Monday, August 26, 2013

Men's Senior Football Final: Aidan McAnespies v Connemara Gaels

Aidan McAnespies 0-10 Connemara Gaels 2-9

A Jubilant Connemara Gaels following their senior football victory on Sunday.
Finals have a habit of producing the unlikely and making heroes out of players.  On Sunday it was a case of the Connemara Gaels team leaving nothing behind on the field and getting their just rewards with a display full of heart and determination.  Pat McNicholas who has played in 5 finals for the Gaels at different levels finally got his medal having been called up from the junior team to fill a vacant place.  The Gaels started the game with intensity and maintained it all the way through to the final whistle.  McAnespies looked as though the exertions from last Sunday's extra time and Tuesday night may have taken it's toll.  An early goal from corner back Lee Cullen set the tone for the game, and a second from Kevin McGrath mid-way through the second half set the Gaels on the way.

At the break the Gaels held a 2 point lead following a lively first half.  An early goal from Lee Cullen got the Gaels off to a great start.  Cullen made his way from corner back to the opposing 21 and fired a rocket past goalkeeper Paddy Coakley.  Frankie Burke popped over a couple of frees to settle his side and ease into the game, and the remainder of the half was evenly contested.  The Gaels were getting great performances from their midfield duo of Ryan Hyde and Damien Comer.  Comer hunted down every ball he could, and Hyde was full of running and energy throughout.  The score of the half came from Conor Daly, who converted after a good move that began well in the McAnespies back line.  Damien Doolan and Noel Graham pointed for the Gaels and Burke for McAnespies before half time to make it a 1-5 to 0-6 score at the break.

The second half saw two sendings off and the Gaels extend their lead to 6 points with 10 minutes to go.  The goal was a soft one to concede from a McAnespies viewpoint.  After Kevin McGrath had pointed to put the Gaels 3 up, an attempt at a short kickout ended up in the hands of McGrath again and the man from County Laois only had Paddy Coakley to beat and beat him he did.  A scuffle ended up with 2 players receiving their marching orders; Declan Lally and Robbie Kiely were shown a second yellow each and the teams were down to 12-a-side for the last 10 minutes.  The Gaels left McGrath up front on his own and at times he was the lone player in the opposing half as the Gaels got bodies behind the ball.  It was now up to McAnespies to find it in them to come back and win it.  All 5 subs were used to try and turn the tide, but none led to a change in the dynamic of the game.  Both midfielders were changed, Gareth O'Neill and Stephen Sherry came on as did David McKenna and Cathal O'Neill.  The Gaels did not make any changes which may have been more down to necessity than choice.  With a goal needed McAnespies tried to lob the ball into the Gaels box and on one occasion Hyde made a huge leap to win the ball and clear to the cheers of the Gaels supporters.   McGrath almost got in for a second goal, but this time Coakley was down smartly to save the ball.  Another McAnespies effort at goal went narrowly over the crossbar and the Gaels hung on to win a famous victory for the Club.  .

Referee:  Sean Joy (Kerry)

Man of the Match:  Ryan Hyde (Connemara Gaels)

Gaels:  E. Connolly, L. Cullen (1-0), C. Cullen, P. McNicholas, R. Kiely, D. Doolan (0-1), D. Comer, R. Hyde, M. Lundy (0-2), N. Graham (0-1), S. Connelly, C. Mulkerrins (0-1), K. McGrath (1-4).  Macs:  P. Coakley, E. Delmar, E. Rigney, C. McClean, C. Daly (0-1), N. Gallen, C. Donnelly, C. Shine, C. Tobin, D. Lally, L. Kelly (0-1), F. Burke (0-6), J. Doolan.  Subs: C. O'Neill (0-1), G. O'Neill, S. Sherry, D. McKenna.

By Rory O'Donnell

No comments: