Monday, September 5, 2011

Aidan McAnespies Win Third NACB Senior Football Title

Final: Aidan McAnespies 1-14 Parnells Chicago 1-7

Aidan McAnespies brought a full squad of players to contest the senior football championship and were the talk of the finals. Sean Treacys provided the opposition for the semi-final and the reigning NACB champions went into the game with high hopes of retaining their title. McAnespies had to work hard to dispel those hopes, especially in the first half. Treacy’s went into an early three points to one lead, and the stiff breeze forced McAnespies into a short passing game to work the ball into scoring post. The Boston side eventually figured out the formula and started to put some scores over the bar. Plunkett Kane showed the way and accounted for three points, while Paul O’Donoghue, Gareth O’Neill, and Sean Cournane scored one each to put McAnespies into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead at the break. The second half proved easier as Treacy’s began to tire. In fact Treacy’s were limited to two points in the second half, while McAnespies netted three times; Kane, O’Donoghue, and O’Neill were the goal scorers. McAnespies had every reason to be confident going into Sunday’s final against Parnells Chicago.

Plunkett Kane in action in Saturday's Semi-Final.
Parnells made the Boston side work for the victory in the final. The Chicago team swarmed defence in an effort thwart the vaunted McAnespies forward line, and when in attack looked dangerous. It was a tight first half. McAnespies tried to get their running game going and Colm McCrory was instrumental in the effort. The Monaghan man tried to open up the Parnells defence with his trademark running and accounted for two points. Parnells took the game to McAnespies however, and caused a lot of problems for the back line. With 20 minutes gone it was four points each. Points from Eoin Keating and Paul Carey kept the Chicago side on level terms. Sean Cournane and Plunkett Kane also pointed for McAnespies, while corner forwards Paul O’Donoghue and Cournane had a tough time of it with the conditions and crowded Parnells defence. McAnespies also suffered a setback when Ryan McCloskey had to leave the action due to a leg injury and was replaced by Rory Bracken, who in turn experienced a recurrence of his shoulder injury and also had to be taken from the field. Kane and Sean Cournane pointed late in the first half to put McAnespies two points ahead at the break, 0-6 to 0-4.

Niall Kerr lifts the NACB Trophy.
McAnespies were forced to defend early in the second half as Parnells kept the pace up. The shooting from the Chicago side was wayward however and McAnespies were let off the hook with four wides. Philip Toner and Colm McCrory added a point each to the McAnespies lead, and McAnespies had the ball in the net at one stage, but the referee had blown for a penalty. O’Donoghue took it and John Rafter pulled off a fine save for Parnells to put the ball out for a 45. O’Donoghue made amends somewhat and put the ensuing kick over the bar to make it 0-4 to 0-9 with just over 15 minutes left. Things began to get a little dirty as challenges got heavy and Parnells grew a little desperate. Little added a point for McAnespies, but the Boston side almost conceded a goal but a high ball into the box came off the crossbar. The game was still very much up for the taking. Chicago made a push for a goal in the final 10 minutes and it was backs to the wall for McAnespies for a while. Parnells tagged two points, one from Cunningham and another from Carey. With 5 points in the game McAnespies started to live dangerously. Parnells needed a goal and went for it, hitting the post. With five minutes to go McAnespies led by six. Hughes made it seven as the clock ticked away. Parnells netted a late goal as full time approached to reduce the deficit to five points but back came McAnespies with a classic goal from Plunkett Kane to more or less put the issue to rest. The move began with Little and involved Toner before all Kane had to do was finish into the empty net. It was a hard earned third NACB senior football championship for McAnespies but a wholly deserved one.  McAnespies went unbeaten for the season at senior level, winning all 10 Boston Championship games and both NACB games.  

Macs: C. Kendrick, N. Gallen, R. McCloskey, S. Hughes, N. Kerr, G. O’Neill, P. Kane, C. McCrory, P. Toner, P. O’Donoghue, M. Little, S. Cournane, B.Curran, R. Bracken, M. Bogue, W. Carroll,R. McCrystal. Parnells: J. Rafter, J. Hegarty, S. Gallen, D. Givney, E. Keating, S.Prendergast, W. Sherlocl, J. Cunningham, R. Werity, S. Donaghue, R. Doherty, P. Carey.

By Rory O'Donnell

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