Michael Walsh steers Stradbally to opening win

Although it took Stradbally 20 minutes to register their first score of the 2016 championship, the Reds still had five points to spare against Ballinameela at Fraher Field on Saturday (1-10 to 1-5).

Michael Walsh, who is searching for his 10th county medal this season, acted as midfield conductor while front men Shane Ahearne (1-3) and Michael Sweeney (0-4) were also on song.

Last year’s intermediate champions set the pace with three early points consisting two Jim Curran frees and a fisted effort by Brendan Phelan. Two frees from Sweeney stabilised the holders and Walsh curled in the leveller on 23 minutes. A minute later, Ahearne shook the cobwebs to leave it 1-3 to 0-3 at halfway.

Ballinameela responded 40 seconds into the second period as Micheal Culloo assisted Rob Shine for a goal. In a niggly encounter, Stradbally picked up five yellow cards and a black. The champions charged away in the final quarter through five unanswered points. Sweeney, Ahearne and substitute Stephen Cunningham got the job done.

Fourteen-man Rathgormack held firm for a 1-7 to 0-8 victory over Brickey Rangers. Conor Murray kicked three points from play and Jason Gleeson lashed home on the stroke of half-time to give them a 1-6 to 0-4 interval advantage.

Free-taker Cormac O’Grady spearheaded the fightback for Brickeys as they capitalised on the dismissal of Michael Curry. Wing-back Shane McGrath then punched the ball over to narrow the gap to one with six minutes left.

The Westerners recorded 13 wides however including 10 in the second period. Jason Curry obliged with a late free, Rathgormack’s only second half point, to take the spoils. The green and red last raised the Conway Cup in 1999.

All four first-round matches scheduled for yesterday were postponed due to unplayable pitches at Kill and Fraher Field.


Lifestyle

FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner