Donegal suffered their first defeat in the National Football League last Sunday to Down. Monaghan, Donegal and Down are all on seven points at the summit of league table. With two games remaining it will go down to the wire in respect of promotion.
Donegal will learn from this defeat and will go into their games against Louth and Armagh with renewed resolve.
Elsewhere, Derry beat Dublin by an impressive margin. Surely, Derry, who we face in the first round of the Ulster Championship, will be installed as favourites for that game given their great form in the league.
We are now entering the business end of the season when teams in all leagues will soon know their destiny and when league finals take place. I believe that Donegal will recover and a visit to Croke Park next month will ensue.
Our championship encounter with the Oak Leaf County is only two months away. Brian McIver will be delighted with his team’s form and it looks likely that Derry will reach the Division 1 league play offs. Remember that Derry also have home advantage for the championship clash with Donegal. They must now fancy their chances more than ever. It should be a tasty affair.
feast of sport
We had a feast of GAA sport over the weekend and into Monday which was St. Patrick’s Day. Portumna and St. Vincent’s won the All-Ireland club hurling and football finals respectively. It was encouraging to see two Donegal teams in the McLarnon Cup final. A strong St. Eunan’s outfit overcame neighbours Inishowen. That we have two young teams with such quality augurs well for the future. It’s a pity that these two teams had to face each other but it shows the strength in depth we have at minor level.
St Pat’s, Maghera, overcame Omagh CBS in the MacRory Cup final on St.Patrick’s Day. These two teams contained a plethora of inter-county minors. The standard of football was testimony to this. It was a highly entertaining game with St. Pat’s emerging worthy victors in the end.
Some people may be confused about these different schools competitions. The MacRory Cup is an inter-college tournament in Ulster. It is staged every year with the stipulation that players must be under eighteen-and-a-half at the start of the tournament (that is, be under eighteen at the start of the school year). The holders advance to the All-Ireland colleges “A” senior football championship, where they compete for the Hogan Cup.
In 1959, Dean MacLarnon presented a trophy to the Ulster Colleges Council for a Provincial ‘B’ championship which would address the needs of these emerging schools. This second tier championship is currently contested by 18 schools annually. The finals are traditionally played on St.Patricks Day.
On St.Patrick’s Day the Ireland cricket team got their World Cup off to a winning start after beating Zimbabwe in this T20 Championship in Bangladesh. Ireland needed four runs off the last over but lost Ed Joyce and Max Sorensen, run out without scoring, before winning through a bye off the last ball of the over — bowled by paceman Tinashe Panyangara who finished with 4-37. Huh? A bye is a run scored by the batting team when the ball has not been hit by the batsman and the ball has not hit the batsman’s body. Basically this was great drama. For the first time the tournament features 16 teams.
The final takes place in Mirpur on 6 April. Ireland won’t be in the final but if you want to see them in action they play tomorrow morning at 9.30 against The Netherlands.
Genie in a bottle
An Englishman, Scotsman and an Irishman are all stranded on an island. They’ve been there for years, when one day the Englishman finds a lamp buried in the sand. He starts to polish it and out pops a genie.
Oh thank you master says the genie, I will grant you all one wish! The Englishman says…Oh how I’d love to be at Lords sipping a Gin and Tonic, watching the cricket.
Big flash, cloud of smoke and he’s gone! The Scotsman says…see you jimmy, I wish I was at Hampden Park with a few mates watching the football. Big flash , cloud of smoke and he’s gone! The Irishman says “Begorrah its gonna be awful lonely here without them, can you bring them back”?