Last weekend saw winning performances from the green and red of both Garrycastle and St Brigid’s in their respective provincial campaigns. The Roscommon champions booked their place in this year’s provincial decider thanks to their hard fought win over a gutsy Glencar-Manorhamilton (Leitrim ) side. Garrycastle too had to work hard to forage a win in Cusack Park against Louth’s Mattock Rangers.
Elsewhere Bunbrosna were in bitter hard luck as they were denied a place in the Leinster intermediate semi-final thanks to a late and controversial penalty. Milltownpass had better luck as they comfortably accounted for Offaly’s Clonmore Harps as they progressed to the semi-final of the Leinster JFC.
Mattock Rangers 2-10
Garrycastle are just one step away from repeating last year’s feat of reaching the Leinster club decider. A date with the mighty Kilmacud Crokes on Sunday week, in the provincial semi-final, is their prize for edging out Mattock Rangers.
The Castle were pushed hard by the Louth champions. Yet even though they trailed by two points at the break, one always felt their greater experience would win through in the end. That is exactly what transpired, with Paddy Mulvihill bagging a brace of goals in the opening minutes of the second half. Indeed Mulvihill weighed in with an impressive 2-2 over the hour.
Rangers cause was not helped when they were reduced to 14 men midway through the second half. Yet they still managed to cut the deficit to a single point. Aidan Browne doubled the Westmeath men’s lead with five minutes remaining.
The men from the Wee County pressed hard for a goal but with Garrycastle packing their defence and refusing to panic there was no way through. Shane Mulvihill sealed matters with a fine point worthy of sending his side into the semi-final.
The win came at a heavy price however as influential captain Doran Harte dislocated his shoulder in the closing stages. He will be a massive loss on Sunday week when Anthony Cunningham’s men will need to be firing on all cylinders against the current favourites to lift the provincial silverware.
Anthony Cunningham and his management team will be concerned at the manner in which they conceded two goals in as many minutes midway through the opening half. A repeat of that would prove fatal against a team of the calibre of Crokes.
Worth nothing were the performances of James Dolan in defence and Paddy Mulvihill, Rory McGowan, Shane Mulvihill, and Dessie Dolan up front, is bound to inspire confidence ahead of their semi-final showdown. Seanie Donoghue was an undoubted loss but should he be available for their next outing it would be a timely and important boost. Garrycastle’s strength in depth was again evident as they could introduce players of the quality of David O Shaughnessy, Alan ‘Dollar’ Daly, Padraig Rattigan, and Enda Mulvihill.
The semi-final will take place in Dublin on Sunday week November 21 and what a clash it promises to be. With Kilmacud having edged out reigning champions Portlaoise they deserve to wear the favourites tag but sure isn’t that exactly what Anthony Cunningham and co would want. Raharney have given the lead with their brilliant win over Coolderry on the hurling front. Don’t be surprised if Garrycastle too upset the odds on Sunday week.