SFC: Duleek/Bellewstown overcome Blackhall

August 17, 2014

Duleek Bellewstown's Padraig Howard
Duleek Bellewstown 3-8
Blackhall Gaels 1-8

Helped by a brace of goals from Padraig Howard Duleek Bellewstown continued their recent good league form of late and maintained their push for qualification from Group A when defeating Blackhall Gaels in this closely fought Hogan Stand Senior Football championship encounter in Ashbourne on a windy Saturday evening.

Playing against a strong wind Duleek Bellewstown faced a determined Blackhall attack in the opening 5 minutes which resulted in 3 wides. But they opened the scoring on 5 minutes when Robin Clarke was on the receiving end of a quick free and his pass to Con Mc Ginley was quickly offloaded to John Flood and he calmly buried the ball in the right corner. Flood then quickly pointed a free following a free on Marc Collins to further extend the lead. Blackhall opened their scoring on the 10th minute following a loose pass out of the Duleek Bellewstown defence which Blackhall intercepted and pointed.

With both defences on top clear cut scoring opportunities were in short supply in the opening half but Blackhall did have the better of the exchanges and opportunities and possibly should have closed the gap before the 21st minute when John Kelly reduced the difference to 2 with a long range point . Duleek Bellewstown got their scoring back on track in the 23rd minute when Marc Collins found himself at the end of a passing interchange between Podge Howard and Eanna Byrne and he surged through the middle of the Blackhall defence to point from 30 yards.

The second goal came a couple of minutes later when Mark Collins picked up a breaking ball on the left wing and fed John Flood . Flood's cross field shot was held up by the wind as it headed wide and Padraig Howard came ghosting in from the right wing and gained possession of the dropping ball and buried a left foot shot to the roof of the Blackhall net. Duleek Bellewstown then sought to extend their lead only for a Casey Dunne shot to drift narrowly wide following a good interception by Michael Dowling who found the overlapping Robin Clarke, who placed Dunne on the run.

Following the kick out Con McGinley extended the lead to 7 points when pointed after an Anthony Burke knockdown pass to him from a left wing solo and pinpoint pass to Burke from Stephen McArdle .

But Blackhall then used the wind and their passing strengths to engineer 2 further points before the break to leave 5 points between the sides at the interval.

Duleek Bellewstown 2-3 Blackhall Gaels 0-4

Blackhall opened the second half as they finished the first with a point in the first minute and began to dominate around the middle third but the Duleek Bellewstown full back line were in no mood to concede as they broke up the attacks . On 6 minutes Con McGinley was at the end of a Mark Collins pass after Collins picked up a clearance following another breakdown in a Blackhall attack and following a run down the right wing which placed Mc Ginley in the clear and he calmly slotted from 30 yards on the right.

Then in 8th minute saw the move that probably sealed the win. Another Blackhall attack was this time broken up on the left side of defence and the ball found its way to Stephen McArdle and Macca went off on one of his solo run's. He spotted Podge Howard steaming up on his right around the half way line and flicked a pass over the covering defender. Howard still had 50 yards to go but he side stepped two of the defenders on his way before shooting for goal from just inside the 13 meter line. The shot was parried by the Blackhall keeper but the rebound was bundled to the net of a Blackhall defender..

Despite this setback Blackhall continued to pressurise the Duleek Bellewstown defense but their only reward was another John Kelly point on 14 minutes. The effect the wind was having was demonstrated two minutes later when Ricky Nolan fielded a Blackhall attempt at a point which got held up in the wind and from his clearance Marc Collins found Casey Dunne in the centre and Dunne then picked out John Flood racing down the left wing and having secured possession Flood found corner back John McDonnell on the overlap and he calmly slotted a left footed point.

Straight from the kick out Casey intercepted a Blackhall pass. He found Marc Collins and flicked a pass to John Flood on the loop and the lead was out to nine with three quarters of the game gone.

Despite the score difference both teams were giving their all and mistakes were being made. In one two minute spell both teams intercepted each about 3 times each as both teams tried to maintain possession but in doing so rushed their passes to turnover possession.

Nonetheless on the 20th minute the lead was reduced by one with a point and to add further injury centre back David Moore received a black card as a result of a tackle in the lead up to the point. However Duleek continued to break down the Blackhall attacks and with their turnover pace were generating their own attacks but some poor option taking resulted in a couple of wides when points were available for the taking

WITH David Moore gone Podge Howard manned the middle of the defence and he broke down a couple of attacks for the expense of 45's. With 5 minutes to go Robin Clarke was also guilty of a blocking offense and he too received the 'black'. The reorganisation of the defense allowed Blackhall to point from a free but this was responded to almost immediately with another long range point from the right wing by Stephen Nolan.

