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Good Week/Bad Week: Limerick, the Cork sod, Carlow Rising

Round 2 of the National Leagues has been completed (bar a couple of postponements), and, as always, it has thrown up some controversies, some major disappointments, and some amazing results. Here is a look at some of the winners and losers.

Good Week

Carlow Hurling

An immense result for the Barrowsiders as they earned a 0-20 to 0-20 draw against the 2017 All-Ireland champions, Galway. Martin Kavanagh slotted a late free to earn a valuable point for the midlands team, their first in Division 1B, who only have 4 senior hurling clubs at present. The Tribesmen, though perhaps not at full strength, still boasted many of their championship contingent, and led by 4 at the break.

The majority in attendance at Netwatch Cullen Park, the passionate Carlow fans included, would have assumed that the lead would extend gradually, but this is a side who will act as an inspiration to all teams on the fringes of the Liam MacCarthy cohort. Their attitude is exemplary, their commitment unquestionable. The Carlow rising shows no signs of coming to a halt anytime soon, and thank God for that. Their footballers also earned a draw with Westmeath in Division 3 of the Football League. Really encouraging signs from a small county.

Limerick GAA

When you have the momentum, you have to make the most of it. And they certainly are still on the crest of a large wave down Shannonside. The senior hurlers’ had a convincing second 35 minutes to see off a Tipperary team with most of their star players involved. Limerick had the luxury of being able to introduce the 2018 hurler and young hurler of the year midway through the second half. They now have, undoubtedly, greater strength in depth than any rival squad, certainly at this stage of the season.

Their decision-making was sharp and their touch slick, despite the frosty conditions and the fact that they are only a few weeks back from their team holiday. Tipperary won’t panic, and will thrive in drier, faster conditions, but Liam Sheedy will definitely be wary of the lack of cards in his deck come the summer time.

Elsewhere, the Limerick ladies footballers had a one-point victory over Louth, the county’s camogie side made it two wins from two when they saw off Clare by seven points, and the men’s senior footballers also continued their unbeaten run in Division 4 of the football league when they overcame the challenge of Waterford in Rathkeale. Halcyon days indeed if you are a supporter of the green and white down Munster way.

Leitrim Footballers

The O’Rourke county left it late, but ultimately saw off Wicklow in emphatic style to maintain their 100% winning record in Division 4 of the football league. Earning something of a reputation for securing scores from play, they refreshingly can put down 1-14 of their 1-16 total to non-set-piece scores. The county will be looking to build on progress made in 2018, and are certainly heading in the right direction under the stewardship of Terry Hyland. They will fancy their chances at progression from the basement division, but favorites Derry will prove the ultimate yardstick as to where the Westerners actually are at.

Kildare Hurlers

The Christy Ring champions of 2018 continue to build on recent progress made, clinching their second win in as many games last weekend. Relegated from 2A last season, they will have been anxious to ensure their swift return, and are certainly going about it in the correct manner, beating Warwickshire by over 35 points, and netting eight goals in the process. Greater challenges lie down the road for the Lilywhites, but they will be content with how they are ticking along at present.

Bad Week

Páirc Uí Chaoimh/Cork GAA

The sod in Páirc Uí Chaoimh was a topic hot on the lips of many GAA viewers over the weekend, and Twitter seemed to go into meltdown as, quite literally, lumps of earth were dug up around the field. The venue played host to a double header, Cork v Kildare in Division 2 of the Football League, and Cork v Wexford in Division 1A of the hurling. The Rebels lost both, their main pitch (massively indebted already, as has been well documented) resembled a bog after 140+ minutes of action and you get the sense that the entire county just needs to catch a break, GAA-wise anyway.

Offaly Hurlers 

Nearly a tired topic at this stage, such is the consistent level of poor performances. Would do well to take a leaf out of Carlow’s book, as they are now operating at a level below them. Imagine saying that to a Faithful fan in the late 90s. They’d have hit you a slap there and then. They have scored a combined total of 0-19 in two matches. Deservedly in Joe McDonagh, and, the way things are looking, they’ll do very well to restore their place in the Liam McCarthy race for 2020.

Tyrone Footballers

Mickey Harte’s men would have been keen to make amends for a below-par performance in Killarney last weekend, but, sadly for them, the visit of Mayo to Omagh did not allow for such. They have registered just 0-17 in two games, and are leaking far too much at the back. A team that always aims to peak for the summer, still, the early signs are not overly positive.

Wexford Camogie

It’s hard to know where to begin here. Unable to field last week against Cork, the 2012 All-Ireland champions were only able to put out 13 players yesterday against Galway, and were duly thrashed by 45 points. In an effort to make a game of it, Galway withdrew two players in the second half, but the generous gesture did little to even up the encounter. Martin Carey recently resigned as manager and there are clearly deep-rooted issues in the camp at present. For the sake of the county and the game in the region, something must be done to rectify this situation immediately.

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