Cuchulainns 2.9 Killygarry 0.11
Cuchullains got the start that they wanted to their 2012 league campaign, after they played out a lively, entertaining first game against Killygarry in Mullagh on Sunday afternoon. Heavy rain during the week left the pitch heavy, however with the exception of a shower just before half time the weather conditions were ideal for the game.
The game sprang to life straight away, from the throw up Donal Thomas broke through the middle for the away team, and the midfielder got the first score of the game after less than one minute. Eugene Keating replied immediately with a long rang left footed point. From the resulting kick out Killygarry worked the ball into corner forward Cathal Keaney and he curled over a sweet point with his left boot. Cuchulainns responded soon afterwards, when they turned the ball over and fed it into Seamus Clarke, who turned quickly and fired over to leave the score 2.2 after five minutes. After this lively start the game slowed down and it was another three minutes before Shane Smith was fouled on the 21 yard line. Eugene Keating tapped over the resulting free to put his team ahead for the first time in the match. Killygarry responded with two pointed frees of their own from Martin Reilly to restore their lead once again. Exchanges were getting tough around the middle with Adrian Taite and Donal Thomas having a great tussle for possession from kick outs. Referee Brian Crowe had to keep a close eye on the tackles, as there were a number of heavy hits going in all over the field. Both sets of defences were on top for the remainder of the first half, with the sides registering two more scores each from frees( E. Keating 0.2 and Martin Reilly 0.2) , to leave the half time score Cuchulainns 0.5 and Killygarry 0.6.
Killygarry came out of the blocks quicker for the second period and extended their lead straight away through centre forward Martin Reilly, with a neat point from play. They had a chance to further build on this advantage straight from the kick out. Donal Thomas gained possession and delivered the ball into Martin Reilly who was upended and awarded a free kick. However, their corner forward dropped the ball short into Mark Clarke’s arms. Cuchulainns punished this mistake, they worked the ball up the field and a flowing move was finished off through a fine point from Eugene Keating, once again leaving the minimum between the teams. The game followed a similar pattern to the first half, and there was a lull in the scoring for the next five minutes. Eventually Cuchulainns won some good possession around the middle and worked it out to Paul Taite, who had drifted in behind the Killygarry defence. His effort for a point looped over the keeper and dropped just under the crossbar and into the net. This score put the home side two points clear with 15 minutes left. Cuchulainns half back Rory O’ Connell was coming more and more into the game, winning a lot of breaking ball. He scored a terrific long range point with his left foot in the 47th minute. Killygarry found themselves a goal down with little over 10 minutes left on the clock. They fought back and reduced the deficit to two points, after Martin Reilly was fouled out along the sideline. However their efforts received a killer blow in the 52nd minute when centre half forward Marty Lynch fired low and hard to the net after a clever one -two with Shane Smith. This left Cuchulainns five points ahead and it looked like the remainder of the game would fizzle out. To their credit Killygarry rallied hard, Cuchulainns took their foot off the gas and they saw their lead reduced to two points by as Killygarry registered three unanswered scores in as many minutes. With an exciting finish in store, Cuchulainns re-established control and scored the final two points of the game through Keating and midfielder Adrian Taite.
It was a tough, tight game and very little separated the two teams throughout. The two second half goals made the difference for Cuchulainns, and they will be very happy to have the two early points on the board. Their goal keeper and defence worked well as a unit, midfield battled hard and linked well with a lively forward line. Killygarry were very similar, they looked dangerous at times but they were guilty of lapses in concentration throughout the game.
Cuchulainns: 1. Mark Clarke, 2. Peter Fox, 3. Chris Tully, 4. John Flanagan, 5. Patrick Murtagh, 6. Garry Daly, 7. Rory O’ Connell, 8. Paul Taite (1.0) 9. Adrian Taite (0.1) 10. Eugen Keating (0.6 – 4 frees), 11. Marty Lynch (1.0), 12. Diarmaid Foxe, 13. Shane Smith, 14. Conor Smith, 15. Seamus Clarke (0.1). Subs: Gavin Daly, Stephen Lynch.
Killygarry: 1. ??, 2. Darragh McKenna, 3. Eoin Smith, 4. ??, 5. Ross Sheridan, 6 Brendan Murray, 7 ??, 8. Pauric McGovern, 9. Donal Thomas (0.1), 10. Damien Keaney, 11. Martin Reilly 0.6 (5 frees), 12 ??, 13. Cathal Keaney (0.1) 14. John Lyng (0.1), 15. ?? (0.2). Subs: Thomas Leonard.