As the game entered injury time Con Mc Ginley Pointed following an Anthony Burke pass to extend the lead gain to nine points but Backhall had the last say when they completed the scoring with a last minute injury time goal from the penalty spot.

This was a win gained through teamwork and determination. Overall the Blackhall attack may be disappointed with the number of wides they recorded in the first half but thoughout the game they were well marshalled by the Duleek Bellewstown defense who forced turnovers or forced the opposition into rushing their shots. The defense had massive performances from the full back line of Brannigan, McCann and McDonnell, while the in the half back line Robin Clarke had an excellent debut. The midfield pairing of Eanna Byrne and Michal Dowling also got through an enormous amount of work while up front the goal scorers Howard and Flood along with Collins and Dunne caused the Blackhall defense trouble throughout the evening.

Duleek Bellewstown - A Dowling, J Brannigan , K McCann, J McDonnell (0-1),, R Clarke, D Moore S Mc Ardle, M Dowling, E Byrne ,J Flood(1-2) M Collins (0-1) C Dunne , A Burke C MGinley (0-3) P Howard (2-0) Subs K Collins, P Howard, S Nolam (0-1) P Curran, B Moore.

Score: Blackhall Gaels 1-8 Duleek/Bellewstown 3-8

So often we hear the old cliché of "Goals win games" but never was it as true as on Saturday night when the concession of two first half goals was the foundation for this Duleek/Bellewstown win.

Blackhall were without the influential Alan Nestor who this week began treatment for cancer but he was in the hearts and minds of the players as they threw everything at their opponents up until the full time whistle.

Having won at the same venue on Thursday night in the Junior C championship the Gaels were looking for a similar rub of the green in Ashbourne on Saturday evening. Fortunately for Duleek/Bellewstown their juniors also had a win in the curtain raiser so the spirit was high in both camps.

A favourable wind is no surprise in Ashbourne and on Saturday night it blew towards the town end goals where Blackhall were shooting in the opening half. But it was the men in green who made the first mark on the game, a goal on five minutes came as a hammer blow to Blackhall. The Gaels were in further trouble moments later when the goalscorer pointed a free from close range. Dermot Carty opened up the scoring for Blackhall inside the ten minute mark, John Kelly followed up with another point from distance some ten minutes later to leave it 1-1 to 0-2 as both sides came to terms with the wind and the rock hard surface. Duleek/Bellewstown were further ahead minutes later when they pointed from distance before the second hammer blow to the Gaels came on 26 minutes. Duleek/Bellewstown gained possession of a high floating ball and Podge Howard blasted to the net. They followed it up with another score to leave it 2-3 to 0-2 with three minutes to play. Blackhall recovered well with points from Sean Whelan and Niall Kelly but the half time whistle came as the Gaels looked to regain a foothold in the game.

Half time Duleek/Bellewstown 2-3 Blackhall Gaels 0-4

The break in play didn't halt Blackhall as they restarted with an early point through Dan O'Neill. Duleek/Bellewstown responded almost immediately before Howard got his second goal of the night and left Blackhall with a mountain to climb. It was now 3-4 to 0-5.

John Kelly sent over his second of the night as the Gaels refused to lie down. Duleek/Bellewstown pushed the lead out to nine with a brace of points. Despite the deficit the Kilcloon/Batterstown men kept pushing for the goal they so badly needed. Sean Whelan added his second of the night as Duleek/Bellewstown were forced into two substitutions following two black card offences. Tadhg Brosnan converted a free but again Duleek/Bellewstown responded well with a brace of points as the clock struck the thirty minute mark. Blackhall continued their pursuit for that goal and they were reward with a penalty in injury time. Sean Whelan converted the spot kick to the sound of the final whistle so it was only a consolation for their efforts. Blackhall will rue missed chances in the opening half but Duleek/Bellewstown were worthy of their win and maintain their quest for a quarter final. As for Blackhall they surrender their challenge and look to finish the year on a high with a league final and junior final in the coming weeks.

Final score Duleek/Bellewstown 3-8 Blackhall Gaels 1-8

Blackhall Gaels - T.Dalton , C.Stenson , C.McElligott , D.Tobin , N.Kelly (0-1), S.Morris , Dan Carty , T.Brosnan (0-1), P.O'Brien , J.Kelly (0-2), C.Giblin , T.Delany , Dermot Carty (0-1), D.O'Neill (0-1), S.Whelan (1-2). Subs: D.Durkan , P.Kelly

Referee: Donal Smyth

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