Connemara Gaels 2-8 Wolfe Tones 2-8
A warm sunny afternoon greeted the footballers of the Connemara Gaels and Wolfe Tones amid the sounds and smells of the Irish Festival at the grounds of the Cultural Center in Canton. The game ended in a draw, but it is likely that neither side was pleased with the result and probably more so the Gaels as it really was a blown opportunity to knock off one of the early favourites. The Tones were favoured coming into the game, but Gaels played most of it with a man advantage and held on to a one point lead into injury time, with the equalizing score coming from Gary Brilly with virtually the final kick.
|The Gaels Eric Monahan is pursued by Pauric McGuirk.|
The Tones were first out of the gates with two points and wearing the tag of favourites, it seemed inevitable that the South Boston side would continue to press in the early stages. The Gaels answered with two points to even things up, but then a two-goal salvo came from the Tones. Collie Carr netted a fortunate first, James O’Donnell in goal for the Gaels should have done better to field what appeared to be a fairly routine catch, but somehow lost the ball and it ended up in the back of the net. Corner forward Barry Grogan followed up shortly afterwards with another from close range and the Gaels were reeling. The Connemara men kept working at it; Sean Conneely was a leading factor in the back line and Brian Joyce worked hard in the middle of the field. After a point from a Noel Graham dead ball, the Gaels answered with two goals of their own. Both came from corner forward Eric Monahan. Sean Conneeley cut out a forward ball by the Tones to set up the move for the first goal for the Caherlistrane man. The second came shortly after Collie Carr saw red following an off the ball incident. At the break it was the Gaels by a point, 2-3 to 2-2.
|Gary Brilly dispossesses Noel Graham.|
Starting the second half off a man to the good, the Gaels built their lead by adding two points through frees from Monahan. The tide then turned in favour of the Tones. The Gaels short kickouts were not working and persistent fouls in front of their own goal led to some easy frees for the Tones, who were making a tremendous effort to create the space and make up for the deficiency in personnel. Barry Grogan took two points from frees and followed them with two tremendous points from play to put the Tones into a surprising three point lead. The Gaels re-gathered their concentration and pulled back two points through Monahan and substitute, Dara McCormack. After a badly missed free from Marty Farrell at one end, the Gaels swept upfield for Padraig Cunningham to level the scores with a well taken effort from range. The Tones again threatened to take the lead, but again a poorly taken shot was gathered by the Gaels. Graham carried upfield and eventually the ball found wing back Fiacra O’Beara who put a great effort between the posts. The Gaels tried to kill off the game by keeping posession, but the Tones had one final effort to get a result from the game and Gary Brilly leveled the scores with a point to make it all square.
Referee: Nobby Walsh
Man of the Match: Sean Conneely, Connemara Gaels
By Rory O'Donnell