Masita All-Ireland Paul McGirr Cup semi-final

March 10, 2019

St Colman’s Newry 2-7 St Gerald’s Castlebar 2-6

CONSIDERING that both these teams had been scoring well in their respecitive provincial competitions, those who turned up in Clonguish expecting a high-scoring shoot out would have gone home disappointed. But they did witness a titanic struggle that necessitated 20 extra minutes before Mayobridge’s Adam Crimmins sealed a win for St Colman’s Newry.

The Danske Bank Rannafast Cup champions found the going tough on a heavy pitch but they were the better side in the first half with the wind on their backs and led by 0-4 to 0-1 at the turn with points from Ronan Fitzpatrick, Dan McCarthy, Oran McCafferty and Adam Crimmins against a very disciplined Castlebar defence led by Conor Tunney.

Against the breeze, St Colman’s remained in control; Crimmins added a free and then delivered a high ball into the area and Oisin O’Hare forced it home.

1-5 to 0-1 up with 15 minutes to go. What could go wrong? Well, a lot really. Firstly possession was given away easily in the Newry defence, Joe Mellett took a solo and hit the net from 30 metres for as good a strike as you will see at any level.

Although Castlebar quickly added a point, points from Crimmins and McCarthy looked to have taken St Colman’s out of trouble. But Paul Walsh tagged on a Castlebar point and then intercepted a pass in the Newry defence to get through on goal. Conor Deery saved well, but the ball came off a post and Eoin Hughes stabbed it home.

Walsh then levelled the scores. But there was plenty of time for more drama as Castlebar got the ball into the Newry net again. But it was disallowed for players in the area and both teams finished the game by pulling efforts at points just wide.

St Gerald’s had the momentum, if not the breeze and they scored the only two points of the first period of extra time.

But St Colman’s dug out a result with a move started by sub Tom Hardy at corner back. Moving through McCafferty, the ball finished with Crimmins and he fired it low into the corner with three minutes left on the clock. And they were able to retain possession to see them through.

Overall it turned out a difficult enough game for the Rannafast champions. Tom Hardy made a difference when introduced, Ronan Fitzpatrick and Padraig Clancy did well at midfield, while Tony Magee and Jack Howlett were pillars of strength in defence.

The forwards had to come deep at times and were well-marked throughout, but they still managed to find a way into the final on March 30th when they will face St Mary’s Knockbeg. The Carlow team defeated Intermediate Killorglin by 1-15 to 2-8 in their semi-final in Limerick.

St Colman’s : C Deery, A Norris, J Howlett, T Magee, R Campbell, P McGrane, R French, P Clancy, R Fitzpatrick (0-2), A Crimmins (1-2), C Rodgers, D McCarthy (0-1), M Hynes, O McCafferty (0-2), O O’Hare (1-0)

Subs : C McElroy for O O’Hare, T Hardy for A Norris, PJ Hughes for D McCarthy

St Gerald’s scorers : Joe Mellett (1-1), Eoin Hughes (1-1), Paul Walsh (0-4, 0-3 frees), Ryan Fadden (0-1)