South Dublin Swans v Galway Magpies
The Magpies travelled east to Dublin for Round 1 for the second year in succession to face the South Dublin Swans last Saturday afternoon. It was cool and overcast as the teams went through their pre-game prep, but it soon heated up, both weather wise and on field.
The Pies, with a fresh look team, including 10 first gamers came out firing early on with a goal in their first inside 50. Taking advantage of the breeze in the first quarter, they added a further 2 goals before the Swans had registered. Behinds were the Swans first 5 scoring contributions, before finally kicking a goal at the end of the first term.
The home side then came out firing in what was their best quarter of footy on the day. 4 goals were kicked by the hosts before the big break, who seemed to take control of the game going into the second half.
The third quarter was a see saw affair, with both trans trading scores, mostly behinds it has to be said. Shaun ‘Smurf’ Murphy was at his formidable best throughout, splitting the big sticks with ease to keep the pressure on the Swans, until Declan Morgan kicked a long range goal at the end of the quarter.
The final term seaw the Galway team bring the scoreline back to within 1 point of their Dublin rivals. Again Smurf was the thorn in the Swans side as he was the prime target for the Magpies hardworking midfield. Rory Quinlivan, Keith Wheelan and Conor Dunne then found another gear, re taking control of the game for the Swans, who kicked 2 goals in the last few minutes, including 1 from James O’Donoghue to secure victory.
A highly entertaining game which saw tireless running and great ball work from Steve McCarron from the Magpies and pinpoint accuracy from Shaun Murphy.
Best for the Swans were Keith Whelan and Conor Dunne in midfield along with new recruit, Rory Quinlivan in the rruck.
Swans 9 – 16 – 70
Magpies 8 – 11- 59
Belfast Redbacks v Leeside Lions
The Leeside Lions made the cross country journey to Ulster’s capital city last Saturday for Round 1 of this years Premiership. An 840km round trip would seem arduous but not for the club that plays out of Cork. A total of 24 players made the trek to Belfast. Serious dedication from the Leesiders who were looking to restart where they left off last season.
The Refbacks enjoyed a healthy pre season. Buoyed by the resurgence of their ladies team, the Ulster Kookaburras, and the development of the Mid Ulster Suns, the Redbacks managed to get mixed training sessions and challenge games under their belt.
The Redbacks had plenty of motivation for this one, looking to avenge last seasons heavy defeat down in Cork. It was the Munster men however, fresh from their 3 game Leeside League series, who managed to get the upper hand in a low scoring game.
Ian O’Sullivan, the Lions engine in midfield, rolled back the years with an impressive display as ever, notching 2 goals in the process. The impressive Darren O’Dwyer snagged 2 goals of his own to add to the top scorers award he won in the Leeside League competition just 1 week earlier.
For the Redbacks, it was a tough day at home in the Mallusk Playing fields, but their effort, as always, cannot go unmentioned. The tough tackling Ulster men never give up and Saturday was no different, pushing their rivals til the final siren. Redbacks stalwart Davy McElhone worth a notable mention as he put himself about with some quality use of the footy and great disposals.
Best on ground in Belfast were Jerry Cronin in the backline for the Lions, Kevin Jones in the midfield and Belfast’s David McElhone.
Belfast Refbacks 5 – 6 – 36
Leeside Lions 9 – 5 – 59
Attention will now turn to Round 2 on July 17th as the Swans host the Redbacks in Dublin and the Lions, who are on the road again, travel to face the Magpies in Galway.