Junior Championship Group 3

posted 16 Jun 2018, 15:25 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 18 Jun 2018, 10:00 by Matthew Ryan ]
Garrycastle welcomed Athlone in the first round of this years Junior Championship, in Garrycastle on Saturday evening. On a windy, blustery evening, both teams played some great football, and at the end, the teams could not be separated on the scoreboard. 
The visitors played with the benefit of the wind in the first half and had the first score on the board. Garrycastle replied with a point from Cathal Mannion when the possibility of a goal was on. Athlone were winning the midfield at this stage of the game, and aided by some good marks from the Garrycastle kick outs, moved into a two point lead (their third coming from a forty-five. The Garrycastle team re-grouped, however, and with points from Jason Nugent and Sean Brennan, and a pointed free from Conor Cosgrove moved into the lead. Athlone soon equalised with a point of their own, before Garrycastle scored their first goal of the evening, a great effort from Paul Mulvihill, following great work from Sean Brennan and Cathal Mannion. Both teams traded points, the Garrycastle score coming  from a converted free by Conor Cosgrove, before a mix-up in the Garrycastle defence left an Athlone forward in on goal and he dispatched the ball to the net giving Garrycastle goalkeeper Shane Moran no chance. 
The Garrycastle team responded to this setback in style, when Cathal Mannion finished a nice pass from Sean Brennan to the net after Bill Kelly had lofted a high ball into the danger area. A point immediately afterwards from Jason Nugent stretched the lead, before the visitors pulled a point back just on half-time. 
The score at half-time was Garrycastle 2-6, Athlone 1-6. However, the referee had scored the first half differently, showing Athlone on a score of 1-7 much to the surprise of the assembled supporters of both teams.  
The second half started well for Garrycastle with points from Sean Brennan and Cathal Mannion stretching the lead out to four points. Athlone narrowed the gap with a pointed free, before a lapse of concentration in the Garrycastle defence saw Athlone score their second goal when the ball was not cleared cleanly from the danger zone. The visitors tacked on another point to take the lead, but this was soon pulled back with another Cathal Mannion point, after a great pass from Paul Mulvihill. 
With quarter of an hour left, a Sean Brennan point put Garrycastle back in front, although a goal was most certainly on. A run of three unanswered points from the visitors put them back into a two point lead, before Garrycastle found the net for a third time, with Conor Cosgrove finishing off a move also involving Cathal Mannion and Eoin Monaghan. It may not have been a goal for the ages, but it put Garrycastle back in front as the clock ticked down, and the lead was stretched further with a point from Eoin Monaghan. 
As normal time finished Athlone broke through and a goal seemed certain but for a fantastic save by Shane Moran in the Garrycastle goal. In added time, Athlone tacked on two late points to leave the game all square at the end, on a score of Garrycastle 3-11, Athlone 2-14.  
This was a great open game of football with two teams who turned up to play, and with very few fouls committed by either side. Garrycastle will certainly have areas to improve on, not least of which is the temptation to argue with the officials, giving away position for no reason, making frees more scoreable. The Garrycastle side may feel a little aggrieved that the score mix-up by the referee cost them the game, but on the balance of play a draw was a fair result. 
GARRYCASTLE: Shane Moran, Gary Mullery, Anthony Larkin, Bill Kelly, Enda Keena, Sean O'Donoghue, Neal Rattigan, Jonny Mcguire, Sean Brennan (0-3), Eoin Monaghan (0-1), Damien Rushe, Jason Nugent (0-2), Cathal Mannion (1-3), Conor Cosgrove (1-2, 0-2f), Paul Mulvihill (1-0). 
Subs: Paul Gunning for Jason Nugent (50 mins); Bryan McCormack for Sean O'Donoghue (56 mins); Shane McEnery, Adam Keena, Sean Doak, Paul O'Donovan, Sean Carey, Mark Denby, John Murphy, Peadar Mulvihill.