FL Div 4: Cortown stayin' alive in promotion race

May 23, 2019

Cortown's Hugh Staunton

Cortown 1-17  St Marys 0-5

A second half avalanche provided just the tonic for Cortown to blow a plucky St Mary’s away on a beautiful Wednesday evening in Cortown. Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, it wasn’t all that straight forward for Anthony Monaghan’s men who only led by 3 at the interval.

It was the Mary’s who started the brighter of the two with a fine score. Cortown responded with Ryan O’Rourke finding Davy Rispin with a pinpoint pass before curling over. The hosts led soon after when Tommy Smith lashed over followed quickly by a debatable O’Rourke point, one which umpire Cormac O’Halloran had no doubt about awarding however!

Cortown despite leading were labouring and the Donore men were growing in confidence and following a score they were presented with a wonderful goal chance but were brilliantly foiled by a superb stop from Paul Stanley along with a goal-line clearance from big Richie Flanagan who was enjoying another fine outing.

Smith would curl over another score before the Faithful Kevin McGuinness elected to fist over with the goal and two men free to his right and left, typical Offaly man! The Mary’s would fend off a few dangerous Cortown attacks standing up valiantly to all that was thrown at them to end a forgettable first half with the hosts leading 5-2.

Cortown had to improve, in truth they couldn’t be much worse and so they did. O’Rourke set the tone when he smashed into the top corner of the net after McGuinness had kept alive a shock shot from Conor Mulroe. It seemed to break the visitors resistance and Cortown would soon start to open the floodgates with Smith pointing from play and O’Rourke tapping over a routine free.

Big Decky Clarke and Daragh Smith were starting to raid forward and when Sergeant Brían Smith fired over, Cortown were cruising to yet another win. Rispin floated over before Hugh Staunton rounded off a fine team move with a fabulous effort at the angle. Barry Canning was enjoying another fine game at 3, continuing his recent Renaissance.

Marys responded but it was only temporary respite before cut in from the endline and riffled over. Justin Reilly was introduced soon after and despite carrying a knock from the weekends exploits in Clonbur/Ballinrobe, he announced his arrival in style with a vintage score on the turn to the amazement of the onlookers.

Smith would bring his tally to 4 with a lovely right footed effort before his namesake was denied a certain goal by a stunning save from the Marys netminder at the expense of a point. Stevie Clarke also entered the fray late on and his direct delivering caused havoc with Rispin benefiting with another. Staunton would almost taunt the defenders then with some excellent close control before slipping to Rispin at just the right team who concluded the scoring.   

Overall, it was a much improved second half performance from Monaghan’s men, the type of performance they will need to replicate when the visit near neighbours Clann na nGael in a tantalizing promotion clash next Wednesday. Cortown will take heart from their stunning recent unbeaten run which now stands at 11 in all competitions, stretching 10 weeks at this stage.

Cortown: Paul Stanley, Declan Clarke, Barry Canning, John McGearty, Daragh Smith, Daragh O’Halloran, Decky Clarke, Richie Flanagan, Hugh Staunton (0-1), Conor Mulroe, Kevin McGuinness (0-1), Brían Smith (0-2), Davy Rispin (0-5), Ryan O’Rourke (1-3,1f), Tommy Smith (0-4).

Subs: Colm Kerrigan for Mulroe, Stevie Clarke for Flanagan, Justin Reilly (0-1) for McGuinness.

Referee: Tom Lowton (Simonstown)

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