SFC semi-final: Ward ties up O'Mahony's
October 12, 2009
Wolfe Tones Cian Ward
Navan O'Mahony's 0-14
Wolfe Tones 0-14
For the second time in less than 24 hours, extra-time failed to produce winners in football championship semi-finals at Pairc Tailteann as a sensational late leveller from Cian Ward kept Wolfe Tones' hopes of repeating their 2006 SFC triumph alive.
Ross Geraghty's fourth point three minutes into the second of the additional periods gave holders O'Mahonys a slender advantage which they held until Tones were awarded a free in a difficult position 40 metres out near the right sideline under the stand.
However, Ward held his nerve and once again displayed his undoubted class to send the ball soaring between the uprights for his eighth point and seventh from a placed ball. At the end of encounter which was not nearly as enjoyable as the first 'semi,' a draw was the fairest outcome.
However, Tones' joy at gaining the replay was tainted by the sending off of strong midfielder Stephen Corrigan, who was shown a straight red card by referee Cormac Reilly just before the late equaliser.
Wolfe tones took advantage of their opponents continuing to be without county players Kevin Reilly and Stephen Bray by racing into a 0-5 to 0-1 advantage in the opening 17 minutes despite playing against the breeze, They had five different scorers in that spell, Darren McGrath, Paul Byrne, Alan Fox, Ward and Niall McLoughlin.
O'Mahonys got back on level terms before Stephen Sheppard was fouled and Ward made the scores 0-7 to 0-6 at the first break.
The sides were level at 0-7 and 0-8 each before Sheppard and Ward (close-in free) gave Tones the advantage again. Cormac McGuinness and Henry Finnegan (free) got the Navan side back on level terms and the odds were on extra-time which neutral spectators hardly wanted on a cold evening.
On 59 minutes Ward fired over his only point from play, a brilliant effort from 40 metres on the left. Fox had the chance to wrap up the final but shot wide and O'Mahonys took heart from their let-off with Paddy Smyth popping up to keep them in the championship.
The 2006 champions should have been out of sight at that stage for they hit a total of 12 wides to just two by their opponents over the regulation hour during which Ward also missed a clear goal chance.
It was 0-11 each when curiously the teams went in for a 10-minute break before starting extra-time. The standard did not improve but O'Mahonys could have wrapped up the win in the first 10-minute period.
After points from Ross Geraghty and Smyth, Shane McKeigue hit the woodwork when it looked easier to net. By then Niall McKeigue and Barry Regan had gone off with injuries, adding to the Navan woes.
However, when Geraghty put over his fourth score it looked as if they could reach a fourth successive Keegan Cup decider. But, not for the first time, Ward proved to be a saviour.
O'Mahonys - M Brennan; D Moran, N McKeigue, S O'Toole; G O'Brien, S Crosby, C McGuinness (0-2); B Regan, M Ward; L Russell (0-1), R Geraghty (0-4), H Finnegan (0-3, 3 frees); D Bray (0-1), S McKeigue (0-1), P Smyth (0-2). Subs - C Reilly for N McKeigue (half-time), D Maguire for Moran (45), J Regan for Russell (50), G O'Dowd for B Regan (62).
Wolfe Tones - D Nolan; D Brady, C McLoughlin, C Martin, B McGinn, E Harrington, S Sheppard (0-1); S Corrigan, G Beggy; D McGrath (0-1), N McLoughlin (0-1), M Coleman; A Fox (0-1), C Ward (0-8, 7 frees), P Byrne (0-2). Subs - A Callaghan for Byrne (47), J Tiernan for McGrath (56), D Browne for Beggy (start of extra-time), R McDonnell for Coleman (half-time extra-time).
Referee - C Reilly (St Mary's).
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