It was yet another dramatic weekend in sport this weekend.
The Wicklow senior hurlers had a chance to win some silverware as they took on Longford in the final of the Kehoe Cup in Pearse Park.
Elsewhere, the footballers looked to get their league campaign back on track as they took on Antrim away from home in round three of the Allianz Football League.
Ireland went searching for their second consecutive win in the NatWest Six Nations as they hosted Italy in a game which fans hoped would not be quite as nerve-wrecking as Ireland’s opening game against France.
Finally, it was another round of Premier Leagu fixtures this weekend, as Manchester City looked to continue their march towards the title while those below them continue to scrap for the prize of ‘best of the rest’.
It was a disappointing Sunday for the Wicklow hurlers as they were beaten in the Kehoe Cup Final 0-11 to 0-10 by Longford in Pearse Park.
Seamus Murphy’s side, looking for their first Kehoe Cup since 2003, went into half-time leasing 0-8 to 0-5 in dreadful wintery conditions.
The game turned in the second half as Wicklow only managed two scores in the entire second 35. Longford resurged to add four points to level the game at 0-9 to 0-9 with 15 minutes to go before they stretched the lead to 0-11 to 0-9.
With five minutes to play, Wicklow had a goal disallowed through Eoin McCormack as the visitors sought a way back into the game.
Murphy’s men would get one more point but were unable to claw back the deficit as Longford ran out narrow winners.
A late Rory Finn point earned 13-man Wicklow a 0-12 to 0-12 draw away to Antrim in round three of the Allianz Football League.
Despite losing captain Seanie Furlong and substitute Theo Smyth to second-bookings in the second-half, Wicklow managed to come away from Corrigan Park with the point.
John Evans’ men made a great start to affairs, as they opened up a 0-4 to 0-0 lead through points from Seanie Furlong (2) and Mark Jackson (2).
Antrim would work themselves back into the game as the half drew on. Paddy McBride (2) and Ryan Murray closed the gap on Wicklow to within two points at 0-5 to 0-3.
A further three points from Murray cancelled out a further free from Jackson to leave the game at 0-6 to 0-6 at half-time.
Into the second half and Antrim found themselves ahead for the first time after 41 minutes through McBride and Conor Murray after Conor Healy had restored Wicklow’s advantage.
A Furlong equaliser was followed by two further points from McBride as Antrim stretched their lead to 0-10 to 0-8.
After Darren Hayden closed the gap to one point, the game turned for the worst for Wicklow as captain Seanie Furlong was sent-off for a second yellow on 60 minutes.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Wicklow managed to level the game at 0-11 to 0-11 with three minutes to go before they were reduced to 13 men after Smyth was dismissed.
McGourty restored Antrim’s lead before a last-ditch point from Rory Finn rescued the point for Evans’ men.
Elsewhere in Division 4, a dramatic late goal earned London a 2-08 to 2-08 draw at home to Limerick in Ruislip.
Ireland were comfortable 56-19 winners against Italy in the second round of the NatWest Six Nations on Saturday.
Tries from Robbie Henshaw (2), Jacob Stockdale (2), Keith Earls, Bundee Aki, Rory Best and man-of-the-match Conor Murray helped Ireland earn a deservedly emphatic victory against an Italian team that managed to register three tries in the second-half.
However, the win came at a cost for Joe Schmidt’s side as Robbie Henshaw was forced off with a dislocated shoulder which he sustained in the process of scoring his second try. Meanwhile, Tadhg Furlong was forced off after just four minutes with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Ireland’s next game comes in two weeks time at home to Wales, with Henshaw all but confirmed to miss the game as part of what may turn out to be a lengthy lay-off.
Meanwhile, both the Ireland U20 and ladies teams were successful in their second Six Nations tests at the weekend.
Despite having a numerical advantage following the early sending off of Jacopo Bianchi, the U20s had to hang to earn a 38-34 win against Italy.
With the game level at 5-5 after nine minutes, Bianchi was dismissed for a dangerous spear tackle on Jack Dunne.
Ireland took advantage of the dismissal by racking up the try count. Hugh O’Sullivan, Cormac Daly, James McCarthy and Peter Sullivan touched down to push Ireland’s lead to 23 points before a late first-half try from the Italians closed the gap to 31-15.
Ireland scored one more try in the 43rd minute through Jack Aungier to seemingly put the game beyond Italy.
However, Ireland switched off as the second-half wore on, and tries from Damiano Mazza, Antonio Rizzi and Edoardo Iachizzi closed the gap to four points going into the closing stages.
Fortunately for Ireland, they were able to hang on to claim a 38-34 win.
Elswhere, the Ireland ladies ran out 21-8 winners against their Italian counterparts to make up for their defeat to France last time out.
Tries from Williams and Griffin (2) – all of which were converted by Niamh Briggs – helped Ireland claim an impressive win.
Manchester City hold a 16 point lead at the top of the Premier League after this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Pep Guardiola’s men were deserving 5-1 winners at home to Leicester City, with Sergio Aguero’s second-half quadruple earning the three points for the champions-elect.
Meanwhile, Manchester United suffered their second defeat in 11 days as they were beaten by Newcastle United 1-0 at St. James’ Park.
José Mourinho’s side had plenty of chances to win the game, with Alexis Sanchez missing a guilt-edged chance after rounding the impressive Dubravka in the Toon goal.
As well as that, Anthony Martial had a one-on-one well saved by Dubravka before the Frenchman had two shots blocked on the line late in the game.
Matt Richie’s game-winning goal on 65 minutes helped Newcastle jump to 13th in the league – two points ahead of the relegation zone.
Manchester United remain in 2nd place but the defeat means that Manchester City will win the title with six more wins.
Elswhere, Arsenal are now seven points off the top four after the Gunners lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur through Harry Kane’s 101st Premier League goal.
Liverpool maintained their challenge for 2nd-place with a 2-0 win away to Southampton.
Goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah’s 29th goal of the season in all competitions closed the gap between Liverpool and Manchester United to two points.
Chelsea play West Bromwich Albion on Monday Night Football in a game which could see Antonio Conte lose his job if Chelsea fail to win.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Arsenal
Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace
Stoke City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Swansea City 1-0 Burnley
West Ham United 2-0 Watford
Manchester City 5-1 Leicester City
Huddersfield Town 4-1 AFC Bournemouth
Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United
Southampton 0-2 Liverpool