Senior Club Championship Rd 1: Austin Stacks 2-12; Dingle 2-9.
Played on the Annascaul pitch which was in perfect condition and on a dry, if breezy, Sunday afternoon (7th April) this first round of this season’s Club Championship produced an intense encounter all through with no more than four points separating the sides at any stage during the more than 70 minutes of play (34m in the first half and 36m in the second period).
After a getting-to-know-you-period in the opening minutes we were first off the mark with a 4th minute point by Darragh O’Brien after some good work by Dylan Casey and Greg Horan. Dylan picked up a heavy knock during this build-up but thankfully recovered well to have a super game all through. Our second point came four minutes later when Jack Morgan combined with Seán Quilter who put over from distance. Dingle’s first score came from a forty five in the 10th minute and they could have goaled seconds later but for a super save by Robbie Murphy. Just over a minute later Darragh O’Brien pointed from a free after Jack O’Shea was fouled. Dingle’s first score from play came in the 17th minute – an indication of how good our defence was performing at that stage. In the 21st minute a good move started by Seán Quilter ended with Sean pointing from a free after Darragh O’Brien was fouled. This left us ahead by 0-4 to 0-2 at that stage but in a five minute spell Dingle, first with a point and then with a 26th minute goal, went ahead for the first time in the game. But this set-back seemed to stir our lads into more intense action and in the closing six minutes of the half we overturned that lead with a goal and two points to give us a three points advantage at half time (1-6 to 1-3). Our goal came in the 29th minute with a beautiful move started by Greg Horan which was added to by Kieran Donaghy and flicked to the net by Darragh O’Brien. Darragh was on target again two minutes later when he put over after good work by Wayne Guthrie and Greg Horan. Wayne was again involved in the last score of the half which was converted by Jack O’Shea.
The second half was just three minutes old when Dingle got through for their second goal to level the game again. From then until the end of the third quarter it was point for point by each side – our two coming from Kieran Donaghy and Seán Quilter (free). But the score that finally turned the game in our favour came in the 43rd minute and Seán Quilter was again involved when he put Shane O’Callaghan through and Shane kept his cool to eventually slot the ball to the net. That score gave us back our three points half time lead (2-8 to 2-5). In the final quarter it was tit for tat again with both sides scoring four points each – all ours coming from play and from four different players – Joseph O’Connor (Joseph and Wayne dominated the centre for most of the game), Seán Quilter, Colin Griffin and Jack O’Shea. And when you take into account that we had to play most of that second half with 14 men it puts our performance in context. This was achieved by a five-star defensive display which was aided all through by the rest of the squad including Kieran Donaghy who was all over the field. This was Star’s first game since last September and he played as if he was playing gaelic every Sunday since then.
We now understand that our opponents in round two on this coming week-end will be Kilcummin who taught us a lesson or two when they defeated us in the first round of the Co. League a month ago.
Team: Robbie Murphy, Colin Griffin (0-1), Barry Shanahan, Dylan Casey, Jack O’Shea (0-2), Ronan Shanahan, Jack Morgan, Wayne Guthrie, Joseph O’Connor (0-1), Greg Horan, Darragh O’Brien (Capt) (1-3 – one free), Ciarán O’Reilly, Seán Quilter (0-4 – two frees), Kieran Donaghy (0-1), Shane O’Callaghan (1-0).
Subs used: Shane Carroll (49m), John Dennis (56m) Fiachna Mangan (59m).