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Saturday July 21, 2018

Tomás Ó Sé’s football predictions

courtesy of RTE

Mickey Harte's side take on Dublin



Roscommon v Donegal – 5pm – Dr Hyde Park

Both teams are under pressure after last weekend. I think it was a strange one for Donegal. They seemed like they didn’t push on in that last quarter against the Dubs. They played very well in patches, but just fell off the last 15 minutes. They created a lot chances and defended well at times. They did a lot better than I thought they would.

Roscommon played well against an open and long-kicking Armagh, but were ruthlessly shown up last weekend. They conceded 4-24 and that’s tough. They’ll be at home and want to improve. There is no doubt they will improve but I just think Donegal will have too much. They were dogged last week and had some great long range scores. I think Donegal will have a bit too much for Roscommon here.

Verdict: Donegal

Tyrone v Dublin – 7pm – Healy Park

This willl be some battle. It will give Mickey Harte another chance to test his under-fire style of football against the best. To be fair to Mickey he stuck to his guns and I admire him for that. He has come through a long backdoor route. Meath, Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Roscommon last weekend. I think it’s their running game that really creates everything. The second runner, third runner, fourth runner, Colm Cavanagh and Frank Burns at the back organising everything.

The Dubs are a different animal from facing Roscommon, though. It’s chalk and cheese. The Dubs did enough last wekened but they won’t be happy with some of the loose stuff. For me it’s how they will deal with Tyrone’s running game. It’s the acid test for Mickey Harte as Tyrone won’t kick it so what happens if the Dubs stifle it. Will Tyrone score enough? My guess is no and I think Dublin’s forwards will grind out the result for them.

Verdict: Dublin


Kildare v Galway – St Conleith’s Park – 2pm – RTÉ2

Another 8,500 stuffed down there, it’ll be a brilliant atmoshphere. Kildare were unlucky not to get something out of last weekend in my opinion. That game was in the balance. Monaghan finished stronger and Kildare possibly carried ball into tackles where they got turned over a little bit too often, but they did very well. They will look to Daniel and Neil Flynn for the scoring.

Galway were outstanding last week, in patches. I think there are areas they can improve on. They are down Kieran Duggan and now they have lost Paul Conroy. They are two first-choice midfielders. They created a lot of scoring chances. Last year they were well beaten by Kerry so they have come on an awful lot. They have a plan and stick to it. I expect Galway to win this but I think it’ll be close.

Verdict: Galway

Monaghan v Kerry – Clones – 4pm – RTÉ2

This is a defining match for both. Kerry were very poor last weekend and didn’t perform. It’s not good enough at this level. They went away from pace, directness, intense pressure. I’d argue the template they used against lesser opposition in Munster is needed again.

If Monaghan win they will reach that semi-final that they have so badly wanted. They have tried for so long. Karl O’Connell gave one of the best displays all year last weekend. They will want to get inside Kerry’s head. Kerry owe manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice a big performance here and I think they’ll get it. I think Kerry will just about win it.

Verdict: Kerry

Monaghan finish strong to overpower Kildare

The sides were level with five minutes of normal time remaining.

courtesy of RTE

Monaghan held firm in tense circumstances late on at Croke Park to record their first ever win at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage.

The Ulster county had lost all five of their previous quarter-final games but edged out Kildare in an arm-wrestle encounter to ignite their Super 8s challenge.

The sides were level with five minutes of normal time remaining but Monaghan points from Vinny Corey, Conor McManus and Rory Beggan ultimately sealed the crucial win.

It sets Monaghan up nicely for next Sunday’s glamour home game in Clones when Kerry will be the visitors.

As for Kildare, it’s their 11th loss in 12 league and Championship encounters at Croke Park and they will feel they simply have to beat Galway in Newbridge next Sunday to keep their All-Ireland semi-final hopes alive.

The form lines beforehand were similar for both sides who gained redemption through the qualifiers after surprise provincial championship defeats.

Kildare lost out to Carlow in Leinster though pulled off four big wins in the qualifiers over Derry, Longford, Mayo and Fermanagh last weekend.

They got the better start here too with a sixth minute Daniel Flynn goal putting them 1-01 to 0-02 ahead.

The former Aussie Rules professional showed real determination to hit the net as Keith Cribbin was unmarked on his right but Flynn powered on himself before firing home.

The score should have kick-started Kildare but they only added another two points from open play in the half.

Rather it was Monaghan who grabbed the impetus and finished the half with 10 points to their credit.

Karl O’Connell booted over two of those having curled over two beauties against Laois in Navan.

McManus helped himself to three points also as Monaghan sought to repeat their qualifier win of 2014 over the Lilies.

