Connacht FBD League
Roscommon 3-23 Sligo 0-21
Roscommon booked their place in the Connacht FBD Cup final and a meeting with Mayo with a win over Sligo, who were always kept at arm's length at the NUI Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome, Bekan.
The crucial moments in this game occurred in first-half injury-time. The Rossies were five points to the good when Diarmuid McGann found the back of the net on his debut.
There was still time for Sligo to cut into the gap when they were awarded a penalty in the final action of the half, but Conor Carroll guessed correctly in diving to his right to deny Niall Murphy, who would finish the game with 13 points.
Murphy reduced the gap to four points in the 49th minute, but late goals from Enda Smith and Ben O’Carroll, plus an 11-point haul for Conor Cox, sent Anthony Cunningham’s men on their way.
Longford 2-13 Louth 0-14
Longford overturned a seven-point half-time deficit in their O'Byrne Cup tie with Louth to run out five-point winners in Ballymahon.
Mickey Harte’s side dominated the opening exchanges and were full value for their 0-12 to 0-05 lead at the interval, but they faded dramatically upon the resumption.
With Mickey Quinn and Patrick Fox getting on top in defence, Longford picked off 2-05 without reply thanks to goals from Dylan Farrell and Ross McInerney.
It was a pleasing performance for new Longford manager Billy O’Loughlin, and his side will now meet Offaly next time out, with Louth set to take on Dublin.
Kildare 0-19 Westmeath 0-08
Glenn Ryan got his Kildare reign off to a winning start with a comfortable 11-point victory over Westmeath at St Conleth's Park.
Paddy Woodgate claimed the opening score of the game in Newbridge and finished with half a dozen in total, while Jimmy Hyland was lively throughout, picking off seven points, six from play.
In the winter sun, it was a dominant first-half display by the home side who led 0-11 to 0-04 at the interval. Westmeath never really got themselves back into the contest and matched their disappointing first-half scoring haul, with free-taker Luke Loughlin the visitors' only real scoring threat.
Dublin 2-12 Offaly 0-13
Dublin began the new year in a predictable winning fashion in the opening round of the O’Byrne Cup, but they were pushed all the way by a gallant Offaly until their challenge faded in the final quarter at O’Connor Park.
Eoin Murchan and Ciaran Kilkenny were the only Dublin survivors from the team that lost to Mayo in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, and Dessie Farrell’s much-changed side led by just two points at the break despite playing with the wind at their backs.
Wing-back Sean Bugler finished with four points for the Dubs, as did Kilkenny who was prominent throughout in attack.
Tom Lahiff goaled within two minutes of restart, but the Faithful men responded well to reel off four points on the spin.
However Johnny Moloney’s score just after the second-half water break was Offaly’s last score as their challenge faded out, with Warren Egan’s goal in the final minute putting a gloss on the scoreline.
Wexford 6-10 Laois 0-13
Wexford ran riot against Billy Sheehan’s Laois at Hollymount to romp to a 15-point win in their O’Byrne Cup encounter.
Laois opened the scoring on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon for football, but that was as good as it got, with Tom Byrne, Ben Brosnan and Eoghan Nolan all claiming a brace.
The first goal of the game, courtesy of Nolan, came after just four minutes and by the first water break the Yellowbellies enjoyed a 3-03 to 0-03 lead.
Next up for a confident Wexford outfit will be Meath.
Cork 2-09 Clare 0-10
Keith Ricken’s time in charge of the Cork senior footballers got off to a winning start at as the Rebels got the better of the home side at Milltown Malbay.
Brian Hurley was a key figure for the winners, finishing the day with 1-06 to his name.
Clare, with the benefit of a gale-force wind, led on three occasions in the opening 35 minutes, but found themselves two points in arrears at the break after Daniel O’Connell raised a green flag for the men in red.
The Banner failed to score after the break until the 66th minute and Ricken’s side, who face Waterford on Tuesday night and will more than likely meet Kerry next Saturday, ran out five-point winners.