Monday, June 11, 2018

Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Aidan McAnespies

Aidan McAnespies 1-12 Connemara Gaels 0-15

The Gaels and McAnespies played out a very exciting game, at the end of which a draw was a fair result.  McAnespies will be the happier team with the outcome given that they played almost all 60 minutes a man down thanks to an early red card to Eric Finn for a high challenge on Ryan Caffrey.  Coming into the final 10 minutes the Gaels looked to have the momentum and would make the extra man pay off, however, a late push from the Macs, combined with a fine late save from Anthony Kidney, saw the points split evenly between the teams.

Ballymena to the fore - Eamon Fyffe was on
for in his McAnespies debut.
The first half ended with the Gaels holding a 2 point lead.  McAnespies lost Eric Finn to a red card within the first 5 minutes of the game for a high challenge on Ryan Caffrey, one in which Caffrey lost a tooth which was later retrieved from the field.   The Gaels played some nice football with the extra man and there were some well worked scores.  Tyler Flaherty at corner forward proved to be a productive outlet for the Gaels.  The man from the Aran Islands pointed 4 times in the opening half, while his fellow Islander, Colm Brennan picked up from where he left off last week with a solid display in the middle.  It was Kerryman, Matt Sullivan, who found the mark from midfield for the Gaels with 2, while Coleman Mulkerrins also got in on the act with 3 from play.  McAnespies made the most of their possession to stay well in the game, despite having to make up for the loss in personnel.  Corner forward Eamonn Fyffe was busy and when in possession usually took not just one, but two Gaels defenders out of the game.  A Fyffe goal kept McAnespies in the game, and the Ballymena man chipped in with 3 additional points.  Anthony Kidney pointed two from frees, and Nathan O’Brien added another before the break, it was a 0-11 to 1-6 Gaels lead when the whistle sounded with McAnespies making the extra effort to stay in the game.

Rory O'Connor entered and took over the frees for the Gaels.
The second half saw McAnespies draw level as a combination of effort and smartness on the line and on the field saw McAnespies playing their cards well.  McAnespies were patient on the ball and did not waste precious possession, while Kidney came out of his goal to create an outfield player when the situation suited.  A Croft free was followed by a well worked Che O’Donnell point from play, and a Kidney free leveled the scores.  With Kidney roaming far out his goal at times to try and aid the efforts going forward, and the subs came in off the line early to try and keep things fresh on the field.  The Gaels, however, started to make their numerical advantage pay off.  Fyffe was double marked to neutralize the danger and going forward the Gaels started to support the man in possession to better effect.  Two Rory O’Conner frees were followed by a Pat O’Donnell point, and things looked to be headed in favour of the westerners.  McAnespies had a late rally in them however.  Jimmy Rigney pointed after entering from the line, and was the score followed by another O’Donnell point, and a Jake Foster free (another who joined play in the second half) made it all square.  The last chances to win the game fell to the Gaels.  On the attack with a three on one advantage, Colm Brennan’s shot was well saved by Kidney, and the rebound was sent wide of the posts – a point would have been all that was required to claim both points.  No last minute win for the Gaels this week, and a point that McAnespies will be well satisfied with given the circumstances.

Macs:  Anthony Kidney, Eoin Delmer, Caolan Harvey, Lorcan Mallon, Robert Piggott, Paul Clifford, Robbie Croft, Declan Hughes, Nathan O’Brien, Che O’Donnell, Eric Finn, Philip McCusker, Eamon Fyfe.

Gaels:  Eoin Connolly, Joe O’Shea, David Black, Kieran Killeen, Ryan Caffrey, Christy Cunningham, Matt Sullivan, Colm Brennan, Pat O’Donnell, Kenny Gavigan, Dave Lynch, Tyler Flaherty, Coleman Mulkerrin.
By Rory O'Donnell

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