Galway sealed promotion and, in a way, also brushed aside a disappointing Derry at Owenbeg.
Three first-half goals confirmed the result before the break, with a fourth from Tomo Culhane securing victory and a place in the Division 2 final with a game to go.
Derry’s cherished clean sheet record was ruthlessly dismantled in the opening 35 minutes as Galway slammed three goals home while the leaders held an untouchable 13-point lead at half-time – 3-8 to 0-4.
And while the visitors were clinical, the home side chose the wrong time to show their worst half of the season. With star striker Shane McGuigan controversially absent, Derry had little edge and was wide open at the other end as the visitors blossomed.
Showing a dazzling man of play, Matthew Tierney began the rout when he flew home a Paul Conroy pass in the 10th minute. Damien Comer, unmarked at the back post, fired into the top right corner in the 23rd minute before Dessie Conneely scored her third just before half-time.
With the strong breeze at their backs, Derry scored the first goal after the break. But any hopes of an unlikely revival were finally dashed with Culhane’s 41st-minute goal. It extended Galway’s lead to an unassailable 15-point lead and dealt a crushing blow to Oakleaf’s hopes of promotion in a year that promised so much.
Rory Gallagher’s men kept fighting and managed to wipe some blood off the scoreboard with points from Niall Loughlin, Ciaran McFaul and Niall Toner.
Paul Conroy, the outstanding midfielder on the pitch with three points from the game, was shown a red card in the 57th minute but it had little effect on the game. Derry’s Gareth McKinless saw a red card shortly afterwards and both sides ended with 14 men in a game that was anything but lively from start to finish.
Goalscorers – Galway: M Tierney 1-3 (2f); D. Conneely 1-2 (1f); D corner 1-1; T Culhane 1-0; P Conroy 0-3; C McDaid, J Heaney each 0-1. Derry: N Loughlin (3f), E Bradley (2f), C McFaul 0-3 each; P Cassidy, L Murray, N Toner each 0-1.
Galway – C Flaherty 8, J Glynn 7, K Molloy 8, L Silke 8, D McHugh 7, J Daly 7, C McDaid 7, P Kelly 8, P Conroy 9, M Tierney 9, S Kelly 8, J Heaney 7, R Finnerty 7, D Comer 8, D Conneely 8. Subs: O Gallagher 7 for Finnerty (ht), T Culhane 8 for Comer (38), J McGrath 7 for Glynn (47), N Daly 7 for P Kelly (55) , S Fitzgerald 7 for S Kelly (70).
Derry – O Lynch 4 C McKaigue 5 B Rogers 6 P McGrogan 5 G McKinless 5 C Doherty 4 C Glass 6 E Bradley 6 E Doherty 4 O McWilliams 5 C McFaul 7 B Heron 5 N Loughlin 5, P Cassidy 5, L Murray 6. Subs: P Cassidy 5 for Heron (46), N Toner 6 for C Doherty (46), C McCluskey 6 for Murray (58), S Downey 6 for McWilliams (65) , B McCarron 6 for E Doherty (70).
Ref – S Hurson (Tyrone)
Corks 1-16 Bottom 1-12
STEVEN SHERLOCK’S exploits mean Cork will fight another day in NFL Division 2 – but Down will ply his trade in Division 3 next season and now needs to reach an Ulster final to avoid the Tailteann Cup this summer.
Cork sniper Sherlock struck Páirc Uí Chaoimh 7-1 as the home side clinched their first league win on their sixth attempt to keep their hopes of survival alive.
Both Cork and Down were unbeaten prior to this basement battle and the Rebels’ great escape now faces next weekend’s must-win final round trip to Offaly. This game is now effectively a relegation playoff: the winner stays up, but the loser will slip through the trapdoor and go down to Division 3 next season.
“That win was very important and we need to start the real do-or-die game next weekend,” Cork GAA vice-chairman Pat Horgan said in the absence of Cork boss Keith Ricken, who missed the game through illness.
Down, meanwhile, are relegated after a fifth loss in six games and will regret a number of missed chances – Anthony O’Doherty’s first-half shot was parried by Cork shot-stopper Michéal Martin and with six minutes left, Darran O’Hagan’s fist came close Goal wide as they were down 1-12 to 1-10 by two.
Cork scored the down goal in the first half, Sherlock flicked the ball into the net after 27 minutes, assisted by a succinct pass from John O’Rourke. That gave Cork some breathing room and pushed them 1-5, 0-4 up after a tight opening.
Cathail O’Mahony was Cork’s forward of choice early on and made a brace, as did Sherlock, while O’Rourke also found the target.
Down’s biggest first-half scoring threat was full forward Pat Havern, but he was too isolated for long stretches. Points from Havern (2), Cory Quinn, Andrew Gilmore (vacant) and Darran O’Hagan held Down well in this competition that had little quality but plenty of excitement.
Cork had earned their 5-1, 5-0 lead at half-time but Down were never too far away. After Cork went 1-9 to 0-8 after 43 minutes, Down hit back with a goal and punished a Cork turnover while Tiarnan Rushe finished superbly after a homicidal counterattack.
The home side did not panic. A brace from Sherlock included a result from Daniel Dineen as Cork cleared 1-12 to 1-8. But James McCartan’s men came back. Andrew Gilmore tapped two frees and Ryan O’Higgins added another score as the Cork advantage was reduced to just one, 1-12 to 1-11. O’Hagan’s missed opportunity also came in this mini-race.
Under pressure and with Down pushing forward, Cork found his rhythm late to doom Down in Division 3 and keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Scorers – Cork: S Sherlock 1-7 (5f); C O’Mahony 0-3; C O’Callaghan 0-2; J O’Rourke, D Dineen, M Cronin, M Taylor 0-1 each. Below: P. Havern (m), A. Gilmore (3f) each 0-3; T Rush 1-0; D O’Hagan 0-2; C Quinn, C Doherty, R O’Higgins, R McEvoy each 0-1.
CORK—M Martin 7; K O’Donovan 7, K Flahive 6, K Histone 6; J Cooper 6, R Maguire 7, M Taylor 8, I Maguire 7, C O’Callaghan 8; D Dineen 7, E McSweeney 6, J O’Rourke 7; S Sherlock 8, C O’Mahony 7, B Hurley 6. Subs: T Walsh 7 for Histon (inj, 5), F Herlihy 6 for Dineen (53), M Cronin 6 for Hurley (58), C Kiely for McSweeney ( 65), J Grimes for O’Rourke (70).
BOTTOM – R burns 7; P Fegan 7, F McElroy 6, G Collins 6; D O’Hagan 6, C Poland 6, C Doherty 7; A Doherty 7, N McParland 6; A Morgan 6, L Kerr 6, R McEvoy 6; A Gilmore 7, P Havern 7, C Quinn 6. Subs: K McKernan 6 for McParland (23), T Rushe 6 for Quinn (34), G McMahon 6 for Burns (inj, 39), R O’Higgins for Morgan ( 57).
Ref – B Griffin (Kerry).
Meath 0-10 Clare 0-9
A goalkeeping error deep in injury time allowed Meath-sub James Conlon to score the winner as Andy McEntee’s men left Cusack Park, Ennis, with both league points.
The Royal County led 3-0 to 0-0 midway through the first half thanks to points from forward Shane Walsh and two frees from Jordan Morris. However, Clare enjoyed a period of dominance over the next 10 minutes, only to be beaten by team captain Eoin Cleary and two frees from Keelan to equalize sexton.
5-0 at the break, the second half was a back-and-forth, and when Meath’s substitute Bryan McMahon equalized after 65 minutes, a draw seemed in sight.
But deep in stoppage time, Clares’ keeper Stephen Ryan was disowned near his own 45-yard line by Meath’s Ronan Jones, who passed Conlon (above) and shot fatally over the winner.
Goalscorers – Meath: S Walsh (2f) 0-3; J Morris (2f) 0-2; B Menton, C O’Sullivan, B McMahon, J Wallace, J Conlon 0-1 each. Clare: Sexton K (3f) 0-4; E clear 0-3; E McMahon, C Jordan each 0-1.
Meath – H Hogan 7, J Muldoon 7, E Harkin 7, R Clarke 7, D Keogan 7, G McGowan 7, E Wallace 7, B Menton 7, R Jones 8, J Scully 6, T O’Reilly 6, M Costello 7, J Morris 7, S Walsh 7, C O’Sullivan 8. Substitutes: J Wallace 7 for Walsh (50), B McMahon 7 for O’Reilly (60), J O’Connor 6 for Scully (63), J Conlon 7 for Morris (67).
Clare – S Ryan 6, M Doherty 7, C Brennan 8, C Rouine 7, J Malone 7, C O’Dea 7, E Collins 7, C Russell 7, D O’Neill 6, P Lillis 7, E Cleary 8, E McMahon 7, A Griffin 6, K Sexton 7, D Tubridy 7. Subs: D Walsh 7 for Collins (ht), C Jordan 7 for Doherty (inj, 39), G Cooney 6 for Brennan (inj, 50), J McGann 6 for Griffin (63).
Ref – D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).
Roscommon 2-18 Offaly 0-14
As one would expect from a side with ambition and a lot at stake, Roscommon was in no mood to spoil themselves as they picked Offaly apart at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.
Roscommon played sensational attacking football in the first half and won just as easily as the 10-point winning line would suggest. Next Sunday Roscommon play Galway at home with promotion at stake.
Their strikers burned here, destroying Offaly in the first half as they rushed 1-12 to 0-7 at half-time – they were just one down. Roscommon had winger Keith Doyle sacked in the 14th minute for a second yellow card, but that only resulted in a brief stoppage for them. At that point they were leading 8-0 to 2-0 and were on their way to the two points.
Offaly fought hard after Doyle’s sending off, taking four of the next six points to go 10-0, 6-0 after 25 minutes. A goal by Donie Smith in the 25th minute, in which Offaly protested that he had put the ball in the net, stole Offaly’s life.
Roscommon had the points in their pockets at half-time and although they didn’t play that well in the second half, they were never in danger. A superb Enda Smith goal in the 45th minute put them 2-12 0-7 up and they rolled home from here.
Scorers – Roscommon: D Smith 1-3 (1f); C Helmsman 0-5 (2f, 1m); E Smith 1-0; C McKeon 0-2; R Hughes, R Daly, U Harney, E Nolan, C Murtagh, N Kilroy, K Doyle, D Murtagh 0-1 each. Offaly: N McNamee 0-5 (3f); R McNamee 0-2; P Dunican (’45), C Donnelly, C Donoghue, D Hyland, B Carroll, J Moloney, A Sullivan 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON—C. Lavin 6; D Murray 6, B Stack 8, E McCormack 7; R Hughes 8, N Daly 8, R Daly 7; U Harney 9, E Nolan 8; C Murtagh 6, E Smith 7, K Doyle 6; C Heneghan 7, D Smith 8, C Cox 7. Subs: N Kilroy 7 for D Smith (50), C McKeon 7 for Heneghan (50), P Carey 6 for Murtagh (55), D Murtagh 6 for Cox (58) , S Cunnane 6 for Harney (61).
OFFALY – P Dunican 7; D Hogan 7, J Lalor 6, N Darby 7; C Donnelly 6, D Dempsey 6, Regan 6; C Donoghue 6, J Hayes 6; M Abbott 6, D Hyland 6, B Carroll 6; B Allen 6, A Sullivan 6, N McNamee 7. Substitutions: J O’Connor 6 for Dempsey (ht), K Dolan 6 for Egan (ht), R McNamee 7 for Abbott (ht), C Flynn 6 for Hyland (54 ), J. Moloney 6 for Donnelly (58).
Ref – A Nolan (Wicklow).
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/division-two-round-up-galway-secure-promotion-as-cork-finally-get-a-win-41468714.html Division 2 recap: Galway secure promotion as Cork finally win