Not alone did it take the GRD lads a day yesterday but it also took David Gilligan and a team of players this morning, Ray Moran, Edo Flannery and Kenny Duane under the observation of Jayo Finn (minding himself for the match) who acted so pragmatically in the circumstances, digging shores and forking the pitch to drain the pockets of water logged and ensure it was playable for this important Connacht Shield game. The U14 game was forfeited to give the pitch every chance of the Connacht game proceeding and so it did. Both Colemanstown and Cregmore took to a heavy pitch but it didn’t affect the standard of play, the passion or the will to win.
To be fair, Colemanstown were the better team and reigned supreme from the start. There were no obvious signs of rustiness even though they had not played a competitive game for almost 2 months. Colemanstown opened their account on 15mins after Padraig Quirke was fouled and when Ronnie Geraghty whipped in the free kick, it found Jason Finn sliding in at the back post to finish well with his boot. 5 mins later Colemanstown had a great passage of play; Enda Cunniffe originated the move down the far side of the field, linked up with Squelchy who found Richie Lally lurking on the edge of the box and his cracking volley almost smashed the crossbar in 2. It would have been nothing short of sublime had it found the net. It gave Colemanstown the start they required although Cregmore created some half chances but Colemanstown custodian John Gormally did well in tough ball handling conditions. Cregmore applied some pressure and won successive corners which were defended well while straight from the ensuing long kick out, Ray Moran got on the end of play but his weak shot was easily saved by Cregmore’s keeper. Soon afterwards Sean Walsh had a great chance with a diving header after a good cross from Ray Moran but he mis-timed the header and belted the ground with disgust. Not long before half time Richie Lally thought his effort was gone in but was whipped off the goal line by the visitors defence. Then a quickly taken corner taken by Ronnie Geraghty was whipped in by Richie but Jayo’s header at the back post was well over the bar. 1-0 at half time.
The 2nd half started in the same vein with Colemanstown well on top as Squelchy had a chance within a minute but his effort went across the face of goal. Richie Lally then had an effort which wasn’t too far wide while another soon after ricocheted off the Cregmore defender and hit off himself, knocking the wind out of his sails for a bit. But Richie doesn’t lie for too long, up he got, ran off the injury, cleaned off the jersey and back to the action. 22mins into the 2nd half, Jayo Finn did great work down the flank, found Squelchy with his cross and he held his composure to slot under the keepers legs for his first goal of the season. Such was the exuberant celebrations of his mother in the stand that the lads in Burke’s pub didn’t know if it was a foreign channel breaking through or where the racket was coming from until they stood at the pub door, looked across the fields and saw Ann Walsh swinging her cap in delight as Squelchy gave the lads a bit more breathing space. He almost gave her another chance to celebrate soon afterwards but this time lashed his effort over the crossbar. Enda Cunniffe had a chance on 80mins after young Geordan Kenny squared the ball across to him but his effort went right across the face of goal. With 5 mins to go Ray Moran killed the game with a great individual effort as he won the ball in midfield, throttled forward and curled his effort past the keeper. Kevin Reilly went close right at the death but was just wide of the mark.
It was a great squad performance restricting the visitor’s possession and great to have a game under the belt again after the long Christmas break. Although Richie had a hat-trick of misses, it didn’t matter in the end as this win puts us into the Quarter Final of the Shield competition, draw to be made on Tuesday.
Squad: John Gormally, Ronnie Geraghty, Garry O’Grady, Jayo Finn, Enda Cunniffe, Padraig Quirke, Gary Lally the ladeen, Ray Moran, Stephen Walsh, Richie Lally, Sean Walsh. Substitutions: Kevin Reilly for Sean Walsh, Jack Kennedy for Padraig Quirke, Sean Hardiman for Garry O’ Grady, Geordan Kenny for Squelchy, Ronan Carr for Richie Lally, Edmund Flannery.
Next weekend sees a busy weekend of action for all our teams. A team are home to Tuam Celtic, Reserves are home to Merlin Woods, U14’s have an early KO at home to Knocknacarra while U12’s are away to Corrib Rangers in Westside. Let’s hope Brian & PJ can mind our pitch between now and then as we pray for a rain free week in the West of Ireland.