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Dual star Keith Higgins, poor Kerry fare and other club GAA talking points from the weekend
Kevin Higgins won his sixth senior hurling medal while Cavan Gaels and Rhode continue their domestic dominance.

1. Sub-standard Kerry semi-finals

KERRY MIGHT BE the newly crowned All-Ireland champions, but Kingdom supporters had to endure two fairly drab SFC semi-finals in Austin Stack Park yesterday.

With players like Kieran Donaghy, Paul Geaney, Michael Geaney, Donnchadh Walsh and Darran O’Sullivan on show, a couple of exciting games were anticipated but as it transpired both were over as contests long before the final whistle.

With Donaghy the central figure, Austin Stacks blitzed a young Dingle side early on and led by 2-12 to 0-5 not long into the second half. The curtain-raiser in Tralee only served as an appetiser as to what was to come between Mid Kerry and Shannon Rangers.

Scoreless after a desperate opening quarter, when Darran O’Sullivan kicked the first score of the game it brought about ironic cheers across the ground. A soccer-style goal by O’Sullivan left Mid Kerry leading 1-3 to 0-0 at the interval and they ran out easy eight point winners in the end.

Donnchadh Walsh 24/8/2014 Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

2. Higgins brothers bring senior hurling medal haul to 16

Keith Higgins may be the best man-marker in Gaelic Football at present, but the 2013 Allstar is also a talented hurler and he picked up his sixth Mayo SHC title with Ballyhaunis yesterday.

Between himself and his 38-year-old brother Pierce, the Higgins lads have 16 senior hurling medals between them. And it was quiet the family affair as Ballyhaunis were managed by their father, Peter. It marked an impressive week for the Mayo football star, who played a big role in Ballyhaunis’ victory in the intermediate football final a week before.

The brothers lined out at midfield and Keith scored 0-2 in a fine display. Ballyhaunis trailed by a 1-5 to 0-7 at half-time but they stormed to the title having outscored Tooreen by 1-8 to 0-1 in the second-half.

3. Cavan Gaels & Rhode continue dominance

Cavan Gaels and Rhode continued their dominance within club football in Cavan and Offaly respectively as they both wrapped up another club title yesterday. Both sides delivered their seventh title in the last ten years, highlighting their supremacy within the counties.

Cavan Gaels were on somewhat of a dry spell in Cavan, having gone since 2011 without a senior crown. But in his first year as manager, Tyrone legend Peter Canavan led them back to glory in a campaign where Martin Dunne missed most of the action through injury. Dunne did come off the bench after 48 minutes, but it was Seanie Johnston who led the way with six points as Michael Lyng kicked an injury-time winner.

Meanwhile in Offaly, Rhode atoned for their final defeat last year with a well-deserved win over Edenderry. The Village have won the championship in Offaly every second year since 2006 and have featured in all but three finals since 2001.

Despite their control domestically, neither Cavan Gaels nor Rhode have claimed victory in the provincial club championships, although the latter were beaten in three Leinster finals since 2006.

Niall McNamee celebrates scoring his second goal Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

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4. Familiar faces to meet in Westmeath final

For the fourth time in five years, Mullingar Shamrocks will face Garrycastle in the Westmeath SFC final. Reigning champions St. Loman’s were heavily fancied to retain their title this year although injury to Ken Casey, the Offaly forward who transferred from St. Brigid’s in January, robbed them of the most dangerous forwards in the county.

In his first year as manager of Mullingar Shamrocks, former Meath star Bernard Flynn has led them back to a county final where they will face a highly experienced Garrycastle outfit. Shamrocks defeated Garrycastle, 2011 Leinster club champions, in a replay two years ago to take the crown.

A general view of the team parade Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

5. Portumna survive scare and face wait for finalists

All-Ireland champions Portumna survived a scare by Craughwell to qualify for their ninth Galway SHC final in 12 years. Portumna’s star man Joe Canning aided their cause with a goal after 52 seconds and they ran out three point winners by 1-15 to 0-15.

Craughwell were left wondering what might have been on the back of 19 wides, when they had the favourites put to the pin of their collars. It may take some time for Portumna to find out who their opponents in the final will be, after Turloughmore appealed their expulsion from the championship.

The Galway club were thrown out of the SHC for fielding an ineligible player, after Matthew Keating played in a group game having been granted an inter-county transfer to play in the US over the summer.

Liam McHale will be advising the Cavan management on ‘their playing style’ as he commits 100% to the county

Donegal SFC round-up: Ryan McHugh scores 4 goals but Kilcar still fail to progress

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