Donegal 0-5 Meath 1-7 – Second half helps Meath seal the win.

By Patrick Sharkey,

A wide in the first minute made it hard for Meath. Donegal opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Susan White. Niamh O Sullivan then responded three minutes later with the opening point for the Royal ladies.

It went 10 minutes without any scores before Katie Long got a Donegal point. Aoife McColgan then made a big save for Donegal against a Byrne shot through on goal. Galloghy however then got herself a Meath point in the 23rd minute. Susan White then got her second point of the game. Stacey Grimes then got a point at the stroke of halftime for the royal to level it. The halftime score read Donegal 0-3 Meath 0-3. It was a low-scoring first half but if Susan White gets enough of the ball there is no doubt Donegal can trouble Meath a lot.

Meath began the second half on the front foot with Stacey Grimes and Niamh O Sullivan getting a point each.

It took until the midway point of the second half for Donegal to get going with a point from Ciara McGarvey.

Meath, however, was having none of it and Mary Kate Lynch got a 45th-minute goal to help the Royal pull.

Susan White however got back in gear in the 49th minute as she managed to get a point to help Donegal.

Meabh Byrne however showed her magic in the Meath shirt as she then managed to get a point to widen the gap between the Royal and the hills to four points. Meath made good use of their substitutes with Alva Leahy getting a point. The full-time score read Donegal 0-5 Meath 1-7. Meath proved all the doubters wrong today.

Donegal: Aoife McColgan, Katie Dowds (0-1), Evelyn McGinley, Emer Gallagher, Amy Boyle Carr, Jodie McFadden, Tara Hegarty, Shelly Twohig, Roisin Rodgers, Saskia Boyle, Kate Long (0-1), Louise Ryan, Susan White (0-3), Shannon McGroddy, Ciara McGarvey (0-1)Subs: Nicole McLaughlin for Jodie McFadden (43) Subs: Nicole McLaughlin, Ava Walsh, Niamh Carr, Connie Walsh, Shauna Higgins, Cait Gillespie.

Meath: M McGuirk, A Sheridan, MK Lynch, K Newe, N Gallogly (0-1), S Ennis, A Clearly, M O Shaughnessy, A Minogue, M Thynne, M Byrne(0-1), C Smyth, O Callan, S Grimes (0-2), N O Sullivan (0-2)Subs: Shelly Melia, Rachel Casserly, Alva Leahy


Buncrana 0-11 Naomh Columba 3-13 – Three goal Glen outclass Buncrana

By Patrick Sharkey in O’Donnell Park,

Naomh Columba were always one step ahead of Buncrana. They led 1-6 to 0-4 at half-time and for almost every Buncrana score in the second half they responded instantly.

The game started with a Ryan McNern point in the fourth minute for Naomh Columba.

The Donegal star Aaron Doherty then came to the rescue for Naomh Columba scoring two points before the 10-minute mark to put the South Westerners three points ahead.

Oisin Crawford however got the first score for Buncrana with a point in the 11th minute.

Despite too many steps in the build-up, Naomh Columba got a goal from Christopher.

Aaron Doherty then got his third point of the game for Naomh Columba with a point.

Christopher Byrne then added to his tally with a quick point for Naomh Columba. With 23 minutes gone, Paul O’Hare missed his first shot of the game for the Glencolmbcille side.

It took Buncrana 26 minutes to get their second point of the game with a well-taken point from Jigger before Doherty scored for the Glen. Buncrana only took a minute to get their next score with Oisin Crawford getting his second point of the game. Ryan McElhinney then got his first point of the game with a well-taken point for Buncrana to bring the deficit back down to five points. The half-time score read Buncrana 0-4 Naomh Columba 1-6. Naomh Columba would be content with the performance they put in but would be wary that three of the four Buncrana points in the first half came in the last five minutes. One man who has been key to have got the Buncrana men back in was Ryan Hegarty.

