Category Archives: Gaa

Kilcock Ladies grab their second chance with both hands to qualify for Leinster Semi Final

Kilcock 1-06 Moate 0-06

By Robert Cox
They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth and Kilcock Ladies were in no mood to that when they took on Westmeath Junior Champions Moate in the Leinster JFC Quarter Final in Kilcock Gaa on Saturday, October 19th.

With both sides getting a second bite of the cherry in the Leinster Championship, having been reinstated due to Old Leighlin of Carlow being ineligible for the competition, this was always going to be a cagey tie, with neither wanting to experience the heartache of exiting the competition for a second time. And it was Kilcock who finally came through a tough game to win out by three points in the end.

Kilcock went ahead inside the first thirty seconds when centre forward Aisling O’Connor took control of the ball before cutting through the Moate defence and slotting the ball over the bar. If the hosts thought O’Connor’s score was going to set the tone and Moate were simply going to roll over, then they had to quickly think again as the Westmeath side gained control of the game to hit three points in a row through Chloe Moran and Casey Rotroe from play and Brenda O’Brien from a free to lead three points to one after eighteen minutes as the rain began to fall.

At this juncture the game began to open up, which seemed to suit Kilcock and when they pushed up on a defensive Moate side, they suddenly began to bear fruit.

The eventual winning of the game came between the 20th and 25th minute for Kilcock with their sharp-shooting full-forward Grace White pointing from a placed ball, having been clearly singled out for special attention from the Moate defence. From the resulting kick out O’Connor got her second point of the day before the games only goal from veteran Sheena Byrne changed the entire landscape of the tie.

Byrne got on the ball about just inside the penalty area and despite the best efforts of the Moate defence and goalkeeper to save the shot, the ball rolled into the net and Kilcock were a goal ahead. To the large home support in attendance, Byrne’s effort seemed to take an age to reach the goal, trickling along the muddy surface, with gasps aplenty as it looked likely at one point that the ball would in fact stop short of the line. One supporter likened it to a scene from the over 75s Football match on Father Ted, when the ball took an age to reach the goal, with the keeper struggling to get back, having gone the wrong way!!

Regardless of how the ball ended up in the net mattered little for Kilcock as they took a lead that they would never relenquish. Moate responded with a point almost immediately through the impressive Anna Sheerin. Kilcock still had time for another goal chance, which were a rare commodity on the day, but Grace White’s shot from twenty five yards hit the crossbar. In hindsight White will know she could have taken the ball on, with no one in a white Jersey between her and the goalie at the time.

Following that the teams went in at the break with Kilcock in the lead by two points on a scoreline of Kilcock 1-3 Moate 0-4.

Then came an almighty downpour. Just as the Laois referee was due to throw the ball in for the second half the heavens opened. Sensibly the players were ordered back into the dressing rooms to take cover. The supporters weren’t so lucky!!

When the rain abated and the rainbow appeared, the game resumed. And in a carbon copy of the first half, Kilcock won the throw in and went straight down the field to register the first score, except this time it was the hard working wing forward Sarah Lavin who raised the white flag.

It took Moate ten minutes to register their first score of the half and it came by way of a free from Anna Sheerin.

The next twenty minutes turned into a war of attrition, with only three more points registered. And even though the sun made an appearance, it couldn’t brighten up what was overall a dull game that lacked quality for long periods.

In saying that, it never lacked for excitement in terms of how close the score remained and when Grace White added another free to put three points between the sides once more, it looked like Kilcock might finally pull away.

Moate though were not about to go away and when Sheerin converted a free down the other end the margin was once again down to two with ten minutes remaining.

A two point lead can be very dangerous, especially in a tight game but the Kilcock defence, who were immense and in a very miserly mood throughout, stood firm and were in no mood to give up a goal chance that Moate so badly craved.

In fact it was Kilcock who would fashion another goal chance deep into injury time but forward Emma Robinson shot was excellently saved by the Moate goalkeeper Christine Warburton. Unfortunately for the latter she touched the ball on the ground outside the square and Kilcock were awarded a free. White made no mistake in converting her third free of the day, just before the referee blew his his whistle for full-time.

It was an excellent win for Kilcock (1-06 to 0-06) who fought hard in tough conditions, against a ressiliant Moate side. Though both team and management will know a big improvement in their overall performance will be needed if they are progress any further in the competition. They also know they have been given a second chance in been reinstated at Old Leighlin’ expense and will look to grab it with both hands.

Best for the winners were in main numbered from 1-7, especially Emma Maguire, Andrea McGrath and player of the game Laura Gibbons, who worked tirelessly to keep Moate at bay.

Kilcock now advance to the Leinster Semi-Final, where they will take on Longford Intermediate Football Champions Grattans in Kilcock on Saturday at 2pm.

Eimear Kelly, Mary Tighe, Andrea McGrath, Therese Macken, Paige Byrne, Emma Maguire, Laura Gibbons, Megan O’Connor, Caoimhe Fagan, Sarah Lavin (0-1), Ashling O’Connor (0-2), Sheena Byrne (1-0), Emma Robinson, Grace White (0-3f), Lorna Murray.
Subs used: Bernie Durkan for Therese Macken

Local Sports heroes officially open Scoil Chóca Naofa playing field and running track

Scoil Chóca Naofa Kilcock officially opened their new playing field and running track at an event hosted by the school on Thursday morning, October 24th.

Local Athletics legend Bobby King and current top class runner Paul Robinson were both on duty to cut the ribbon, with Robinson aslo joined by Kildare Ladies Captain Grace Clifford in giving a talk on sport to the kids, parents, teachers and fellow dignitaries in attendance.

School principal Mrs Daly addressed the large crowd in the school’s sports hall, introducing the teachers and parents who worked so hard over the past few years to fundraise to ensure the school could reach its goal of putting in a playing field with goals and a catching net at either end, as well as a running track around the perimeter of the field.

One way in which the parents association fundraised was by holding the very successful ‘Colour Run’ in 2017, 2018 and again this year in 2019.

The very progressive school are not hanging around in putting their new facilities to good use, with the students today completing a marathon that they have been chipping away at since they returned to school in September, running the final mile alongside King and Robinson, as the crowd made their way outside to cheer them home.

The kids started running three times a week, before upping it to four and then five times a week, before completing their final mile today. Mrs Daly commended the students for their hard work and endeavour and couldn’t stress enough how important exercise is in their daily routine. She went on to say that the teachers had noticed how alert the students were when they would come back in from their run to continue with the remainder of their lessons for the day.

It was clear to see how much energy and excitement these new facilities along with the exercise and fresh air had brought to this very productive school.

Mrs Daly singled out certain people, thanking them for their hard work, including Ms Diggin for helping the kids complete the marathon. Val Herbert was also thanked for her part in training the kids in Gaa and caretaker and clearly the very popular caretaker Tommy Simms for his hard work in looking after the new surface and the school in general. Members parents association both past and present including Sarah Acton Keene were also thanked for their hard work in making everything possible.

This is a school that seems to be only going one way and that is forward. Congratulations to all. Here’s to the next marathon.

Whitty and Regan among six Meath players nominated for the Champions 15 team

Shane Whitty (far left) with his Blackhall Gaels team mates Hugh Smith and Stephen Morris.

Blackhall Gaels’ Shane Whitty and Kiltale forward Jack Regan have both been nominated along with four of their Meath Gaa team mates for the Champions 15 team 2019.

A collective of players from the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups will make up the All Star team.

The pair are joined by fellow their fellow County men Sean Geraghty (Captain), Shane Brennan, Damien Healy and Keith Keoghan, as the Christy Ring Cup winners head the list of nominees.

This is the first year that a selection of 45 players has been chosen from the Ring, Rackard and Meagher competitions with the new selection process introducing player and coach feedback.

Those selected were finalised by an independent selection committee of journalists and referees with all players competing in the Joe McDonagh Cup excluded as they were considered for the PwC Liam McCarthy Cup All-Stars.

The Champion 15 selection will be awarded as part of the PwC All-Stars event in Dublin’s Convention Centre on Friday November 1 with 20 counties featured across the extensive list of 45.

Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Champion 15 Nominees:

Simon Doherty, Dean Gaffney, Caolan Rice (all Armagh), Diarmaid Carney (Cavan), Brian Óg McGilligan, Sé McGuigan (both Derry), Danny Cullen (Donegal), Stephen Keith, Dáithi Sands, Eoghan Sands, Caolan Taggart (all Down), John Duffy (Fermanagh), James Burke, Jack Sheridan (both Kildare), Darren Crowley, Ronan Crowley, Greg Jacob (all Lancashire), James Glancy, Declan Molloy, Enda Moreton, Liam Moreton, Gavin O’Hagan (all Leitrim), Shane Lawless (London), David Buckley (Longford), D Geoghegan (Louth), Shane Boland (Mayo), Shane Brennan, Sean Geraghty, Damien Healy, Keith Keoghan, Jack Regan, Shane Whitty (all Meath), Fergal Rafter (Monaghan), Cathal Dolan, Pádraig Kelly (both Roscommon), Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch, Keith Raymond, Joe Starr, James Weir (all Sligo), Damian Casey, Tiernan Morgan (both Tyrone), Willie Allen, John Collins (both Warwickshire), John Henderson, Stephen Kelly (Wicklow)

