Owenmore Gaels 1-12 St Pats 2-7
Thomas Kerins at Kent Park
Owenmore Gaels and St. Pats met on Sunday afternoon in the semi-final of the Connaught Gold Junior A Championship at Kent Park, Ballydoogan. Having fallen at the same penultimate hurdle in 2019, the Gaels entered the affair hoping to make it through to the Championship final where Tourlestrane awaited the victors.
The pristine pitch surface along with the gentlest of breezes created conditions very favourable to a game of championship football whereby direct use of the football would prove decisive.
St. Pats were quickest out of the traps when the lively forward Jim Davis converted a free within the first minute. Nathan O’Malley followed with the Gaels first score of the day with a nicely taken point after he was put through on goals with a deft flick by Conor Davey.
St. Pats soon regained the lead with a well taken free by Pierce Kearins following good play by James Clarke.
The Gaels Captain and marksman Ryan Phillips raised his first white flag of the day soon afterwards with a nice score that was worked all the way up from the full-back line via Mahon, Trill and Anderson.
The Gaels tactic of delivering fast, long balls into the inside forwards soon paid dividends when Niall Hodgins found Ryan Phillips with an excellent long range delivery that caught the St. Pats defence off guard. Phillips made no qualms in the one-on-one situation and slotted home the first goal of the game, putting the Gaels into the lead of 1-02 to 0-02.
Both teams then exchanged a number of wides whilst St.Pats started to take a stranglehold in the middle third of the field. A James Clarke score for St. Pats was soon after complemented with a point from Gaels centre forward Tommy Trill who capped off a nice team move involving several players.
St.Pats took control of the game after the water break and finished the half the strongest and they made it show on the scoreboard as Jim Davis racked up some crucial scores. Phillips kept the Gaels ticking over when he took a nice fisted point after a long direct ball in from Brian Mahon.
What Phillips was doing at one end, Jim Davis for St. Pats was equally adept at doing at the other end. A swift move involving Patrick Farrell and Ciaran Brady put Davis through on goals and he buried the ball past Jason Farrell in the Gaels nets. St. Pats then took the lead for the first time since the opening score when Davis had a half chance at a goal but he put it over the black spot. St. Pats went into the interval leading by the narrowest of margins on a scoreline 1-05 to 1-04.
The third quarter of the game was where the Gaels found their purple patch and took control of the game. The tenacious Conor Davey curled over a point after Mahon and Whiteside had linked up and broke out of the defence at speed.
Ronan Sweeney who had been introduced at half time opened up the play for the Gaels midfielder and stalwart Niall Hodgins to burst through and he calmly took the score that put us back in front by 1-06 to 1-05. Phillips found himself back on the scoresheet again after good work from the industrious Roly Anderson who was involved in most of the Gaels attacks.
Mayoman Nathan O’Malley delicately curled over the next point after good link-up play with Conor Davey. Phillips kicked two more frees in succession that gave the Gaels a 4-point cushion before the water break.
The St. Pats talisman James Clarke took the next point from a tight angle to narrow the margin.
The next score put the official seal on the victory for the Gaels. O’Malley had dropped deep into midfield and he took a fine mark before he fed Conor Davey who won yet another “dirty” ball. Davey found the stylish Tommy Trill who lofted the ball over the bar to extend the Gaels lead. Ronan Sweeney then set up Phillips for his sixth point of the game thus stretching the Gaels lead to 5 points in the process.
Some tense moments ensued as James Clarke for St. Pats won and converted a penalty that narrowed the gap but it was too little, too late for the men from the West.
The Gaels closed out the game and won on a scoreline of 1-12 to 2-07 and qualified for the Junior A Championship Final where they will meet Tourlestrane on Saturday 19th September in Markievicz Park.
Best on the day for the Gaels were Brian Mahon, Roly Anderson, Nathan O’Malley and Conor Davey.
Man of the Match – Conor Davey.
Teams and scorers:
Jason Farrell, Liam Gilligan (Gareth Lavin), Pa Murphy, Roan Connelly, Jaime Callaghan, Cian Whiteside, Brian Mahon, Niall Hodgins (0-1), James Duffy, Peter Wynne (Ronan Sweeney), Tommy Trill (0-2), Roly Anderson, Ryan Phillips (1-6, 0-2F), Nathan O’Malley (0-2) (Oisín Geraghty) Conor Davey(0-1) (Aaron Walsh)
Jack Cadden, Patrick Farrell, Jonathan Higgins, Ciaran Giblin, Jack Egan, David Giblin, Tomàs McMunn, James Kearins, Conell Kearins, Donal Brady, Ciaran Brady, Fergal Curran, Jim Davis (1-3), James Clarke (1-3) Pierce Kearins (0-1)