Senior Championship Quarter-Final

posted 23 Sep 2018, 10:38 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 23 Sep 2018, 11:37 ]
Garrycastle played near neighbours Athlone in the quarter-final of this year's Senior championship, in Tubberclair on Sunday afternoon. On a fine day, but with a strong blustery wind blowing almost directly across the pitch, the Garrycastle team settled the quicker, and led the game from start to finish. 

Garrycastle signalled their intent with a point in the first minute from Dessie Dolan, a high ball into the wind, and doubled the lead shortly afterwards with a fine point from Alex Gardiner, following some excellent build-up play from Eoin Monaghan and Tom O'Halloran. A second point from Alex, followed by a pointed free from Conor Cosgrove saw Garrycastle four points in front by the fifth minute. The game was being totally controlled by Garrycastle in the early stages, and the Athlone team were finding it difficult to get out of their own half, and indeed it took them until the twelfth minute to open their account, with a point after intercepting a wayward Garrycastle hand pass.

However, Garrycastle stepped up a gear again, and three points in a row from Alex, one from a free, extended their lead again, and at the twenty-minute mark, Garrycastle were six points in front. Athlone did tap over two further points before the break, either side of another point from Alex, who saw his free kick drop short, but won the ball back from the attempted clearance and slotted over the bar. At the half-time break, Garrycastle led on a score line of 0-8 to Athlone 0-3.

Athlone started the second half brightly, but missed a couple of chances to score. Then, after just two minutes, the linesman on the stand side drew the referee's attention to an issue involving Garrycastle's Matthew Guiheen and Athlone's Mickey Greene. To the surprise of everyone, he then handed straight red cards to both, without any indication as to why. Down to fourteen men, Garrycastle responded with a point from Alex, before giving up two points to the opposition. Conor Cosgrove replied with a free following a foul on James Dolan. The game then turned scrappy, with both James Dolan and Dessie Dolan picking up yellow cards within a couple of minutes of each other. Back to the scoreboard, Alex knocked over another point, before James Sheeran, following some great approach play knocked over his first point of the afternoon. Garrycastle were well in charge as the game entered the last quarter, and the Garrycastle side-line started making some changes, introducing Ger Heneghan in place of Dessie Dolan. 

Tom O'Halloran was then gifted a great chance, when a wayward Athlone kick-out was kicked straight to him, and he duly dispatched another point to leave Garrycastle up by seven heading into the last 10 minutes. A final point from Athlone was bookended by a couple of Garrycastle wides, before Michael Monaghan, having just been introduced, knocked over a good point to end the scoring for the day.

As normal time approached, both teams were reduced to 13 players, James Dolan picking up a second yellow. Into injury time, and a serious looking hand injury to Doron Harte, who had put in a huge hour, resulted in him having to leave the field, to a great round of applause.

Overall, an impressive game for Garrycastle, who started the game at a high tempo, and led from start to finish. The straight red card handed to Matthew Guiheen is a worry before the semi-final, but otherwise this can be seen as a job well done. A special mention must go to Alex Gardiner, who had one of those days when practically everything he tried worked out, and he had perhaps one of his best games in the green-and-red.

Team and scorers:
Shane Moran, Anthony Larkin, Mark McCallon, Gary McCallon, James Dolan, Mark Curley, Matthew Guiheen, Doron Harte, James Sheeran (0-1), Tom O'Halloran (0-1), Conor Cosgrove (0-2, 2f), Eoin Monaghan, Cathal Mannion, Alex Gardiner (0-8, 2f), Dessie Dolan (0-1).
Ger Heneghan for Dessie Dolan (46 mins), Michael Monaghan (0-1) for Cathal Mannion (52 mins), Jonathan McGuire for Eoin Monaghan (57 mins), Eoin Monaghan for Conor Cosgrove (60 mins), James Duignan for Doron Harte (62 mins, inj).