Shannon Gaels 1-10 Wolfe Tones 0-7
A STRONG start that saw them seven points clear at half-time and 11 ahead four minutes into the second half laid the foundations for this victory by Shannon Gaels over Wolfe Tones at Cusack Park on Saturday.
Followers of the Gaels went to headquarters with a certain amount of concern as to how the side would react to their defeat in the Cusack Cup final two weeks earlier and they went home happy with the answer.
Showing four changes to their attack from the league final, the winners took a grip on the tie from the throw-in and by the end of the opening quarter, they were 0-4 to 0-0 in front with a brace from Barry Toner and one each from Stephen O’Shea and Shane Tubridy.
The changes saw Brian Cunningham, Michael Coughlan and Michael O’Donoghue relegated to the substitutes’ bench, while Ruairi Norrby was under suspension after being sent off in a minor championship game midweek. Into the side came Stephen O’Shea, Shane Tubridy and the Nealon brothers, David and Pádraig, with the latter playing his first game in almost two years because of injury. All involved with the club will be keeping their fingers crossed this week that the injury he suffered in the closing stages last week won’t keep him out of action for long.
Daniel Gallery opened the Shannon side’s account but the winners responded with four, another brace from Toner and one each from Tubridy and corner-back Cathal O’Neill, to lead 0-8 to 0-1 at half-time.
Despite the scoreline, there were a few worrying moments for the winners in this half. Keith Ryan came to the rescue with an excellent save from Stephen Monaghan at the start of the second quarter, while a second goal-scoring opportunity for the Shannon men ended with a bad wide from Clare hurling captain, Brian O’Connell.
Wolfe Tones made a number of changes for the second half includeing the introduction of Darren Ryan and Gary Leahy to their attack and the switch of Chris Dunning to defence.
The winners were first to score with a long-range effort from midfielder Noel Kennedy before the Tones had another goal-scoring opportunity but Darren Ryan shot wide.
Six minutes into the half, the game’s only goal came when Barry Toner converted from the penalty spot, after David Nealon had been fouled. This left the score at 1-9 to 0-1 and everything pointed to an easy win for the West Clare men.
The margin was still 11 at the three-quarter stage after points were swapped but from here to the finish, Wolfe Tones dominated and this is something that is likely to concern the winners. Four points in five minutes cut the leeway to seven with as many minutes to play but despite having a lot of pressure, the Tones could only add one more point before the final whistle.
John Nealon and Tomás Madigan were always prominent in the winners’ defence, while elsewhere, Barry Toner, Stephen O’Shea and Shane Tubridy did well. Seán Brennan, Joe McGauley, Patsy Keyes, Johnnie Bridges, Daniel Gallery and Gary Leahy got through some good work for Wolfe Tones.
Shannon Gaels: Keith Ryan; John Nealon, Tomás Madigan, Cathal O’Neill; John Bermingham, Brian Bermingham, Tomás Cleary; Noel Kennedy, Frank Cleary; Barry Toner, John Paul O’Neill, Stephen O’Shea; David Nealon, Padraig Nealon, Shane Tubridy.
Subs: Michael Coughlan for T Cleary (41 minutes), Brian Cunningham for Tubridy (48 minutes) and Michael O’Donoghue for P Nealon (inj, 58 minutes).
Scorers: Barry Toner (1-4, 1-0 penalty, 0-3 frees), Shane Tubridy and Stephen O’Shea (0-2) each, Cathal O’Neill and Noel Kennedy (0-1) each.
Frees for: 18; wides: 11.
Bookings: Frank Cleary (19 minutes).
“We were lucky that Keith Ryan made a couple of great saves. Wolfe Tones had several goal chances in both halves. After we got our goal, we lost our shape and were glad to hear the final whistle. Keeping our shape and composure is something we’ll have to work on over the next few weeks,” Peter O’Connell, Shannon Gaels.
Wolfe Tones: Jason Casey; Stephen Carroll, Seán Brennan, Bobby O’Connell; Brendan Hughes, Joe McGauley, Eoin Danagher; Patsy Keyes, Johnnie Bridges; Barry Murphy, Daniel Gallery, Chris Dunning; Stephen Monaghan, Brian O’Connell, Kevin Cahill.
Subs: Darren Ryan for Danagher (half-time), Gary Leahy for Murphy (half-time), Jamie Roughan for Cahill (41 minutes) and Alan Downes for Dunning (45 minutes).
Scorers: Daniel Gallery (0-3, 2 45s), Gary Leahy (0-2, 1f), Johnnie Bridges and Brian O’Connell (0-1) each.
Frees for: 13; wides: 11; 45s: 4.
