Connemara Gaels 0-17
The Gaels managed to hold off the Shannon Blues in an intriguing encounter. On three separate occasions it appeared as though the Gaels had put enough distance between themselves and their opponents so that they could afford to relax a little, but on each occasion, the Blues hit with goals to pull themselves back into it, and keep the Gaels from getting too comfortable. In the end, the Gaels did enough to hold the Blues at bay, although there were plenty of nerves on the Gaels sideline with James Feeney playing the part of target man in the box for the last 10 minutes and the Blues searching for a fourth goal.
|Brian Joyce and the Gaels kept the Blues at bay.|
The Gaels dominated the first half of the game to the point that with 20 minutes gone, the Blues were yet to register a wide, never mind a score. The Gaels introduced 4 new arrivals to their lineup, while the Blues played with largely the same 13 from the previous week. The Blues cause was not helped when Sean Moriarty had to leave the fray after being issued a black card. By the time the Blues registered their first score the Gaels had 8 points on the board and appeared to be cruising. Ger Leech at corner forward was doing his thing, as was Noel Graham at center forward. The first 6 Gaels scores came from the boot of each player. The Gaels were finding open men and switching the play to make open chances, while the Blues sputtered and turned the ball over several times. With 5 minutes to go in the half the Blues lifted their efforts and got a lifeline when David Clifford pointed and a Darren Wallace goal cut the Gaels lead in half. At the break it was the Gaels in a 0-8 to 1-1 lead.
|Shannon Blues could not put any sustained |
pressure on the Gaels.
Within 3 minutes of the restart the Gaels had erased the Blues 4 points from the end of the first. Leech was the man with the golden boot again, finishing 4 times on the trot as the Gaels blasted out of the gate in the early going. Once again, as the game looked like it was getting out of reach, the Blues pulled themselves back into it with a penalty. Clifford, who tried to drive his side forward, was pulled down in the box and Trevor Wallace put the ball into the net with a well taken spot kick. James Feeney followed with a point and it was game was back on. The Gaels looked like they had pulled away once more, Brian Joyce, Graham, Leech, and Ciaran Killeen each pointing, but once again, the Blues pulled themselves back into the game by way of the goal, this one coming from James Feeney who had moved to the edge of the box. The gap was cut back to 4 points again. It was not to be for the Blues however, John Egan registered the final score of the game for the Gaels as the westerners held off the Blues, and registered the all important first two points of the season.
Gaels: E. Connolly, S. Conneeley, J. Donoghue, C. Killeen, M. Shanahan, J. Egan, B. Joyce, J. Barrett, C. Mulkerrins, N. Graham, T. McDonagh, G. Leech, K. Owens. Blues: C. Wallace, T. Wallace, S. Kelly, D. Clifford, C. Moriarty, C. Mullen, P. Murray,
S. Moriarty, C. Fields, J. Feeney,
C. Fitzgerald, S. Kavanagh, D. Wallace.
By Rory O'Donnell