup or these things. You want to win them and you want to build towards it, but the All-Ireland is what you want to win.”

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Late-bloomer Michael Fitzsimons taking nothing for granted

SUCH IS THE competition in Dublin’s all-conquering squad, even a man-of-the-match performance in last year’s All-Ireland final replay doesn’t guarantee Michael Fitzsimons a spot in Jim Gavin’s 2017 starting line-up.

Far from it. Nobody understands that more than Fitzsimons.

Source: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

A late-bloomer, he never made an underage Dublin squad, let alone the first XV. Then in 2011, Fitzsimons, a 23-year-old from Cuala, an intermediate football club, forced his way into Dublin’s All-Ireland winning defence.

After playing a key role in Dublin’s first September success in 16 years, he spent the next few years trying to win his place back. He started Dublin’s shock 2014 semi-final reverse to Donegal, and wouldn’t make another championship start for 26 months.

Such is the downside of playing in one of the most dominant teams we’ve seen since the turn of the century.

“When I was younger self-doubt would creep in,” he says.

“You go through a range of emotions; frustration, anger but when you face reality and what it is, you have to face it. If I was a bit blind to that or blind to myself that I’m not on a team that’s got plenty of competition, I’d get more frustrated and sometimes that hasn’t helped with my performance.

“I’ve actually been through it since sort of 2012 and 2013 onwards where it’s been ups and downs in my season so I’ve actually learned a lot.

Michael Fitzsimons at the Dublin GAA New Commercial Partnership Announcement

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“Whereas previously say I wasn’t playing come the quarter-final, I’d start trying to make these drastic changes in my game during the summer to try and do something, and at the end of the day I’d start making mistakes because I was doing stuff I wasn’t doing week-in week-out.”

These days, the defender feels he’s far more bullet-proof mentally, and that’s what he believes helped him force his way into Gavin’s plans at the 11th hour.

“I think I’m beyond self-doubt at the moment,” he continues. “I think I’m mature enough not to fall down that pathway but it does drive you on.”

“From now on I sort of trust my own ability, trust the way I play and have a bit more patience. I sort of understand that there’s huge competition and I’d back myself a bit more then. Fortunately enough things fell my way.”

So what’s it like to save your best performance for All-Ireland final day? Is every play from that game ingrained in his mind?

“Not really. When you’re playing well, it just sort of goes past you. It goes very quickly. You don’t overthink it.

“Whereas when you’re playing poorly, you’re thinking every single move and you’re really aware of the consequences of your actions.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The only two stages where things slowed down were when I probably could have taken my point at the end and also, when I turned my back on a kick-out.

“It could easily have gotten kick to my back and Stephen (Cluxton) let me know all about it. So those two moments, I was aware of it but to have only two moments when you’re a bit self conscious about yourself in the game is pretty good. Especially when you’re playing corner back, when you’re playing one-on-one with some very good forwards.”

As well as chasing Sam Maguire on a yearly basis, Fitzsimons is studying to be a doctor. He’s in his second year of his graduate medicine studies at UCD and he has a busy schedule.

“I’d be working and studying and training, so it I was a lot busier than when I was just working and training.”

Still, he’s focused on earning his place during the spring and keeping it. It’s hard to change a winning team and Dublin haven’t lost in the league or championship in 29 games.

“The season went on longer so that’s why there was a change in holiday dates. The nature of the group is, no-one is going to rest on their laurels. There’s huge competition. People, in a good way, are looking over their shoulder, knowing they have to work hard.

“I think lads will be pushing hard for the league. Because I know myself from experience. If you’re starting in the league, you’re starting in the Championship. And if you’re not, it’s a little bit of a disadvantage.

“So everyone is pushing for a spot and that drives up standards.”

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‘I still have dark days when it’s up and down but I won’t give in to anything, not even depression’

WHATEVER YOUR PRECONCEIVED opinions are, leave them here. Wherever your allegiances lie, put them to one side. As a person, Ashling Thompson — the Cork camogie captain and the sport’s teak-tough poster girl — deserves a fair trial at the very least.

Although, that said, it doesn’t really bother her what people think. She couldn’t care less if truth be told, but her story is worth listening to. It’s important.