Bookings: Seán Brennan (55 minutes) and Gary Leahy (60 minutes).
“We had two goal chances in the first half and we didn’t take either of them. We missed three frees and had a couple of bad wides. We didn’t take half our chances and you have to take your chances. We took the wrong option on many occasions. Two or three years ago, we would have taken a lot of those chances. We seem to be gone back,” Brendan Reidy, Wolfe Tones.
Referee: Michael McGann, Michael Cusack’s.
Éire Óg 3-8 Kilmihil 1-6
TEN points ahead at half-time (2-6 to 0-2), all Éire Óg had to do was play out the second half without any fuss and they knew that a place in the senior championship quarter–final awaited.
That’s more or less how this second round group game panned out. Éire Óg looked very sharp in the opening half with Darren O’Neill dominating midfield, while Stephen Hickey, Brian Lenihan and Brian O’Meara buzzed effectively in attack.
Kilmihil didn’t help their own case in that opening half, however, as their eight first-half wides testify. Timmy Ryan missed chances from frees and play that he would normally tap over, while David Ryan, Shane Mangan and Alan Normoyle also spurned reasonable opportunities.
By the fourth minute, Éire Óg had 1-1 on the scoreboard. The very impressive Nicky Hogan linked with Darren O’Neill to set up Stephen Hickey’s first-minute goal, while an O’Neill run culminated in Seán O’Meara fisting over.
Losing Alan Malone, to what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the eighth minute, didn’t destabilise Joe Joe Whelan’s team. Hickey and O’Meara added points before Timmy Ryan pointed after Alan Normoyle had been fouled.
Set up by Shane Mangan, David Ryan kicked Kilmihil’s second point but Mick Darby’s team’s chances receded further when Brian Frawley hit 1-1 in the closing minutes of the first half. This left Éire Óg 2-6 to 0-2 ahead and in full control, with the breeze to come. Had Donie Lyne not blocked a David Ryan goal effort, just after Frawley’s goal, Kilmihil might have been more optimistic at the interval. Ryan was also unlucky not to be awarded at least a free a minute later, having been pushed in the back close to Shane O’Connell’s goal.
To their credit, Kilmihil didn’t hang the head on the resumption and in fact Anthony Downes, who made an excellent impact from the bench, goaled two minutes into the second half. Timmy Ryan added a free, after a foul on his brother, reducing the deficit, 2-6 to 1-3.
Eamon Ryan made a smart save from Stephen Hickey before Shane Daniels pointed the winners seven points up, 15 minutes from full-time.
Although Timmy Ryan added a free and Rory Molhally kicked a late brace from play, Éire Óg were never under meaningful pressure. An injury-time Seán O’Meara goal, followed by a Saran Butler point from play, finished the job for them.
The Ennis men looked focused and primed in the opening half, although their level dipped for much of the second period. Darren O’Neill, Nicky Hogan, Hickey, O’Meara and Brian Frawley played well for Éire Óg, who play Shannon Gaels next but are already in the last eight.
Kilmihil must beat Wolfe Tones to ensure that they won’t become embroiled in a relegation semi-final. Rory Molhally, Anthony Downes and Mark O’Connell were Kilmihil’s hardest workers in Lissycasey.
Éire Óg: Shane O’Connell; Conor Healy, Donie Lyne, Saren Butler; Michael O’Regan, Alan Malone, Nicky Hogan; David Russell, Darren O’Neill; Shane Daniels, Fergus Flynn, Brian Frawley; Seán O’Meara, Stephen Hickey, Brian Lenihan.
Subs: Paul Madden for Alan Malone (injured), David Monaghan for Fergus Flynn.
Scorers: Stephen Hickey (1-2), Brian Frawley (1-1), Seán O’Meara (1-2, 0-1f), Nicky Hogan, Shane Daniels (f), Saran Butler (0-1 each).
Wides: 10; Frees won: 21.
Yellow cards: Fergus Flynn, David Russell, David Monaghan.
Kilmihil: Eamon Ryan; Conor Crowley, Declan O’Shea, Laurence Murray; Karol Downes, Rory Mohally, Derek O’Connell; Timmy Ryan, David Ryan; Alan Normoyle, Mark Coughlan, Philip Ryan; Shane Egan, Shane Mangan, Mark O’Connell.
Subs: Anthony Downes for Philip Ryan, Daniel Blake for Shane Egan.
Scorers: Anthony Downes (1-0), Timmy Ryan (0-3f), Rory Mohally (0-2), David Ryan (0-1).
Wides: 10; Frees won: 36; 45s: 2.
Yellow cards: Timmy Ryan
Referee: Michael Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane).