Derry have been quietly making progress on the hurling front and the manner in which they got the better of Wicklow by 2-23 to 0-19 in the Christy Ring Cup at the week-end suggests that they might just make further progress.
While skipper Cormac O’Doherty normally tops the scoring charts, on this occasion it was Odhran McKeever who stepped up to the mark.
It was McKeever’s two goals that proved crucial to his team’s victory coming as they did at critical stages of what for the most part was a closely-contested game
It was only in the last quarter that Derry began to exert more dominance, Wicklow’s traditional tenacity having kept them in the hunt up until then.
And Donegal also did not have a straightforward exercise against Leitrim in the Nickey Rackard Cup.
Indeed, the Connacht side led by 3-5 to 0-10 at one stage and had looked well capable of building on this advantage.
But Donegal, with Declan Coulter leading from the front, stepped on the accelerator after the interval.
While their cause was not helped when the normally influential Ronan McDermott was shown a red card, the north-west side stuck grimly to their task and slowly but surely trimmed their opponents’ lead.
Coulter’s marksmanship ultimately helped to see Donegal rack up 1-27 while Leitrim finished with an impressive tally of 4-10 which on most other days would virtually have assured them of victory.
In the Lory Meagher Cup Monaghan were held to a draw by Longford after looking at one stage as if they had a win within their grasp.
Fergal Rafter, Mark Treanor and Pauric Malone led the way as Monaghan patiently built up their total of 0-19 but Joe O’Brien, who had been a thorn in the side of the Farney county for the greater part of the contest and had landed the only goal of the game, popped up in the closing moments to pilfer a point that gave his side a draw (0-19 to 1-16).
Meanwhile, Kerry will face Westmeath in the Joe McDonagh Cup final next Saturday at Croke Park (5pm).
Kerry secured their passage by beating Meath (0-28 to 1-21).