Forget about camogie, forget about All-Irelands, forget about what happens across the white line. This is Ashling Thompson the person, the 27-year-old who battled back from the brink, endured incomprehensible tragedy and has overcome adversity to achieve incredible success.

After all, it’s not everyday you get to sit down and have a conversation, or just listen, to someone like Thompson. In an age of monotonous, PR-driven interviews, she is remarkably refreshing, honest and forthright. Some would say outspoken with a personal agenda, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Save your judgements for the end.

This isn’t the first time Thompson has told her story, but that doesn’t make it any less pertinent. She has become one of the most prominent advocates for mental health in the country and it doesn’t take long in her company to appreciate why.

We meet in Dublin as afternoon turns to evening. Thompson has spent the day doing promotional work in the capital and what strikes you most is her appearance; tall, strong and athletic. And the tattoos.

It all contributes to that perception of her as a fearsome, intimating, individual; but she’s anything but. Bubbly, full of energy and very laid back, Thompson’s personality is completely the opposite to what you might expect.

“It’s not that I’m two completely different people off the pitch,” Thompson tells The42.

“I’m passionate about certain things too but I’m not at all serious. Some people might think I’m so serious. Sometimes when you are very physical on the field people get the wrong perception and they think you’re a bitch, let’s be realistic.

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do on the pitch to win and I’m not saying that in a cheating sense or giving digs or whatever but if I’ve to blow you off the ball then I’m going to do it like because I want to get there first.

“At inter-county level, everyone wants to win so it’s going to get bitchy like. You have to be a tough bitch on the field but off the field I’m completely laid back, I’d talk the leg off a pot, I talk to my dog at home.

“I’m so laid back and girls have sat down with me and had a conversation and said ‘Jesus like you’d never think it.’ I like to be the class clown and I’m actually really soft. I’ve described myself like a caramel bar before; I’m hard on the outside but soft as shit in the middle.”

An interesting analogy, but a brilliantly accurate one. Thompson is a player you’d love to have on your team, but hate to play against; aggressive, brash, physically imposing and an in-your-face approach. A win at all costs mentality, and it’s always been there.

From a young age, sport has always played a central role in Thompson’s life and five years ago it may have saved her life. If it wasn’t for sport, if it wasn’t for camogie and if it wasn’t for Flank Flannery, she may not be here today.

Opening up

It’s a big statement to make but when it comes from Thompson’s mouth, you know it’s the truth. She has never done this for the limelight or headlines but for two reasons; opening up about the mental illness which intruded on her life is a cathartic release for her personally and, more importantly, it offers others hope. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to talk about it.

“Throughout my teenage years and growing up, from when I was in national school to secondary school, I was loving life,” the All-Ireland winning captain from 2015 recalls.

“I was on every team, we were winning. I was the perfect teenager, well not perfect because nobody is perfect. I hated school, I went literally just to play camogie. I was an absolute fairy, wrong place at the wrong time. I wouldn’t say trouble maker but just that eejit that was always caught.

“Then I was involved in a car accident and it just stemmed from there. It was just one setback like the accident that sparked it. After that I got really angry and frustrated and it just prolonged the recovery because I found it hard to get up at times to do my rehab work. I was extremely young, I had never been injured and had to get my head around that.”

The serious car accident near her home in Newtownshandrum didn’t threaten to turn her world upside down, it did without any warning. She was 19.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Thompson’s life had started to fall apart. The emotional and physical scars of what had happened became too much and coming to terms with the arduous days of rehab sent Thompson into a downward spiral. She didn’t eat or sleep and the internal demons and trauma would soon become externally clear. And then life, as it so often does, served up another cruel twist of fate as Thompson lost a close friend to suicide. It was yet another body blow.

“Even when I was diagnosed with depression, I didn’t have a clue what was going on in my head. That’s literally what drove me to nearly give up on it. I didn’t know what was going on. I was asking myself ‘why am I feeling this way?’

“I was in a frame of mind back then where I didn’t give a shit about anyone or who I was hurting. I’d given up so I couldn’t care less.When it did come to that breaking point, I just suddenly thought this is not right. I shouldn’t be feeling this way three years after an accident. I still should not be feeling like this. That’s when Frank Flannery came along and it was one little thing that changed my life and thankfully he was there.”

