Monday, August 16, 2010

Senior Football: Armagh-Notre Dame v Shannon Blues - Aug 15

Shannon Blues 1-14 Armagh-Notre Dame 1-5

Noel Galvin looks for an option coming out of the Blues defence.
Armagh-Notre Dame’s challenge for senior honours ended tamely on Sunday against a charged Shannon Blues side. In marked contrast to their previous outing against the table topping Wolfe Tones, the Brighton side could not muster anything resembling a comeback against a relentless Shannon Blues second half drive. The northerners were missing a number of starters from their previous outing, which did not help their cause, and the Blues introduced some telling substitutions in a second half dismembering of their opponents.

The first half was evenly contested. The Brightonians opened a two point lead to get things going, and Alan Holland got the Blues off the mark with a point from a free. Thomas Maloney almost goaled for the Blues early in the game, but his high placed shot was well saved by Dean Bourke. The Blues strung three points together after Darren Gilsenan had restored Armagh-Notre Dame’s lead to two, a Paul O’Connor point and one each from play and a free from Holland put the Blues ahead for the first time. Gilsenan leveled affairs with a well taken point before O’Connor put the Blues one to the good yet again. David Quinn netted coming up to half time. With former Cork U-21 Noel Galvin attending to Quinn, the Dubliner was not finding the freedom that he has been used to so far this summer. However, the Na Fianna clubman got on the end of a well worked move to finish well. Holland had the final say before half time with a lovely strike to make it 1-4 to 0-6 in favour of the lads from Ireland’s orchard at the break.

Michael O'Brien made a big difference after coming on in the second half.
With eleven points guaranteeing a semi-final place one might have expected the big second half push to come from Armagh-Notre Dame, instead we saw the hopes of the Brighton side fade fast as the Blues dominated the second period. Michael O’Brien, who did not start, came on in the middle for the Blues and last year’s senior finalists lorded it all over the field. Holland leveled the scores two minutes into the second half, and O’Brien put the Blues ahead with a point shortly afterwards. Blues spirits were high and the commitment level was in contrast to their opponents who had more at stake. The men in orange shirts seemed to be waiting for something to happen, and it was all happening for the Blues. After Denis McElligott added to the Blues lead, Conor Brophy tried to lift things in the middle of the field for the Brighton side, but the end result of three straight wides seemed to accelerate the downward slide. Holland and Liam Jennings extended the Blues lead to six points as the backs eagerly joined the attack. Finally Seamie O’Hare tallied a point for the northerners with less then 15 minutes remaining. Armagh-Notre Dame needed a goal, but it was the Blues who issued the coup de gras with a goal from substitute Justin Burke in a move involving O’Connor and Holland. Holland rounded off affairs with another point. With the final whistle the Blues seemed very satisfied with the outcome, Armagh-Notre Dame on the other hand seemed to have given up the ghost a little too easy.

Blues: A. Garry, E. Mullarkey, N. Galvin, JP Murphy, L. Jennings (0-1), C. Fitzgerald, L. O’Brien, P. Murray, S. Sinnott, D. McElligott, A. Holland (0-9), T. Maloney, P. O’Connor (0-2). Sub: M. O’Brien (0-1), J. Burke (1-0). Armagh-ND: D. Bourke, C. O’Toole, J. Cooper, F. Meehan, M. Graham, A. Doyle, S. Dineen, C. Brophy, S. O’Hare (0-2), D. Byrne, D. Gilsenan (0-2), P. Curran, D. Quinn (1-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

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