Kilcock Ladies reinstated to Leinster Junior Championship

Kilcock Ladies Footballers have been reinstated into the Leinster Junior Championship along with Moate of Westmeath and Longford side Grattans.

The extraordinary turn of events comes at the expense of Carlow champions Old Leighlin, who have beaten all three sides enroute to what was meant to be a Leinster final meeting with Navan O’Mahonys on October 26th.

The Carlow Senior Champions won the Leinster Junior Championship in 2018, thus bringing into effect Rule 222: A Club which wins the Provincial Junior or Intermediate Championship must move up a grade for the following year‘s Provincial Championship.

Old Leighlin defeated Moate in the preliminary round, before needing extra time to overcome Kildare Champions Kilcock in the Quarter-Final.

However it is since their most recent victory, a 6-07 to 3-05 win over Longford side Grattans, that this has come to light.

The Longford Intermediate Champions queried that fact as to why they were playing the current Leinster Junior Champions, when Old Leighlin should in fact have been playing in the Leinster Intermediate Championship.

More to follow….

Costa Rica, Dinosaurs and Magpies; Meet Mick O’Grady

We caught up with Kildare and Celbridge defender Mick O’Grady recently to try and get to know him a bit better.

On the pitch he is one of the tightest markers in the country but off it find out why magpies, dinosaurs and Costa Rica are of interest to him!

Name: Mick O’Grady

Club/county: Celbridge and Kildare

Current position: Full Back

Any superstitions before a game? I have to salute a magpie if I see one on its own.

If there was a Gaa transfer market, what 2 players(male/female) would you want your team to sign? Michael Murphy and Sean O’Shea

What is your greatest achievement? Playing with Kildare/Making it through college alive.

Favourite Position(on the pitch)? Full Forward – I’m wasted in the full back line.

Played my first game: An under 10 competition with Celbridge and against AIT in the O’Byrne cup in 2014 for Kildare.

Favourite players growing up: Darragh Ó Sé and Dermot Earley

What or who made you want to play football: My Dad is a Kerry man so I grew up watching them win All Ireland’s in the 2000’s and I think that was a major factor in why I wanted to play football

Best piece of advice for up coming player: Don’t let any setbacks define you. There’s always another path if you work hard enough.

Other sports you play or would like to play: I used to play hurling and soccer. I’d love to play a competitive American Football match.

What was the best sporting event you ever witnessed? Liverpool’s comeback in the Champions League final 2005.

If you could go back in time to witness an event, what would it be? Building of the Pyramids or Prehistoric times to see dinosaurs roaming.

Where would you love to go on holiday? Macchu Picchu or Costa Rica

Favourite TV show? Father Ted

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Grabbed hold of Mark Donnellan’s beard

Favourite month of the year and why? December – Christmas and silly season

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Skinny or chunky chips? Chunky

Tayto or King? King

Fanta Orange or Club Orange? Club Orange all day

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Quickest teammate: Daniel Flynn

Funniest teammates: Keith Cribbin/Mark Donnellan

Most skillful teammate: Niall Kelly

Fittest teammate: Paul Cribbin

Player who spends most time in front of mirror: Kevin O’Callaghan

Most Committed: Eoin Doyle

Best Dresser: David Slattery

Worst Dresser: David Hyland without a shadow of a doubt

Robert Cox’s GAA Weekend Treble

Robert Cox’s GAA Weekend Treble – July 13th & 14th

The Super 8s are finally here this weekend and apart from a few expected one-sided and dead rubber games over the course of the next month, we can now actually start to look forward to some close encounters and high quality football.

All eight teams are in action over the course of this Saturday and Sunday and I have taken a look at three of the games, opting to leave the Donegal v Meath game well alone!!





