After a busy weekend that saw shocks aplenty, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the last few days of sporting action.
Winners: Waterford Footballers
It was a historic weekend for The Deise footballers. A 3-14 to 1-18 victory over neighbours Wexford gave Waterford their first championship win since 2011.
Tom McGlinchey’s men proved too strong for Wexford with three goals from Shane Ryan, JJ Hutchinson and Joe Allen proving the difference between the two sides.
Waterford were going into the game as heavy underdogs, having not won a championship game since their seven-point victory over London in 2011.
The Waterford manager, McGlinchey, paid tribute to his players following the game claiming they “don’t do media bans, drink bans and we’re definitely going to enjoy it tonight.”
Speaking to RTE Sport, McGlinchey said: “it’s fantastic, it’s great for the players to get this reward.”
The fact that the footballers are still in the championship and the hurlers aren’t, will likely make the victory all the more sweet for the Waterford manager.
Winners: Laois Footballers
Not to be overshadowed by the #CarlowRising movement their opponents had started, Laois footballers advanced to their first Leinster final in 11 years on Sunday.
Joe Sugrue’s men had been treated as somewhat of an afterthought going into the Leinster semi-final against Carlow, as many people swooned over the feel-good story of their near neighbours run to the last four.
Quietly slipping under the radar, Laois survived the strong test that Carlow provided, to see their opponents off by 0-12 to 0-08 in Croke Park.
A Leinster final to go with a division 4 title and it’s been a very impressive debut season in charge of the O’Moore County for Sugrue. Laois will, more than likely, fall to a dominant Dublin side in the final but that shouldn’t mean taking any credit away from what was an excellent performance at Croke Park on Sunday.
Winners: Kilkenny Hurlers
Brian Cody’s men will meet Galway in this year’s Leinster final, as they came from behind to see off a strong Wexford side in Nowlan Park on Saturday evening.
Much was made of their opponents Wexford having to play 4 games in a row, but as Davy Fitz’ men raced into a 1-11 to 0-07 lead at half-time, it looked as though fatigue would not be an issue.
Kilkenny however, equipped with a free-scoring TJ Reid, showed their resilience in the second period and won the game by 0-22 to 1-18.
The Cats are another side who have gone slightly under the radar this campaign but have done extremely well to bounce back from defeat at the hands of Galway a few weeks ago. Brian Cody’s side will fancy their chances against the Tribesmen as they look to clinch a 72nd Leinster crown.
Losers: Tipperary Hurlers
It’s only the 11th of June and Tipperary are already out of this summer’s hurling championship.
A dramatic defeat to Clare on Sunday meant that Michael Ryan’s men crashed out of the championship earlier than they have done in the last 20 years.
Late Clare points from Podge Collins and Peter Duggan sealed the 1-23 to 1-21 victory for The Banner, who were underdogs coming into the game. Despite leading at half-time, Tipp fell short of the mark once again and finished this season’s round-robin Munster championship without having won a single game.
Manager Michael Ryan said he was pleased with his team’s performance on the day against Clare, but it was evident that Tipp had just not been good enough throughout this Munster campaign.
“I’m certainly not going to serve up any excuses; we had four games and over four games the cream comes to the top. We didn’t come to the top. Performance-wise today was the only day we were happy with the four games we played”
Losers: CM Punk
One of the best professional wrestlers of the modern era, UFC welterweight CM Punk will be remembered amongst MMA circles for all the wrong reasons.
Punk was comprehensively beaten in his second professional fight by, less than impressive but considerably better looking, Mike Jackson, who was also coming into the bout with a 0-1 record.
Despite successfully securing a takedown in the first round, Punk looked badly out of his depth against the much more accomplished Jackson and had taken considerable punishment by the end of the fight.
Jackson looked as though he could have easily finished the less experienced Punk, but opted instead to toy with him and win the fight via a unanimous decision.
Punk’s abysmal performance will likely mean that his days in the UFC are over and at 39 years of age, it’s difficult to see where the Chicago native’s future lies within the sport.
Losers: The Irish Rugby Team
Joe Schmidt’s men went into their first Test against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday chock full of confidence, coming off the back of a Six Nations Grand Slam in March as well as an unbeaten run of 12 games.
With Joey Carbery starting at out-half and Peter O’Mahony as captain, Ireland struggled, and David Pocock’s second-half try proved the difference as Australia ran out 18-9 victors at the Suncorp Stadium.
Ireland failed to score a try in the game, with Carbery providing all of their 9 points from penalties.
This result could prove a big blow for Schmidt’s side, who some predicted had a good chance of a whitewash victory over Australia.
The Six Nations champions will likely make a host of changes for the second test in Melbourne next Saturday as they look to improve from an attacking standpoint and bounce back from their first defeat in 13 games.