Nervous Weekend ends Satisfactorily

Post date: Sep 26, 2012 8:24:36 PM

There was some chagrin ath the fixture programme CIMC faced last weekend as the club faced a difficult decision whether to proceed with fixtures or not. Having finally reached agreement with an Annaghdown outfit on playing the fixture outstanding since July, the club found itself fixed for a Minor quarterfinal on Saturday and to rub salt in the wound another Junior fixture against Craughwell on Sunday morning, which Craughwell were supposed to have conceded back in August. In the end, with the opportunities to play games now confined to weekends and given the large panel of players available at Junior level it was decided to get our fixture schedule up to date and play all three fixtures.

The Minors were clearly at the knockout stage but at Junior level a loss in both fixtures would mean the quarter place we had thought was secure would require a win in the final game against an unbeaten Ballinasloe.

The Friday game set the scene for a tense weekend, as an out of sorts Junior side, shorn of their Minors, were plundered of a couple of goals after a promising start. Things went from bad to worse as an off day with frees and scoring meant Annaghdown stretched their two point halftime advantage to seven points at the end. A big effort was now required at 11am on Sunday morning.

On a sunny Saturday evening, the Minor team faced Sylane as top seeds against bottom seeds in the quarter final draw. The team started well as Jack Kelly proved accurate from placed balls and Mágh Cuilinn establishing an early 0-6 to 0-2 lead. A scrappy goal where Mágh Cuilinn were guilty of not clearing the ball brought the sides level but Jack Kelly, Andrew Hurney and Conor Noone stretched the lead again. Andrew Hurney did all the work as substitute Ryan Fox found a good position at the far post and when the pinpoint pass came Ryan deftly batted the ball into the Sylane net. Two further points were added before halftime to leave Mágh Cuilinn ahead 1-11 to 1-02. The second half was a fractious affair with an increasing number of yellows cards issued and while Jack Kelly, Conor Noone, Andrew Hurney, Michael Lalor, Kevin O;Donovan and Ryan Fox (2) all added points, this was much less than the opportunities created. As Sylane were forced to go in search of goals their second half tally was just three points. Final score 1-18 to 1-05. So Mágh Cuilinn are comfortably into the semfinal but as the group game in Baile Doite proved, Mágh will need to raise the bar to compete with Meelick Eyrecourt.

Magh Cuilinn: Eanna Kelleghan, John Lalor, Conor Kyne, James Donohue, Aodhán Claffey, Eanna Malone, Anraoi Whyte, James Wynn. Kevin O'Donovan, Lairgnean McDermott, Conor Noone, Jack Kelly, Andrew Hurney, Michael Lalor, Fintan Kelly.

Substitutes: Ryan Fox for Fintan Kelly, Kurtis Kyne for Michael Lalor, Paul Wynn for James Wynn

On Sunday morning, the Craughwell game was becoming critical. A win for Craughwell would put them on equal points with Magh Cuilinn and in the event neither won any further games, Craughwell would have the advantage. The weather was perfect and Craughwell were on site early. Magh Cuilinn were short some regulars but three Minors, Kevin O'Donovan, Conor Noone and James Donohue had turned up despite putting in a shift the evening before. The home side began well with Paul Burke proving accurate from placed balls around the 65m line and Conor Noone equally accurate from play leading to a 0-5 to 0-2 point early lead. Anxiety returned when a long range Craughwell free went straight to the net in a mix-up between full back and goalkeeper. Paul Burke restored the lead from a placed ball immediately and with misfield and defence in control, Mágh Cuilinn clocked up 11 points by half time from Conor Noone (5), Paul Burke (3 all placed), David Bohan, Paraic Dunne and Frank Enright. On the restart, Frank Enright extended the lead with the first free from close range but having failed to score from further chances, CIMC were rocked by a further Craughwell goal. Again Mágh Cuilinn struggled to respond drawing several saves from the Craughwell minder including a penalty save. Craughwell added a further point. Finally. after as ball bobbed around the goal, Michael Dempsey was able to force it into the net and comfort seemed to be restored. Unfortunately not! As the ball dropped in the square again, David Faherty claimed it yet again but was penalised for a foul when the free could as easily be awarded the other way. Craughwell converted the resultant penalty. Worse was to follow as minutes later, a clash pull went in Craughwell's favour and the ball squirted inside the far post. Scores level 1-12 to 4-03. After a nervous few minutes, substitute Fiachra Davoren was fouled and Frank Enright converted. Tension was getting higher as Frank Enright missed a gimmee (for him) after Michael Dempsey was fouled. Kevin O'Donovan did make it a two point margin briefly but Craughwell responded to reduce the margin to a minimum. Craughwell looked to have broken through for another goal but a brave last ditch full length dive by a defender saw the ball knocked clear to safety. As the half backs had done throughout John Faherty and Paul Burke exchanged passes to put Paul in space. He went route one into Frank Enright, who gathered all the frustration of the previous miss and pulled overhead JBM style. When the net lifted behind him, the Craughwell keeper knew he was beaten. His third overhead goal and fourth score in five matches. Four points up, three minutes left everyone breathing easier. Craughwell did pull it back to three but fittingly, the final score was Paul Burke's, converting a 65m at the end. Final score 2-15 to 4-05 and a quarter final place secured on the field of play.

Magh Cuilinn: Michael Darcy, Paddy Walsh, David Faherty, Raymond Walsh, Paul Burke, Henry Lydon, John Faherty, Richard Neylon. Kevin O'Donovan, Conor Noone, Paraic Dunne, David Bohan, Frank Enright, Michael Dempsey, Shane Barrett.

Substitutes: Alan Kelly for Patrick Walsh, Fiachra Davoren for Richard Neylon, James Donohue

P.S. It's good to see the skill of overhead striking has not died out. Andrew Hurney claimed a point in similar fashion in the Minor game.