Tyrone -2

First up is the meeting of Connacht Champions Roscommon and perennial qualifier experts Tyrone at 5pm in Dr. Hyde Park at 5pm on Saturday evening. Once again I expect Mickey Harte’s men to come away with a relatively comfortable victory. Ever since their disappointing Ulster semi final loss to Donegal, the Red-Hand men, lead by their instrumental full forward Cathal McShane have racked up routine wins away to Longford and Kildare and against Cavan in Clones. The Cavan win was particularly impressive, given its margin, 16 points in the end. In McShane and Harte they have two of the best players in the country at the minute but they are more than just a two man team, as the Rossies will find out to their detriment come Saturday evening.

In fairness to Roscommon they do garner some respect given their exploits in the west, beating both Mayo and Galway enroute to claiming the Nestor cup but one fears that could be the highlight of their year. They have quality in their ranks in the shape of Conor Cox, Enda Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh but the month off since their success might leave them a bit rusty. In comparison Tyrone are flying, with three games on the spin of late. The sides met at the same stage last year, with Tyrone coming out easy winners on a scoreline of 4-24 to 2-12.

I expect a repeat of this, but not to the extent of 12 months ago so Tyrone -2 is my pick here.



Dublin -8

It’s the clash of the two big cities at Croke Park on Saturday night at 7pm as Dublin take their next step in their quest for five in a row and I expect them to come through this one with some ease, without probably even needing to get out of the 2nd or 3rd gear in the process.

To reach this stage Ronan McGrath’s Cork side have only had to negotiate facile wins over Limerick and Laois and though they have been free scoring in both them ties and in their Munster final loss to Kerry, this will be a completely new challenge for them. They have improved somewhat since their poor league form seen them relegated to Division 3 of the league but unfortunately for them it won’t be enough to even come close to the Dubs on the wide open expanses of HQ. The Rebels have found the net 10 times in their 3 Championship games, thanks mainly to their top marksmen Brian Hurley and Mark Collins. Add to that the hard working and skilful Ruairí Deane on the half forward line and they will cause Dublin some problems by running at them. But only early on before the juggernaut takes over.

Dublin’s season only really gets going at this stage, having easily negotiated their way to their 9th Leinster title in 10 years, culminating in a final rout of neighbours Meath. Cormac Costello has been their main man in attack but they ooze strength all over the pitch. He is ably assisted upfront by Paul Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny and the scoring return to action of Dean Rock v Meath makes for ominous viewing for the rest. Brian Fenton is still the best midfielder in the country and they don’t give up too much at the back either. Jim Gavin knows tougher ties lie ahead in the shape of Donegal and maybe a Tyrone or a Kerry but this is a nice tie for his side to ease themselves into the Super 8s.

Cork may live with the Dubs for a while but my selection of Dublin -8 looks a shoe in.




 The last game of the weekend is surely the most mouth watering of the lot as Kerry play host to Mayo at 4pm at Fitzgerald Stadium. As when Mayo played Armagh a couple of weeks ago, I find the outcome of this one too hard to call, so like that evening I have gone for both teams to score a goal. One thing is for sure when Mayo are around you are always guaranteed plenty of action and drama and with two high class forward lines on display, I feel this Sunday will be no different, so expect the net to be rattled on a few occasions!

Kerry come into the Super 8s as Munster Champions having laboured to victories over Clare and Cork. Despite the talent at their disposal, Peter Keane’s side are yet to set their 2019 campaign alight and after their domination at minor level in recent years the people of the Kingdom expect. They do have serious firepower in attack and will look to star David Clifford to shin the Super 8s, where he shot to prominence in 2018. If they are to reverse their league final defeat at the hands of Sunday’s opponents they will look to Sean O’Shea, David Moran and Clifford to shine.

Mayo for their part are gathering pace. After a disappointing Connacht semi final loss at home to Roscommon, James Horan’s men have bounced back with wins against Down, Armagh and more impressively against Galway last weekend. In James Carr they have a very exciting prospect, with the wing forward banging in two goals in the Galway victory. Despite been plagued by injuries throughout 2019 and recently losing Captain Diarmuid O’Connor, Mayo still have a strong panel to pick from. Paddy Durcan and Donal Vuaghan are in fine form and if Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea perform to their abilities they may well leave Killarney with a famous win.

Still, this one is too hard to call so my selection of both teams to score a goal in what promises to be a good open game of football looks the best bet in this one.

Tyrone -2,   Dublin -8   &   Kerry v Mayo BTTS A Goal 


GAA Qualifier Picks July 6th & 7th

Round 4 of the football qualifiers takes place this weekend with some very interesting ties as the last 4 remaining places in the Super 8s look to be filled come Sunday afternoon.

