Senior Football Championship Group 2

posted 21 Jul 2018, 13:53 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 21 Jul 2018, 15:25 ]
Garrycastle started their Senior Football Championship journey with a win against St. Marys Rochfortbridge in Moate on Saturday evening. Garrycastle started brightly, and opened the scoring with a free from Ger Heneghan within the first minute of play. St. Marys responded with two points of their own, before a run of three points in a row, two from Tom O'Halloran and one from Mattie Guiheen following a driving run upfield, moved the Garrycastle team two points in front.

St. Marys pulled a point back from a close-in free, before  some excellent work in the middle of the field saw James Sheeran deliver a pinpoint pass to Alex Gardiner who finished the ball to the net to move Garrycastle further in front. It was all Garrycastle at this stage, and further points from Mark McCallon and another free from Tom O'Halloran saw their lead stretch out to 6 points with 20 minutes played. However, St. Marys came back into the game, and aided by some loose play and poor passing by Garrycastle, scored the next two points to narrow the lead. Indeed, it took Garrycastle more than 10 minutes to add to their score, trading a further two points with St. Marys, the scores coming from Ger Heneghan and Eoin Monahan. Garrycastle had a lucky break just before the half-time break, as Shane Moran was called on to make a point-blank save, deflecting the ball over his crossbar for a point.
At the half-time break, Garrycastle led on a scoreline of 1-08 to 0-07. 

The second half started well for Garrycastle, and although an early free was missed, a nice flowing move involving Cathal Mannion saw Ger Heneghan float over a nice point. However, St. Marys pushed forward again, and a high floated ball into the Garrycastle goalmouth was punched to the net, to narrow the gap between the teams to just 2 points. Garrycastle almost responded in kind immediately, but after a great surging run by Alex Gardiner, the final pass was inches away and the opportunity passed. St. Marys scored again to narrow the lead to the minimum, and the Garrycastle team were struggling to break down the St. Marys defence. A pointed free from Ger Heneghan gave some breathing space. before an excellent move started from a quickly taken free by Ger, found Michael Monahan, whose pass to Alex Gardiner was expertly slotted between the posts. A further free from Ger saw the lead stretched to 4 points with 10 minutes remaining. 

Again though, Garrycastle seemed to take their foot off the pedal, and two points from St. Marys in quick succession, one from a free, narrowed the lead to just two points. As the end of normal time beckoned, a fracas in the St. Marys goalmouth saw Jonny McGuire being shown a straight red card, and now reduced to 14 men, Garrycastle were pushed back on the back foot again. It wasn't until the second minute of injury time that a late free from substitute Conor Cosgrove steadied the ship, and the Garrycastle team and supporters were happy to hear the final whistle, with the final scoreline showing Garrycastle the victors by 1-13 to 1-10. 
Overall, a win is the most important thing in championship football, but while the Garrycastle team showed flashes of the form that won them the League Division 1 title a couple of weeks back, they also seemed to lose their way for periods of time in both halves of the game, making the game harder for themselves than it needed to be.

Team and scorers:
Shane Moran, Anthony Larkin, Matthew Guiheen (0-1), Mark McCallon (0-1), Gary McCallon, John Gaffey, Michael Monaghan, Jonathan McGuire, Doron Harte, Eoin Monaghan (0-1), Ger Heneghan (0-5, 3f), Tom O'Halloran (0-3, 2f), Cathal Mannion, James Sheeran, Alex Gardiner (1-1).
Substitutes: Jason Nugent for Anthony Larkin (49 mins), Sean Brennan for Tom O'Halloran (55 mins), Conor Cosgrove (0-1, 1f) for Cathal Mannion (60 mins)