Monday, July 3, 2017

Sau July 2 - Senior Football: Shannon Blues v Connemara Gaels

Shannon Blues 1-11 Connemara Gaels 1-10

The last game of the day proved to be the most exciting with the Shannon Blues pulling though with a point in injury time against 12-man Connemara Gaels.  The Gaels will feel hard done by, having come away from the game with nothing despite their valiant second half efforts, however, there were plenty of chances there for them to get a result.  For their part, the Blues survived the Gaels throwing everything at them and came up with the winning score from the boot of Limerick man, Josh Ryan, in injury time.

Brian Fanning is closely watched by Matt Sullivan.
The Blues held a one goal lead at the break, and in contrast to their last outing also would be heading into the second half with a man advantage on the field rather than a man down.  Matt Sullivan was shown a second yellow card late in the half after a rash challenge.  An early goal got the Blues off the great start, midfielder Josh Ryan barreled down the middle with only the keeper to beat, slid the ball home. 

Apart from the goal, things broke fairly even on the field, with the Gaels back line, Niall McGinn in particular, working hard to hold the Blues forwards at bay.   The Blues might have had a handful more in the missed opportunity column, and played the tall Limerick man, Ryan, on the edge of the box.  The Gaels had their chances, with searching balls into Tiernan Cox at corner forward. Points from Kieran Hurley and Darren Wallace for the Blues were matched by Cox, Ryan Caffrey, and Dan O’Donoghue for the Gaels, to make it a 1-4 to 0-4 Blues advantage at the break.

The second half saw the Gaels try to make up the difference and on with 30 minutes up had the scores level.  A couple of fantastic saves from Eoin Connolly kept them in it.  Connolly saved well to his left from a Hurley close range effort to put the ball out for ’65.  Soon afterwards the Leitir Móir man was facing down a penalty after having just saved a shot, but was adjudged to have made a foot block.  This time Connolly got down to his right to save the shot and the Gaels still had life. It was always going to require a goal to bridge the gap, and it was Cox who netted following a lovely cross field ball from Tony Brosnan into the Killyclogher man’s path.  Cox dispatched the shot into the far corner.  The goal came with about 15 minutes to go, and brought the Gaels to within a point, and lifted the efforts of the Connemara men.

Tiernan Cox headed toward goal with Kevin Coffee in pursuit.
Dan O’Donoghue was under every kickout, with men in green and white shirts cleaning up the breaks.  The Blues, however, were not about to squander their advantage and kept ahead through well taken points from Austin Stacks duo, Guthrie and Horan.  The Gaels went for it and brought on Dan Lowe to add speed to the attack, they were rewarded with points from Ryan Caffrey and Cox, and a huge O’Driscoll effort.   There were a couple of chances for the Gaels to take the lead, however the final effort let them down.  With the game on the line it was the new man for the Blues who raised the cheers of the faithful with a well taken point from distance to win the game. Ryan won his own ball in the middle of the field, and from 50 yards put a point worthy of winning a great game over the bar.  The Blues bounce back, for the Gaels still a loss, but one that might have said something about the character in the team.

Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, David Black, Don Donoghue, Niall McGinn, Ryan Caffrey, Cillian Fahy, Dan O’Driscoll, Matt Sullivan, Sean Conneeley, Ferghal Meenaugh, Coleman Mulkerrin, Kevin McGrath, Tiernan Cox.

Blues:  Darragh O’Shea, Fionn O’Herlihey, Cormac Coffee, Denis McElligott, Barry Hartnett, Trevor Wallace, Wayne Guthrie, Josh Ryan, Lee O’Donoghue, Greg Horan, Brian Fanning, Kieran Hurley, Darren Wallace.
By Rory O'Donnell

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