Monday, August 8, 2016

Senior Football: Galway v Christopher's

Galway 1-17 Christopher’s 3-10

Christopher’s needed at least a draw to stay alive in the senior football championship and made a brave first of it, even with a man down for most of the second half.  It was tit for tat as each side vied for the advantage but at the end it was Galway, who just about hung on to claim second place in the table and an automatic semi-final place, their first since 2012.

Cillian O'Sullivan sizes up a shot.
The first half saw Christopher’s bang in three goals to knock Galway off their stride.  Danny Neville and Kevin Hodgins netted early as Christopher’s found gaping openings in Galway’s defence.  It took Galway time to settle, but eventually the tribesmen did and started to play some of the football that has characterized their performances this season.   Eoin Finnerty, Barry McHugh and Kevin Cummins picked off points and Galway started to motor.  Cillian O’Sullivan popped up with a goal following a 30 yard solo run, the man from the Royal county jinked three challenges before firing the ball home.  O’Sullivan had a taste for goal at this stage and was denied by a brave save from Rory Lavelle after creating another opening for himself shortly afterwards.  Lavelle closed the angle and dived at the feet of the center forward to put the all out for a 45.

It was a battle all the way to the end.
Galway’s football continued to flow, however, a third strike from Christopher’s undid all of their good work and provided Christopher’s with renewed belief that they could keep their season going.  Jack Murphy finished a well worked move to put his side a point to the good and was followed by a Danny Neville point that sent Christopher’s into the break two to the good on a score of 3-5 to 1-9.

The second half saw Galway tie the game within two minutes and get a golden chance to put distance between the teams after winning a penalty.  Finnerty tried the keeper’s right, but Lavelle was down well to the shot to keep it out and Christopher’s on level terms.  Two Cummins frees put Galway in the lead before Paudie Allen was shown a second yellow for persistent fouling on O’Sullivan, Galway with the man advantage now and a real opportunity to wrap up second place in the standings.

Christopher’s dug deep and worked hard to pull themselves back on level terms, knowing that a draw would keep them alive and force a playoff with the Blues.  Christopher’s outscored Galway with the disadvantage in personnel.  The teams traded scores with the two point gap persisting before a Danny Neville point brought Christopher’s within a point with five minutes to go.  Christopher’s could not afford to waste anything as every possession counted at this point, however, the men from Brighton held out and just about secured that second place which gives them an extra week to prepare for what will be a chance to make a historic return to a Boston final and bridge an almost 30 year gap.

Galway:  J. Kelly, J. Kennedy, K. McDonnell, S. Cullen, P. Naughton, C. Mannion, E. Stritch, M. Donovan, J. Kehoe, C. O’Sullivan, B. McHugh, K. Cummins, E. Finnerty.  Christopher’s:  R. Lavelle, D. Kelliher, R. Vallejo, J. Horgan, A. Murphy, P. Allen, S. Byrne, C. O’Brien, N. Hughes, C. Collins, J. Murphy, K. Hodgins, D. Neville.

By Rory O'Donnell

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