Naomh Columba however entered the second half on the right foot with a point from Christopher Byrne to put the side six points ahead. Oisin O Flaherty then had his shot go wide. William McLaughlin put things right for Buncrana then got their first score of the second half with his point. Fionn Gallagher then however got a point for the green and yellow to put them five points ahead again. Kevin Mc Nern then got his first point of the game for Naomh Columba. Darrach O Connor then got a point for Buncrana before Molloy canceled it. Naomh Columba then got a goal from Byrne and Campbell got a Buncrana red card. However, the experience was key for Buncrana off the bench with Adrian McColgan getting himself a point. Ryan McElhinney then got himself his second point of the game for Buncrana to reduce the deficit by eight points. However, it was reduced by seven when Darrach O Connor then got a point for Buncrana that was deflected from the Naomh Columba full-back Barry Carr. Aaron Doherty got his fifth point of the game to make sure it is an eight-point deficit again. However, the best was yet to come for Aaron as the forward then got a goal less than a minute later for Naomh Columba before McColgan got a late Buncrana point. Doherty then got his second point from a free. The full-time score read: Buncrana 0-11 Naomh Columba 3-13. Despite a late Buncrana surge in the first half Naomh Columba managed to get the job done in Letterkenny. All the credit will go to the Naomh Columba forwards but one man who kept many of the Buncrana shots at bay, and keeping a clean sheet was the goalkeeper Padraig.

Naomh Columba: Padraig Byrne, Pauric Ward, Philip Doherty, Barry Carr, Eric Carr, Philip McNern, Pauric Hegarty, Fionn Gallagher(0-1), Declan McGuire, Paul O’Hare, Aaron Doherty (1-4, 0-2f), Kevin McNern (0-1), Ryan Gillespie, Christopher Byrne (2-2), Ryan McNern (0-1) Subs Used: Lanty Molloy (0-1) for Ryan McNern, Oisin McGinley for Barry Carr, Pauric Cunningham for Paul O Hare, Steven Jones for Philip Doherty

Buncrana: Harry Doherty (0-1), Aedan Stokes, Conor Grant, Stephen Doherty, Oisin O Flaherty, William McLaughlin(0-1), Oisin Crawford(0-2), Peter McLaughlin, Caolan McGonagle, Adrian Doherty, Darrach O Connor (0-3), Ryan McElhinney(0-2), John Campbell, Ben Bradley, Ryan Hegarty Subs used Kevin Tracey for Sean Doherty, Adrian McColgan(0-2) for Oisin O Flaherty, Micheal Bernard McLaughlin for Adrian Doherty

“It’s hard to know” – the managerial merry-go-round keeps spinning

By Patrick Sharkey,

Episode 54: David Dempsey The GAA Zone podcast

On episode 54 of the GAA Zone podcast, the GAA Zone editor Patrick Sharkey spoke to the Offaly and Bally Common senior footballer David Dempsey. — Send in a voice message:
  1. Episode 54: David Dempsey
  2. Episode 53: Managerial Merry Go Round
  3. Episode 52: Antrim hurling 2022
  4. Episode 51: Andy McEntee
  5. Episode 50: The future of GAA Media!

The dust has firmly settled on the 2022 All-Ireland races, with club championships now in full swing.

In the controversy over a proposed GAA pitch at Victoria Park in Belfast, some people seem to have assumed that the GAA is just another sporting organisation. It means a lot more to the cult.

A GAA-mad Sligo teenager is visiting every county ground in Ireland this week to fundraise for Temple Street Children’s Hospital. He could have seen Ephie Fitzgerald when he landed in Waterford as Aaron Maher Predergast from GAA Fan TV spoke on episode 53 of the GAA zone podcast talking about him.

Clara GAA Club has not reached an agreement to sell their old ground at Pairc Brid on the Ballycumber road. However, Waterford seemed to have agreed to keep Fitzgerald in place with Mr. Maher keeping the faith.

A Cork GAA club has hosted a Cúl Camp course for some 40 Ukrainian children staying in the area.

A Co. Limerick GAA pitch narrowly escaped an inferno after a stack of hay bales caught fire in the vicinity during last weekend’s heatwave. Waterford footballers could also catch fire in 2023.

The horrible last few weeks that have been for the Tipperary GAA family have been a stark one for many around the county, but one thing that has shone brightly from the passing of Dillon Quirke is the community values we are lucky to have in our organisation. Over the border in Waterford, community spirit is fully behind the footballers with Mr. Prendergast saying: “Yeah, I think the right decision is just to keep him I think personally because I think Shane Roynane obviously was the manager there last year and they had another manager the season before that as well so there has been a lot of instability there so probably do need just a bit of stability manager keep the same ideas. It’s hard to know really what the goal or the objective is but I suppose it is better to keep the same manager because it does probably increase the likelihood of improvement and results. Like even look at London like who kept Michael Maher throughout the Covid break and everything else”.

