Gaels Grab Glory
WIN FOR IMPRESSIVE SHAMROCK GAELS
SHAMROCK GAELS ……………. 2-11 TUBBERCURRY ……….. 2-06
Shamrock Gaels made history on Sunday last when they qualified for the senior county final for the first time by ousting Tubbercurry in the first semi-final at Keash.
Conditions were almost perfect for the encounter with no elements of any sort to contend with. The stranglehold which Tubbercurry have had on the county final day in the past seven years was finally broken and it was fitting perhaps that it was the men from the East Division who should finally put them out of the premier competition as over the years they have threatened to go all the way on many occasions.
It must be said that they were full value for their victory and in truth they would not have been flattered by a more comfortable winning margin at the finish. They were just guilty of some wayward finishing over the hour and in the concluding stages alone shot five wides in a three-minute spell when they were still not assured of victory, knowing the tradition and fighting qualities of Tubbercurry.
Shamrock Gaels looked the more composed side for most of the game apart from a brief period at the start of the second half, but even then Tubbercurry never showed the same fluency as in the past and they struggled badly in most sectors of the game.
The Gaels attack played the ball around at every opportunity and this put the Tubber defence under considerable pressure. True to say that the short passing game often did not bring about the desired result but they still had Tubber in severe trouble. Tommy Deignan at full forward had a superb game and it was his finishing ability that proved one of the crucial factors in the game. He accounted for 1-5 and over the hour gave Gerry Gilmartin a very torrid time. Enda Deignan took some time to settle after his lay-off but he really came good when he was wanted most in the second-half and looked very sharp and incisive when in possession.
Tubbercurry moved Walshe out of the area when they brought in Eugene Gilmartin and they seemed to suffer as a result. The Gaels' defence played with a lot of fire and passion in the opening half and closed the opposition down well at every opportunity. Brendan Deignan was given the job of marking Paul Seevers and gave him very little room all through the hour. Padraig McKeon, Michael Tuohy and Michael Conlon gave very little away in the second half. His replacement, Kevin McDermott played with a lot of assurance after his entry and cleared his lines well. Noel Willis and James Kearns were vigilant and resolute in the half-line; while Philip Kearns effected a number of saves and also placed his clearances well on all occasions.
Tubber battled bravely until the final whistle but on the day they will be first to admit that the laurels rested where they belonged. Their defence was under pressure from the start and the pace of the Gaels was a major stumbling block. John Brennan, Gerry Gilmartin, Ollie Wynne and Louie Gilmartin still battled all the way while up front Noel Killoran never gave in and over the hour was one of their best performers. Paul Seevers and Brendan Murphy looked most dangerous.
Both sides were slow to settle and early nerves were very obvious as shots were off the target at each end. It was the Gaels who went in front with a point from Johnny Kenny in the 8th minute. And it appeared a goal was in the offing but he opted for the minor instead. Paul Seevers pointed from a free on the left in the 12th minute but missed from a similar position at the end of the opening quarter. Tommy Deignan had a great point for the Gaels in the 17th minute but Tubbercurry were back on level terms with a point from a free by Seevers after a foul on Brendan Murphy. Nine minutes from the break the Gaels had their first major score when Johnny Kenny provided the pass for Tommy Deignan to set the net dancing with a well struck shot and give his side a firm grip of the game which their approach work deserved. Gerry Ballantine missed from a free and Bernie Mulhern missed two good chances from play while Brendan Murphy was guilty of missing a good chance at the break. Paul Seevers pointed from play but the Gaels finished strongly with two well, taken points from play by the in-form, Tommy Deignan, with Mulhern proving to be the initiator on each occasion to leave the Gaels ahead by 1-4 to 0-3 at the interval.
Each side missed a clear-cut opportunity in the first minute of the second-half before Brendan Kilcoyne pointed from a free after a foul on Pete Regan. Mulhern responded with a fisted point for the Gaels. Noel Killoran missed from play for the South Sligo side but they had two points in as many minutes from a free by Paul Seevers after Michael Conlon was penalised and from play by Brendan Kilcoyne when he took a pass from J.P. Walshe. Tommy Deignan pointed from a free in the seventh minute as the tempo increased with every move. Ten minutes into the half, it really came alight when a centre from the right by Pat Kilcoyne was listed to the net by Brendan Murphy and the sides were now deadlocked.
