Sunday, August 17, 2014

Senior Football Semi-Final: Wolfe Tones v Aidan McAnespies

Wolfe Tones 1-17 Aidan McAnespies 3-10

A minutes silence was observed before the game in honor of Tommy Kineavey who passed away unexpectedly recently.  Tommy was a great supporter of the GAA and was a frequent visitor to the games at the ICC.

Charles McCarthy battled for possession.
Wolfe Tones senior footballers are heading to the first championship final following an amazing win over arch rivals, Aidan McAnespies.  The Tones trailed by nine points early in the second half and mounted a gutsy comeback to emerge one point winners in a tension filled finish that had the supporters of either side, and even the neutrals, gnawing at their fingernails. 

McAnespies went in at the break ahead by a goal.  It came in the middle of the half with the Tones leading by three points.  McAnespies opened up the Tones defence with a running attack, and Michael Quinn finished well from close range.  The Tones had got off to a great start.  Michael Argue, Mike O’Brien, and Darragh McVeety pointed four between them, to one from Caoleain O’Boyle.  Argue was shown a black card for a challenge in the middle of the field after 15 minutes, the big Cavan man would represent a severe loss for the Tones.  McAnespies enjoyed the advantage, and with Gareth O’Neill working hard to help out the defence, outscored the Tones four points to one in the latter stages of the half to lead on a 1-5 to 0-5 score.

Glen O'Connell challenged by Niall Gallen.
Two goals within the first five minutes of the restart catapulted McAnespies into a nine point lead.  Peter Mallon netted the first and following some great work by Michael Quinn, Daniel McKinless the second.  The signs were not good for Wolfe Tones.  A goal was badly needed even with 25 minutes left on the clock to generate any hope.  It was Dan McCabe, a latecomer to the panel, who did the honors.  Fielding a high ball and shooting on the turn, the ball hit the back of the net, and it was game on again.  Four points followed for the Tones as the side was urged on by their supporters.  Glenn O’Connell, Farrell, McVeety and Lee Carr chipped away at the coal face and the gap was now just two points with plenty of time left.  An O’Boyle free broke the Tones scoring streak.

The sides now traded scores as play flowed up and down the field, and the one goal gap between the sides remained until time was down to 8 minutes left.  Gareth O’Neill was sent to the line for a black card offence, and the Tones pulled within a point after scores from Charles McCarthy and Farrell entering the final stretch.  A lengthy stoppage ensued following a serious injury to Wolfe Tones’ Sean Higgins, who suffered an ankle break following a tangle of legs.  Following the 25 minute delay, Marty Farrell leveled the scores with a pointed free.  

Fellow Down native McCabe put the Tones one to the good with five minutes left soon afterwards.  Tensions were high as the final minutes saw McAnespies level the scores through Quinn, the Tones go ahead again with a steady Farrell free, and Collie Donnelly almost score the game winning goal only for Cathal Hynes to get down and pull off a great game winning save.  The ensuing 45 from Liam Boland drifted wide of the posts, and that marked the last action of the game.  Scenes of delight on the Tones side of the field as a season in which the first senior playoff win will also mean a first senior final.  A week and the Shannon Blues between the South Boston men and the North American Finals. 

Tones:  C. Hynes, K. Clarke, S. Higgins, M. O’Brien, K. Cleere, G. Brilly, L. Flynn, M. Argue, D. McVeety, C. McCarthy, G. O’Connell, M. Farrell, L. Carr.  Macs:  P. Coakley, C. McPartland, M. Bogue, D. Wrynn, D. Lally, N. Gallen, C. Donnelly, C. O’Boyle, M. Quinn, P. Mallon, G. O’Neill, D. McKinless, L. Boland.

By Rory O'Donnell

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