Most of the side is made from Connacht. That is in terms of the style of play for Limerick and Maher Prendergast said: “Yeah it will be tough for them obviously in division two, but I do think they should keep him to be fair though like I think you know like when Billy Lee took over, they were in division four. So, he has taken them from division four all the way to division two and brought through a lot of young players in there as well also, so I think they’re in good hands. I think he’s done a really good job, like, I think probably the ambition maybe with Limerick football now, is maybe they’re looking at what Clare has done, and do you know like they obviously beat Clare on penalties and gave Clare a good run for their money. Clare has been very good at staying up in division two. So, you just don’t know, like, I’d still give Limerick a good chance at staying up, but it is going to be tough for them.”

All-Ireland champions Galway have six players on the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Football Team.

Mayo, whom Galway beat in the final, has four members on the team.  Paddy Tally however isn’t rumored to be on any of the Mayo coaching tickets to bring these young lads through with Maher saying he could be looking elsewhere.

Rio Mortimer and Paul Gilmore of Claremorris have been named in defense while joint captains Diarmuid Duffy and Ronan Clarke are in attack. Prendergast has backed Tally to succeed elsewhere.

Inspired by the powerful midfield duo of Michael Gacquin and Senan Buckley who accounted for 0-24 between them, Clonguish Og produced a fine performance to defeat St Vincent’s.

“The mood is focused and determined” -Burt and Setanta renew their rivalry in the senior final

By Patrick Sharkey,

Competitive inter-county GAA is now six months from the resumption, but 2023 is already certain to be a campaign like no other. However, all focus in Donegal turns eyes towards the senior hurling final.

Setanta had a very calm and assuring presence in the Donegal championship all year. This was under the guidance of Ollie Bellew ‘Badger’ being in the management set up and he is not getting too ahead of himself saying: “I am confident that we have prepared well and that we have a good plan in place.”

Mr Bellew added: “The mood is focused and determined. We are not looking any further than our next training session on Thursday night.” However, Gary McGettigan’s charges have not looked that dominant thus far and face a free-scoring Burt team who will evaluate their defensive structures.

Declan Coulter was Setanta’s top scorer during their victorious match against Buncrana for the Donegal Senior hurling Championship semi-final on July 15. Bellew is impressed with the commitment levels shown by the likes of Declan Coulter saying: “You can have the best setups in the world but if you have not got the players who are committed and are prepared to do what it takes, it is irrelevant. These lads are very dedicated to the club and to hurling for Setanta that the rest does not matter. They look after themselves well and work like any intercounty hurling team when they come to training.”

Ollie added: “They’re inspirational people.” The Belfast native left pacified that Friday after the standstill game involving a Setanta GAA team on Donegal semi-final night. His adopted club of Setanta came out victorious in the showpiece of the GAA calendar, getting to their 30th final in style.

Bellew, who left crushed by the disappointment of missing a Lory Meagher cup success in 2021, made it clear he finished with inter-county management for now, after stepping down as Cavan boss in 2021. The former Cavan boss is content with what he must work for within East Donegal saying: “Our panel is incredibly talented. We’ve four 18-year-olds that are holding their own with the established players every night in training. We have hugely influential players on every single line, and it just depends on where the game plays out.”  Setanta has emerged as a surprise candidate for an Ulster.

Setanta unsurprisingly dominated PWC’s Team of the Year after Donegal gave Mayo a beating in the Nicky Rackard cup final in 2020. Setanta however will only focus on the starting XV put forward.

Ollie Bellew ‘Badger’ has sent a clear message about how they will lock their horns against Burt.

Donegal GAA has confirmed today, that the doubleheader will be live on Donegal GAATV costing €6 for both games. Mr Bellew does not worry about one Burt player shining through and catching the viewers’ attention.

They have more strings to their bow and do more work than promote and support football and hurling but the GAA remains very much at the essence of the two GAA clubs in the cross. However, they know how to deal with Burt as Bellew made it clear: “We’ve seen Burt already in the league.”

Ollie added: “They are well organised. Hugely energetic with young talent to add. If we focus our energy on one individual, we will be losing focus elsewhere. We will be working as a unit to keep them at bay and hopefully keep the scoreboard ticking in our favour” It has improved for Setanta.  

A round-up of the preview with the Belfast native focused on the split season. The former Cavan manager is in favour of it saying: “It is strange with all the traditional dates going with first and third Sunday in September and Paddy’s Day, but it is working quite well. A top inter County player could be flogged year in, year out and will fall out of love with the game. There is a freshness to it now.”

