Tullamore 2-11 St. Vincent’s 0-15

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Tullamore 2-11 St. Vincent’s 0-15

Post by Lone Shark » Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:17 pm

(After Extra Time –Full Time Tullamore 2-8 St. Vincent’s 0-14)

Tis truly the season to be jolly, but more often than not the jolliness is as a result of being surrounded by family, friends and copious amounts of brandy and mince pies rather than getting to witness high quality football matches. Indeed for the GAA enthusiast, this is well and truly the off season, and as those from several walks of life will testify, partaking in goods and activities during their off season can be a costly activity. Eating oysters out of season will leave the imbiber with at best a serious case of indigestion – cutting hedges out of season is a transgression of the law and could even leave you with a serious case of incarceration - though probably only in a midlands court.

And so it is with Gaelic Games, as a rule. Hurling matches at this time of year are filled with the clash of hurls and players struggling to rise a ball out of the mud, while football matches are riddled with frees, and scores of 1-6 are often good enough to win games. But every so often, amidst the chaff, some of the finest wheat emerges and spectators get treated to a game like the minor football decider that took place in Walsh Island on Saturday. That the two teams gave such a fantastic display in what was a very high pressure game is of even greater credit to them, and though it is Tullamore that will be celebrating after annexing their 25th county minor title and third in succession, the players and supporters of St. Vincent’s can be very proud of their part in a fantastic game, and can look forward to a very bright future in the game if they continue their efforts.

The sod in Walsh Island was a credit to the club. Though the pitch was very grassy, it was firm and level, remarkably so for the time of year. It allowed both teams to play good fluid football, and with the aid of the stiff breeze Tullamore wasted no time in doing just that. They sprang into life from the throw in, and could have opened with a goal after Stephen Egan’s shot was deflected onto the post and out by goalkeeper Ciarán Todd. This was an indication of things to come, because they went on to take the first five scores of the game, four of them from play and one from a long range free. They were moving the ball very slickly down the field, and the balance within their team was evident as these five scores came from five different players.

The wind was a big factor throughout this game, and St. Vincent’s were having to dig deep as it was taking them four full kicks to reach the far end of the field, and invariably it proved one too many. Their full forward line was struggling to win the sort of 50/50 ball that was delivered, and Gerry Treacy, their talisman, was being well shackled by Kenneth Mann. He did break free on 16 minutes, was fouled, and left Paul Lambe to break his side’s duck with a free. This was not a portent of a turning tide however, and within a minute the uphill climb they faced took on an even steeper gradient. Ger Ward took a long range shot from the right and the ball struck the upright and bounced out into the hands of Kevin Duffy. Duffy cut across the goals and placed a shot under the keeper to put his side seven in front, a commanding lead even allowing for the elements.

St. Vincent’s could have let the game get away from them at this point, but they fought their way back in with three points in succession, and a four point half time deficit looked retrievable – if they could have held on to that. Instead a lapse in concentration from their full back line allowed Owen Marsden in behind to fetch a long delivery from Pauric Clooney, and he finished well with only the keeper to beat, restoring Tullamore’s seven point advantage.

At 2-5 to 0-4 it would have been easy for the men in yellow to panic and go looking for goals, but once they changed ends, they began to chip away at the lead relentlessly, and their running style was yielding frees which Paul Lambe was converting metronomically. Three in succession reeled Tullamore back in, before a wonderful team point involving four players finished by Ger Ward stemmed the flow. Still Vincent’s kept pushing, and a great Gerry Treacy score out on the left was followed by three more frees, and by now it looked like they mightn’t even need a goal, with only the minimum in it with 8 minutes remaining.

Tullamore nearly wrapped up the game when a Chris Keogh shot thundered off the crossbar and down – coming very close to crossing the line in doing so – but his side at least got some reward, Kevin Duffy slotting the rebound over the bar. The yellow tide was never looked like stopping though, and when Lambe and Paul O’Rourke hit successive scores to level the game, the town side looked to be in trouble. A few big plays from their half back line kept them in the game, and after both sides missed scoreable chances, Tullamore got their noses in front when David O’Neill hit a point from close range with two minutes of injury time already expired. A sting in the tail still remained - St. Vincent’s got the equaliser their efforts deserved, even if it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing point full forward Mark Mangan will ever score. He hit in a sideline ball from about 45m out, and though it was well directed, it fell short – however no Tullamore player cut it out, and the bounce had just about enough in it to creep over the crossbar, securing a draw and extra time.

With light fading, neither side was too keen on extra time being played, but both clubs had agreed to in light of the fixture clash with the under 21 final, and with Christmas looming, it was probably the best call. Again Tullamore started with the assistance of the wind, and they made it pay, substitute Bernard Westman and David O’Neill getting scores in a broken ten minutes of play. The second period opened with a Gerry Treacy point from out on the left, equally as good as his superb effort in the second half of normal time, and again the game was in the balance. However the point chances never came, as the Tullamore defence led by the utterly outstanding Pauric Clooney held firm. A David O’Neill free with a couple of minutes remaining left St. Vincent’s chasing a goal, and as in the 78 minutes of football preceding that, it was beyond them. A Padraig Mangan shot flew wide when for a second it looked like he might replicate his wonder goal of the semi final, and a late close range free was missed, but ultimately the boys in yellow were to fall just short, and when the final whistle blew it was Tullamore who were celebrating, at the end of one of the longest championship campaigns they are ever likely to play in.


Teams:

Tullamore: Darren Tuohy; Dean Carroll, Kevin Maloney, Cian Glennon; Shane Longworth, Pauric Clooney, Kenneth Mann; Stephen Egan (0-1, free), Ger Ward (0-2); Enda Ravenhill, David O’Neill (0-4), Owen Marsden (1-1); Christopher Keogh, Darragh O’Beirne, Kevin Duffy (1-2).

Subs: Bernard Westman (0-1) for Enda Ravenhill

St. Vincent’s: Ciaran Todd; Liam Brennan, Hugh Treacy, Liam Reilly; Padraig Mangan, Matthew Brazil, Adrian Mann; Enda Daly, Kevin Bracken; Ger Treacy (0-3, 0-1 free), Paul Lambe (0-9, 0-8 frees), Alan McEvoy; Paul O’Rourke (0-1), Mark Mangan (0-2, 0-1 Sideline ball), Vincent O’Rourke.

Subs: James Sheeran for Paul Lambe (Blood Sub), James Clarke for Alan McEvoy, Seamus Todd for Liam Reilly, David Carroll for James Clarke


Referee: John O’Reilly

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