SFC Prel. quarter-final: Dunshaughlin too good for Blackhall

September 26, 2009

Dunshaughlin's Ray Maloney
Dunshaughlin 1-12 Blackhall Gaels 1-04 Friday night lights may have lit up the excellent facilities of Ashbourne but it was a fantastic second half performance by Dunshaughlin that shone brightest in this preliminary quarter-final match up. The meeting of these two neighbouring clubs always draws a large crowd and this was no exception as the watching faithful were witness to a match that had all the trills and spills of a classic championship encounter. Blackhall Gaels hit the ground running and had the better of the opening quarter. Alan Nestor opened the scoring after five minutes with a free before the Gaels doubled there lead two minutes later. Good work by Niall Kelly after 9 minutes set Conor Staunton up for a score and the corner forward made no mistake. Paddy Brady then pointed for the Gaels to leave them 0-03 to 0-01 ahead after the opening 15 minutes. But the game really sprung to life in the second quarter with a number of crucial incidents. A Martin Reilly free had reduced the difference between the sides to the minimum before Blackhall Gaels were awarded a penalty. Nestor placed the ball and his effort low to the right was turned around the post by Dunshaughlin custodian Ronan Gogan. But to everyone's surprise, Gogan was adjudged to have moved too early. Referee Cormac Reilly gave Nestor a second bite at the cherry, this time the penalty was to be more of a battle of wits as Nestor and Gogan went head to head again. Gogan guessed the right way again but this time Nestor's shot went the wrong side of the post and trickled wide. But Dunshaughlin joy was short lived as the Gaels goaled. As halftime approached Dunshaughlin managed to half the Gaels four point lead. Reilly pointed after Richie Kealy was dragged to the ground and a moment later Ray Maloney was unceremoniously dumped to the ground with a trip, this time Niall Kelly did the honours by converting the free. As the first half entered injury time, Blackhall Gaels added a point to leave three between the sides at the break, the Batterstown/Kilcloon combination leading 1-04 to 0-04. Whatever was said in the Dunshaughlin dressing room at the break worked wonders as the side that took to the field was full of gusto and went for the jugular. They attacked with confidence and defended with maximum commitment. For Blackhall Gaels, the second half was thirty minutes of football they will want to forget very quickly. The black and ambers completely dominated the second period. Niall Kelly opened the second half scoring with a free, his trusty left boot never lets Dunshaughlin down. Anthony Johnson intercepted a Blackhall attack and set up brilliant move, Ray Maloney, Trevor Dowd and Richie Kealy all playing a part in the attack before county star Caoimhin King finished the move by raising a white flag. It really was a magnificent piece of play which got the approval of the large Dunshaughlin crowd watching from the stand. Johnson was involved in the next score, this time providing an incisive pass to Conor Staunton who was fouled in front of the posts, Martin Reilly confidently striking the free over the bar. With only five minutes of the second half played, Dunshaughlin had leveled the score. But they were a side full of commitment and confidence, following the lead of their captain Denis Kealy, and as the next ball broke Dunshaughlin were on to it and the tireless Staunton was one on one with the Blackhall keeper, Staunton making no mistake in finding the net. Kelly added another free as the game entered the final quarter. At this stage Blackhall hadn't produced a single second half attack of note, Dunshaughlin were in the driving seat. Ray Maloney and John Crimmins were having stellar games at centre field, Crimmins putting in great work to set up substitute Conor Devereux for a point after 18 minutes. Niall Kelly pointed from play on twenty minutes, Conor Staunton setting him up on this occasion. Deveruex added another point three minutes later, the industrious Maloney the provider as Dunshaughlin went into an unassailable seven point lead. Confidence was flowing throughout the black and amber side and with three minutes of normal time remaining Denis Kealy made a fantastic bust up the field, setting up David Crimmins who showed his class by taking a lovely point. In one final attempt to get on the score board, Blackhall Gaels threw everything they had at Dunshaughlin, but again came up short. A speculative shot at goals was headed for the net, that was until the excellent Kenny McTigue cleared off the line, rounding off what was an excellent night for Dunshaughlin. This was an excellent team performance by Dunshaughlin, but best on the night were Kenny McTigue, Denis Kealy, Ray Maloney, John Crimmins and Conor Staunton. Dunshaughlin - Ronan Gogan, Tommy Johnson, Kenny McTigue, Anthony Johnson, Denis Kealy, Michael McHale, Caoimhin King (0-1), Raymond Maloney, John Crimmins, Niall Kelly (0-4, 3 frees), Trevor Dowd, Martin Reilly(0-3, 3 frees), Richie Kealy, David Crimmins (0-1), Conor Staunton (1-1). Subs: Conor Devereux (0-2) for Martin Reilly, Michael Ahern for Richie Kealy, Ciaran Farrelly for Conor Staunton, Michael Johnson for Trevor Dowd.

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