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Kilmacud coping without Dublin star, Dessie on fire for the Gunners and an epic Kerry hurling win

Kilmacud Crokes, Padraig Pearses, Kilmoyley and Ballygunner all celebrated glory this weekend.

Conor Ferris, Ian Kenny and Conor Lohan celebrating provincial title glory.
Conor Ferris, Ian Kenny and Conor Lohan celebrating provincial title glory.
Image: INPHO

1. How far can Kilmacud go without Mannion?

The news of Paul Mannion’s knee surgery emerged shortly after Kilmacud lifted their fifth Leinster title on Saturday evening.

The Dublin champions did well to account for Naas without their big name forward, arguably putting in their most complete performance of the campaign to date.

Manager Robbie Brennan admitted afterwards he was pleased at how his team adapted without Mannion. Shane Cunningham and, in particular, Tom Fox led the line brilliantly.
However, winning the club’s third All-Ireland title could be a challenge, if as suspected, Mannion is forced to miss out.

2. Dessie Hutchinson on fire for Ballygunner

There were plenty stars in the Ballygunner ranks as they soared to new heights in their Munster club glory yesterday. But one stood out from the rest, as their top scorer Dessie Hutchinson produced a sensational display.

He set the tone with his team’s first point of the game, smashed home the goal that really set Ballygunner on their way after nine minutes and finished with 1-5 to his credit, a tally that reflected the excellence he had produced across the afternoon.

The supply of possession to Hutchinson was constant and favourable, but his speed of mind and feet, along with a classy style of striking enabled him to damage Kilmallock’s aspirations. With the presence of such a quality forward, Ballygunner will approach the All-Ireland series with confidence.

dessie-hutchinson-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle Dessie Hutchinson celebrates at the final whistle of Ballygunner's win over Kilmallock. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

3. Pearses use full-forward in goal

A black card to Padraig Pearses goalkeeper Padraig Whelan in the first-half of the Connacht final forced Pat Flanagan into an important decision.

With his netminder sin-binned for ten minutes, one option facing him was to use up two of his five substitutions by bringing on a replacement ‘keeper until Whelan’s return. Given they’d already made one change due to an early injury, Flanagan decided against it.

The other choice, which the former Offaly, Westmeath and Sligo boss opted for, was to stick an outfield player between the posts for that period. So full-forward Hubert Darcy, who had been causing Knockmore a few problems up to that point, switched jerseys and acted as a fly goalkeeper for ten minutes.

He helped them retain possession and run down the clock until Whelan was permitted back onto the field. “It wasn’t planned beforehand to be honest,” admitted Flanagan afterwards, but ultimately it was a move that paid dividends.

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emmett-kelly-celebrates Padraig Pearses players celebrate defeating Knockmore. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. An epic win for Kerry hurling

Away from the high-profile senior games, there was a breakout club story at intermediate level in the success of the Kilmoyley hurlers in Limerick yesterday. By landing a Munster title, they broke new ground for the club game in Kerry in producing a provincial hurling champion. 

Kilmoyley lost the final of this championship in 2016, their neighbours Ballyduff lost a pair of deciders a decade ago, but Kerry’s wait was ended after a rousing extra-time success over Cork’s Courcey Rovers. With Daniel Collins and the O’Connor brothers, Paudie and Maurice, providing the vital moments of scoring inspiration, Kilmoyley dug deep to chisel out a draw deep into the second half. Now an All-Ireland title bid awaits for the side managed by former Cork and Wexford boss John Meyler.

  • Compiled by Kevin O’Brien and Fintan O’Toole

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