Flannery arrived to take charge of Milford in 2012 and it changed everything.

“He took the time to understand me as a person as well as a player,” Thompson continues. “He understood and could relate to me outside the four white lines and that seemed to give me hope. I no longer felt alone.”

Recovery

Camogie provided a release, an outlet to occupy and concentrate the mind. She found strength, determination and a mental fortitude to pick herself up off the canvas and embark on a road to recovery. The pieces were beginning to fall back into place.

“I don’t regret what happened because I don’t think I would be sitting here right now talking to you if it didn’t happen,” she says. “I’m not saying on a suicide note, I don’t think I’d be at this level if it wasn’t for that. I might still be an average player playing club camogie. All of that gave me that competitive edge and extra step to push on and be a better player.

“When you get to that breaking point and overcome it, you don’t take life for granted even on the shit days. I still know I’ll go to sleep, wake up and know I’m totally different.

“I’d never take it back. Yes it was f**king tough and yes it brought me to my wit’s end but I’d never regret it. Everything in life happens for a reason. Obviously people passing and things like that, I don’t put it down to that. I just don’t know why that happens but everything else happens for a reason.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Depression makes you stronger and life can be so f**ked up nowadays, even if something happens to me in five years time I will have the coping mechanisms now and I think that’s a big problem in Ireland. People do not have the coping mechanisms to deal with tragedies. I’m just lucky enough to have that strong mental attitude. I never regret it, I embrace it everyday.”

Part of the recovery process involved opening up and letting the world in. Thompson had never considered sharing her story or detailing her experiences before but a return to the Cork camogie panel at the age of 22 catapulted her back into the spotlight. There were questions being asked and the best way to answer them was to tell the truth.

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“It’s never that I planned for someone to come along or knocked on someone’s door and like ‘interview me.’ At the start I was questioning whether it was a good idea, what are people going to think.

“A girl asked me for an interview because she was just curious to know, you’d never see a camogie player with tattoos, and I was like ‘I don’t know’ but the more I had opened up to coaches and people the more I felt comfortable talking about it.

“Something in me just told myself to do it and f**k everything else and what people will think or what people will say. At the start I didn’t go full pelt, I didn’t tell the whole story but obviously it grew from there. It’s like anything you’re afraid of doing. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get.

“I’ve literally an attitude now, and I don’t mean to be too vulgar, but I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about me. I know who I am and to me that’s all that matters. As long as I’m happy and I make the people around me happy and I surround myself with good people, friends, family and as long as they have a high opinion of me that’s all that matters.

“Some people think that way; I do interviews and tell my story for attention. They say ‘oh we’re sick of hearing it at this stage’ but there’s a different bloody listener every time. So if you don’t like it, don’t read.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I hate people like that who are constantly giving their opinion. I’m not knocking on The42’s door asking you to interview me. You’re coming to me because you know the importance and the difference it can make. If I did care what people thought, I wouldn’t do it but I do it because I know there’s a 19-year-old or a 52-year-old that’s reading this article and is finding the effects off it.

“It’s not to get limelight because at the end of the day what sort of limelight do you think I’m getting from this? That’s the only thing that frustrates me, people talking shit like that.

“Obviously if it had no reaction after my first interview, I wouldn’t have done another one but I literally had messages flowing in. People thanking me for finally speaking up, someone finally f**king did it and still to this day I get it. I’m still going to do it.

“People write to me and everything. Send letters, emails, messages on Facebook. Reading these messages I get shivers up my spine because it just makes me feel so good. People think I’m very honest in my opinion, it’s not staged or I’m not reading something about mental health off my phone.

“It’s not something I typed up or read off the internet because at the end of the day I’m no expert on mental health. It’s pure raw and honest and not something I made up. The reaction has been amazing.”

Support

Thompson spends a lot of her time reading through the messages and emails she receives from others in a similar position. She was once that teenager with nobody, with no light at the end of the tunnel. She’s driven by the knowledge that change is possible.

