ACL (Div. 1)

posted 12 Jun 2018, 15:30 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 18 Jun 2018, 10:01 by Matthew Ryan ]
Garrycastle suffered their first defeat in this years ACL Division 1 at the hands of near neighbours, Athlone, in the penultimate round of the league played in Athlone on Tuesday evening. 

On a fine evening, perfect for football, the home team started brightly, and soon had an opening score on the board. Garrycastle responded well with two points from Ger Heneghan, the first an excellent kick from the left sideline, the second from a close in free. Garrycastle were working hard as a unit and also kicked a couple of wides before Athlone levelled the game on the 10 minute mark. The football on display was a little scrappy, but the Garrycastle team didn't mind as two further points from Conor Cosgrove (one a free), put them back in the driving seat. A potential goal opportunity was missed by Garrycastle, who then had to take a backseat as Athlone hit a purple patch, scoring three points without reply to regain the lead. The Garrycastle team re-grouped, and then hit a purple patch of their own, scoring four points without reply, two frees from Conor Cosgrove, and points from play by Ger Heneghan and Mattie Guiheen finishing off a raiding run from his corner back berth. A couple of close-in frees were missed as the half came to a close, and the home team struck for the last point of the half, following a foul conceded after a short kick-out was intercepted.

The halftime score had Garrycastle ahead by two points, 0-8 to 0-6. 

The second half began on a similar pattern with the teams exchanging points, the Garrycastle scores coming from Michael Monaghan and Sean Brennan. Garrycastle were on top at this stage but were wasteful of the opportunities presented to them, kicking four wides in a row, two from what looked like very scoreable frees. The home team then narrowed the gap to a single point before the game turned on it's head midway through the half, when Athlone were awarded a penalty after Garrycastle goalkeeper Shane Moran was penalised for a foot block. The penalty was converted to give the home team a two point lead. 

To their credit, Garrycastle responded well to this setback, and a great point from play by Alex Gardiner followed by a pointed free from Conor Cosgrove levelled the scores once more, with about 10 minutes left to play. However, instead of Garrycastle using this momentum to push on to get the win, it was the home team who took over completely, kicking 4 points without reply as the game entered its closing stages. Athlone were reduced to 14 men following a second yellow card for their wing-back, but even though a late surging run by Alex resulted in a '45 which he converted himself, it was Athlone who closed out the scoring to take the win. 

The final score was Athlone 1-14, Garrycastle 0-13.

In many ways this was a game that Garrycastle left behind them, with the large number of wides kicked being a major contributor. However, up front they also found it hard to break down a very organised and hard tackling Athlone defensive formation, and they faded out in the final minutes when the game was still there for the taking.

GARRYCASTLE: Shane Moran, Anthony Larkin, John Gaffey, Mattie Guiheen (0-1), Sean Brennan (0-1), Mark McCallon, Gary McCallon, Eoin Monaghan, Doron Harte, Michael Monaghan (0-1), Conor Cosgrove (0-5, 0-4f), Tom O'Halloran, James Sheerin, Alex Gardiner (0-2, 0-1f), Ger Heneghan (0-3, 0-2f).

Subs: Jonny McGuire for James Sheerin (48 mins); Jason Nugent for Conor Cosgrove (54 mins); Neal Rattigan for Sean Brennan (58 mins).