Monaghan led 0-10 to 1-05 at the break though had goalkeeper Beggan to thank for a fine save to deny Flynn a second goal in the 16th minute.

O’Connell added a third point in the 49th minute but it was Monaghan’s only score between the 31st and 57th minutes minutes.

Kildare weren’t exactly prolific in the meantime but they did twice bring the game back to level terms with points from Fergal Conway, Neil Flynn and Johnny Byrne.

They were deadlocked for a third time at 1-9 to 0-12 with 65 minutes played when Vinny Corey put Monaghan ahead with a fine point from distance.

It was a lead that Monaghan would this time retain and McManus doubled their advantage with an excellent point in the 70th minute.

Kildare sub Eamonn Callaghan cut the gap to the minimum again but a 75th minute Beggan point from a free proved the insurance score for Monaghan.

Monaghan: Rory Beggan (0-02, 0-01 45, 0-01f); Ryan Wylie, Drew Wylie, Kieran Duffy (0-01); Fintan Kelly, Vinny Corey (0-01), Dessie Mone; Niall Kearns (0-01), Darren Hughes; Ryan McAnespie, Shane Carey (0-01), Karl O’Connell (0-03); Conor McCarthy (0-02), Conor McManus (0-04, 0-01f), Owen Duffy.

Subs: Paudie McKenna for Duffy, black card (17), Jack McCarron for Kelly (48), Kieran Hughes for McKenna (60), Dermot Malone for Carey (66).

Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mick O’Grady, David Hyland, Peter Kelly; Johnny Byrne (0-01), Eoin Doyle, Kevin Flynn; Kevin Feely (0-01, 0-01f), Tommy Moolick (0-01); Fergal Conway (0-01), Paul Cribbin, Keith Cribbin; Paddy Brophy, Daniel Flynn (1-01), Neil Flynn (0-04, 0-02f).

Subs: Niall Kelly for Paul Cribbin (46), Chris Healy for Brophy (50), David Slattery for K Cribbin (58), Eamonn Callaghan (0-01) for Moolick (69), Cathal McNally for N Flynn (71).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).

Powerful finish secures Tour stage victory for Dan Martin

Dan Martin won the 181km sixth stage of the race

courtesy of RTE


Ireland’s Dan Martin has won stage six of the Tour de France to Mur de Bretagne.

UAE Team Emirates’ Martin attacked with 1.2 kilometres left of the 181km stage from Brest, which finished with two ascents of the ‘Alpe d’Huez of Brittany’ separated by a rolling 19km circuit to claim a third grand tour stage victory in the race following successes in the Tour 2013 and the Vuelta in 2011.

Martin held off a late push from AG2R La Mondiale’s Pierre Latour to cross the line alone, just ahead of the pack as the general classification hopefuls scrapped for seconds.

Martin began the day one minute and 40 seconds down on Greg van Avermaet in the yellow jersey, but picked up 13 seconds to move up to 21st overall in the general classification.

The 31-year-old finished sixth in yesterday’s sprint finish, and said it stood to him on today’s challenging stage.

“I felt really good yesterday and that was a really good sign for today. I felt comfortable,” he said.

“It’s great to get a win after so many second places since the last one,” Martin said.

“I was afraid of the crosswinds and maybe it was adrenaline but the legs were there and it all worked out.

“There were a lot of contenders in that group so I was glad to hang on.”

There was a slight split in the peloton behind, with Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates part of a group that picked up a couple of seconds on the main pack, which contained Team Sky’s Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, and BMC’s Richie Porte.

But there were losses further back, with AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet hit by problems on the short two-kilometre climb and Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin also distanced after suffering a mechanical problem with six kilometres left.

At the end of the stage, BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey, with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas moving up to second, three seconds back.

Cristiano Ronaldo felt time was right to ‘open a new stage’

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus T-shirt

courtesy of RTE

Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to write another chapter in his illustrious career after joining Juventus in €112million from Real Madrid.

Portugal forward Ronaldo, 33, agreed a four-year contract with the Serie A champions in one of the most dramatic moves in European football, which was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

Ronaldo scored a record 451 goals over nine years at the Bernabeu, having signed from Manchester United and helping deliver four Champions League triumphs.

However, as the Spanish giants prepare for life under new head coach Julen Lopetegui, Ronaldo felt the time was right to move on.

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In an open letter posted on Real Madrid’s website, Ronaldo pleaded with fans to understand his decision.

“These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have been possibly the happiest of my life,” he said.

“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for these fans and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received.

“However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me.

“I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our followers, to please understand me.”

Juventus revealed in a club statement that they would pay €100million to Madrid over two financial years and “additional costs” of €12million.

