Football round-up: Jamie Clarke back in town, Monaghan held by students and Derry gem making noise 11 months ago

Football round-up: Jamie Clarke back in town, Monaghan held by students and Derry gem making noise

We are three weekends away from the beginning of the National Leagues.

The best teams and the established players are out on their holidays while the rising stars and the fringe men are trying hard to make an impression.

They were in Ballinacourty, they were in Carrick-on-Shannon, they're were in Carlow and they were everywhere in between on this, the first Sunday of 2019.

For January, the weather here is not bad at all and the pitches are playing like they normally would in the month of April.

And so off they went, there was an eye-catching scorelines and finish in Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada and in Clones, all your football results rounded up here.

McGrath Cup semi-finals (Munster)

Waterford 1-06 Clare 1-17

Gary Brennan looked majestic from the word go down in Waterford and the big man's relocation to the edge of the square proved effective and looks an option for Colm Collins for the rest of the year.

Limerick 0-7 Cork 3-15

Paul Walsh and Ian Maguire scored early goals for the Rebels who had way too much for the Treaty in Rathkeale.

McKenna Cup round 2 (Ulster)

Down 0-10 Donegal 1-17

Donegal are a rising force and even without the Gaoth Dobhair lads, their young guns Ciaran Thompson, Michael Langan and Jamie Brennan led the way in their comfortable victory over Down in Páirc Esler

Cavan 0-17 QUB 0-3

Cavan had it all too easy against Queen's but they will take plenty of positives from the Ballyconnell clash, especially the man of the match performance of Conor Rehill on his debut.

Monaghan 1-14 St Marys 0-17

Only two years ago, the teacher training college made history to win their first Sigerson Cup in 28 years and on Sunday they were punching high and punching hard again.

Shane McGuigan and Aaron Boyle were the heroes this time around, the pair hitting late points for the students who salvaged a draw late on.

The Slaughtneil man McGuigan hit five points, four from play on a day Monaghan struggled to contain him.

Antrim 1-10 Armagh 2-21

Armagh fans will be excited for 2019 already, the sight of Jamie Clarke and Stefan Campbell in the full forward line enough to get Orchard men and women dreaming.

Clarke scored a penalty on his return while Campbell was man of the match.

Fermanagh 2-8 Derry 3-9

Derry have struggled in recent times - that's why they're preparing for Division Four - but they will take solace from this victory over last year's Ulster finalists Fermanagh.

Young Ben McCarron (pictured above), a minor in 2017, was a hat trick hero off the bench for them and contributions like that one from exciting youngsters like him will have them believing again.

Tyrone 2-14 UU 1-9

The students made Tyrone work hard but when the going got tough, Mickey Harte's men pulled away. Conan Grugan was influential in midfield and the All-Ireland minor winning captain in 2010 ended his day as the man of the match.

Peter Harte was also typically class for them, scoring 1-2.

Connacht League

Leitrim 2-13 Mayo 2-13 (Mayo win on penalties)

In front of a packed Leitrim crowd, Terry Hyland's men put on a show for the diehards present in Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada.

The Mayo team was undoubtedly, an experimental one with a whole host of young guns and unestablished players given their chance but they still had Doherty, Coen, O'Shea, Harrisson and Doherty lining out.

Leitrim deserve huge credit for their comeback in the second half and they would have won it only for the cross-bar denying Ryan O'Rourke late on.

So on they went to a penalty shootout, which Mayo won by 4-1 and you can watch all of the drama from that here.

O'Byrne Cup round 3 (Leinster)

Westmeath 1-13 Kildare 1-7

A red card for Kildare midfielder Paschal Connell  on the stroke of half time gave Westmeath a helping hand and they took off from there. At the break, the Lillies held a one point advantage but Ger Egan took over in the second as the Lake County powered away.