Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18 - Senior Football Semi-Final: Aidan McAnespies v Shannon Blues

Aidan McAnespies 2-16 Shannon Blues 1-19 (After Extra Time)

Every year you can be guaranteed a cracker of a game at the ICC and Sunday afternoon Aidan McAnespies and Shannon Blues served one up.  It was tied at half time, full time, the extra time break, and at the end of extra time - meaning that a replay Tuesday night at 5:30 will be required to separate the teams.  With the sending off of Sean Moriarty in the second half of normal time McAnespies had the impetus to push on and win the game but the Blues battled hard and it was McAnespies who had to rescue the draw at the end.  McAnespies will look at two missed goal chances in extra time as the Blues performed defensive heroics to keep the ball out of the net, and wonder how it all came down to a Frankie Burke free to force the replay.  Burke held his nerve and with the score the teams meet again.

It was do or die stuff when the Macs met the Blues. 
It was even stevens in the first half as both sides played some good football.  The Blues got their game going after McAnespies had taken a 4 points to one lead.  Barry John Keane and Cathal Moriarty accounted for 3 points to level the scores.  Moriarty's shot cannoned off the upside of the crossbar.  Later in the half the Blues almost had another goal, but Paddy Coakley made a fine first save and the post played a part in keeping Kieran Hurley's shot from the rebound from crossing the line .  The Blues back line did well to keep McAnespies forwards from making too many inroads, but a breakthrough for McAnespies eventually came with a well worked move that put Cian Tobin with just the keeper to beat, and the Kerryman did the honors.  The Blues came back with points from Keane and Kieran Hurley to level matters at the break.  Ten points to a goal and seven with 30 minutes to go.

Declan Lally on the run for McAnespies.
The second half was full of incident.  After Kieran Hurley was tripped in the penalty area while shooting, Keane stepped up and took the penalty, wrongfooting Paddy Coakley.  Shortly after another potentially game changing incident occurred after Sean Moriarty was sent off with about 20 minutes left to play for a second yellow card offence.  The held a 2 point lead at the time.  McAnespies capitalized with points from Declan Lally and Tobin to level the scores.  The Blues can play some attractive football at times and in spite of being a man down put together some good scoring moves.  BJ Keane pointed twice to put the Blues ahead, the second score a lovely point from the Kerry star.  Play was moving quickly up and down the field now, and McAnespies netted a second goal.  Frankie Burke, who worked extremely hard throughout the game, found Doolan in front of goal and the Dr. Croke's clubman netted easily.  The Blues still pushed ahead and continued to push forward despite the deficiency in personnel.  Darragh Treacy, Keane and Sean Kiley pointed to put the Blues 2 ahead with time running out.  McAnespies finished with two points, one from Burke that exemplified his hard work.  After missing a free high off the post, Burke won possession back and made good on his miss.  Tobin leveled affairs before 60 minutes ran out, and it was extra time.

Keane and Shane Brosnan pointed in the first period of extra time, and Burke and David McKenna added points in the McAnespies column as the nails of both sets of supporters became worn to the quick.  It was at the end of the the period that McAnespies had the goal chances.  First Declan Lally took advantage of a poor kickout and Blues keeper Dara O'Brien held his ground well to allow Kevin Hartnett time to get back behind him and turn the shot away for a 50.  Burke had the second chance as McAnespies again opened up the Blues defence, but the Annaghdown man fired the second chance across the face of the goal as hearts were in mouths.  A goal for either side at that stage would surely have won it.  Level at the turnaround.  The second period of extra time could not separate the sides either.  Cramping set in for several players as it was do or die stuff, and benches were emptied of subs.  Any set of fresh legs would do at that point.  The Blues took a one point lead into the final 2 minutes, and then Luke Kelly was sent off for his reaction to a tackle.  McAnespies now a man down and in need a score to tie it up.  The opportunity fell to Burke who split the posts with his shot.  The teams must do it all over again on Tuesday night. 

Macs:  P. Coakley, E. Boland, E. Rigney, C. Daly, C. McClean, N. Gallen, C. Shine, C. Donnelly, C. Tobin, D. Lally, L. Kelly, F. Burke, J. Doolan.  Blues:  D. O'Brien, G. Ryan, K. Hartnett, S. Kelly, P. Domican, S. Moriarty, S. Brosnan, M. Butler, C. Moriarty, D. Treacy, BJ Keane, K. Hurley, C. McHugh.

By Rory O'Donnell

No comments: