Surprise package Galway living the dream as Dubs march on
Galway could certainly be forgiven for thinking they are trespassers in the All-Ireland football quarter-finals now that they have joined Tyrone, Dublin and Kerry at that stage of the showpiece competition.
Mayo had been expected to stride to a sixth successive Connacht title but instead they were thwarted by the Tribesmen and yesterday the latter side again cocked a snook at the form-book by overwhelming Roscommon by 3-16 to 0-14 in the provincial final replay.
In contrast to last weekend's turgid drawn encounter between the sides - surely one of the most uninspiring encounters in recent memory - this was a rather livelier tie highlighted by some spectacular scoring for Galway.
Danny Cummins was very much on form and his brace of goals did much to underpin Galway's authority.
Ciaran Murtagh worked hard to trigger Roscommon's resistance but their defence collapsed under a Galway assault that might well have yielded more goals.
Just like Galway, reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin - as widely expected - strode through to the last eight with minimum fuss by overcoming Westmeath by 2-19 to 0-10 in the Leinster final.
Bernard Brogan and Kevin McManamon scored Dublin's goals after the initial resilience from Westmeath had been curbed.
Dublin only managed to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 as half-time approached but they put their foot on the accelerator after the interval and Westmeath found themselves fighting a rearguard action for the most part of the second period.
The Dubs are still favourites to retain their All-Ireland crown but it's a safe bet that manager Jim Gavin will be conducting an in-depth study of the video of Tyrone's Ulster final win over Donegal yesterday.
Donegal, indeed, face another difficult assignment when they meet either Mayo or Cork in Round 4B of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Mayo made no mistake when brushing aside the rather feeble challenge of Kildare in Round 3B of the competition.
Stephen Rochford's team wasted no time and hit the ground running from the first whistle and they totted up 2-17 to Kildare's 0-14 with Diarmuid O'Connor (1-5) and Evan Regan (1-4) leading the expulsion of Cian O'Neill's side.
And Cork nosed into the All-Ireland title race almost by stealth following their 2-9 to 1-6 win over Longford.
Longford had entered the game with confidence following their wins over Down and Longford but on this occasion they came up short against a hungry Cork team who felt they had a point to prove after having shipped heavy criticism in their local media.
Skipper Paul Kerrigan certainly drove home Cork's message when he stated afterwards: "Even people in our own county did not fancy us but we are glad to shove their words down their throats."
Next Saturday, meanwhile, Fermanagh will meet Donegal in the All-Ireland U21 'C' Hurling Championship final.
The Ernesiders overcame Sligo at the weekend and will now step up their bid to land a rare national hurling trophy for the county.