“It was that competitive edge and I just wasn’t prepared to give in,” she adds. “I won’t give in to anyone or anything. What people were saying or thought of me used to get to me and I think that’s an issue for people. It’s still taboo.

“It did used to bother me but life is so short, you can’t go around worrying what people think. I do like to carry myself well, I like to influence other people whether they’re 90 or nine years of age. I do like to carry myself well but at the same time I’m going to me and not going to be someone different just to please somebody else.

“I’ll take anything constructive. If you sit that with me and have a conversation, I’ll take anyone’s opinion but for someone to turn around and give their negative opinion of me but have never met or had a conversation with me, that’s someone that judges a book by its cover and I couldn’t give two f**ks what they think.

“I’m not above anyone else and people have that wrong opinion. I think I’m extremely lucky to be honest. Yes I’ve worked hard and all that to get where I am now but at the same time I’m lucky, this doesn’t happen too often. There are better camogie players out there than me.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I am very humble, even if someone asks me for a photo I still get embarrassed to this day. I still find it very surreal but at the same time I take advantage. Yes I’ve been through a few problems and obstacles and all that. Some people think it’s me looking for attention or looking for the limelight but to me they’re just pricks or keyboard warriors.

“An honest person who sees me for who I really am, even if they don’t know me, will know I’m doing it to benefit someone else because I was that 19-year-old that had nobody and nobody to read or listen to and say ‘oh so it is okay.’”

2017

It is okay, and Thompson is in a good place at the moment.

“I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed training as I have now,” she continues. “I don’t think I’ve hit my peak for Cork yet which is amazing to say because I’m 27. I haven’t hit my peak because I only came back at 22 so I feel there’s another eight years at least in me. I feel I’ll grow every year.

“I haven’t felt like this in such a long time, I can’t remember feeling this good training. I’m loving it at the moment because usually during this period I wouldn’t usually be feeling myself. When I don’t have training then I do get lonely for it so I’m loving it.

“I still have days where it’s up and down and it’s not perfect all the time. I’m excited for 2017 and as the years go on, it seems to be getting better and better. As I said I’ll always have setbacks but I feel I have the coping mechanisms now to deal with it. That’s a part of life, life isn’t easy but if it wasn’t that way and a challenge then I wouldn’t enjoy it.”

Thompson speaks about the year ahead with such vigour and enthusiasm. After the heartbreak of All-Ireland defeat last September — a loss the captain found particularly hard to swallow, as evidenced by the striking images of her at full time — the Milford midfielder is determined to right the wrongs in 2017.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

But it’s not all about winning. Granted, Thompson is a born-winner, or, in her own words, a sore loser, yet she knows there is more to life than matches and medals. Camogie is a form of therapy, it makes her happy and is her life.

“I’m not going to say I want to win another x All-Irelands because you can’t predict the future and you don’t always get what you want. My goal is to literally play until I’m 35, that’s what I’m aiming for. It might be wishful thinking but I think I can do it. I’ll play until I can’t or until they give me the roll like, which could be next year I don’t know.

“I just want to go out and give it everything I’ve got and have no regrets coming off the pitch. It’s like everything in life, as long as you give something 100% effort you’ll be happy and that’s it really, I just want to be happy.”

Whatever your opinion or perception of Ashling Thompson as a person or player, you can’t deny anyone that.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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Barry Nash bags a brace as Limerick record 24-point win over Kerry

Limerick 4-28
Kerry 0-16

Paul Brennan reports from the Gaelic Grounds

LIMERICK, AS EXPECTED, built on their mid-week win over Clare to make it three Co-Op Superstores Munster SHL wins from four games with a comprehensive 24-point hammering of Kerry at the Gaelic Grounds and leaves John Kiely’s team waiting to see if they will qualify for next weekend’s final.

While the result was never going to be anything other than a Limerick win, three goals in the five minutes before half time ensured the home side were going to run out easy victors. With Peter Casey converting a few early frees Limerick eased into a five-point lead before Danny Collins and Shane Nolan got Kerry on the scoreboard.

