Under-12 Jim McHugh Tournament : Cup Semi-Final

posted 19 Sep 2018, 15:22 by Garrycastle GAA   [ updated 19 Sep 2018, 15:23 ]
Garrycastle 4-11, Shandonagh 5-08 
Shandonagh win after Extra Time and Free Kicks. 
On the day when Storm Ali roared through the country, and with the match nearly having to be called off due to the strong winds, Garrycastle took on Shandonagh in the cup semi-final of this years Jim McHugh memorial tournament, with a place in the final to take on St. Marys Rochfortbridge as the prize. 
Both Garrycastle and Shandonagh play a similar style of football, with the game played at speed and quick and accurate passing the name of the game. Due to the weather, both sides had to adapt their game to suit the conditions, and the wind in particular made scoring difficult. This was reflected on the scoreboard, as the home team had a number of chances in front of goal which were missed, that on another evening would have been scored. Throughout the first half, points were exchanged more or less evenly between the teams, but then just prior to the half-time break, Garrycastle finally got the breakthrough for their efforts, scoring a goal and a point in rapid succession. At the half-time whistle, Garrycastle were in front by 4 points.

The visitors started the second half the brighter, and with some strong running play, scored the opening three points to cut the Garrycastle lead to a single score. Then came a turning point, when Shandonagh goaled to move into the lead. To their credit, the Garrycastle players didn't panic at this reversal, and continued to run at the visitors defence, and continued to tip over the points to keep the scoreboard ticking. As the game entered the last five minutes of normal time, the home team trailed by four points, but a herculean final effort in this last five minutes yielded a goal and a point to leave the scores tied at the end of normal time.

After a short break, extra time, with 5-minutes each way started, and both teams put a mighty effort into winning out the game. In the last three minutes of extra time, it was Shandonagh who seemed to be in the driving seat, scoring two late goals. But, yet again, this Garrycastle team showed their strength of character, which has been on view for all of this year, and continued to run at the visitors, scoring a number of points to bring the scores level again as extra time was blown-up

By the rules of this competition, this meant that the game moved to free kicks, with each team having 5 attempts to kick points from the hand, from the 30 meter line. Now the conditions really came into play, as tired legs and a strong, gusty wind, placed havoc with the free takers. Of the 10 shots in total that were taken, only one was successfully converted, and that was to the Shandonagh team. 

So heartbreak for the home team, who came so close to making the cup final, but congratulations to the Shandonagh team for a hard-won victory on the evening.

This was a great game of football to watch and both teams showed their football skills and how far they have come over the season.  There were tears a-plenty shed at the end, but the players can hold their heads held high, as they put everything they had into the game, and left everything on the pitch. 

The team management, and the club in general is extremely proud of this bunch of players, and with their effort and commitment throughout the year. 

Huge thanks also to their parents, who have supported and encouraged them throughout the year.   

The under-12 season is now over, but we still have an under-11 Westmeath 'A' league final at home late next week against Mullingar Shamrocks to look forward to. Hopefully we can finish the season on a winning note.

Squad on the evening:
Cian Norris, Anthony Mannion, Oisin Mulvihill, Kasey Mulvihill, Killian Keegan, David Carter, Niadh Shine, 
Andrew Henson (1-0), Tom Sheehan (0-1), James McHugh (1-7), Sean O'Donoghue (0-1), Aaron Keegan (0-1), 
Nathan McKeon (1-1), Brandon Devaney, Kealan McNamara, Van McCay, Rian Gaynor, Jack Dolan, Calum Hudson, 
Dylan Frawley, Darragh Glennon (1-0)