Cormac Kearns pointed from a free in the 13th minute but Brendan Kilcoyne was off target at the other end. As the game entered the final quarter the men from the South jumped in front for the very first time when following a goalmouth scramble, Brendan Murphy fired to the net to give his side a two point advantage. This score really put it up to the Riverstown side and it was a test of their character and endurance to get back in the game. They showed all the qualities of a good side by taking almost complete control of the rest of the half and in fact Tubber failed to score for the remainder of the game. With ten minutes remaining the Gaels got back in front when a 45 by Larry Quinn was saved from going wide by a very alert Cormac Kearns and Enda Deignan was on hand to pick up the loose ball and shoot past Neary in the Tubber goal. Seevers and Noel Killoran missed from play for the losers before Enda Deignan had a wide for the Gaels eight minutes from the finish. His brother Tommy fired over a superb point from play and with four minutes remaining Enda Deignan pointed from play after he took a pass from Cormac Kearns to give them a three-point lead once again. J.P. Walshe and Brendan Kilcoyne missed chances for Tubber while the Gaels had five wides which could have been costly from good positions, Deignan on two occasions, John White, John Kenny and Cormac Kearns being the guilty parties. In the last minute Enda Deignan fired over the insurance point and in injury time veteran of many battles the great hearted Larry Quinn put the icing on the cake with a well-taken point from play and the men from the East were county final bound for the first time in their history.
Scorers for Shamrock Gaels were: Tommy Deignan 1-5; Enda Deignan 1-2; Johnny Kenny, Bernard Mulhern, Cormac Kearns, Lauri Quinn, 0-1 each.
Tubbercurry: Brendan Murphy 2-0; Paul Seevers 0-4; Brendan Kilcoyne 0-2._
Shamrock Gaels: Philip Kearns; Padraig McKeon, Michael Tuohy, Michael Conlon, Brendan Deignan, Noel Willis, James Kearns, John White, Gerry Ballantine, Johnny Kenny, Lauri Quinn, Bernard Mulhern, Cormac Kearns, Tommy Deignan, Enda Deignan. Subs: Kevin McDermott, John Quinn.
Tubbercurry: A. Neary, J. Brennan, G. Gilmartin, J. Gallagher, L. Gilmartin, 0 Wynne, P. McCarrick, J.P Walshe, B. Kilcoyne, P Kilcoyne, N. Killoran, P. Seevers, P. Regan, B. Murphy. Subs J Stenson, G. Ring, E. Gilmartin.
Referee Francie Finan.
The Quarter Final
THE SLIGO CHAMPION - Friday August 3rd 1990
hold off Harps' late rally to book semi-final place
SHAMROCK GAELS............................................... 2-10 EASTERN HARPS.................................................. 2-08
BY JIM GRAY
WITH both teams fiercely determined to progress and both capable of producing passages of attractive flowing football, this proved to be a top quality match, with Shamrock Gaels desperately hanging on at the finish, having looked comfortable most of the way.
Eastern Harps, showing great character to recover from a sluggish start in which they had to contend with driving wind and rain in their faces, came back within a point of Gaels with only four minutes to play, having trailed by a seven point margin ten minutes earlier. At that stage, the Gurteen men had good reason to regret their first-half performance when, despite enjoying substantial possession, their tendency to over-elaborate in the build-up cost them vital scores. And so, it was left to man-of- the-match, Gerry Ballantine, to tap over a close-in free in the dying seconds to ease Shamrock's nerve and put the game finally beyond the brave Gurteen men. But the Gaels deserved their victory, if only for their more direct style of play which brought them a number of text book scores. Their admirable team work was complicated by a few outstanding individual performances, notably from the excellent Ballantine, and the dangerous raiding of Johnny Kenny, Tommy Deignan and Cormac Kearns. Harps weren't without heroes either, P.J. Langton and Niall Molloy had stormers in the halfback line; Sean Higgins knew his good moments at centre-field, while John Brennan, Ray Clarke, Eamon Molloy and John Higgins were lively in attack. Substitute, Marty Grady also made a huge impression during the second-half and his well-taken goal almost transformed the course of the game.
Harps led just once in the match, and then for only three early on. They were subsequently rocked by two excellent goals from Cormac Kearns, which propelled "Gaels into a comfortable 2-5 to 0-4 interval lead.