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Another couple of Nolan scores kept Kerry in touch, 0-10 to 0-5, after 20 minutes, but the Kerry defence was under constant pressure from an in-form Limerick full forward line. That pressure told when Casey seized on a Kerry defensive error hit the net, 1-13 to 0-6, in the 29th minute, and a minute later Barry Nash played in Tom Morrissey for a well taken goal.

Two minutes after that Kyle Hayes’ perfect pass set up Nash in front of goal and Aiden McCabe was picking the ball from the net again as Limerick took a 3-15 to 0-7 lead to the interval.

Nolan got two early scores for Kerry after the restart but Barry Nash scored his second and Limerick’s fourth goal, and thereafter the second half took on an inevitable rhythm with Limerick easing up somewhat and picking off scores at their ease.

Result in @CoOp Superstores.ie Munster Hurling league Limerick 4-28 Kerry 0-16 pic.twitter.com/89YjbZ3nOV

— Limerick GAA (@LimerickCLG) January 22, 2017

Source: Limerick GAA/Twitter

Kerry, to their credit, battled gamely, with Collins’ industry propped up by a couple of scores from Mikey Boyle to keep Kerry’s small band of supporters interested.

Ronan Lynch came off the bench and took up free takinig duties, converting five frees and a point from play, and substitute Kevin O’Brien scored two.

Kerry ended with 14 men, James O’Connor picking up a second yellow late in the game, as Limerick tacked on a few late scores to prop up their scoring difference, which might come into play.

Scorers for Limerick: Peter Casey (1-9; 0-6f), Barry Nash (2-3), Tom Morrissey (1-2), Ronan Lynch (0-6; 5f), Cian Lynch (0-3), Kevin O’Brien (0-2), Stephen Cahill (0-1), James Ryan (0-1), Gramem Mulcahy (0-1)/

Scorers for Kerry: Shane Nolan (0-6; 5f), Daniel Collins (0-4), Mikey Boyle (0-2), John Griffin (0-1), Padraig Boyle (0-1), Jack Goulding (0-1 s/l), Stephen Murphy (0-1).

Limerick

1. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)

2. Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
4. Richie English (Doon)

5. Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare)
7. Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher)

8. Darragh O Donovan (Doon)
9. Paul Browne (Bruff)

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10. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
11. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
12. James Ryan (Garryspillane)

13. Barry Nash (South Liberties)
14. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
15. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)

Subs:

25. Dan Morrissey (Ahane) for R McCarthy (33 min)
16. David McCarthy (Glenroe) for B Hennessy (HT)
23. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh) for J Ryan (HT)
22. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for T Morrissey (54)
26. Kevin O Brien (Patrickswell) for B Nash (54)
21. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for K Hayesa (blood, 62)

Kerry

1. Aidan McCabe (Kilmoyley)

2. Billy Lyons (Causeway)
3. Paud Costello (Ballyduff)
18. Sean Weir (Crotta O’Neills)

5. John Griffin (Lixnaw) John Buckley (Lixnaw)
27. James Godley (Kilmoyley)
7. James O’Connor (Abbeydorney)

8. Tomas O’Connor (Crotta O’Neills)
9. Tomas Casey (Causeway)

26. Keith Csarmody (Causeway)
11. Daniel Collins (Kilmoyley)
12. Mikey Boyle (Ballyduff)

13. Jack Goulding (Ballyduff)
14. Padraig Boyle (Ballyduff)
15. Shane Nolan (Crotta O’Neills)

Subs

17. Sean Nolan (Kilmoyley) for B Lyons (HT)
19. Paudie O’Connor (Kilmoyley) for T O’Connor (HT)
23. Philip Lucid (Ballyheigue) for P. Boyle (47)
20. Stephen Murphy (Causeway) for J Griffin (50)
21. Jordan Brick (Kilmoyley) for S Nolan (61)

Referee: John McCormack (Tipperary)

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Andy Moran nets twice in injury time as Mayo defeat Roscommon

Mayo 4-11
Roscommon 2-16

Declan Rooney reports from the GAA grounds in Kiltoom

ROSCOMMON WILL PLAY Galway in next weekend’s FBD League final, but two goals from Andy Moran in added-time somehow gave Mayo victory in Kiltoom.

