Monday, May 2, 2011

Pat O'Brien Cup Semi-Final - Wolfe Tones v Connemara Gaels

Wolfe Tones 3-8 Connemara Gaels 1-10

The damage was done in the first half of the game and the Gaels had too much of a mountain to climb in the second period. Three clinical goals by the Wolfe Tones catapulted the team into the Pat O’Brien Cup Final next Sunday. In spite of losing wing forward Sean Kelly to a sending off, the Tones were able to hang on as a late rally from the Gaels ran out of time.

Wolfe Tones' Cormac Power rounds his man before
scoring the Tones second goal.
Sligoman Niall Judge and Marty Farrell traded points to get things started, and a lovely point from Gary Brilly was answered by Tom Walsh for the Gaels. Sitting at two points apiece, the Tones fired a salvo into the broadsides of the Gaels that put paid to the hopes of the westerners. Marty Farrell and Cormac Power matched superb moves with equally superb finishes to have the Gaels reeling. Farrell first finished excellently into the far top corner, and Power did likewise to in the other side of the net. The Gaels managed a point from Tom Walsh, but a third goal from Farrell left the Gaels staring at a 10 point deficit for the second half. The frustrating aspect from the Gaels standpoint was that the westerners enjoyed plenty of possession, however, much of the effort expended was not rewarded on the scoreboard. The Tones in contrast made effective use of the ball and the final pass usually meant a man in scoring position.

The Gaels were thrown a lifeline early in the second half. Sean Kelly was shown two yellow cards for dissent. The Tones did not appear to be affected and extended their lead. Cormac Power fired two fine points over the bar, Shane O’Brien one, and Marty Farrell a fourth as the Gaels continued to make a huge effort for little reward. Stevie Monaghan, who entered as a sub pointed twice, and provided the Gaels forward line with some life.

The Gaels Tom Walsh tries to round his man.
 The Gaels continued to press and rallied late in the game. Had there been more time left on the clock, the outcome could have been different. With Monaghan making a mark in the full forward line the Gaels inched closer. Tom Walsh was pushed onto the edge of the square and eventually capitalized on a ball lobbed in his direction with a late goal. A Monaghan point reduced the deficit to four points, however, the final whistle put a stop to the comeback. A clinical win for the Tones who look impressive early in the season. The Gaels need a little more fine-tuning to get the machine working smoothly.

Tones: C. Hynes, D. Maguire, A. Rooney, C. Malone, A. Higgins, M. O’Brien, G. Brilly, K. Regan, B. Blanchfield, C. Power, S. Kelly, D. Bonfil, M.Farrell. Gaels: B. O’Halloran, W. Callaghan, L. Wiley, V. O’Malley, M. Geoghegan, B. Murphy, G. O’Malley, T. McDonagh, J. Geoghegan, T. Walsh, N. Judge, B. Carroll, PJ Kelly.

By Rory O'Donnell

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