Badger added: “That’s my opinion anyway. I know in Setanta we do not see the county lads until Donegal’s season wraps up and that is only fair. So, when we do see them back, they are re-energised after a couple of weeks break.” It is moments like this that matter to Setanta’s hurling club.

A GAA club in Inishowen has appealed for the return of their championship ahead of this weekend’s Donegal GAA final. Burt Stalwart Paul Burns told their side of the story saying: “We are a noticeably young team with our lads still under the age of 20 years old and with experience Setanta has it is hard to know. We are the underdogs for sure but in a final, anything can happen.” The lucky trophy was named ‘Donegal Senior Hurling championship’ by the Donegal Gaelic Athletic Association in Convoy.

It would be a shock if Burt won on Saturday. However, Mr Burns is confident saying: “All these young lads are pushing us on now there are too many to name. “However, Burt had the upper hand on Setanta in their last collision in a county final in 2018, coming out on top. However, the community in Burt is not taking days like this for granted anymore. Burt has more than one talented hurler and every player represented their local club with distinction at the underage level. The locally grown talent is something that the Burt faithful are proud to have addressed. The hurling history and tradition of Burt is one that is larger than life. Burt has built this current side from well-run Féile Na nGael sides.

The Donegal club hurling championships finals will happen in O’Donnell Park this weekend with junior, intermediate, and senior players all togged out for the occasion. Setanta will have all the big names and Paul named the players in the green and black that Burt will keep an eye on.

The Grand Canal Hotel, the Official Partner of Donegal GAA, has launched its championship.

The more experienced Burt players have denied the Setanta panel more medals in the past and all the players are out to win. The goalkeeper knows the hunger that Setanta poses saying: “Setanta has an effective team with likes of Danny Cullen, Decky Coulter, Gerry Gilmore, Bernard Lafferty, and Josh Mc Gee.” Both teams are the Kilkenny and Tipperary of Donegal hurling and have suffered.

However, Burt has allowed their youth development to guide them to a safe return to the final. The Donegal legend their impact saying: “We a lot of history of being in hurling finals and the last time we were in a final was 2018, it has been too long for us.”

Paul Burns added: “Time and effort has been put into this team over the last two to three years so hopefully we can give the management, club, and the people of your parish something to shout about again!” This is the result of resolute members of their coaching team helping young players.

Burt however have not suffered from Withdrawal symptoms after an unexpected absence from the top level for the last four years due to the junior team acting as a steppingstone for the first team with Mr. Burns saying: “The Junior has been massive for us because in the last two year there been about 20 lads who have come through to seniors from our underage set up and it gave the young lads a chance to get a game time at a senior level instead of being thrown in at the deep end plus we got back a few older heads to help them develop at that level. Also, it helps at training when you are getting big numbers at training it makes it a whole lot better and brings a bit of craic to it as well.” In Paul Burn’s mind, the junior hurlers of yesterday have become the best senior hurlers today. Burns thinks that the Burt management team is really reaping the awards from all their youth.

“I have great faith” – Carn and Seán MacCumhaills hurlers lock horns in the intermediate final

By Patrick Sharkey,

The warm-up game to the Donegal senior hurling championship final will be at
2pm on Saturday in O’Donnell park in Letterkenny as Carn and Seán MacCumhails go head-to-head.

Current Donegal hurler Gavin Browne has called on the GAA to push the club
season back out to autumn.

Donegal star Gavin Browne who produced one of the greatest ever performances
by a losing player in a Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final has spoken for the first
time since the forgotten county suffered their heart-breaking loss to Tyrone. However,
that has not changed the focus.

MacCumhails have flourished this year. Mr. Browne ahead of representing Seán
MacCumhails on Saturday said: “I think it will be a tight game, but I have
great faith in our lads if we turn up with right attitude on the day, we will
be hard to beat! But Carn isn’t going be an easy game and in a one-off game anything
can happen.” There is hard evidence to prove both teams are not going to
slip. This is the result of diligent volunteers with the people running these
clubs seeing their hard working coming to fruition. Both clubs have done very
well with their underage structure. All attention will be on the big businesses. 

Donegal GAA have confirmed yesterday that tickets are on sale for the game.
However Gavin insisted the road to this stage wasn’t clear cut as he claims:
“Yeah unfortunately we are in a transition stage at the minute with older
lads taking step back and waiting for younger lads to commit! Yes, senior
championship is where we want to be, but we must build to that!”

The defender added: “Hopefully won’t be long.” It has been a fun year
for Donegal GAA.