Two Enda Smith goals looked to have handed a second defeat of the year to Mayo, but Moran was introduced after 67 minutes and turned the game on its head.

A goal from Liam Irwin helped Mayo to a 1-9 to 1-8 lead at the break, but last year’s All-Ireland finalists fell asunder until the closing stages as Smith’s second goal and seven unanswered points gave Kevin McStay’s side an eight-point lead.

Needing a 13-point win to reach the final, Mayo were on the back foot from early on as two points form Cian Connolly and a fifth-minute goal from Enda Smith gave Roscommon a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after five minutes.

A free from Liam Irwin and a fine point from Danny Kirby from wide on the right got Mayo back in contention, although Donie Smith and Ciaran Murtagh responded for the home side.

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The second quarter was bossed entirely by Mayo though. Captain Cillian O’Connor kicked three frees before the break, but a well worked move from the back saw former U-21 star Liam Irwin fire past Colm Lavin as Mayo took a 1-9 to 1-8 lead into the interval.

O’Connor found his range shortly after the restart to stretch Mayo’s lead, but Roscommon were boosted in the 41st minute when Donie Smith finished well to the net and he added a free a minute later.

Mayo had a strong kick in the closing stages as O’Connor fired a penalty and Moran also goaled in the 70th minute, but Moran’s second clinched victory for Mayo.

Meanwhile, in the only other game in Connacht today, Sligo accounted for Leitrim to claim their second win from three, on a 2-13 to 0-16 scoreline.

Sligo led heavily at the interval as goals from Niall Murphy and Mark Breheny gave them a 2-12 to 0-6 lead, but points from Keith Beirne and Emlyn Mulligan saw Benny Guckian’s side close to within three at the end.

Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 1-5 (1-0pen, 5f), A Moran 2-0, L Irwin 1-1 (1f), F Boland 0-2, P Durcan, D Kirby, C O’Shea 0-1

Scorers for Roscommon: E Smith 2-3 (2f), D Smith 0-4 (2f), C Connolly 0-3; K Higgins, C Murtagh 0-2 (2f), T O’Rourke, N Kilroy 0-1.

Mayo:

R Hennelly;
D Newcombe,
R O’Malley,
P Durcan;
M Plunkett,
S Coen,
D Drake;
J Gibbons,
D Kirby;
F Boland,
K McLoughlin,
J Doherty;
L Irwin,
C O’Connor (c),
C O’Shea.

Subs:
E Regan for Irwin 48,
K Higgins for O’Malley 50,
T Parsons for Kirby 57,
S Nally for Durcan 58 BC,
A Moran for Boland 67,
C Carolan for Gibbons 67.

Roscommon:

C Lavin;
D Murray,
T Featherston,
N McInerney;
R Stack,
U Harney,
C McManus;
T O’Rourke,
K Higgins;
F Cregg,
C Murtagh,
E Smith;
C Connolly,
T Corcoran,
D Smith.

Subs:
N Kilroy for C Murtagh 45,
G Paterson for Harney 45,
S Killoran for Cregg 50,
H Walsh for Connolly 56,
B Murtagh for Stack 60,
C Shine for D Smith 67.

Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).

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10 points for McCurry and Harte as Tyrone advance to face Derry in McKenna Cup final

TYRONE AND DERRY will meet in the Dr McKenna Cup final after both counties safely navigated their respective semi-finals this afternoon.

Derry were a point behind with three minutes to play before a James Kielt goal propelled them to a 2-12 to 1-13 triumph over Monaghan.

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Kielt’s goal, along with points from Neil Forester and Niall Loughlin turned the game on its head at the death and dumped out the Farney.

Derry will face Tyrone in the pre-season decider on Saturday night in Newry. Mickey Harte’s outfit were relatively comfortable throughout their 0-14 to 0-11 victory over Fermanagh today.

Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNabb, Colm Cavanagh, Niall Sludden, Lee Brennan, Ronan McNamee and Cathal McShane all returned to the Red Hand’s starting line-up, while Sean Cavanagh was an unused substitute.

Frees from Tomas Corrigan and Sean Quigley kept Fermanagh in touch, but Tyrone stretched clear after the break.

Peter Harte kicked four first-half frees before he was withdrawn at the interval, while Darren McCurry posted 0-6 in an impressive outing.

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Dublin overcome Kildare to progress to O’Byrne Cup final

Dublin 0-16
Kildare 2-8

Paul Keane reports from Newbridge.

BACK-TO-BACK All-Ireland football champions Dublin flexed their muscle in novel fashion by overcoming a strong Kildare team in Newbridge to qualify for the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup final with their development panel.

Paul Clarke continued in charge of a rookie Dublin panel, having been handed the reins by Jim Gavin who was away with his panel for the group stage, and saw them pull off a courageous win.

The Lilies were hot favourites and led by four early in the second-half, and by three with 15 minutes to go, but were suckered by five late Dublin points in a row.

It was a serious show of character from Dublin’s fringe players with Niall Scully outstanding and kicking three points including the 71st minute score that put Dublin ahead. Conor McHugh, their 2014 U-21 star, then booted an insurance score to tie up an unexpected two-point win.

Kildare boss Cian O’Neill will start many of the same players when the Allianz league begins in a fortnight against Meath and admitted he was ‘disgusted’ with the defeat.

But Dublin will be delighted to have uncovered so many options ahead of their drive for five Division 1 league titles on the trot and Gavin will watch next Sunday’s final against Louth with particular interest.

Still, it was all Kildare early on and they deserved their 2-4 to 0-4 lead after 21 minutes thanks to goals from Johnny Byrne and Daniel Flynn.

The hosts, playing in front of a large crowd, also racked up the wides, indicating their dominance of possession, though leaked four points approaching half-time as Dublin trailed by just 2-4 to 0-8 at the break.

Dublin got the margin down to just one point in the third quarter though back to back Neil Flynn points appeared to steady Kildare.

They didn’t score again though as Ross Hazley, Shane Cunningham and McHugh hit the Dublin points that tied it up at 0-14 to 2-8 before Scully and McHugh nudged the Sky Blues clear with injury-time scores.

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The quality of Dublin's jerseys, as well as their football, was tested today but they advanced to the O'Byrne Cup final at the expense of Kildare in Newbridge (Pic: @inphosports) #GAA

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Dublin scorers: Paul Hudson 0-4 (0-2f), Niall Scully, Conor McHugh (0-1f) 0-3 each, Shane Boland, Ciaran Reddin, Jason Whelan, Colm Basquel, Ross Hazley, Shane Cunningham 0-1 each.

Kildare scorers: Daniel Flynn, Johnny Byrne 1-0 each, Niall Kelly, Paul Cribbin, Neil Flynn (0-1f) 0-2 each, Kevin Feely, Ben McCormack 0-1 each.

Dublin

1. Evan Comerford

2. Jack Smith
3. Eoin O’Brien
4. Ross McGowan

7. Robbie Gaughan
6. Ciaran Reddin
18. Conor Mullally

8. Jason Whelan
10. Ross Hazley

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5. Niall Scully
11. Shane Boland
12. Niall Walsh

13. Paul Hudson
25. Michael Deegan
15. Conor McHugh

Subs:

20. Colm Basquel for Walsh (31)
28. Killian O’Gara for M Deegan (h/t)
17. Robbie McDaid for Boland (h/t)
27. Shane Cunningham for Hudson (42)
14. Gavin Ivory for Reddin (59)

Kildare

1. Mark Donnellan

2. Mick O’Grady
3. David Hyland
4. Mark Hyland

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5. Johnny Byrne
6. Eoin Doyle
7. Keith Cribbin

8. Kevin Feely
9. Fionn Dowling

10. Fergal Conway
11. Niall Kelly
12. Paul Cribbin

13. Neil Flynn
14. Daniel Flynn
15. Ben McCormack

Subs:

18. Tommy Moolick for Feely (h/t)
20. Ollie Lyons for M Hyland (h/t)
24. Eamonn Callaghan for McCormack (47)
17. Cathal McNally for P Cribbin (49)
19. Shea Ryan for K Cribbin (57)
21. Conor Hartley for Conway (63)
22. David Slattery for N Flynn (64)
23. Cian O’Donoghue for Doyle (68, black card)

Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).

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