Christopher's 3-11 Shannon Blues 1-17
Christopher's and the Blues played out a draw in a bizarre and exciting finish to the game. For three quarters of the game a win looked likely for Christopher's who rode two first half goals well into the second half. But the Blues kept chipping away as Christopher's seemed content to sit on their lead. The Blues closed the gap until Kieran Hurley put his side a point to the good with full time approaching. Christopher's then looked to have pulled out a win after a Gary O'Leary goal, only for Cathal McHugh to level it with a goal in the final action of the game.
|Quinlivan Scores for Christopher's|
Shannon Blues started the game minus 2 key players. Barry Hartnett suffered a season ending injury last week, and Barry John Keane pulled a hamstring during the week. Christopher's started off at a blistering pace and pulled into an early 5 point lead. Gary O'Leary and Kevin McAllister in the forward line looked dangerous, and at corner forward Michael Quinlivan was an ever looming threat. O'Leary, Quinlivan, and McAllister accounted for points, and O'Leary a goal. After the Blues pulled back a point another goal came from Quinlivan who acrobatically fielded a high ball and after faking the keeper, shot low and the ball made it across the line. It was now a 7 point Christopher's lead and the champions had it all to do. The Blues found a rhythm eventually. Darragh Treacy was his usual hard working self, while Hurley a proven scorer started to heat up. Treacy, Hurley, and Cathal Moriarty combined for 4 points between them before the break to keep their side in touch at the break, 2-4 to 0-7.
|Treacy Shoots for the Blues.|
The Blues came storming back in the second half after Christopher's had opened a 5 point lead. At one stage Hurley pointed five times in a row, 2 from frees to draw the Blues within a point of their opponents. Christopher's had stretched their lead to 5 points. Scores from Brady, Quinlivan, and O'Leary had Christopher's looking comfortable, but then came the Blues. Hurley's string of points brought his side within a point before a burst forward from David Culhane, as if to try and waken his side up, resulted in a point by O'Leary. The Blues restored parity with points from Cathal McHugh and Hurley as Christopher's continued to concede possession in the middle of the field. Substitute Conor Fitzgerald did well for the Blues after coming on and won a free that Hurley pointed to put the Blues one to the good. It looked like a famous comeback was going to go down in Shannon Blues lore, but then came a final burst from Christopher's. A great move that involved McAllister opening the Blues back line with a run resulted in a goal from O'Leary. After it was followed by a Quinlivan point and the clock in injury time, Christopher's looked like they had snatched that famous win away from the Blues. Not to be as the Blues drove forward once more and won a free inside the 14. Christopher's defenders failed to line the goal and an inital shot was well saved by Paudie Kenneally, but McHugh was alert to the rebound to net. A crazy end to a very entertaining game. The Blues finished the season in top spot with the draw. Christopher's won second place and both teams get the bye into the semi-final.
Christopher's: P. Kenneally, D. Culhane, C. Murphy, M. Delaney, D. O'Sullivan, M. Hunt, M. Mennis, D. Kenneally, K. McAllister (0-2), G. O'Leary (2-3), P. Quirke, M. Quinlivan (1-2), C. Brady (0-3). Blues: D. O'Brien, S. Kelly, G. Ryan, K. Hartnett, P. Domican, G. Cunniffe, S. Brosnan, M. Butler, S. Moriarty, D. Treacy (0-1), C. Moriarty (0-1), C. McHugh (1-2), K. Hurley (0-13).
By Rory O'Donnell