AFL 10 Sun 26 June 2016
Whitehall Colmcille 2-05 (11) Cuala 3-08 (17)
After a couple of narrow defeats in recent outings we badly needed to pick up some league points for this team to achieve its target to be in the shake-up for promotion when it came to the business end of the season. Today’s opposition, Whitehall Colmcille, are 3 points above us in the league table and have only dropped 1 point so far, and that was in a draw with league leaders Clann Mhuire. This was not going to be easy. No pressure!
We were travelling Northside to Cloghran for an early 10.30 throw in and, in preparation, all the squad had an early Saturday night (or so they said and we have to believe them J). Oh and there was an urgency to get the match played and get back to base – apparently some match in France, at 2.00 pm, was creating a bit of a stir.
Jack Butler Greg Egan Andy Donohue
James McCarthy Paddy Jennings JP Comer
. Brian Sexton Karl Schutte
. Anto Higgins Luke Kelly Paddy Murray
. Simon Cullen Cillian Madden Aaron Sheehan
. Subs: Mick Kennedy Ben Fennell Kevin Dowling
The rain was still hammering down as the action got underway but the players didn’t notice as we got off to a flying start. Straight from the throw in we launched an attack that resulted in a 45 and Luke Kelly duly slotted the ball over the blackspot. From the kick out, we pressed forward again and this time the result was even better as Aaron Sheehan despatched to the back of the net. Could it get any better? Yes it could. A Whitehall attack ended with a point but Cuala responded swiftly and Paddy Murray was in the right place at the right time to take full advantage of a mix up in the opposition goalmouth to send the ball to the net for our second goal. Less than 10 minutes gone and we were 6 points ahead, 2-01 to 0.01. This was to prove the foundation of our eventual win as over the next 50 minutes the sides were evenly matched on the scoreboard. As the first half progressed, Whitehall came more into the game adding a goal and 2 points and at one point they had pared back the lead to 3 points. But, at the same time, we kept the scoreboard ticking over with 3 points from Sio (1 free) and 1 from Luke to register the last score before the half time whistle. At the break, we were 5 points to the good, on a score 2-05 to 1-03.
Mindful of our second half performances of a few recent games the motivation amongst the players at the half time team talk was clear to see – determination not to let this one slip. And so it transpired. Sio was again to the fore very early in the second half winning a penalty for his efforts. Luke converted from the spot and then it was the turn of Brian Sexton, who was having a big impact in the middle of the park, to add a point. This was before Whitehall managed to registered a second half score so our margin was out to 9 points on a scoreline 3-06 to 1-03. It was a comfortable lead and, thankfully, gave us the platform to withstand a fight back from Whitehall and to cope with the setback of a couple of unfortunate injuries to Cillian Madden and Paddy Jennings. Whitehall are at the top end of the table for a reason and they did raise their game, putting us on the defensive for a long spell. The safe hands of Cormac dealt with quite a few testing balls into the square and a stern overall defensive performance ensured their efforts only added 1-02 to their tally. Brian Sexton popped over an inspirational point for us with 7 minutes to go and, just like in the first half, Luke closed out the scoring taking a fisted point after a fine solo run.. It was to be the last score of the game. A 6 point win on a final score of 3-08 to 2-05. The journey back home across the M50 seemed shorter having secured 2 valuable league points, away from home against a team sitting above us in the table. It was a well-deserved win for a great team effort and keeps us in the running!
The early goal or two in the first few minutes setup the win. By coincidence, the ‘other’ match at 2 pm in France got off to the same start but unfortunately, the result turned out different!!
Scorers: Luke Kelly 1-3 (pen, 1 45) ; Simon Cullen (0-03 (1 f), Aaron Sheehan 1-0, Paddy Murray 1-0, Brian Sexton 0-2
Subs : Ben Fennell for Jack Butler (inj), Mick Kennedy for Cillian madden (inj), Kevin Dowling for Paddy Jennings (inj)