What now for Tipperary and the rest of the weekend's GAA talking points

Mayo make hard work of Sligo, while the action in Ulster isn't all that competitive

GAA, Hurling, Football

Image: INPHO

Cork stole the show on Sunday afternoon after their unexpected four-point win over All Ireland champions Tipperary at Semple Stadium.

As hurling took the GAA's primetime slot, Donegal, Monaghan and Mayo all registered wins on their quest for provincial glory.

We look back at some of the weekend's action. 

What now for Tipperary?

Even in the dying minutes of Sunday's Munster SHC quarter-final, you couldn't discount Tipperary. After Cork had notched a second goal during their four-point win over the All Ireland champions, Tipperary were still in with a chance.

Directly after the goal, Tipp pointed twice to cut the gap once to two points again.

In the end, Cork did enough to edge out the reigning Munster champions and book their place in the semi-final against Waterford.

But what now for Tipperary? Ryan bemoaned the workload his side faced and that his players were drained heading into the game.

"Are our boys allowed enough time in terms of preparation? It's a delicate balance between club and county. We have to be fair to everybody here," he said after the game.

Michael Breen reckons the solution will come down to 'hard work'. But in reality, this was Tipp's second defeat on the bounce. Their heavy defeat to Galway in the league final was followed by an early unexpected exit to Cork.

Add the loss of Cathal Barrett to a knee injury, and Tipperary are now shorn of one of their finest players.

Ryan now returns to the drawing board as Tipperary prepare to defend their All Ireland title. But with Waterford and now the Rebels causing a stir in Munster, Ryan will have to look beyond Kilkenny and Galway as threats to their supremacy.

"I think it's going to be a very interesting year," Ryan said after the game.

Monaghan and Donegal untroubled by opening weekend

Those looking to Ulster to live up to its name as the most functional and competitive of the provincial championships may have been a little disappointed with this weekend's results.

Monaghan faced Fermanagh in Clones and despite an early hiccup - Kieran Hughes' black card after seven minutes - came through the game with nine points to spare.

A close opening 35 minutes dissipated into less of a contest as Fermanagh failed to keep up with Monaghan's pace and potency in front of goal. Jack McCarron and Conor McManus chipped in a combined 1-5 of the total 1-20 as Monaghan enjoyed a good spread of scorers.

Ryan Lyons' first-half goal gave the impression that this match would be competitive up until the end, after conceding a soft early goal to McManus. Still, Fermanagh did for a period make a fist at challenging Malachy O'Rourke's side.

Antrim, meanwhile, were unable to do quite that when they travelled to fortress Ballybofey to face Donegal. Rory Gallagher's side started slow, but the eight-time Ulster champions came through to grab three goals in front of their home crowd and score a total of 3-19.

A worthwhile exercise for both Donegal and Monaghan who are hoping to challenge for the Ulster crown, but not as competitive as we've come to expect in recent years.

Now the real fun begins. Tyrone begin the defence of their crown against Derry. A win would see them meet Donegal in the semi-final and a repeat of last year's Ulster final.

Mayo make hard work of Sligo

All the headlines heading into the game focused around criticism of Aidan O'Shea. Leaving a warm-down to sign autographs for fans was his sin, so it wasn't a massive surprise to see Stephen Rochford leave him out of the starting line-up.

Taking him out of the first XV put the focus back on the performance and, in truth, the performance wasn't great. If you were looking for some evidence that Mayo would be returning for another tilt at the All Ireland, you didn't find much at MacHale Park.

A late surge put a different complexion on the result, but the match as a whole was hard work. Niall Carew's side had the practice of a competitive Championship game against New York already under their belt, but Mayo should have been able to deal with their threat in the opening first half.

Sligo registered six wides in the first half which would have seen them lead at the break, even considering Diarmuid O'Connor's goal just before the interval. 

With 10 minutes to play the gap was only three points - a single goal. Cillian O'Connor's late goal and flurry of points handed Mayo a nine-point win. 

A respectable margin by the end, but a resurgent Galway will no doubt pose a tougher test of last year's All Ireland finalists in the Connacht SFC semi-final.

Young guns seize chance to shine

Sunday's games threw up some surprises. Carlow's victory over Wexford in the Leinster championship was one, while Cork's victory over All Ireland champions Tipperary caught most of the headlines.

Individual performances were also under the spotlight. The first weekend of the championship gave managers a chance to experiment and those given the opportunity to perform on the GAA's top stage didn't disappoint.

Fergal Boland - handed his championship start - chipped in with two points during a promising performance in Mayo's Connacht championship clash with Sligo.

Cork were spoiled by the performances of Conor Lehane (24), Shane Kingston (19) and Luke Meade (20). The latter two were also making their full championship debuts.

In a weekend where the attention was on experienced players such as Aidan O'Shea and Seamus Callanan for Tipperary, it was refreshing to see youth take centre-stage, in particular when they inspire a big upset like Cork did against Tipperary.