Monday, August 13, 2012

Senior Football S/F: Aidan McAnespies Dig Deep to Deny Tones

Aidan McAnespies 3-10 Wolfe Tones 1-11 AET

There was fierce excitement at the Irish Cultural Center for the meeting of rivals Wolfe Tones and Aidan McAnespies to decide who would advance to the semi final next week.  It was an intensely contested game that took three goals from Magerafelt native Emmett McGuckin, and extra time to decide.  Having been written off two weeks ago, McAnespies pulled out a tremendous performance to defeat their South Boston rivals.  The Tones looked like they had it within themselves to overcome their stubborn rivals, but somehow, some way, McAnespies got the job done and once again are in the final shakeout for the Boston senior football championship.

Daniel McKenna with Kieran Lynch in Pursuit.
The first half saw the Tones go into a five points to two over the first 20 minutes, and looked to have affairs under control.  Brian Kinahan opened the scoring with a well taken point and was followed by Barry Grogan.  McAnespies got back on level pegging with scores from Daniel McKenna and Emmet McGuckian.  Niall Gallen did well at corner back but the Tones created openings for 3 further points, Grogan, Brilly and Doyle the scorers.  In spite of the hard work being put in by McAnespies, the Tones still had the ability to break down their opponents.  Then came two goals that caught the Tones unawares, and were a little bit against the run of play.  The first was from Emmet McGuckin who battled hard to win a ball by the sideline, cut along the endline and his shot was low and to the near side of Ray McKeown’s post, and ended up in the back of the net.  Soon afterwards a second three pointer came from a dropping ball to the edge of the square.  Sean Cournane picked up the break, found McKenna, whose shot rattled the underside of the crossbar and McGuckin was there to finish the job.  The Tones must have felt like fate was going to be against them once gain as two minutes previously, having had affairs under control, they now trailed by three points.  Grogan finished the half with a point to make it 2-2 to 0-6 at the break, but surely the Tones had the wherewithal to put the double strike behind them in the second half.

Charles McCarthy and Emmet Bradley
Tussle for Possession.
The game never really settled down in the second period.  There were a couple of incidents that led to warnings and yellow cards.  Marty Farrell got the Tones a little closer with a fantastic point, and then a chance for a goal went a-begging as Paul Bannon’s pass was a little too far ahead of Barry Grogan who was in the clear, and the ball went wide.  Colm Donnelly put two nicely taken points over the bar, but the Tones answered in fine fashion.  Gary Brilly put a solo effort over followed by Charles McCarthy.  The Tones were putting their stamp on the game again.  One felt that McAnespies had to work a bit harder for their scores, and the Tones brought in two pairs of fresh legs to take advantage of an already tired looking McAnespies defence.  Darren McGuire, who was introduced in the second half, won a penalty after being pulled down while shooting in the area.  Grogan took it well and the Tones were now two points to the good.  McKeown redeemed himself with two good saves from Emmet Bradley and McKenna as McAnespies looked for a goal to go back ahead with a few minutes left on the clock.  In injury time Barry Grogan was sent to the line for swinging at Martin Bogue and McAnespies had a last chance to try and pull out a goal to win it.  Through sheer determination McAnespies put two points over the bar when the temptation might have been there to go for goal.  One from Paul McConway who made a run from his half back line, and the other from Daniel McKenna.  Extra time anybody?

Both keepers were called into action early in extra time.  First McKeown saved from McGuckian, and the rebound was put over the bar by McKenna.  At the other end, Ryan McCrystal was forced to deal with an awkward ball from Brilly and sent it over the sideline.  The cramps began to set in and the benches were emptied of subs as the drama continued.  The Tones had a couple of gilt edge chances at points but both were sent wide of the posts.  Gary Brilly leveled the scores to begin the second period of extra time, but McAnespies once again pulled themselves ahead with a superb point from Emmet McGuckin, who personified the determination of his team.  Then came a fisted point from Colm McCrory and it was McAnespies who led.  With the Tones pressing for a goal, one came but for McAnespies.  Once again it was McGuckin who pulled out an unbelievable goal after winning a high ball and his shot cannoned off the inside of the post and the opposite corner of the net.  The August demons still torment the Tones, while for McAnespies, come what may next week, this win will go down in the history books as one of the best for the club.

Referee:  Colm Schwer

Man of the Match:  Emmet McGuckin

Macs:  R. McCrystal, N. Gallen, P. McConway, M. Bogue, E. Bradley, M. Slane, D. Kingston, C. Donnelly, C. McCrory, N. McCrory, D. McKenna, S. Cournane, E. McGuckian.  Tones:  R. McKeown, D. Dalton, P. McGuirk, F. Conway, K. Lynch, B. Kinahan, C. McCarthy, S. Hurley, P. Bannon, G. Brilly, M. Farrell, J. Doyle, B. Grogan.

By Rory O'Donnell

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