O’Byrne Cup round-up: Mixed reaction to new rule changes

There were wins for Wexford, Meath and Longford on the opening weekend

A general view of of O’Moore Park in Portlaoise before the game. Photo: Tom Beary/Inpho

A general view of of O’Moore Park in Portlaoise before the game. Photo: Tom Beary/Inpho

 

Wexford 0-16 Louth 1-6

There was mixed reaction to the experimental rules in Darver on Saturday night as Wexford cruised to a comprehensive O’Byrne Cup win over Louth.

The visitors had an early Paul Curtis goal chalked off for executing too many handpasses, but overall Paul McLoughlin’s side handled the new directives and the atrocious conditions better than their hosts.

They took control of the game in the second quarter, opening a 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead and, despite gifting Louth an early second-half goal, the result was never in doubt.

McLoughlin was pleased to start with a win and he’s keeping an open mind on the rules. “Sure look we have it difficult enough with the old rules so we’ll give the new ones a good go. There was more kickpassing, but quite a lot of them came after two or three handpasses, so lads were just buying back the handpasses and that was fairly obvious. The goal was ruled out for too many handpasses and in the heat of the moment it is hard. That was a good ball and it was well-worked, so you can definitely see mistakes like that happening.”

His counterpart Wayne Kierans is far from enthusiastic about the changes, but he insisted players and coaches will have to learn to adapt. “I’ve said before I don’t agree with the rules at all and we were caught a few times with the handpasses. But look we have to be positive about it and we have to do a lot more work on them. It’s how you play around the rules, and not so much the rules themselves, that will be the issue and we still have a lot of work to do on it.”

WEXFORD: C Swaine; M Furlong, G Sheehan, C Carty (0-2); G Malone, S Doyle, M O’Connor; B O’Connor (0-1), N Hughes; C Devitt, J Bealin (0-3, two frees), K O’Grady (0-3, one mark); P Curtis (0-2), D Shanley (0-1), M O’Regan.

Subs: R Frayne for M O’Regan (56), B Brosnan 0-1 for D Shanley (60), C Devereux (0-3, one free) for P Curtis (62), D Shannon for C Devitt (63), S Barden for M O’Connor (70+).

LOUTH: A McGauley; H Osborne, D Corcoran, P Englishby; L Grey, D Marks, J Clutterbuck; T Durnin, C Early; C Branigan (0-1), C Callan (0-1), C McKeever; R Burns (0-1 mark), J McEneaney, T McEnaney (0-2 frees).

Subs: S Mulroy (1-0) for McEnaney (ht), E Callaghan for J Clutterbuck (ht), A Williams for L Grey (ht), R Moore for C McKeever (51), N Conlon (0-1) for R Burns (62), D Byrne for C Early (62), B Duffy for D Marks (63).

Referee: David O’Connor (Dublin).

Meath 3-11 Laois 0-6

A powerful Meath surge in the 10-minute period before half time laid the foundations for a comfortable win over Laois in the opening round of the O’Byrne Cup in Portlaoise.

The opening stages of the game were played in a heavy downpour and after 23 minutes the sides were level at two points apiece. But the rain stopped at that point and Meath took over.

They outscored Laois by 2-6 to a point in the time that remained and built up an 11 point lead at half time, their goals coming from corner-back Ronan Ryan and wing-forward. At half-time, Meath led 2-8 to 0-3.

Thomas O’Reilly hit 1-1 for the visitors and Mickey Newman added a couple more frees in the second half as Meath eventually ran out impressive 14-point winners.

The competition continues next weekend with Meath taking on Wicklow and Laois away to Wexford.

MEATH: A Colgan; S Lavin, B Menton, R Ryan (1-0); J McEntee, D Keoghan (0-1), G McCoy; S Tobin, A Flanagan; D Quinn (1-1), D Campion (0-1), B McMahon; J Conlon (0-2), M Newman (0-5, 3F 1 ‘45), T O’Reilly (1-1).

Subs: N Hickey for Conlon (30), G Reilly for McMahon (46), T McGovern and N Kane for Ryan and McCoy (both 55).

LAOIS: S Osbourne; A Campion, D Booth, D O’Connor; S Attride, M Timmons (0-1), R Piggot; J O’Loughlin, B Daly (0-1); M Scully, D Conway (0-1), S Byrne; E Lowry (0-1), G Walsh (0-2, 2f), P Kingston.

Subs: D O’Reilly for Pigott, P O’Sullivan for Daly and M Keogh for Kingston (all 43), D Strong for O’Loughlin and S Nerney for O’Connor (50), R Hitchcock and B Byrne for Scully and Campion (both 63), F Crowley for Attride (65).

Referee: P Kelly (Offaly).

Longford 1-7 Wicklow 1-6

A sublime point from Robbie Smyth in the 65th minute helped Longford secure an opening day O’Byrne Cup win over Wicklow in Newtownforbes on Saturday evening.

There was very little between the sides with both of them guilty of some wayward shooting. After a sluggish first half Longford upped their game in the second half and were twice ahead by two with points from Daniel Mimnagh, Colm P Smyth and Robbie Smyth.

Rory Finn levelled for Wicklow in the 54th minute but it was Robbie Smyth who proved to be the matchwinner with a fantastic point.

Gearoid Murphy grabbed a goal in the 30th minute for Wicklow. Anthony McLoughlin also kicked over three frees for the Garden County in that opening half.

Barry McKeon found the back of the net with a fortuitous goal in the 11th minute for Longford. A pointed free from Darren Gallagher left them trailing by one at the break but they turned it around in the second half.

LONGFORD: P Farrell; D Quinn (0-1), B O’Farrell, S Donohoe; P Lynn, M Quinn, D Mimnagh; D Gallagher (0-1,1f), P Hanley; N Rabbitt, R McEntire, B McKeon; R Smyth (0-3), A Farrell, I O’Sullivan.

Subs: C Shields, J Hagan, M Hughes, CP Smyth (0-1), C Lee.

WICKLOW: R Lambert; K Kirwan, R O’Brien, J Snell; C Healy, S Mooney, D Fitzgerald; P O’Toole C McGraynor (0-1); G Murphy (1-0), A McLoughlin (0-3,3fs), R Finn (0-2,1f); M Kenny, C O’Brien, P O’Connor.

Subs: M Fitzimons, F O’Shea, D Keane, T Maher, C Healy, N Meldon.

Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath).

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