Christopher’s 0-17 Shannon Blues 1-15
Referee PJ Rabbitte, Blues captain Niall Walsh
and Christopher's captain Paudie Kenneally.
It was a very exciting Intermediate semi-final between Christopher’s and the Shannon Blues. With rarely more than a score between the teams it went all the way to the wire and while the game had all the hallmarks of requiring extra time, it was decided within the hour by a Conor Fitzgerald point in the 30th minute.
Christopher’s settled right into the game and in the early going racked up four points to a pointed free from Maurice Young. The ball was moving well into the Christopher’s forwards and Alan Kennedy and Killian Kilkelly were on the mark. The Blues first good move of game ended in a well taken Tom Murnane point. The score was soon followed by a goal for the Blues. Following a move down the left side of the field, the ball was played across goal and Mike Moylan was on hand to side foot into the net. The Blues then started to motor.
A flurry of four unanswered points saw the Blues into a four point lead. Tom Murnane at corner forward was seeing much more of the ball and making good use of it, and Conall Ryan chipped in with a point from wing forward. Blues captain and center forward, Niall Walsh, had to leave the field of play with a knee injury but a few adjustments kept the Blues momentum going. Christopher’s tried to work their way back into the game and converted from Jerry Kenneally and Kennedy, however, Ryan answered for the Blues. Rian Baily who had moved into a more advanced position took the score of the game with a point from an almost impossibly tight angle to make it a 0-8 to 1-8 Blues advantage at the half.
The second half continued to see the teams trade jabs with neither side finding a decisive blow. The Blues pried the gap open a little with a Bailey score, followed by another from Murnane. Murnane was involved in the next as he provided the assist to Cian Surliss. With a Kennedy score the sole reward for Christopher’s after the restart, it was starting to look like the Blues would take control. Derek O’Brien was doing tremendous work in the Blues rearguard and carrying the ball into the teeth of the Christopher’s defence.
Shannon Blues Look Forward to next week's final
It was Christopher’s turn to up the ante though, and close the gap back to a single score. The Kilkelly – Kennedy axis started to work again, and points were added by Dave McSweeney and Conor McGuinness after Christopher’s forced the Blues into a turnover. Christopher’s got a lift after a great block from Paudie Kenneally saved a certain Blues score. Pat Moylan did convert a ’45 but then it was a run of 5 points on the trot that saw Christopher’s into a one point lead following the second half water break. Alan Kennedy turned it up a notch and the Westport man showed some great skill and marksmanship as he was found in dangerous positions time and again. Now it was Christopher’s looking like they might be the team to take the spoils at the death with only minutes remaining.
The final sequence of events saw the Blues take the game by the narrowest of margins, and Christopher’s will look back at a couple of late chances that could have delivered it. A miskicked free from the Blues was followed by a mishandled ball from Christopher’s that resulted in conceding a sideline kick, and then a close range shot that came high off the post ended up with a free to the Blues that Murnane converted to level the scores. The Blues won the critical kick out and Conor Fitzgerald showed a cool head to point and put the blues one to the good. There were a couple of late chances for Christopher’s that did not pan out, and at the final whistle it was the Blues celebrating a final appearance against none other than Kerry next Sunday.
Blues: Nik Albarran, Tom Armstrong, Teddy Shay, Derek O’Brien, Cian Surliss, Pat Moylan, Jack Young, Maurice Young, Rian Bailey, Niall Walsh, Conall Ryan, Tom Murnane, Mike Moylan.
Christopher’s: Bill Crookston, Pat Kenneally, Martin Coppinger, Andrew Inman, Luke Tunney, Diarmuid Baker, Conor McGuinness, Jerry Kenneally, Sean Igoe, Killian Kilkelly, Denis Dempsey, Mark McSweeney, Alan Kennedy.
By Rory O'Donnell