Monday, August 20, 2012

Senior Football: Shannon Blues Hold on to beat McAnespies

Shannon Blues 3-11 Aidan McAnespies 2-12

The second semi-final of the day produced a fine contest between Aidan McAnespies and Shannon Blues.  The Blues looked like they would run away with it for much of the first half, but in the second half McAnespies almost completed a big comeback only to fall short.  Roscommon man, Cathal Cregg, put in a man of the match performance for the Blues, particularly in the second half when players were needed to step up in the face of a McAnespies comeback. 

Referee Syl Doyle with captains
Brian Curran and Colm McCrory
The first half belonged to the Blues as they overran the McAnespies defences.  James Hynes and Cregg were in fine form on the half forward line.  After Daniel McKenna opened the account with a point, the Blues went on a goal and three points run.  The goal came from the boot of James Hynes who was fed by Cregg, and Sean O’Connor pointed two frees.  Bradley and McGuckin stemmed the tide with a point each, but the respite was brief as again the Blues went on a scoring burst.  Passing the ball and running at speed, the Blues were flying.  Cregg netted a wonderful goal and more points came from the rampant half forward line, one each from Sean O’Connor and Cregg.  The Blues suffered a blow after David Dineen was shown a red card following a high challenge on Niall Gallen.  Dineen can have little to complain about the referees decision.**  Now there was an opening for McAnespies to stage a comeback.  Colm Donnelly added a point in the McAnespies column before the break to make it 2-6 to 0-5 for the Blues at the half.

Up they go for the kick out.
McAnespies started the second period with renewed energy and narrowed the gap to five points.  Colm McCrory and Emmet Bradley were the scorers.  The Blues, however, dug deep to produce some scores and continued to run at the McAnespies defence at every opportunity.  Cregg netted a second goal, similar to the first in style, and Cathal McHugh added a point to increase the lead.  As the half wore on the extra man began to tell and the Blues slowed down.  McAnespies enjoyed more possession and got the ball into the hands of their forwards with far more frequency.  McCrory, who could have had a goal, McGuckin, and Bradley pointed, and a goal came from Daniel McKenna with time still on the clock.  McAnespies were their own worst enemies as there were a few bad misses from good scoring chances, but with injury time approaching a second McAnespies goal came from Sean Cournane who fisted past the advancing keeper.  Two points in it now, could McAnespies repeat last week’s feat and pull off a last minute equalizer.  The Blues relied on Cregg to do the running and hold the ball up to try and make up for the extra man, and the Roscommon man did a superb job.  The Blues kept a nose ahead with points from O’Connor frees, and the back line did a good job in keeping the door closed to see out a frantic final few minutes.  The Blues continue their winning run and are into their first senior football final since 2009 next Sunday.

Referee:  Syl Doyle (Loch Garman)

Man of the Match:  Cathal Gregg (Shannon Blues)

Blues:  T. Sayers, C. Phelan, R. O’Callaghan, B. Curran, M. McGowan, S. Moriarty, D. Clarke, D. Dineen, S. O’Connor, J. Hynes, C. Gregg, C. Rafferty, K. Hurley.  Macs:  R. McCrystal, N. Gallen, P. McConway, M. Slane, E. Bradley, M. Bogue, D. Kingston, C. Donnelly, D. McKenna, N. McCrory, C. McCrory, E. McGuckin, S. Cournane.

By Rory O'Donnell 

**David Dineen's Red Card was successfully appealed and the Blues midfielder will play in the final Sunday.

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