Dublin may be reigning All-Ireland champions and perennial Leinster title-holders but this did not stop them receiving something of a fright yesterday.
With their provincial semi-final against great rivals Meath entering injury time, the Dubs were clinging to a precarious three-point lead (2-13 to 1-13) and facing into a potential upset.
It was only when Brian Fenton, Cormac Costello and Ciaran Kilkenny stepped up to the mark that they could breathe more easily as the gallant Royal County outfit, who had remained on their shoulder throughout the second-half having been in arrears by 2-11 to 0-6 at the interval, ran out of steam.
In the other semi-final, Kildare just managed to squeeze out Westmeath by 2-14 to 0-18.
Dublin were not so fortunate on the hurling front, though, as they lost in the Leinster final to Kilkenny by 1-25 to 0-19.
Also in hurling, Armagh and Fermanagh recorded wins to advance to the semi-finals of their respective All-Ireland competitions.
The orchard county went on a scoring spree against Leitrim whom they beat by 7-25 to 1-21 in the Nickey Rackard Cup. Danny Magee hit 5-2 for the winners while Fiontainn Donnelly registered 0-8 and Tiarnan O’Neill and Odhran Curry scored Armagh’s other goals.
“While we are pleased with the win, we won’t be taking any false comfort from it. We know that the semi-finals will be big tests for the teams that are left,” said Armagh team boss Padraig o’Connor.
Fermanagh, though, were given a scare by a resolute Monaghan side before inching to a 3-15 to 4-6 win in the Lory Meagher Cup which means they will now meet Longford in the semi-final next weekend.
Manager Joe Baldwin had reason to be grateful that Sean Corrigan in particular was in fine form as his 2-4 return underpinned his team’s performance while Caolan Duffy snapped up 1-2 and John Duffy landed five points.
“We are glad to be in the semi-finals. We know Longford will be tough opponents,” said Baldwin afterwards.
In the All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship, Armagh overcame Cavan by 3-18 to 3-10 with Aimee Mackin chalking up 10 of their points. Caroline O’Hanlon, Aoife McCoy and Kelly Mallon snapped up the winners’ goals. This victory secured the orchard county’s place in the quarter-finals.
Also in the senior ladies championship, Galway disposed of Donegal by 3-10 to 1-11. Ailish Morrissey (2) and Nicola Ward scored Galway’s goals.
But spare a thought for Monaghan. They lost to Mayo when it took a free-kicks shoot-out to decide the outcome after the sides had finished at 0-12 each at the end of extra-time. Shauna Howley landed the all-important winning point for Mayo.
Down also suffered a ration of ill-luck when they succumbed to Waterford by 0-16 to 0-15 in the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship. A point by Beth Carton from a hotly-disputed free in the sixth minute of added time gave Waterford a hollow victory although Down produced the player of the match in Niamh Mallon who landed nine points.