O'Mahonys repel Blackhall Gaels' rally

October 02, 2006
Navan O'Mahonys are through to their first SFC final since 1997 after repelling a strong Blackhall Gaels rally in the second semi-final of the Commons Hardware sponsored competition at Pairc Tailteann. Navan O'Mahonys ....... 2-12 Blackhall Gaels ............ 2-10 When O'Mahonys led by 1-8 to 0-2, 23 minutes into the hour last year's runners-up looked like a beaten docket, but with the sides tied at 2-9 each after 50 minutes, it looked as if the pendulum swung Blackhall's way. At this point O'Mahonys lost a free in a scoreable position but showed a degree of character to win the subsequent throw-in. From this the industrious Paddy Smyth found substitute David Murtagh with a crossfield ball and he placed Niall McKeigue who restored the Brews Hill side's lead. Two further points from Stephen Bray gave O'Mahonys some leeway, but in passing up two opportunities put some daylight between the sides they left the door slightly ajar until referee Joey Curley sounded the final whistle. Some of the Moynalty official's decisions, particularly in the third quarter, perplexed those associated with O'Mahonys and the free count of 28-11 in favour of Blackhall seemed a little excessive. O'Mahonys were guilty of conceding some ground through dissent but it seemed a bit strange that Barry Moyles (after the intervention of a linesman) was the only player from the losing side to recieve a yellow card. Four O'Mahonys players (Cormac McGuinness, Kevin Reilly, Henry Finnegan and Stephen Bray) were similarly sanctioned Backed by the breeze blowing into the hospital end, O'Mahonys had three points on the board before David Carty got Blackhall Gaels off the mark with a pointed free in the 11th minute. When the impressive Cormac McGuinness, filling in at midfield for the injured team captain Neville Dunne, chalked up his second point the board read 0-5 to 0-1. With Kevin Reilly tracking Anthony Moyles and Paddy Smyth picking up a lot of breaking ball, O'Mahonys continued in the ascendancy and it took a fine save from Martin Whelan 20 minutes in to deny Henry Finnegan a goal. A minute later Thomas Loughran slotted to the net after Stephen Bray cut in along the end line while his brother David slotted over three times from play in the opening period. Points from Jonathan Meyler and Paddy Brady (free) cut the deficit to seven points, 0-2 to 1-8, by half-time. Blackhall Gaels sent two scoreable frees wides within minutes of the restart but were back in contention when Mark Crampton capitalised on a mistake by O'Mahonys goalkeeper Mark Brennan before netting in the 36th minute. With the gap down to two points (1-6 to 1-8), O'Mahonys responded with Loughran's second goal after good approach play involving Damien Moran, McGuinness and Stephen Bray. With Moyles and Mark Ferris taking a grip at midfield and Alan Nestor picking up some delightful points, Blackhall Gaels remained in contention. A misplaced pass by Moran allowed Moyles to place David Carty who beat Brennan at his near post to tie scores for the only time. Just when it looked as if Blackhall might repeat their Houdini Act of last year against the same opposition, O'Mahonys found an extra gear. However, the early departure of Shane McKeigue (injured) and the frailties in defence that opened the door for the Batterstown/Kilcloon side will be a cause for concern for the the winners ahead of the final clash with Wolfe Tones. Navan O'Mahonys - M. Brennan (C); D. Moran, C. Reilly, S. MacGabhann; S. Crosby, N. McKeigue (0-1), L. Russell; C. McGuinness (0-2), K. Reilly; D. Bray (0-4, 1 free), P. Smyth (0-1, free), H. Finnegan (0-1); S. McKeigue, T. Loughran (2-0), S. Bray (0-3). Subs - S. Keating for S. McKeigue (8 mins), D. Murtagh for Keating (47 mins), G. O'Brien for Loughran (60 mins). Blackhall Gaels - M. Whelan; D. O'Brien, G. Beirne, B. Moyles; D. Beirne, P. Brady (0-1, free), D. O'Neill; A. Moyles (C), M. Ferris; A. Nestor (0-4), N. Nestor, J. Callanan; D. Carty (1-3, 3 frees), J. Meyler (0-1), M. Crampton (1-1). Subs - N. O'Hora for Callanan (46 mins), J. Joyce for N. Nestor (55 mins), P. Nestor for Carty (60 mins). Referee - J. Curley (Moynalty).

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