Sunday, August 29, 2010

Junior B Football Final: Gaels Overcome Misfiring Galway

Connemara Gaels 3-8 Galway 0-8

Brian Joyce gets a closeup of Donal Redmond's
hand as the contest heats up.
The Connemara Gaels claimed the Junior B Football Championship for the first time since 2002 in a tough battle against a game Galway side. Three goals was the difference on the scoreboard, but truth be told, there was much less than that between the teams on the balance of play. Galway could easily have been the team with the medals had they taken their chances, but it was the men from farthest west that made better use of the opportunities that came their way.

The first half was not one for the purists. It was the first time that the teams had actually played on the main field and it was evident that the larger space took some getting used to. The Gaels got their act together first and by the time the half was over held a six point lead. There were missed chances on both sides, but with the experienced Kieran Cox leading the forward line and Kevin Owens in the corner, the Gaels settled and began to take theirs. After Paul McGovern blazed a goal chance high and over the bar for Galway’s first score, three points came from the Gaels courtesy of Aaron Jenkins, and frees from Cox, and Owens. Owens then scored from play, the best move of the half so far. Jamie Keogh then punished the Gaels by pointing a free resulting from Bosco O’Halloran fouling the ball coming out of his box. After Owens made it five points to two for the Gaels, an injury time penalty was awarded after Cox was pulled down in the box. Owens blasted the kick to the keeper’s left and the Gaels went in leading by 1-5 to 0-2.

Vinny O'Malley comes out with the ball.
The Gaels got a rousing point from Cox to start the second half, however it was Galway who made the big push to come back from seven points down. David Lyng and Padhraic Grace proved to be strong forces in midfield for Galway and for much of the half the Gaels struggled to launch any sort of threatening attack. Galway however struck three terrible wides from close range, and a Peter Ryan shot at goal was well saved by O’Halloran. Galway then made the pressure count. Grace, Donal Redmond, and Keogh pointed to make it a one-score game, and the Gaels were living very dangerously. Cox put a desperately needed Gaels point over the bar with 13 minutes remaining. With four points in it the pace of the game picked up considerably with the ball moving quicker up and down the field. Owens pointed with the left foot with seven minutes to go, and with minutes left, disaster struck for Galway. A short kickout was mis-hit right into the hands of Aaron Jenkins who had just missed a chance at a goal, but the midfielder did not miss the second time around and with the Gaels leading by eight points it was time to bring in the subs. Kieran Cox put the Gaels third goal away after being hit with a pass from Jenkins - and that was all she wrote. Keogh put two late points over the bar for Galway, but there were too many points separating the sides and not enough time left for Galway to have much hope. Galway will well look back on the game as one that they kicked away, while for the Gaels there was much satisfaction as a cup made it’s way back to J.J.’s on Dorchester Ave for the evenings celebrations.

Gaels: B. O’Halloran, C. Conroy, K. Lowe, B. Joyce, O. O’Malley, V. O’Malley, G. O’Malley, A. Jenkins (1-1), M. McDonagh, K. Cox (1-3), S. Murray, K. Owens (1-4), J. Geoghan. Galway: MJ Hynes, G. Bannon, I. Gleeson, B. Bligh, P. Ryan, A. Murphy, D. Lyng, P. Grace (0-1), P. Bligh, J. Keogh (0-4), D. Redmond (0-1), S. Bannon, P. McGovern (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

No comments: