Leinster's craft proves enough


INTERPROVINCIAL HURLING FINAL Leinster 3-18 Connacht 1-17: WATER IS one of man’s most basic needs, especially in the United Arab Emirates. So an hour before the 4pm throw-in with temperatures peaking at 33 degrees the GAA’s new PRO, Alan Milton, was hunting down boxes of aptly named Oasis water to scatter around the pitch prior to the M Donnelly interprovincial final.

Danny Lynch’s successor had no intention of sending men like Henry Shefflin back to a manager like Brian Cody suffering from dehydration.

The perfectly manicured Ghantoot Racing Polo club is owned, like most things in the principality of Abu Dhabi, by the ruling Al Nahyan family.

Former RUC/PSNI chief constable Ronnie Flanagan and four-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Matthew Pinsent OBE were other guests among the 1,500 crowd. Those two may have been scratching their heads a little but hurling enthusiasts departed satisfied by the scoring exploits of Leinster’s Shefflin, aided by man-of-the-match Eoin Quigley, David O’Callaghan, Joe Bergin and Eddie Brennan.

Connacht and Galway manager John McIntyre (Sligo’s Keith Raymond being the only outsider to start) was critical of his players after the 11-point loss to Kilkenny last week but saw plenty of improvement here.

“I’m hoping people will see a different Galway come the summer,” he said.

LEINSTER: PJ Ryan (Kilkenny); D Franks (Offaly), D Kenny (Offaly), J Tyrrell (Kilkenny); T Walsh (Kilkenny), JJ Delaney (Kilkenny, capt), M Jacob (Wexford); R Hanniffy (0-1) (Offaly), E Quigley (0-2) (Wexford); M Rice (Kilkenny), H Shefflin (1-6, two 65s, three frees) (Kilkenny), D Lyng (1-2, free) (Kilkenny); D O’Callaghan (0-2) (Dublin), J Bergin (1-1) (Offaly), E Brennan (0-3) (Kilkenny). Subs: A Fogarty (0-1) (Kilkenny)for O’Callaghan (45 mins), C Farrell (Wexford) for Hanniffy (54 mins), A McCrabbe for Rice, S Clynch for Lyng (60 mins).

CONNACHT: (Galway unless stated): C Callanan; M Ryan, D McClearn, C O’Donovan; A Coen (capt), B Costello, G Mahon; A Cullinane (0-2, 65), K Raymond (0-1) (Sligo); P Killilea, M Kerins, K Hooban (0-2); N Healy (0-7, five frees), R Murray (1-1), A Callanan (0-2). Subs: B Burke for O’Donovan (26 mins), C Donnellan (0-1)for Killilea (38 mins), F Healy for Raymond (41 mins), J Gantley (0-1)for Hooban (47 mins), M Keaveney (Roscommon) for Coen (59 mins).

Referee: M Wadding(Waterford).