Real expressed their gratitude to a player who helped the club to four Champions League successes, three FIFA Club World Cups, two LaLiga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns.

A club statement said: “Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player Cristiano Ronaldo, it has agreed to transfer him to Juventus FC.

“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved on the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.

“For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be your home.”

Ronaldo, whose transfer from United in 2009 was for a then world-record fee of €80million, also paid tribute to Madrid.

“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you,” the Portugal international said in his letter.

“Thanks to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers. They make everything work and they are tirelessly watching every detail.

“Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish football. I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle.

“I’m leaving, but this shirt, this badge and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel as my own wherever I am.”

Kildare in full bloom after claiming inaugural U20 Leinster football title

Dj Earley and Stephen Comerford of Kildare celebrate at the final whistle


Kildare 1-15 Dublin 0-10

Eight points from Jimmy Hyland helped Kildare to the inaugural Under 20 Leinster Football title with a composed victory over Dublin in Tullamore.

The corner forward scored six points from play as he gave the Dubs defence constant trouble but it was a real well rounded team performance that helped them to victory with their defence in particular standing out as they held a decent Dublin team to just ten points.

The win was rubberstamped by seven points on the trot at the end of the first half which helped put Kildare in control.

There was a real open look to the game at the beginning and the Dubs wasted no time in working the scoreboard as Sean Bugler ran from the kickout before offloading for Donal Ryan to score.

Kildare equalised in the 3rd minute when Jimmy Hyland split the posts after the ball broke in midfield and he was found in space.

A swirling wind made shooting difficult for both sides and they were equally as wasteful as each other in kicking a number of wides.

Dublin emerged from the stranglehold to move into a two point lead halfway through the half as Bugler scored brilliantly from distance to add to a James Doran effort.

Bugler’s point was Dublin’s last of the half however as after Tom Keane had a goalbound effort saved by Aaron O’Neill in the 26th minute, Kildare began to take control as they kicked seven points in a row.

Points from Hyland and Tony Archbold brought the teams level with Hyland then giving the Lillywhites the lead for the first time.

Three minutes of stoppage time were played afterwards and Kildare made full advantage of that extra time during a devastation period as Padraig Nash kicked two brilliant points from range.

Hyland with a free and Brian McLoughlin also scored from the tightest of angles as Kildare with the aid of the breeze raced into a 0-10 to 0-5 lead at the break.

Dublin needed a bright start to the second period and even though Tom Keane reduced the lead with a point the lack of a real goal threat was costing them dear as a ravenous Kildare defence kept them at bay.

Padraig Nash was a real star on the night for Kildare and he proved this in the 36th minute when he made a fool of Nathan Nolan on the sideline before dinking a lovely left footed score between the posts.

Dublin looked to have a small goal chance soon afterwards when the Kildare defence looked at sea but a nice interception from DJ Earley averted the danger even if Ross Garry scored from the resulting move.

That left Dublin four points in arrears but it would be as close as they would get as Kildare’s better class told up front.

Two points from play by Hyland as well as a curling Shane O’Sullivan score then put Kildare into a 0-14 to 0-7 lead.

Dublin did reply with points from Bugler and Keane but it was all academic as after Hyland kicked his eight point, the team in white won a late penalty which Tony Archbold struck home to round off a 1-15 to 0-10 success.

Kildare now go forward to meet Munster Champions Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final next weekend.

Kildare: Aaron O’Neill; Mark Dempsey, Mark Barrett, Jack Bambrick; DJ Earley, Jason Gibbons, Ruadhan O’Giollain; Aaron Masterson, David Marnell; Darragh Ryan, Padraig Nash (0-03), Tony Archbold (1-01); Jimmy Hyland (0-08, 2f), Brian McLoughlin (0-01), Paddy Woodgate (0-01).

Subs: Shane O’Sullivan (0-01) for Nash 37 mins, Cian Costigan for Marnell 48 mins, Sam Doran for Woodgate 52 mins, Niall Murphy for McLoughlin 60 mins, Jack Barrett for Earley 63 mins, Matthew Betts-Symonds for Murphy (Black Card).

Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Nathan Nolan, Nathan Doran, Ciaran Smith; Kieran Kennedy, Neil Matthews, Eoin O’Dea; Donal Ryan (0-01), Cormac Howley; Tom Keane (0-04, 1f), James Madden, Ross McGarry (0-01); Dan O’Brien, James Doran (0-01), Sean Bugler (0-03).

Subs: Karl Lynch Bissett for Howley 33 mins, James Holland for O’Brien 42 mins, Simon King for McGarry 52 mins, Eoin Fitzpatrick for Ryan 56 mins, Daniel Brennan for Doran 58 mins.

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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