Sunday, July 29, 2012

Senior Football: Shannon Blues Continue Winning Ways

Wolfe Tones 1-10 Shannon Blues 2-8

The Blues and Tones met to decide who would get the automatic bye into the semi-finals.  After Sean Moriarty was sent off for a second yellow card after 20 minutes, it looked like curtains for the Blues, but they are used to winning and dug deep and worked hard for the duration and pulled of a fantastic result.  The Tones missed Michael Newman in the forward line and the front five never really clicked.  In fact, there were 3 changes made in the Tones forward line during the game.  Despite a late charge in the last 10 minutes, the Tones effort fell just short and the Blues 100% record remains intact.

The Tones Sean Furlong and
The Blues David Dineen.
The Tones were guilty of a good handful of missed chances in the first half.  Gary Brilly, Marty Farrell, and Collie Carr missed chances to put a little distance between themselves and the Blues.  There was nothing between the teams on the scoreboard after 15 minutes, though the Tones enjoyed the majority of possession and their back line kept it very tight.  Pauric McGuirk and Kieran Hurley were in a tussle on the edge of the square.  Hurley must have been wondering what he had to do to get some space from the tight marking McGuirk.  With the sides tied a two points each the Blues Sean Moriarty was sent to the line for a second yellow card resulting from a high challenge on Fergal Conway.  The sending off changed the game – it lifted the Blues.  Caolan Rafferty, who had a great game at corner forward, finished a great move involving David Dineen and James Hynes.  Kieran Hurley followed up with a booming free kick, and following the sending off the Blues were ahead by four.  The Tones scrambled to make changes and introduced Barry Grogan to the forward line and Brian Kinahan to the half back line.  A point came from Paul Bannon, but the alarm bells sounded in the Tones back line once again as Rafferty was through a second time and hit the post from inside the 21.  The extra man at the back can sometimes cause confusion with assignments and it seemed that the Tones were not playing as tight as before the sending off.  At the break it was 1-3 to 0-3 for the Blues.

Hurley shoots and McGuirk blocks.
Blues started the second half with two quick points.  The first from a Hurley free and the second was almost a goal, but James Hynes shot came off the crossbar and Rafferty was on hand to pop the rebound over.  The Blues worked hard for each other, Ross O’Callaghan at corner back did well having been given his second assignment of the day in the form of Grogan.  The Tones eventually broke their scoring drought with a point after 17 minutes of play.  It came from a Grogan free – not a good return when you have a man advantage.  The Tones however dragged themselves within a point with plenty of time to play and one wondered whether fatigue would eventually wear the Blues down.  Another three points from Farrell, Martin Kelly, and Grogan and it looked like the Tones could go on to win as the Blues tired and there was just the one point in it.  The Blues had brought on two sets of fresh legs to the forward line however, and for the second game in a row Cathal McHugh proved to be an ace in the hole as he put a goal away with three minutes to go.  It came from a turnover as the Tones came out of defence looking for the equalizing score.  The Blues now had the overlap and McHugh finished well from an angle.  The Blues lead was now five as McHugh had pointed just before the goal.  With three minutes to go the Tones made a push to try and turn the tables.  Martin Kelly pointed and then James Doyle, the third change in the Tones forward line, netted from a tight angle.  Another substitute, Kiniahan, leveled the scores in injury time – who would have that bit left to go on and win it?  The Blues got their chance when Sean O’Connor calmly put a free kick over from inside the 45.  The Tones by contrast missed three chances to earn at least a point.  Doyle, Grogan, and Farrell each missed good chances, Farrell hit the post from a free.  The Blues straight into the semis, while the Tones still on nine points and will have to settle for a quarter final place.

Referee:  Colm Schwer (Cill Dara)

Man of the Match:  Ross O’Callaghan (Shannon Blues)

Tones:  R. McKeown, P. McGuirk, D. Dalton, K. Dias, C. Lynch, F. Conway, C. McCarthy, S. Furlong, G. Brilly, M. Farrell, P. Bannon, C. Joyce-Power, C. Carr.  Blues:  T. Sayers, C. Phelan, R. O’Callaghan, B. Curran, M. McGowan, S. Moriarty, D. Clarke, D. Dineen, S. O’Connor, C. Gregg, J. Hynes, C. Rafferty, K. Hurley.

By Rory O'Donnell

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