Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Cathal Noonan/INPHO Ciarán Kilkenny suffering his injury.
5 talking points from the weekend’s Allianz football league action
From Ciarán Kilkenny’s injury to Galway’s return to form, there was plenty to mull over in this weekend’s action.

Ciarán Kilkenny’s injury

AFTER ROBBING GAA fans of Colm Cooper, the curse of the cruciate struck again on Saturday night when Dublin’s Ciarán Kilkenny picked up a knock that would rule him out for the rest of the season.

It’s obviously a cruel blow for Kilkenny on a personal level and for Dublin’s hopes of defending their All-Ireland title but it also means that, within the space of just a few weeks, the Championship has lost two of its potential leading lights and will be all the poorer for it.

However, all is not lost.

Though their comebacks will undoubtedly be long and arduous, Colm O’Neill is proof that a return from a cruciate injury is possible and both should take inspiration from the immediate impact he made for Cork on his return to the inter-county set-up recently after three such injuries.

James O’Donoghue’s heroics breath life into Kerry

A hat-trick is always impressive, a 22-minute one in a must-win game even more so.

If anyone in the Kingdom was still nursing a hangover following Cooper’s injury it was well blown away by the performance of their corner forward. That O’Donoghue could have had a fourth goal to his name were it not for a fine save by Niall Morgan in the opening five minutes is testament to his work rate.

While it’s still likely Kerry and Kildare will fight it out to avoid relegation from Division I, a 15 point win certainly helps their score difference.

Cork and Derry’s score-fest

Brian Cuthbert 9/3/2014 Donall Farmer / INPHO Brian Cuthbert has plenty to mull over after this weekend's win. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

If you were looking for drama this weekend, Páirc Uí Rinn had it in bucket loads.

After leading by 11 points shortly before half-time, Cork probably expected a fourth win from four was just a matter of lining out in the second half. However, the ease with which Derry worked their way back into the game will be of concern to Brian Cuthbert and his management team.

They may be the only team with a 100% record in Division 1 but conceding 3-14 to Derry is hardly ideal preparation for a trip to the All-Ireland runners-up next weekend.

Galway bounce back

They’re still in a three-way relegation dog fight with Louth and Meath but Alan Mulholland could not have asked for a better response from his team after their 15-point humiliation at the hands of Laois in the last round.

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It was far from a perfect performance, and Down were guilty of squandering at least one goal chance when the game was still there for the taking in the second half. However, two points were all that mattered here for the Tribesmen.

Their fight for Division II status is further helped by a trip to bottom side Louth this Sunday. Win that, and suddenly things will look a lot brighter in Galway.

Winning’s a habit

There are now just three sides in the Allianz National Football Leagues with 100% records and two of those, Cavan and Roscommon, sit atop Division III.

With Longford four points behind in third, the two are virtually assured promotion baring capitulation in the second half of the season. With the way they’re both playing — the only sides in the division with a positive score differential — that seems unlikely.

With one of Meath or Galway likely to make drop to Division III, both these sides will fancy their chances of retaining Division II status when they get there.

5 talking points from the weekend’s Allianz hurling league action

Snapshot: Ciaran Kilkenny set for cruciate recovery with teammate Kevin O’Brien