After giving our customers (Bruce Betting) a very tasty 10/1 enhanced winner in round 3 of the qualifiers last weekend, I hope to follow that up with the enhanced price of 7/1 for Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone to all be victorious in their respective games.

Andy McEntee’s Meath team will have more than just a strong Clare team to contend with at 2pm on Sunday, as history will also be against the Royals, with teams from Leinster not faring too well in round 4 following heavy defeats to Dublin in Leinster finals in the last few years.

The two teams come into the tie off the back of contrasting performances in a game that is still difficult to call.
Meath will have done plenty of soul searching after notching just four points in a Leinster final pummelling at the hands of Dublin, but manager Andy McEntee will be adamant that they can recover from that loss and join the final eight.

Clare are worthy adversaries however, the Banner men were narrowly beaten by Kerry in a Munster semi-final and have enjoyed wins over Leitrim and Westmeath in the backdoor to make the final twelve, however I am going for the Royals to recover, find their shooting boots and prolong their season into late July,early August.

Next up is the battle of the west (in Limerick). The GAA have placed the Galway v Mayo Round 4 qualifier in Limerick as they deemed that no other venue in Connacht could hold the expected attendance the game will attract. The GAA offered the teams a coin toss for home advantage but sides refused. So, this is where we are now and a massive game to decide who goes to the Super 8’s will take place in Limerick. I am going with Galway to bounce back from their disappointing provincial final loss to Roscommon. Kevin Walsh’s Tribesmen have won the last three battles between the sides in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mayo have been very unlucky with injuries so far in 2019 and with the news that Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea are likely to miss out, I think the ball is now certainly in Galway’s court.

For Galway to progress, they will need massive performances from Fiontan O’Curraoin Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Michael Daly. And if their talisman for the past few seasons Damien Comer makes his return from injury, as rumours suggest he will, then this will be a major boost for the men in maroon.

For the 3rd selection a row, I am going with a beaten provincial finalist, in this case Cork. Despite been very disappointing earlier on in the year enroute to relegation to division 3 of the league, their demolition of of Limerick in the Munster championship and their decent performance in a narrow Munster final loss to rivals Kerry, gives them high hopes of reaching the Super 8s at Laois expense. In Brian Hurley, Mark Collins and Ruairi Deane the Rebels have the firepower to find the net at ease, remember they have scored 6 in their last 2 games.

In contrast Laois have had a fine 2019 to date, replacing this weekend’s opponents in division 2 of the league for 2020. John Sugrue’s men come into the game on the back of four championship games. They beat Westmeath 0-12 to 0-10 in the Leinster quarter-final, before losing out to Meath in the semi-final 3-13 to 0-11. John Sugrue’s men have turned things around since then though with a 1-13 to 0-12 win over Derry and then last weekend a 0-20 to 0-15 win over Offaly. They will surely fancy their chance of winning this one as well. In defence, Denis Booth, Stephen Attride and Robert Piggott will need to have big games. In attack, much of the scoring will likely be done by Paul and Donie Kingston who kicked 0-10 between them in the win over Offaly, Colm Murphy could also have a big say on proceedings.

I tipped Laois up to overcome Offaly last weekend but I feel their fine season will come to an end at the hands of Cork on Saturday evening in Thurles. This is the first meeting of the sides in championship football and Cork will reach the quarter-final for the first time since 2014 come the end of play.

Last up is the meeting of the two Ulster sides Cavan and Tyrone in Clones on Saturday evening. Cavan exceeded all expectations in reaching their first Ulster final for a number of years, where they fell short against an impressive Donegal. Mickey Graham’s side are the one provincial final losers that I don’t think will recover as I fancy Tyrone a resurgent Tyrone, arguably back playing some of their best football, to catch the Ulster finalists cold, with the Red Hand men knowing that a place in the final eight with Dublin and Roscommon looming will be their reward.

Mickey Harte’s men were dumped out of the province by eventual winners Donegal last month, but are back on track after a labouring victory over Longford and a more finely-tuned display over Kildare last weekend.

But Cavan have been one of the surprise packages of the summer, dispatching of favourites Monaghan in the provincial quarter-final and eventually getting the better of Armagh in a replay before losing to Donegal themselves in the decider.

In Cathal McShane and Peter Harte, Tyrone have two of the most in form players in the country at the moment and I feel their firepower will send them on their way to Dr.Hyde Park the following week and a meeting with Roscommon in their opening Super 8s tie.

Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone all to win are priced at 11/2 but we are enhancing that to 7/1 for our in shop (Bruce Betting) customers.