Annacurra march on
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
Annacurra 1-13, Eire Og Greystones 0-11: Annacurra footballers, knocking on the door of Senior status twice already this infant century, are back in the Darcy Sand Intermediate football championship final for the first time since 2004.
Back then they were beaten by Avondale but while in the previous year they lost out by a point to Newtown after a marathon three games and two periods of extra-time.
Last Sunday’s semi-final joust with Eire Og, whom they beat by five points at Aughrim, did not live up to the excitement, drama and football quality of five years ago but nevertheless it was a much better contest than the second semi-final that followed.
However, one thing was on a par with 2003 and that was the sheer quality of the football and phenomenal accuracy of Annacurra’s corner-forward Clive Horan who is back playing to his brilliant best once more.
Horan seems to have a radar sensory system that picks out opponent’s goalposts without even looking and he rarely misses the target from play or frees. That was again the case on Sunday as he banged over nine of their thirteen points from another exhibition of score-taking.
Eire Og’s corner-forward, evergreen Johnny Barry, was also on song for the Greystones men, accounting for over half of their eleven points total, but centre-forward Darren Hayden had a rather quite game for the seasiders by his high standards, for once failing to get on his team’s score-sheet.
However, it was the Greystones lads who had the better of the exchanges in the opening half and they were not flattered to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, with Johnny Barry leading the charge and wing-forward Declan O’Mahony scoring a magnificent point after 17 minutes, the ball flicked into his path by Anto Byrne.
Indeed Eire Og had a whirlwind start and looked as if they were going to blow their opponents out of the water as they raced into a 0-3 lead in the first five minutes, two scored by Barry and the third by Martin Peters, the other corner-forward.
Annacurra did not open their account until the sixth minute, the point coming from Clive Horan following a free by Alan Horan for a foul on Frank Clune by Stephen Chester Kelly, who did not have one of his better games for the Greystones, conceding quite a few frees to the opposition.
Clive Horan cut the gap between the sides to one point when he pointed a free on ten minutes and the play ebbed and flowed between the sides all the way through with Eire Og shaping up marginally the better of the two teams.
The game took something of a turn-around after the restart with the pendulum swinging in favour of Annacurra on the change over.
Full-forward Frank Clune set the ball rolling with an excellent point from the left wing and more and more Annacurra kept surging forward with Ciaran Shannon and Johnny Thompson getting the upperhand at midfield and Alan Byrne driving ahead from the wing-back position.
Inside three minutes Annacurra were level with their opponents (0-7 each) as Patrick Moules, another influential attacker, pointed and Clive Horan gave them the lead for the first time of the match after 35 minutes; Frank Clune doing well to hook the ball across the face of the goal after he had hit the deck on the left flank near the end line.
At the other end Anto Byrne, the Eire Og full-forward, drew the foul from his marker, thus teeing up the levelling point (08 each) for Johnny Barry from the free, but Clive Horan pointed Annacurra back in the lead after Clune won another free off Chester Kelly.
Annacurra were on the ascendancy, typified by a marvellous darting run down the right flank by Alan Byrne to make himself available for a line-ball from Mick O’Brien and win the free and point for Clive Horan.
On 45 minutes corner-back Kenny Naughton finished off a good move involving Stephen Kelly, Anto Byrne and an improving Darren Hayden with a splendid point and the margin was down to a minimum once more -0-10 to 0-9.
Patrick Moules worked a onetwo with Clive Horan but Horan shot wide for a change; at the other end Darren Hayden was also off the mark with his attempt for a point. As the battled reached a defining final quarter, Eire Og introduced Paul Doherty for midfielder Danny English.
After six minutes of stalemate Clive Horan swung over three points in as many minutes, one from a free and this gave his team a vital four points cushion (0-13 to 0-9) entering the last five minutes.
Eoin Bambrick pulled a point back Eire Og but then Billy Codd wrapped this game up for Annacurra when he volleyed to the net from close range after Alan Horan’s effort from a flicked pass from Clive Horan rebounded off the post.
It was curtains for Eire Og at that stage and Annacurra were back in another intermediate final.
Scorers for Annacurra were: Clive Horan (0-9), Billy Codd (10), Patrick Moules (0-3), and Frank Clune (0-1).
Eire Og Greystones scorers: Johnny Barry (0-6), Eoin Bambrick (0-2), Declan O’Mahony, Martin Peters and Kenny Naughton (0-1 each).
Annacurra: Michael Doyle, Liam Moules, Ciaran Byrne, Shane McAllister, Alan Byrne, Sean O’Neill, Paul McDonald, Ciaran Shannon, Johnny Thompson, Mick O’Brien, Alan Horan, Willy Codd, Clive Horan, Frank Clune. Subs: Peter Clancy for C. Shannon.
Eire Og Greystones: Billy Norman, Cian O’Sullivan, Stephen Chester Kelly, Kenny Naughton, Craig Smullen, Alan Costello, Sean Horan, James Leonard, Danny English, Declan O’Mahony Darren Hayden, Eoin Bambrick, Martin Peters, Anto Byrne, Johnny Barry. Subs: Paul Doherty for D. English, Ronan Hannaway for S. Horan, James Kelly for D. O’Mahony
Referee: Damien Byrne gan).
Alan Horan of Annacurra out-jumps Kenny Naughton.