A power-packed display from start to finish propelled Garrycastle into this year’s county decider in impressive fashion. This game had the potential to be the game of the championship but in truth, given its one-sided nature, it failed to live up to its billing.
While neither side had been overly impressive in the group stages it was expected that both sides would up their performance significantly, with a place in the county final at stake. Indeed some observers had billed it as the unofficial county final.
Credit to Anthony Cunningham’s men who set out their stall right from the off, and never let up, until the final whistle. On this showing it’s their title to lose, regardless of who will provide the opposition. Tyrrellspass for their part failed to do themselves justice. The champions of 2006 and 2007 struggled in the opening half of their quarter final meeting with Maryland before turning things around in the second half. A team of Garrycastle’s experience and talent were never going to let them do likewise.
A 1-8 to 0-4 lead provided the green and reds with a comfortable half-time cushion. The men from the Tidy Village could only manage two second half points against a driven Garrycastle side who certainly laid down a marker of their intent to make amends for last year’s county final defeat.
Garrycastle’s midfield pairing of Aidan Browne and Seanie O’Donoghoe dominated that all-important sector, while the Garrycastle defence snuffed out the potential threat of the Glennons and Flanagan. Up front and not surprisingly, it was Dessie Dolan who led by example, notching 1-6 over the hour. Paul Dillon, James Duignan, and the young guns Shane Mulvihill and James Dolan all left their mark on proceedings.
Indeed while The Castle kicked an impressive 1-13, they also had a penalty saved and missed numerous other scoring chances. With such a potent forward-line it is going to take a fair defence to keep them quiet.
Anthony Cunningham and his background team would surely have preferred a stiffer test and will be quick to warn their players against complacency. However given that it’s four years since Garrycastle were last crowned champions it’s doubtful if any of those involved will be taking anything for granted. Their full focus now will be on October 4 and a county final showdown against either St Lomans or Coralstown/Kinnegad.
St Loman’s v Coralstown/Kinnegad.
The second semi final of this year’s senior championship takes place this Saturday in Cusack Park at 4.30pm. St Loman’s and Kinnegad will fight it out for the right to play Garrycastle on October 4. Kinnegad topped their group to take the short route to the semi-final. St Loman’s have had the extra benefit of two tough matches against Shamrocks, emerging 1-15 to 2-8 victors last weekend. Many people have underestimated The Saints this year but after recent performances it’s time to take them seriously.
The confidence gleaned from wins over Athlone in their final group game, and near neighbours Shamrocks in the quarter-final, will have greatly boosted confidence in the Loman’s ranks. Kinnegad under Colm Coyle would dearly love to reach the decider and, while there will be little separating these two sides at the end, I’m going to side with the Mullingar outfit to scrape through.
Intermediate football championship update
Tubberclare survived a second half scare to secure their place in this year’s intermediate decider at the expense of near neighbours Tang. Tom Lennon’s men enjoyed a comfortable 3-5 to 0-6 half-time lead. Tang upped their performance in the second half and had the lead cut to just 2 points ten minutes into the second half. Tubberclare steadied the ship again and fired over a few valuable points to send them through on a scoreline of 3-9 to 1-12 to a final meeting against Ballynacargy.
In the other semi-final, Ballynacargy enjoyed a comfortable 1-11 to 0-6 win over a disappointing CFCW. The final is due to take place on October 11.
Intermediate hurling final.
The final of the Slevins Coaches intermediate hurling championship takes place this Sunday in Cusack Park between St Brigid’s and Turin. St Brigid’s accounted for Fr Dalton’s in their semi-final while Turin had 5 points to spare over neighbours Crookedwood. Turin had a few points to spare when the sides met in the group stage but, with St Brigid’s aiming to make up for last year’s county final defeat, we are in for a ding-dong battle on Sunday.
Castlerea St Kevin’s and Western Gaels will contest this year’s Roscommon senior football decider. Castlerea accounted for St Aidan’s on a score of 4-9 to 1-13 in their semi-final. In the other semi-final Western Gaels had two points to spare over St Faithleach’s - 1-11 to 2-6.