Despite the best efforts of Harps that trend was maintained for the early part of the second period, but goals from Marty Grady and Niall Molloy suddenly changed the complexion of the match, and Gaels were clearly sweating it out as the seconds ticked by with only a point separating the teams. The early play was spoiled somewhat by a blinding downpour of heavy rain, accompanied by quite a stiff breeze, which made life difficult for all the players, but particularly for the Gurteen men who were facing the elements. It didn't take Gaels long to settle, however, with Johnny Kenny opening their account with a well taken point inside the first minute. A flowing move by Harps, with John Bruen heavily involved, paved the way for an instant equaliser from Michael Murray. Good work by Ray Clarke earned a free for Harps, and Eamon Molloy duly obliged from the placed ball to give them the lead for the one and only time in the match.
The sharpness of the Gaels' play was underlined by their next point.
James Kearns won a line ball when it seemed there was nothing on, and then he took
the kick quickly from the hands to Gerry Ballantine who knocked it over the bar
from some distance. Within two minutes, Gaels consolidated their position when a
mistake by Harps full-back Peter Mitchell, allowed Gerry Ballantine take up possession
and he linked well with Tommy Deignan, before sending Cormac Kearns in for a spectacular
goal from a most acute angle.
An excellent point, from Ballantine, who shook off the heavy, tackles before sending over from long range, stretched Gaels lead to four points midway through the half. But Harps lacked nothing in effort and despite losing scores they continued to enjoy at least equal possession. But their short passing game wasn't suited to the conditions, and their tendency to over-elaborate cost them scores at a time in the match when they were causing real problems for the Riverstown defence.
Their anxiety to go for goal when points were available also cost them dearly. They were unfortunate, though, in the 22nd minute when great work by the lively John Higgins opened up the Gaels defence; and a clever pass sent Niall Molloy free in front of goal. There would have been no difficulty in taking the point, but he went for goal and was unlucky to see his well struck left foot shot narrowly miss the post.
Eamon Molloy did manage to pull a point back and shortly afterwards; the Gaels took up the running again with a point from Johnny Kenny, and then a second goal from close range by Cormac Kearns, after clever approach work by Bernard Mulhern. Tommy Deignan and Niall Molloy swapped points before the break to leave Gaels leading by 2-5 to 0-4 at half-time.
Harps needed a good start to the second-half and points from John Bruen and Niall Molloy provided the tonic. It took a splendid "70" by Lauri Quinn to open Gaels second-half account twelve minutes after the restart, and this was quickly followed by a point from play, by Gerry Ballantine to restore their seven point advantage. But Harps revival gained impetus when Marty Grady punched home a superb goal, following a long ball from Eamon Molloy, only minutes after coming on as a substitute. An excellent solo point by the elusive Tom Deignan steadied the Riverstown men and then Cormac Kearns pointed to give them a six points advantage with nine minutes left.
But still Harps refused to yield. A well taken point by Sean Higgins was followed by an opportunist goal from Eamon Molloy, after good work by Marty Grady and suddenly there was just two points between them with five minutes remaining. As the excitement mounted. John Bruen notched an excellent long range point to narrow the game to just one point with four minutes left. But for all their gallant work, that was to be Harps' last score and it was fitting that the last point of the match should fall to Gerry Ballantine in the dying seconds, as it was his never say die spirit which best epitomised the quality of a match that was a credit to both teams.
Scorers for Shamrock Gaels were Cormac Kearns, (2-1); Gerry Ballantine (0-4); Johnny Kenny, Tommy Deignan (0-2) each; Lauri Quinn (0-1).
Scorers for Eastern Harps were Eamon Molloy (1-2); Marty Grady (1-0); John Bruen, Niall Molloy, (0-2) each; Sean Higgins, Michael Murray, (0-1) each.
Shamrock Gaels: Philip Kearns, Brendan Deignan, Michael Tuohy, Michael Conlon, James Kearns, Noel Willis, Toss McDermott, John White, Gerry Ballantine. Lauri Quinn, Bernard Mulhern, John Quinn, Tommy Deignan, Cormac Kearns. Subs. Padraig McKeon, Brendan McKenna, Kevin McDermott.
Eastern Harps: K. O'Hara, P. Mitchell, S. McCoy,. P.J. Langton, N. Molloy, S. Fox, S. Higgins, M. Murray, D. Higgins, J. Bruen, J. Higgins, R. Tansey, R. Clarke, E. Molloy. Sub M. Grady.
Referee: Mr. P. Gorman.