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Winners & Losers: The Rossies, Kerry hurlers and poor Mayo

Winners

Roscommon

Their first provincial win over Mayo since 2001. A tremendous effort from Anthony Cunningham’s side, who stood toe to toe with the league champions in dreary condition in MacHale Park. The addition of Kerryman Connor Cox has provided a reliable scoring threat to accompany the class and work rate of Ultan Harney and the Smiths. The Rossies will be looking to reclaim their title from Galway in the final.

Kerry

A massive win in the Joe McDonagh Cup – spurred on by the dynamic Shane Conway – keeps things interesting in hurling’s second tier. Antrim, Westmeath and the Kingdom still have it all to play for, while Laois are perched alone on top. Buff Egan provided the only glimpse of action, as the result wasn’t even displayed on the screen during Sunday night’s The Sunday Game.

Laois

A narrow two-point win over Westmeath sends Laois into the Leinster semi-final where they’ll await Meath, with every confidence of beating them. Evan O’Carroll was imperious, with eight scores.

Donegal

A six-point victory against Fermanagh in the Ulster quarter-finals puts the Donegal men in good stead going into the final four. Declan Bonner’s side appear to be the closest competitor to Tyrone in the northern province, and with the return of the magnificent Paddy McBrearty to the fold, Donegal will have a fancy on a long and prosperous summer in the football championship.

Meath

After a brief scare against Offaly in the opening round of the Leinster football, the Royals steadied the ship with a resounding win over Carlow in the quarter-finals on a 2-18 to 0-9 scoreline. Meath have been earmarked as the closest competitor to Dublin in the Leinster championship, and if they can get over a stout Laois side in the semi-final, will have a chance to prove that in a few weeks time.

Dublin

Ruthless. That’s the only way to describe this Dublin side, who annihilated Louth by 16 points. Jim Gavin wasn’t leaving anything to chance and wanted to lay down an early marker in Dublin’s drive for five, starting more or less their strongest side to dismantle lowly Louth.

Losers

Mayo

Oh Mayo. After the national league victory, Mayo were football’s great white hope to topple the drive for five. Instead, they go yet another year without a provincial title – it’s now 2015 since they last lifted the JJ Nestor Cup. Joe Brolly was right on cue on the Sunday Game, claiming “the nation’s favourite tragic comedy unfolding again”

“Joe Gilroy’s blog this morning, I don’t know if you read it, but he said they have too many spuddlers on the team. I looked that up and it means is ‘to appear to be doing the job but not actually doing it at all’.”

A damning indictment of an extremely talented side that flatters to deceive far too often.

Fermanagh

A six-point loss to Donegal in a defensive and plucky performance, but a sort of performance that felt like damage limitation rather than ever looking to go out and win. It was a formula that worked for much of the league, stifling opponents into submission with their hard graft, but Donegal saw through that easily and patience saw them overcome the Ernesiders in comfortable fashion.

Galway

The Tribesmen were far from convincing against Wexford, despite the Yellowbellies’ rather slow start. Life without Joe Canning doesn’t seem hugely rosy – the two week turnaround ahead of Kilkenny could make or break their season.

Wexford

The one that got away. After Davy’s dismissal, Wexford drove on superbly in the second half and had a late opportunity to go a point ahead after Mark Fanning’s tremendous save at the other end of the field, only for Colm Callahan to step up himself with a fantastic save to deny Cathal Dunbar. Given the half-time deficit, a draw is far from the worst result they could have came away with, but they were the better side on the day and definitely should have came away with the spoils.

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