Donegal won the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2020 under Browne’s guidance, which
would have promoted them to the Cristy Ring Cup for year, yet Donegal is
wondering what could have been if it was not a short season due to Covid. The
Stranorlar man however is looking for promotion this weekend saying: ” I
couldn’t be giving away anything but there are men in our team that are up
there with the best if they come prepared and right attitude so hopefully
Saturday is the day for us.” Seán MacCumhaills defeated Dungloe in the semi-final.
This weekend. Seán MacCumhaills would need to replicate an outpouring of the
heart and determination they show against Dungloe to stand a chance against Carn.
Richie Ryan was Donegal’s top-scorer during their unsuccessful match against Tyrone
for the Nicky Rackard cup semi-final on May 14. Donegal lost to Tyrone 1-23 to 1-19
in Páirc Colmcille on Saturday, July 14 but Seán MacCumhaills done Carn a
favour by knocking out Dungloe which featured Ryan.

Seán MacCumhaills take over and will be the East Donegal representative on

It comes down to how big of an impact the split season has had for Seán MacCumhaills.

This weekend will see the commencement of the Grand Canal Hotel County
Senior & Intermediate Hurling Championships. Gavin Browne has not been a
fan of this season saying: “The club scene this season been very rushed. It does
not give lads time if they pull anything or pick up any injuries!”

Mr.Browne has made an impassioned plea on what Carn players his team should
keep an eye on. Browne said: “To be honest Carn have 3 danger men in Luke white
and the two Doherty brothers, but they have fit hurlers around that will be
well up for it so as far as we are concerned, they have 15 danger men. It is in
our hands to preform just.” Speculation has begun on the match ups. For Carn it
would be a case of putting the fastest forward on Gavin.

Pádraig Doherty was delighted, two weekends ago after a win involving a Carn
GAA side.


The intermediate final beckons and Mr.Doherty says: “We have every
chance however we need to perform to give us that chance. If we perform to our ability,
we will have an opportunity to win however sometimes that does not always
happen in finals. If we don’t perform the game could be over very
quickly.” His native of Carn came out victorious in the showpiece of the
GAA calendar, getting to their second final in the last four years in style.

They have a more strings to their bow and do more work than promote and
support football and hurling. The primary school teacher believes the intermediate championship has been of benefit to them saying: “There’s an enormous difference between the top teams and the bottom teams in Donegalhowever teams like ourselves need to be playing against them to improve.” 

Pádraig Doherty added: “Having the three levels of junior, inter and senior allows for there to be a clear pathway and something for everyone to aim for at the start of the year.” The
Donegal senior hurling manager’s position may well need to get clarity before
too long. However, all the talk about Donegal hurling has been about club games. 

One of the consequences of the split season is it has gifted the GAA a
summer special jobs fair. Mr. Doherty did not mention anything about that and
said: “The aim at the start of every season is to improve. Progress this
year is getting to an intermediate final. Every game you play you want to win,
and it is the same this week. If your performances allow you to win games that
have a trophy at the end of it, brilliant.” Carn will hope that if they
fail to win on Saturday, they will not have a demise. Those on the GAA media
beat have bemoaned this season as the worst yet for access to players during
the championship. The Donegal hurling championship has been an exception with
no signs of celebrity culture. Whoever wins it on Saturday will be sure to gain
their medals with an entertaining victory. This game will also be a huge chance
for Carn. What once captured the minds of the GAA public and the laptops of journalists
in late autumn and early winter is now filling the space where Championship
coverage used to be. Departing inter-county managers appear determined to put
on a show.



Carn have star power to give them a safe return to the senior championship.
Pádraig has named out players to keep an eye on saying: “You’re probably
saying Luke White at present. He has played at that higher level growing up.
Like James, Cormac, and Danny Monagle are all skilful players too. Cathal Doherty
and Cian Doherty all well able to hurl to a high standard as well”. No doubt
these players will make the plea to put Carn on the map again.

The national schoolteacher is not a happy man when he comes up against the
top stars of the opposing team. The former Burt hurler, when asked about the best
player Seán MacCumhails, he said: “Gavin Browne. Lee Henderson will punish us
from frees as well if we give them any opportunities and Jamie De Ward will
punish any mistakes we make in defence.”

This will bring down the curtain on the latest stage of the evolution of
Donegal hurling. Standing in the way of Carn, is a side from the hurling
heartlands of East Donegal who have fielded hurling temes on a more consistent
basis over the last 20 years. Carn have a rich history.