Intermediate Football Championship - Round 1

30/03/2019
Kildimo/Pallaskenry 2-11 Galtee Gaels 3-20

Our first ever match at the Intermediate grade in football ended in disappointment in Bruff, as a strong Galtee Gaels side produced a blitz finish after what had been a good performance from our lads! We played some excellent football at times, particularly in the first half, and were level with 15 minutes to go. However, we did seem to run out of steam and Galtee Gaels were clinical in their execution and showed us that it is a step up from junior football!

We roared out of the blocks and showed no fear in the opening half and kicked the first four scores of the game. When Peter Nash collected the ball inside in the forward line, he sold a lovely dummy and popped the ball out to Conor Staff who curled a glorious point over the bar with his left foot. After some good defensive work saw Galtee Gaels kick a wide, John Chawke pinged a deadly accurate kickout straight into the clutches of Dylan Corrigan who marauded from inside in his own half right through the heart of the Galtee Gaels defence, before landing a superb point. We went three points to the good when a brilliant crossfield pass by Conor Staff picked out the equally-brilliant run of Cathal Downes, who had travelled 50 metres to get into space, Cathal was fouled and Peter Nash popped the free over the bar.

If the pass from Conor was good, it was followed up with an even better one from Tony McCarthy. He struck a sweet pass from way out on the touchline 45 metres out which flighted beautifully over the heads of defenders and goalkeeper alike and found Darren O’Connell who had sneaked in around the back and was on hand to paw home a goal from close range! Our blistering start had given us a six-point advantage and our opponents were struggling to come to grips with our play. However, they have proven quality all over the field and also showed their character to work their way back into contention. Some slick interplay saw them work their way up the pitch to create a goal chance; our intercounty goalkeeper, John Chawke, produced a fantastic save to stop the first effort but unfortunately, the rebound broke to a Galtee Gaels player who found the back of the net.

But even after that setback, we responded with a couple of scores. Peter Nash hit another free after Darren O’Connell was tackled around the neck as he bore down a goal before Tony McCarthy clipped a beautiful shot which found its way over the bar with the help off the crossbar. Galtee Gaels knew they were in a contest and to be fair, dug deep and began to exert some control at kickout time and slowly started to reel in our lead by kicking a number of scores in a row. They did get a run us enough to take the lead but we then found our second wind and started to control possession a bit more before the break. A clever ball up the line from Lorcan O’Leary found Darren O’Connell, who again sliced through the Galtee Gaels defence and was hauled to ground which allowed Peter to clip over a third free of the afternoon. Dylan Corrigan was then almost poleaxed as he attempted to carry the ball past the Galtee Gaels ’45, but Cathal Downes punished the indiscretion with a monster free. This left the sides level but a late point saw our opponents go in at the break a point up: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-7 Galtee Gaels 1-8.

It had been an excellent first-half performance against a very decent side, but if we started the first half well, it was our opponents who started the second half better and they kicked the first three points of the half, as we had in the first half. This opened up a four-point lead and it could have been worse when they worked another goal opportunity but again John Chawke did brilliantly to save and this time, we were able to work the ball to safety. We had struggled to launch as many attacks in the second half as our opponents pressed the middle third but good work from the likes of Tony McCarthy, Conor Staff, Darren O’Connell and Cathal Downes helped us break through. Conor Staff floated a dangerous ball in towards the goal and although the keeper managed to get a touch to it, both Paudie Walsh and Cathal Downes were on hand to direct it towards goal, with Cathal getting the final touch to send it to the back of the net for our second goal!

Brilliant play from Darren O’Connell then saw him kick us level with his left leg, and we were soon to retake the lead. A ball was played from left to right to Conor Staff who was in a lot of space; although Galtee Gaels got cover back to swarm him, Conor did excellently to step outside and swing over a point on his left foot to give us a one-point advantage. With just over 15 minutes to go, we had the lead and it looked like it was going to be a serious battle down the home stretch. However, our opponents seemed to find another gear while our previous saw us run out of steam and they were able to kick on. They rattled off a point in reply to Conor’s score before being awarded a penalty, which was duly dispatched past John. This was really the decisive score, it gave them a three-point lead once again and they never looked back.

Paudie Walsh kicked a point but we were unable to halt the run of scores for Galtee Gaels, and eventually we had to chase goals but their defence were unrelenting in their tackling, swarming our men and preventing our counter-backs. When they sat deep, we were unable to break through the cover and Keel Moloney popped over our final score late on. A third goal seven minutes into injury time put even more gloss on the scoreline from a Galtee Gaels perspective as they hit us with a devastating counter-attack. The final scoreline didn’t seem to be a fair reflection of the overall game, but it definitely showed us the harsh nature of football at this level; standards cannot drop at any stage in a game or they will be punished.

It is great to be competing at this level and our players will certainly learn their lessons from today! There were plenty of positives too, we had eight different scorers and played some very nice free-flowing football at times. Thanks to all involved and we look forward to our next outing against Gerald Griffins which takes place next Sunday in Askeaton at 6pm.

Team: John Chawke; Brian Howard, Lorcan O’Leary, Kevin O’Connell; Mossy Sheehan, Keel Moloney (0-1), Bob McKeogh; Tony McCarthy (0-1), Conor Staff (0-2), Cathal Downes (1-1, 0-1 free); Darren O’Connell (1-1), Darragh Deegan, Dylan Corrigan (0-1); Peter Nash (0-3, all frees), Paudie Walsh (0-1)

Subs: James Pomeroy for Brian Howard (half-time); Michéal Keating for Paudie Walsh (44 mins)