Saturday, July 14, 2012

Senior Football: Blues Make Gaels Pay

Connemara Gaels 0-13 Shannon Blues 1-13

The Gaels looked like they would be the team to end the Shannon Blues hundred percent record for 60 minutes on Saturday evening, but in injury time a Cathal McHugh goal put a dagger into Gaels hearts.  The Gaels in many ways should have put the Blues away and should not have been in the vulnerable position that they were.  Through the field there were great performances from Sean Conneely, Coleman Mulkerrins, Michael Rogers, and Michael Stevenson – but when scores are not recorded the opponent always has a chance.  The Blues made the most of their opportunites and stayed in the game despite being outplayed, especially in the middle of the field.  However, when the moment came to strike the Blues took full advantage and came away winners of an enthralling encounter.

Gaels Joe Greaney and the Blues David Dineen.

At the end of the first half the Gaels held the slightest of edges.  It was an excellent, competitive 30 minutes of football.  The Gaels tried to take advantage of the size they had, and with Joe Greaney in the middle of the field, won more than a healthy amount of ball.  Louthman, Michael Rogers, started at corner forward but moved into the middle of field mid way through the half beefing up the Gaels presence there.  The Blues tried to keep the kickouts away from the Gaels big men, and had some success.  The Gaels got some excellent scores, probably the best from Coleman Mulkerrins.  The westerners could have been in for a goal or two on a couple of occasions.  Daryl Hayden was found at the far post on one occasion, but took a second too long and Tom Sayers saved to put the ball over for a point.  Hayden saw a lot of the ball in the first half at center forward, but was moved to the corner – and eventually made way for Hugh Meehan.  The Blues got some great play from the back line, especially from Conor Phelan at corner back.  Kieran Hurley, Paul Garvey, and Sean O’Connor converted for the Blues and at the half it was 0-6 to 0-5 in the Gaels favour.

Ref John Fitzpatrick get's out of
David Dineen's path.
The Gaels continued to enjoy most of the possession in the second half and almost had a goal to show for it about half way though when Michael Stevenson found himself through, but blasted wide of the far post.  Then from the kickout the Blues almost put one away, but could not work the opening as the Gaels defended in numbers.  Eventually Hurley’s attempted point came off the post and the Blues came away with nothing.  As the misses mounted for the Gaels, the Blues made the most of their chances and kept pace.  Hurley pointed twice, David Dineen, and Sean Moriarty once each to bring the Blues tally to 10 points with ten minutes left.  For the Gaels it was Mulkerrins who got things going with a score, and Stevenson with 3 frees and one from play.  Rogers continued to be the man in the middle of the field and broke the ball intelligently to his teammates, and overall had a tremendous game.  With 10 minutes left the Gaels led by one point.  Substitute, Meehan, added another to the total and a grand finale was set up.  Coleman Mulkerrins brought the Gaels lead to three and time was almost up – but the way the this season is going, a dramatic finish was to be expected, and sure enough it came.  Throughout their history the Blues have a never say die reputation, and sure enough they refused to accept that it was over.  O’Connor and substitute Cathal McHugh made it a one point deficit in injury time with a point each.  The Gaels defence was then opened up one more time, and  the ball ended up in McHugh’s hands.  The Roscommon man put the ball into the far corner from the edge of the small square.  The Gaels, who had looked sharp and full of running up until that last sequence literally died.  The Blues played the ball around for the last minute or two, and finished with an O’Connor point to cap off a huge win.  A huge disappointment for the Gaels, but for the Blues a win that showed a lot of character, patience, and confidence in themselves.

Referee:  John Fitzpatrick (New York)

Man of the Match:  Michael Rogers (Connemara Gaels)

Gaels:  B. Joyce, C. O’Donnell, D. Doolan, S. Conneely, C. Sweeney, C. Mulkerrins, S. Moran, J. Greaney, F. O’Beara, D. Hayden, G. Delaney, M. Stevenson, M. Rodgers.  Blues:  T. Sayers, R. Callaghan, C. Phelan, M. McGowan, D. Clarke, B. Curran, S. Moriarty, D. Dineen, S. O’Conner, J. Hynes, G. Curran, K. Hurley, P. Garvey.

By Rory O'Donnell

No comments: