The countdown to the 2013 National Hurling and Football Leagues is certainly on.
And there was plenty pre-season games this afternoon to keep us entertained.
We were keeping an eye on all the action.
Dr McKenna Cup semi-finals: Monaghan 1-12 Down 0-13; Tyrone 2-9 Fermanagh 0-7.
FBD League: Section A – Sligo 0-9 NUI Galway 1-4; IT Sligo 0-15 NUI Galway 0-13. Section B: Leitrim 0-10 GMIT 1-6; Roscommon 1-7 Mayo 0-10.
Kehoe Cup: DCU 3-13 Fingal 0-11; St Patrick’s 2-18 Armagh 1-10; Wicklow 1-15 to 0-15; Derry 2-20 Trinity College 2-11; Louth 1-13 Queen’s University 2-8.
McGrath Cup semi-finals: Kerry 3-17 Limerick 1-11; Tipperary 1-12 Waterford 2-8 (AET)
O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: Dublin 4-15 Louth 0-10; Kildare 1-12 Offaly 1-9.
Walsh Cup first round: Wexford 1-29 Dublin IT 2-19 (AET); NUI Galway 3-15 Westmeath 0-15; Carlow 1-17 Antrim 0-10; UCD 0-15 Laois 1-11.
Waterford Crystal Cup first round: UL 1-20 Waterford 0-18; Kerry 6-17 IT Tralee 0-12.
13.39 – Welcome along. Across the four provinces today there are 22 inter-county games between Gaelic football and hurling pencilled in. We’re keeping an eye on how they all unfold.
13.42 – First up, here are the games on in Connacht today.
FBD League Section A: Sligo v Galway, Enniscrone, 2pm; NUI Galway v Sligo IT, Connacht GAA Centre, Ballyhaunis, 2pm. Section B: Mayo v Roscommon, Ballyhaunis GAA club, 2pm; Leitrim v GMIT, Ballinamore, 2pm.
13.44 – Here’s what the schedule is looking like in Leinster today.
O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: Louth v Dublin, Drogheda, 2pm; Offaly v Kildare, O’Connor Park, Tullamore, 2pm.
Walsh Cup first round: Wexford v Dublin IT, Blackwater, 2pm; Westmeath v NUI Galway, St Loman’s, Mullingar, 2pm; Carlow v Antrim, Dr Cullen Park, 2pm; Laois v UCD, Rathdowney, 2pm.
Kehoe Cup first round: St Patrick’s College v Armagh, Ballyboden St Enda’s, 2pm; DCU v Fingal, St Brigid’s, Castleknock, 2pm; Wicklow v Down, Bray Emmett’s, 2pm; Trinity College v Derry, UCD, 2.30pm; Roscommon v GMIT, Ballyhaunis, 3.30pm; Louth v Queen’s University, Darver, 2pm.
13.46 – And here’s the programme of fixtures in Munster.
McGrath Cup semi-finals: Tipperary v Waterford, Sean Treacy Park, Tipperary Town, 2pm; Kerry v Limerick, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, 2pm.
Waterford Crystal Cup first round: Kerry v IT Tralee, Abbeydorney, 1pm; Waterford v UL, WIT Sportsgrounds, Carriganore, 2pm.
13.47 – Finally here’s what’s in store in Ulster.
Dr McKenna Cup semi-finals: Monaghan v Down, Athletic Grounds, Armagh, 2pm; Tyrone v Fermanagh, Athletic Grounds, Armagh, 3.45pm.
13.49 – The action has already begun in Abbeydorney in North Kerry. It’s half-time there in the Waterford Crystal Cup first round with the score standing Kerry 4-6 IT Tralee 0-9. New Kerry boss Tom Howard has seen his side display a penchant for hitting the net so far.
13.50 – We’ll be primarily focusing today on the main Gaelic football clashes in the four provinces with the semi-final stage having been reached in the McGrath Cup, O’Byrne Cup and Dr McKenna Cup. As regards the FBD League, the two key games that are likely to determine the finalists will be the meeting of Leitrim and GMIT and the clash of Galway and Sligo.
13.52 – Some interesting news from Tullamore where Kildare meet Offaly today with former Cavan player Seanie Johnston set to make his starting debut in the Lilywhites attack.
14.01 – Dublin will be captained for their O’Byrne Cup semi-final against Louth in Drogheda by midfielder Denis Bastick.
14.03 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Latest – Down 0-1 Monaghan 0-0: Connaire Harrison gets the Mourne men off the mark with an early point.
14.05 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Latest – Offaly 1-0 Kildare 0-0: Dream start for the Faithful in Tullamore with Eoin Carroll finding the net.
14.07 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Latest – Kerry 0-2 Limerick 0-0: Early points for Kerry from James O’Donoghue and Mikey Geaney. Some changes to the Kingdom team see David Culhane in for Marc Ó Sé, Mike Moloney in for Aidan O’Mahony while Barry John Keane replaces Paul Geaney.
14.09 – Some latest scores in the FBD League in Connacht. In Section A, it is Galway 0-2 Sligo 0-0 in Enniscrone with the winners of that game advancing to the final. And in Section B, it is Mayo 0-2 Roscommon 0-0 in Ballyhaunis with Aidan O’Shea and Jason Doherty grabbing early points for the Connacht side.
14.11 – In the O’Byrne Cup semi-finals, it is Dublin 1-2 Louth 0-1 in Drogheda and Offaly 1-1 Kildare 0-0 in Tullamore. Bernard Brogan struck the goal for Dublin while Niall McNamee pointed a free to add to Eoin Carroll’s early goal for Offaly.
14.12 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Latest – Dublin 2-2 Louth 0-1: And Bernard Brogan has just added another goal for the Dubs to put them in a strong position in the early stages.
14.13 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Latest – Kerry 0-3 Limerick 0-1: James O’Donoghue taps over a free for Kerry to put them ahead by two in Fitzgerald Stadium.
14.16 – Latest scores from the FBD League sees it stand in Section A, Galway 0-2 Sligo 0-1. And in Section B it is Mayo 0-3 Roscommon 0-2 and Leitrim 0-2 GMIT 0-1.
14.18 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Waterford 0-1 Tipperary 0-0: Tony Grey lands the opening point of the game in Sean Treacy Park for the Déise.
14.19 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Down 0-4 Monaghan 0-2: Donal O’Hare swings over a point for the Mourne men to push them into a two-point lead in the Athletic Grounds.
14.20 – Some latest scores in the Walsh Cup first round ties – Wexford 0-5 Dublin IT 0-3, Laois 0-3 UCD 0-3 and Carlow 0-6 Antrim 0-2.
14.21 – FBD League Section A: Galway 1-2 Sligo 0-1: Big breakthrough for Galway with Danny Cummins finding the net for them in Enniscrone. The winners of this game will top the section and advance to the final.
McGrath Cup semi-final: Kerry 0-4 Limerick 0-1: Barry John Keane with the latest point for Kerry.
14.23 – Latest from the O’Byrne Cup semi-finals. In Drogheda, David Reid has pulled a point back for the home side but Jim Gavin’s team remains in control as it stands Dublin 2-3 Louth 0-2. While in Tullamore, Ross Brady has pointed for Offaly to leave it Offaly 1-3 Kildare 0-2.
14.24 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Waterford 0-2 Tipperary 0-0: Latest from Tipperary Town in a low-scoring affair as Paul Whyte pushes the Déise ahead by two points.
14.25 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Dublin 3-5 Louth 0-2: The game looks like it could be done and dusted in Drogheda. Emmett Ó Conghaile has notched Dublin’s third goal and they now enjoy a 12 point advantage.
14.27 – In the FBD League Section B, table-toppers Leitrim are trailing in Ballinamore as it stands GMIT 1-2 Leitrim 0-4. In Ballyhaunis, Alan Murphy has tapped over a free to leave it Mayo 0-5 Roscommon 0-2.
14.29 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Down 0-5 Monaghan 0-3: Down’s Mark Poland and Monaghan’s Conor McManus have swapped points in the Athletic Grounds.
14.31 – In the Waterford Crystal Cup, there are two first round games on. In Abbeydorney, the game which started at 1pm, it’s all over with the full-time score reading Kerry 6-17 IT Tralee 0-12. In Carriganore at the WIT campus, it stands Waterford 0-7 UL 0-5 during the first-half.
14.32 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Down 0-7 Monaghan 1-3: Points for Arthur McConville and Donal O’Hare for Down form a fine reply after Conor McManus had planted the ball in the net for Monaghan.
14.35 – In the McGrath Cup semi-finals, Darran O’Sullivan has found the net in Fitzgerald Stadium to leave it Kerry 1-6 Limerick 0-3 while in Tipperary Town the home side have recovered and it is now Tipperary 0-3 Waterford 0-2.
14.36 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Offaly 1-4 Kildare 1-3: Anton Sullivan posts a point for Offaly after Mikey Conway had struck the net for the Lilywhites from the penalty spot.
14.39 – Half-time in the FBD League games. In Section A, in the key game it’s very tight in Enniscrone with Danny Cummins goal the difference as it stands Galway 1-2 Sligo 0-4. In Section B, it is GMIT 1-2 Leitrim 0-4 with Conor Kelly striking GMIT’s goal and in Ballyhaunis it is Roscommon 1-4 Mayo 0-6 with Cathal Cregg firing to the net for John Evan’s side.
14.40 – In the other game in Section A in the FBD League, which is not going to affect the outcome there, it stands IT Sligo 0-9 NUI Galway 0-6.
14.42 – McGrath Cup semi-finals: HT – James O’Donoghue has fired to the net for Kerry to add to Darran O’Sullivan’s earlier goal as they lead Limerick by 2-7 to 0-6 at half-time in Killarney. And in Tipperary Town, Barry Grogan has helped the Premier come back into control as they lead by 0-4 to 0-3 against Waterford.
14.43 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: HT – Down 0-8 Monaghan 1-5: Conor McManus with the final score of the half as he clips over a point that ties the sides in the Athletic Grounds.
14.44 – O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: HT – All square in Tullamore at 1-4 apiece between Offaly and Kildare. The Offaly goal was struck by Eoin Carroll with Mikey Conway firing to the net for Kildare. While in Drogheda it’s one-way traffic with Paul Hudson firing home the fourth goal for Dublin to leave them ahead of Louth by 4-8 to 0-7.
14.47 – Turning to hurling now. In the Waterford Crystal Cup it’s all over in Abbeydorney as it ended Kerry 6-17 IT Tralee 0-12. While in Carriganore, it is Waterford 0-11 UL 1-8 at half-time with former Tipperary senior Paul Kelly striking to the net for UL.
14.49 – In the Walsh Cup the half-time scores read – Westmeath 0-10 NUI Galway 0-8, Laois 1-8 UCD 0-8, Carlow 0-11 Antrim 0-6 and Wexford 0-8 Dublin IT 0-8.
14.53 – The second-half action is getting underway around the grounds. A fine attendance in Tullamore with 3,437 present for the meeting of Offaly and Kildare in the O’Byrne Cup semi-final.
14.55 – FBD League Section A: A couple of early points from Stephen Coen has extended Sligo IT’s lead against NUI Galway to 0-11 to 0-6.
14.56 – FBD League Section B: Mayo have drawn level early in the second-half against Roscommon, 1-4 to 0-7, with Aidan O’Shea firing a point for James Horan’s side.
14.57 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Early point for Louth for Sean McCann to reduce the deficit in Drogheda as they now trail Dublin by 4-8 to 0-8.
14.58 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Conor McManus nudged Monaghan into an early lead in the Athletic Grounds before Down replied through Ryan Mallon to tie the match at 1-6 to 0-9.
14.59 – FBD League Section A: Brendan Egan has pointed for Sligo to tie the game in Enniscrone against Galway at 1-2 to 0-5.
15.01 – McGrath Cup semi-finals: A ray of hope for Limerick with Ian Ryan pointing and then Darragh Treacy finding the net after good work by Seamus O’Carroll. A Bryan Sheehan pointed free leaves Kerry ahead by 2-8 to 1-7. And in Tipperary Town, it is all square at 0-5 apiece between Tipperary and Waterford.
15.02 – O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: Diarmuid Connolly pushes Dublin into a 4-9 to 0-8 lead. In Tullamore, Kildare lead by 1-6 to 1-4 after points from Cathal McNally and Seanie Johnston.
15.03 – FBD League Section A: Mark Brehony converts a free to send Sligo into a 0-6 to 1-2 lead against Galway. And Sligo IT continue to lead Galway, by 0-11 to 0-6.
FBD League Section B: Three consecutive points from Leitrim push them into a 0-7 to 1-3 lead against GMIT. While in Ballyhaunis, it is Roscommon who lead by 1-6 to 0-7 with Donie Smith and Michael Finneran grabbing their latest points.
15.09 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Kerry now ahead by 3-10 to 1-8 in Killarney with James O’Donoghue striking home his second goal of the game. They’re in a good position to reach the final but it’s a tighter affair in Sean Treacy Park with Tipperary narrowly ahead against Waterford by 0-6 to 0-5.
15.10 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Still all square at 1-8 to 0-11 between Down and Monaghan but Down are down to 14 men after Keith Quinn was shown a second yellow card.
15.11 – FBD League Section A: Another Brendan Egan point as Sligo move into a 0-8 to 1-2 lead against a Galway team who have yet to score in the second-half. Elsewhere it is IT Sligo 0-14 NUI Galway 0-8.
15.13 – O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: Dublin continue to keep the scoreboard ticking over with Jack McCaffrey and Bernard Brogan kicking points to leave them in front by 4-11 to 1-10. It’s still tight in Tullamore with Kildare in front by 1-7 to 1-6 against Offaly.
15.14 – Some latest second-half Walsh Cup scores – Wexford 0-16 Dublin IT 0-14, UCD 0-14 Laois 1-9, Westmeath 0-12 NUI Galway 0-12 and Carlow 1-15 Antrim 0-6.
Waterford Crystal Cup: The students are in front in the first-round clash in Carriganore as it stands UL 1-14 Waterford 0-14 midway through the second-half.
15.18 – FBD League: In Section A Sligo are narrowly ahead of Galway in Enniscrone by 0-8 to 1-4. While Sligo IT are in front by 0-15 to 0-11 against NUI Galway. And in Section B, it is Roscommon 1-7 Mayo 0-8 and all square in Ballinamore, GMIT 1-6 Leitrim 0-9.
15.20 – O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: Kildare narrowly ahead of Offaly in Tullamore by 1-8 to 1-7 after Seanie Johnston’s fifth point of the game. But the Lilywhites are down to 14 men with Mikey Conway being sent-off. Substitute Cormac Costello has registered a point to put Dublin into a 4-13 to 0-10 lead with ten minutes left.
15.21 – FBD League Section A: FT – Sligo qualify for the final with a 0-9 to 1-4 win over Galway.
15.23 – FBD League Section B: FT – And it is Leitrim that Sligo will face in that final. Leitrim defeated GMIT by 0-1o to 1-6 in Ballinamore while it finished all square in Ballyhaunis, Roscommon 1-7 Mayo 0-10.
15.25 – McGrath Cup semi-finals: Kerry in control in Killarney against Limerick as they lead by 3-16 to 1-9. But major breakthrough for Waterford in the other semi-final clash as Paul Whyte has fired to the net to put them into a 1-6 to 0-8 lead against Tipperary.
15.26 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: It’s 1-9 to 0-12 between Down and Monaghan entering the last five minutes of the game in the Athletic Grounds.
15.28 – O’Byrne Cup semi-finals: A real battle in Tullamore with a 14-man Kildare team leading Offaly by 1-10 to 1-9. In Drogheda, Dublin are firmly in control as they lead Louth by 4-15 to 0-10.
15.29 – FBD League Section A: One result that we didn’t mention in this section was IT Sligo’s 0-15 to 0-13 win over NUI Galway.
15.30 – McGrath Cup semi-final: FT – A comfortable win for Kerry against Limerick in Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney with the Kingdom running out victors by 3-17 to 1-11.
15.32 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: FT – Goals from Bernard Brogan (2), Emmett Ó Conghaile and Paul Hudson helped propel Dublin to a comfortable 4-15 to 0-10 victory over Louth in Drogheda.
