Cusack Park return for Garrycastle as they strive to regain prized championship silverware

Late St Lomans point ensures replay fixture this Sunday

Within moments of achieving a ninth senior football championship success, Garrycastle return to TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar on Sunday afternoon (throw in, 1.30pm ) aiming to positively conclude their Flanagan Cup quest.

An injury time equalising point from St Loman’s talisman, John Heslin, earned the reigning champions a draw when it appeared that green and red ribbons would adorn the prized silverware, Garrycastle being the team in the ascendancy for the majority of this showpiece fixture.

Despite the prevailing ideal weather conditions, the final failed to ignite for large periods and the excitement barometer only increased towards the latter stages of the contest as St Lomans retrieved the scoring deficit.

Such was the Garrycastle dominance in the opening half, Gary Dolan’s charges were to the scoreboard superiority by six points after 21 minutes, but their failure to positively impact the scoreboard until the 47th minute will give cause for much concern as they prepare for the replay this weekend.

Garrycastle were to the possession fore in the opening thirty minutes of this final and when they headed St Lomans on the scoreboard after 11 minutes they were not to relinquish their scoring dominance for the remainder of the contest.

Intricate play was a feature of Garrycastle’s performance (particularly in the first half ), full forward, Alex Gardiner, the ever willing runner, while Michael Monaghan contributed three quality points as confidence flowed through the team.

Two St Lomans points reduced the interval deficit to four points in favour of Garrycastle and when the scoreboard was further reduced to two points on 44 minutes, it seemed that momentum had turned towards the Mullingar club.

Gardiner majestically kicked Garrycastle’s tenth point of the contest to raise a crucial white flag and halt St Lomans momentum momentarily but with playing personnel experiencing fatigue due to the heavy underfoot conditions, the contest became a more pulsating affair, Heslin, reducing the scoreboard margin to the minimum on 57 minutes.

Points from impact substitutes, Conor Cosgrove and James Sheerin, ensured the Garrycastle supporters maintained full voice and when Gardiner (who was this scribe’s ‘man of the match’ ) failed to avail of an opportunity to extend his team’s lead deep into injury time, the reigning champions regained possession, earning a late free from which Heslin converted to necessitate a replay on Sunday afternoon.


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