What they said ... the weekend in quotes

May 15, 2017

Westmeath manager Michael Ryan and Aaron Craig celebrate their side's Leinster SHC round 3 victory over Meath at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

"I enjoy that, that's what we are in the game for. It's the big battles you are here for. And this was a big battle. I was always worried about the third-year syndrome. We had two great years in Westmeath but I was always worried about the third year."

Westmeath scraped through into the Leinster SHC quarter-final with a win over Meath and manager Michael Ryan will switch his focus to a local derby with Offaly.

"It's too long for the lesser teams, as they call us. I would like some of the top managers in the country to get behind some of the lesser teams and say 'these guys are entitled to play hurling in July'."

After 12 months of great progress, Martin Ennis and Meath will have to wait seven months before they are back in competitive action.

"Psychologically it was a big one coming down here because when we came down here in February 12 for the league meeting we got turned over. The players felt they owed it to themselves to go out and perform and I think they did that."

Motivation was not a problem for Laois manager Eamonn Kelly and his players in advance of their round-robin clash with Kerry.

"Alan (Brogan) came into the dressing room afterwards and he said it himself that it was one of the best club games he's ever played in. Both teams really went at it, end to end. It was at boiling point every single minute of the game. They went ahead, we fought back. We went ahead, they fought back. It was a very close game and it showed by the result in a draw at the end of normal time."

Ciaran Kilkenny and Castleknock prevailed in a Dublin SFC extra-time thriller against St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh on Saturday.

"We really look forward to playing Cork. Looking at the tradition over the years. We are told at home as well about Tipp and Cork. If you don't put in your all against Cork you'll know all about it. We admire and respect them greatly. Tipp and Cork, first round of the Munster Championship, it's great."

Buckle up your seat belts - Padraic Maher and Tipperary will start their Munster SHC campaign against traditional rivals Cork this Sunday.

"At the end of the day, everyone knows it's the league. People aren't going to look back at the end of the year and say, 'Galway had a great year, they won the league.' So you have to get back at it. The level of hurling in the championship, even against Dublin on the 28th is going to be steps ahead of the league."

Galway's league success will count for nothing if the Tribesmen don't back it up in the championship, insists Padraig Mannion.

"It's well versed this pull of players between club and county, and here we go again. There are club fixtures this weekend and it has been very difficult for the players."

The club versus county debate has reared its ugly head in Derry as Damian Barton tries to prepare the Oak Leafers for their Ulster SFC opener against Tyrone on May 28.

"The last penalty, their umpire threw the green flag at me and told me to 'Get back to England ya divin' bastard!'. And I got up and scored the third penalty, the final whistle went, and there was a little bit of pushing and fighting going on. I - as I would always do - swerved that, looked for somebody to say 'hard luck' to, and I saw their goalkeeper. And so I went over to him and I said: 'Listen, Jesus, hard luck, there, young fella, I'd say you would have liked to have saved one of them'. And he went: 'Fuck off, ya prick. You wouldn't take one against Spain!'"

Niall Quinn revealed the hilarious details of his introduction to Junior C football after retiring from soccer.

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