15.33 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: FT – Victory for Monaghan by 1-12 to 0-13 against Down thanks to two late points from the Farney side’s defender Darren Hughes.
15.34 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: Kildare are holding onto a 1-12 to 1-9 lead against Offaly in Tullamore but were relieved to see Niall McNamee drive a penalty wide of goal.
15.36 – Waterford Crystal Cup first round: FT – The Waterford hurlers are defeated in their opening game of the season by UL on a scoreline of 1-20 to 0-18 in Carriganore. Earlier Kerry thumped IT Tralee by 6-17 to 0-12.
15.37 – O’Byrne Cup semi-final: FT – Kildare hold on for 1-12 to 1-9 victory over Offaly in Tullamore and will now face Dublin in next weekend’s final, a game we are hearing will most likely be held on Saturday night.
15.38 – McGrath Cup semi-final: We’re heading for extra-time in Tipperary Town as it finished Tipperary 0-10 Waterford 1-7. Kerry await the winners in the decider.
15.42 – Walsh Cup first round: Full-time results in today’s first round games – Westmeath 0-15 NUIG 3-15, Carlow 1-17 Antrim 0-10 and Laois 1-11 UCD 0-15. In the other game, Wexford lead Dublin IT at half-time of extra-time by 0-26 to 2-17.
15.45 – Most of today’s games have reached a close but the Dr McKenna Cup semi-final between Tyrone and Fermanagh starts at 3.45pm. We’ll be keeping an eye on the action there. There is also extra-time required for the McGrath Cup semi-final between Tipperary and Waterford along with the Walsh Cup first round meeting of Wexford and Dublin IT.
16.02 – McGrath Cup semi-final: Barry Grogan has found the net in extra-time to push Tipperary into a 1-12 to 2-8 lead against Waterford in Sean Treacy Park.
16.04 – Walsh Cup first round: FT – After a marathon affair that required extra-time to settle the outcome, Wexford have defeated Dublin IT by 1-29 to 2-19.
16.08 – Walsh Cup first round: FT – Wexford defeated Dublin IT in a marathon affair that required extra-time by 1-29 to 2-19.
16.09 – McGrath Cup semi-final: FT – Tipperary have eventually prevailed after extra-time in Sean Treacy Park against Waterford by 1-12 to 2-8. They will now face Kerry in next weekend’s final.
16.13 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Kevin Gallagher with the latest point of the game for Tyrone as they move into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead against Fermanagh in the Athletic Grounds.
16.21 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Sean Cavanagh points for Tyrone to cancel out Daryl Keenan’s earlier effort from a free and ensure Tyrone lead by 0-5 to 0-3 approaching half-time.
16.26 – Kehoe Cup first round: There were games in the secondary Leinster pre-season hurling competition today. DCU defeated Fingal by 3-13 to 0-11, St Pat’s were 2-18 to 1-10 victors over Armagh, Wicklow got the better of Down by 1-15 to 0-15, Derry were 2-20 to 2-11 winners against Trinity College and Louth defeated Queen’s University by 1-13 to 2-8. The latest we had from the other game that is still ongoing was GMIT 0-4 Roscommon 0-1.
16.34 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: A goal from Plunkett Kane just before the interval ensures Tyrone lead by 1-5 to 0-3 against Fermanagh at the midway mark.
16.49 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Conor McAliskey’s point leaves Tyrone in front by 1-6 to 0-4 after 40 minutes against Fermanagh.
17.02 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Tyrone remain in control against Fermanagh as they hold a seven-point lead, 1-8 to 0-4, with 15 minutes remaining in the Athletic Grounds. They look on course for a final meeting with Monaghan next Sunday.
17.10 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Fermanagh manage to trim the deficit with Seamus Quigley grabbing their latest point. Tyrone still lead by 1-8 to 0-6.
17.21 – Dr McKenna Cup semi-final: Tyrone substitute Mark Donnelly has put the ball in the net to push them into a 2-9 to 0-7 lead against Fermanagh.
17.26 – Dr McKenna Cup final: FT – And that’s how it finishes in the Athletic Grounds with Tyrone defeating Fermanagh by 2-9 to 0-7. They now advance to face Monaghan in the final next weekend.