An Tóchar go through
GAELIC GAMES KEATING TROPHY FIRST ROUND
An Tóchar 1-10; Tinahely 19: Three of the heroes of An Tochar’s history making Senior football championship victory of 1995, Liam Cullen, Shay Nolan and Donal McGillycuddy were again the key players when the Roundwood men had there most significant win in recent years.
They turned in one of their best displays in a long time against the holders Tinahely and dumped them out of the Keating Trophy in this first round match, played at Pearse Park Arklow on Saturday.
This is Wicklow’s second most important Senior football competition and as well as a trophy at the end it also has a sting in the tail as the team finishing on the bottom of the pile is relegated to Intermediate ranks.
It is a straight, old style knockout competition all the way with no second chance saloon to soften the blow. It was that fear of relegation that inspired An Tochar, and in particular the three proud warriors of another era to lift their game and put on a super show. Donie Mac got 1- 7 out of their 1-10; Liam Cullen had a great game in goal and brought off two super saves while the Red Nolan was the key figure in a good defence.
Tinahely had no such motivating factor and while they played well enough the same ‘hunger’ for victory was missing.
The warning signs were posted early on for the champions with An Tóchar getting the first three points of the match. Former Kerry star Mike Hassett set up Donal McGillycuddy for a point that could have been a goal in the fourth minute, Enda Nolan and Donie Mac added more points as Tinahely slumbered on.
All that changed rapidly when Alan Nolan got Tinahely’s first point in the 11th minute; county Minor Brian Walsh was through with a real goal chance a minute later but veteran ‘keeper Liam Cullen, playing his first Senior game in a long time, brought off a brilliant save at the expense of a point.
Tinahely were flying at that stage and were not to be denied their goal. Former county player David Dillon powered his way through the An Tóchar defence but Cullen made another super save. However, Dillon followed up and volleyed the rebound to the net.
Tinahely were in front and by half-time had stretched the lead to 1-6 to 0-5.
If An Tóchar has started the first-half well they got the second-half off to an even better start. Donal McGillycuddy powered through the Tinahely defence for a great goal inside a minute and then pointed a free to level the scores for the first time three minutes later.
The hyper-active Colm Kenny pointed to restore the Tinahely lead but Donie Mac levelled the game once more and than fired the Roundwood men two points in front.
Enda Kavanagh put three between the sides by the 50th minute but that proved to be their last score.
Tinahely staged a strong comeback in a bid to save the day, but a combination of poor shooting and good defending slowed their progress. Alan Nolan pointed a free with two minutes to go and Colm Kenny sent over another on 60 minutes but An Tóchar held on through four minutes of injurytime to qualify for the semifinals.
Man of the match Donal McGillycuddy who scored 1-7 (3 frees) has not been in such devastating form since An Tóchar held the holders Eire Og of Carlow to a draw in the Leinster club final back in 1995.