Rain plays havoc on a day of drama in football and hurling

Two Division 1A games fell victim to the weather while all football fixtures held on

Wexford’s Liam Og McGovern on the pitch after their game with Kilkenny was called off. Photo: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Wexford’s Liam Og McGovern on the pitch after their game with Kilkenny was called off. Photo: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

 

The Central Competitions Control Committee will meet on Monday afternoon to refix the Division One league hurling matches that fell victim to the torrential rain that swept across the south and east of the country on Sunday. While it is likely that the league quarter-final between Limerick and Laois will go ahead as planned next Sunday, the other three quarter-finals will be pushed back a week, with the knock-on effect of the final being delayed until the last weekend of March.

The Division 1A games between Wexford and Kilkenny and Cork and Tipperary were called off less than an hour before throw-in, as was the Division 1B game between Galway and Waterford. Laois lost away to Dublin on a scoreline of 0-13 to 0-11 but went through to the quarter-finals nonetheless, thanks to Offaly’s surprise win over Carlow. It means that Offaly and Carlow will now meet in the relegation playoff next weekend.

On a day that saw rain turn to sleet and then to snow, the nationwide yellow weather warning was borne out. In Wexford, the Kilkenny bus arrived at the ground around 10 minutes before referee Alan Kelly pulled the plug. The surface water was ankle deep inside both 21-metre lines at Innovate Wexford Park and Kelly wasn’t prepared to risk player safety on it.

Monaghan’s Karl O’Connell and Drew Wylie with Gavin O’Brien of Kerry. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Monaghan’s Karl O’Connell and Drew Wylie with Gavin O’Brien of Kerry. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

“It was the right decision,” said Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. “It’s about safety. There’s surface water on the field and I just think there’s no point. It’s not about getting games played, it’s about the players. The right decision, 110 per cent. I was out on it and it’s pretty much all over the field. I just think it would have been too dangerous.

“It’s just not conducive to hurling. I know we’re tight for time and fixtures will get tight and everything. But I just don’t think we need to do it. Common sense would tell you what the story is.”

By various accidents of geography, the football programme survived intact, meaning that Kerry and Dublin continued what looks like an inexorable march to a league final encounter against each other. Kerry ran up their fifth win from five matches with a 0-17 to 0-13 victory over Monaghan in Killarney, including outscoring the visitors by 0-7 to 0-1 in the closing quarter.

Dublin found Roscommon in resistant form in Dy Hyde Park but were still able to come away with a 2-14 to 1-12 victory to push them into second place in the table. Stephen Cluxton made his first appearance of 2019 and Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock knocked in a goal apiece grab the points for Jim Gavin’s side.

Match of the day in Division Two went all the way to the wire, as Meath stole an injury-time victory over Kildare in Navan. A Barry Dardis penalty in the 71st minute brought the house down, securing a 1-9 to 1-8 win for Andy McEntee’s side over their Leinster rivals. Kildare were only good for a single point in the second half and will feel they threw this one away, especially having led by five points at half-time. It leaves Meath top of Division Two on eight points alongside Fermanagh, with Donegal on six and Kildare on five.

Kerry’s Daniel Collins and Shane Whitty of Meath battle for the ball in the snow. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Kerry’s Daniel Collins and Shane Whitty of Meath battle for the ball in the snow. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

In Division Three, Sligo are the first team in the country to be confirmed as relegated, with their 1-10 to 3-12 defeat at home to Westmeath condemning them to the drop.

But there was no doubt where the story of the day lay – it was in Leitrim, where the home side’s 1-9 to 0-6 win over London saw them promoted to Division Three. Terry Hyland’s team have been stuck in Division Four for 11 straight years, ever since they were relegated from Division Three in the first season after leagues were redrawn in 2008. But after a nervous start in Carrick-On-Shannon, they got rolling thanks to a Shane Quinn goal after 23 minutes and ultimately saw it out with six points in hand.

It is Leitrim’s first promotion of any sort in the league since 1990 and means they will play Derry in the league final in Croke Park on March 30th. It will be their first appearance at headquarters since the Tommy Murphy Cup final in 2006.

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