Farewell for O’Driscoll & Cullen as Leinster claim Celtic Silverware
So the end is no longer nigh, it’s now – Brian O’Driscoll has now played his final game of professional rugby in Leinster’s successful, 34-12, defence of their Celtic League Crown against Glasgow Warriors, on Saturday.
The end wasn’t fitting for O’Driscoll however, the Leinster Legend leaving the field in the eighth minute after picking up a calf injury. The famous 13, capped 141 times between his beloved Ireland and the British & Irish Lions side, left the field to a standing ovation in a packed RDS of nearly 20,000 spectators, to be replaced by Ian Madigan.
Leinster then looked in trouble as the Scottish visitors took the lead – until Zane Zirchner got on the end of a well worked move to get over the line for their first try. Glasgow hit back to regain the lead, but another try, set-up but Kirchner and finished by the hard-working Shane Jennings helped Leinster into a 14-12 lead at the break.
Glasgow weren’t to score in the second half – two early successful kicks from Leinster out-half Jimmy Gopperth giving the visitors much to ponder. But two more tries; one each for Kirchner and one for the bearded Gordon D’Arcy got the Leinster party started with the final goodbyes for Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen, ending their playing careers on home turf.
Munster Senior Hurling Championship
With the sides level on three points each midway through the opening half, Semple saw two great goals before the break. First Limerick’s Shane Dowling rocketed past five Tipperary men on the line from a U-21 yard free before Tipperary’s Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher slapped a ball past keeper Nickie Quaid and to the net, after a great ball in by Seamus Callanan caused havoc in the Limerick defence.
The sides were level 1-08 a piece at half-time but Gearoid Ryan gave Tipp back the momentum with a cool and deadly finish low to the Limerick net less than two minutes after the restart.
After another drama-filled half Limerick found themselves three points down with two minutes left to play. They summoned a counter attack by full-forward Kevin Downes. He stormed to the 14 metre-line, and marked by four men passed off to the unmarked Shane Dowling who doubled back out of trouble before firing to the net despite a square packed with bodies to level the game at 2-16 apiece.
Limerick substitiute Thomas Ryan slotted over on the run to give Limerick the lead a minute into injury time before a rip-roaring run by Seamus Hickey sealed the victory for an ecstatic manager TJ Ryan and co. Limerick are now into a Munster Final on July 13, awaiting Cork, Waterford or Clare.
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
After a shakey start Laois went into the the half-time break with a 0-16 to 1-07 lead. Galway picked away at the Laois lead in the second half and with ten minutes to go it was all level.
In the closing stages Galway went three up into injury-time after Laois had missed some chances of theit own. A dramatic last minute 21 yard free was awarded to Laois, and what proved to be their last chance of the game keeper Eoin Reilly had his shot saved on the line and Galway lived to claim their Semi-Final spot.
Wexford had too much for Antrim in the other game at Portlaoise, hitting five goals in a thirteen point win that never looked in doubt after a thundering early start ended Antrim’s progress in Leinster.
Christy Ring Cup
Meath never really recovered after full-forward Tony Murphy sauntered in for an early goal in the opening seconds of the match. Kildare held a five point lead at the break and had extended it to eight by the final whistle.
The Lilywhites will be looking for their first win in the competition against favourites Kerry who defeated Mayo comprehensively by 3-20 to 1-18 in the other Semi-Final. Kerry and Kildare will meet at Croke Park on Saturday in a triple header which also includes the Rackard Final of Fingal v Tyrone and Longford v Fermanagh in the Meagher Cup final.
Ulster Senior Football Championship
Antrim dominated the first half, causing serious problems for the Fermanagh defence to lead by eleven points at one stage before their opponents pegging it back to five by half-time.
Antrim pushed on again in the second half and by midway in the second half had rebuilt their eleven point advantage – but two Fermanagh goals in the closing stages helped wipe out most of Antrim’s lead.
Fermanagh went in search of a goal that would have sealed their win but Ryan McCluskey’s effort was cleared off the line and Antrim progressed to the Semi-Finals.
Munster Senior Football Championship
A first half Tipperary goal came from Barry Grogan and that set them up for a 1-07 to 0-06 half-time – with five of Limerick’s scores coming from frees.
Tipperary again dominated in the second half, and had a penalty saved before conceding one at the other end to Eoin Hanrahan. But they were able to pull away again to claim a 2-14 to 1-11 win over the Limerick men.
Sportsfile in the Papers
Here is a selection of Sportsfile images used in national newspapers this week.