Gaelic Football

5 Key Takeaways From Opening Weekend Of League Action

1. Hannah Tyrrell Returns In Style

Irish rugby star Hannah Tyrrell returned in memorable fashion to the intercounty football scene after what was a lengthy hiatus.

The talented Tyrrell helped the Dubs down the Deise in what was big victory for Mick Bohan’s side as the forward notched an impressive personal tally of 1-5, all of which coming from play.

Mick Bohan was full of praise for Tyrrell following her star studded performance, complimenting her “fabulous approach” to everything whilst noting the “fine athlete” Tyrrell is. 

Tyrrell last donned the sky blue of Dublin in 2014’s National League, before the all rounder withdrew from the set-up halfway through the campaign having been offered a professional contract to play with Ireland’s women’s national rugby sevens team. The former Trinity & UCD student then tried her hand at Rugby Union in 2015 when she helped Ireland to victory in the Six Nation’s championship. 

Also a talented soccer player having represented Shamrock Rovers in her lengthy list of achievements, Ireland’s first choice out-half in this year’s six nations has set herself a high standard with yesterday’s performance and Dublin fans will be elated with Tyrrell’s decision to come on board this year in their bid for five in a row.

Hannah Tyrrell in action for Ireland during this year’s Six Nations.

2. A “Goals Galore” Opening Weekend

From the 15 clashes that took place over the weekend,  a staggering 66 goals were served up in what was an action packed opening round of fixtures. In a recent interview with TG4 analyst and former Waterford footballer attached blow, Michelle Ryan rightfully said all teams were going to approach the league with aims to hit the ground running given the format of this year’s ladies football calendar and she clearly knew what she was talking about. 

There were four goals in MacHale Park as Mayo emerged victorious on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-14. 

Donegal and Westmeath produced three as the Ulster county won out 2-13 to 1-7.

Reigning All-Ireland Champions Dublin welcomed Waterford with an accumulation of eight goals produced as Mick Bohan’s side started the campaign well winning 6-15 to 2-12.

In Division 2A, Clare beat Wexford 0-13 to 1-8, whilst Meath lost 1-10 to 3-10 at home to the Kingdom. Division 2B brought a further bombardment of green flags as it finished Monaghan 2-10 Cavan 3-11, followed by Tyrone 3-10 Armagh 3-11 in the Northern affair. 

Division 3A’s two clashes supplied seven goals as Roscommon defeated Fermanagh on a scoreline of 3-10 to 1-12, whilst the saying ‘goals win games’ proved righteous for Sligo in Teconnaught as they put Down to the sword, winning 3-4 to 0-11.

In 3B, it finished Longford 1-7 Wicklow 0-8, whilst Laois defeated Kildare 2-16 to 2-13 in what was a super game of football.

Division 4A’s green flag- umpires had their work cut out as a massive 14 goals were served up in the two games. Leitrim defeated Louth 3-14 to 3-6, whilst Derry and Antrim finished 3-4 to 5-10 with The Saffrons claiming all three points. 

The goal count of 66 was concluded by a 3-16 to 1-16 finish in Division 4B as Offaly beat Carlow. 

A feast of goals to kickstart the campaign!

3. Rivalry Remains Fierce In The West

Galway and Mayo ensured there was little to give between the sides at the weekend in what was the game of the opening round.

Augmented by the return of the Carnicon contingent to the fray, the green and red of Mayo blitzed Gerry Fahy’s side in the final five minutes of the game with an unanswered 1-4 to ensure all three points and the opening weeknd bragging rights in what was a thrilling encounter.

Despite the best efforts of Galway’s Kate Slevin and Mairéad Seoighe, the talented Rachel Kearns came up trumps throughout, as Mayo swayed the back and forth clash on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-14. An opening weekend game that will be sure to leave supporters counting down the hours to the next round of action.

⏱️ FULL TIME

? @lidl_ireland NFL Division 1 A@Mayo_LGFA 2-15@GalwayLgfa 2-14

This was the key moment that triggered Mayo's comeback. No stopping Rachel Kearns?@SportTG4 @GAA_BEO @ConnachtLGFA#SeriousSupportpic.twitter.com/CyjJg0327r

— Ladies Football (@LadiesFootball) May 22, 2021

4.Captain’s Role Suiting Donegal’s Niamh McLaughlin

Moville woman Niamh McLaughlin was handed captaincy of Donegal prior to this season and she began in blistering form to lead her county to victory over Westmeath in round one of  the Lidl National Football League.

McLaughlin played a leadership role in the 2-13 to 1-7 victory as Maxi Curran’s side hit the ground running with a big opening day victory.

Her first goal came after just 16 seconds as she saw her attempted pass find it’s way beyond Westmeath goalkeeper Sinead Byrne and into the back of the net. The second of the skipper’s goals came late in the game as she raced clear in the 60th minute to cement an opening day three points for her Donegal side and finish her big day in style with 2-1 to her name.

Niamh McLaughlin who enjoyed a good start to her new tenure as Donegal skipper

5. Cork Showcase The Strength In Depth Of Their Panel 

Ephie Fitzgerald will be content with the opening round performance of his Rebel outfit– with the strength of their whole panel proving admirable.

Despite Fitzgerald insisting the side have plenty to improve ahead of their clash with Dublin, he can be happy with the performances of many of his starting players, finely complimented by the impact made by those he sprung from the bench.

Sadhbh O’ Leary was the star of the show in Pairc Ui Caoimh as the dazzling corner forward saw her neat footwork and frequent patches of excellence earn her the TG4 Player Of The Match award as she finished with 1-3 to her name.

The impact made by the Cork bench was commendable as both Libby Coppinger and Katie Quirke kicked 1-1 a piece to seal the victory for Cork.

With many discussions held over the loss of goal getter Saoirse Noonan to Shelbourne FC and the Women’s National League, Fitzgerald and Cork will be happy with how their entire panel secured an opening round victory over a dogged Tipperary– a positive trait the Rebel County will hope to continue if they are to finally dethrone Mick Bohan’s Dublin at the business end of the year.

https://youtu.be/7wJBS5072ew

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