In the groove
getting the opportunity from a placed ball and he duly obliged to send the ball over the black spot.
After such a poor opening Hollywood found themselves only a point down after 20 minutes and they gradually began to take over around the middle third with the likes of Matthew and Robert Kelly and Peadar Traynor winning countless balls and bursting forward or delivering into the two man forward line of Hannon and Joe Glennon.
The first goal duly arrived as the ball was delivered in long and early as PJ O’Keefe picked out Hannon who made no mistake with a smart finish to the bottom corner.
The goal was a real sucker-punch for Ashford and despite adding a couple of scores through Coen frees it was Hollywood who dominated till the end of the half with a further four scores, the pick of which was a peach from Robert Kelly with the outside of his right boot, to lead by five at the break.
The second half had a sense of inevitability about it as although Ashford clung on to Hollywood’s coat tails early on there was a sense that Hollywood were always going to pull away as they seemed to take over in most areas of the pitch.
Ashford did hit the first blow however as following a brilliant 40 yard run wing back, and probably Ashford’s best player on the day, Thomas Kearns has had his pile driver blocked only for substitute Cian Staunton to guide the rebound into the empty net to bring the deficit back to just three points.
Ashford badly needed the kick on and get the next few scores but to Hollywood’s credit they didn’t panic and completely took over at midfield.
O’Keefe and Hannon on the turn kicked a couple of great scores to extend the lead before centre back Mikey Healy split through the middle and got on the end of a good move to bury to the net and bury Ashford’s chances of a win once and for all.
Further gloss was added to the score as O’Keefe benefited from good work from Ciarán Tyrell to goal and Hollywood ran out 12 point winners in the end.
Scorers - Hollywood: Tony Hannon 1-7 (0-3 frees), PJ O’Keefe 1-1, Mikey Healy 1-0, Cian Tyrell 0-2, Stephen Kearney 0-1, Robert Kelly 0-1, Conor Burke 0-1.
Ashford: Brian Coen 0-5 (0-4 frees), Cian Staunton 1-0, Gavin Weir 0-1, Brian Shannon0-1.
STRATFORD-G’CON AN TOCHAR 1-11 1-10
STRATFORD took the spoils in this lively encounter in Round 1 of this D’Arcy Sands Intermediate Football Championship match played out in ideal conditions recently.
Joe Gaffney pointed in the second minute to get An Tochar off the mark. Stratford hit three bad wides before Ross Coogan opened their account in the fifth minute with a great long-range point.
Joe Gaffney was booked for a heavy tackle on his opponent moments later. Mikey Mangan doubled the lead after good work by Mark Landon.
Scores were hard to come by as both sets of defences were putting in a big shift. Goalie Peter O’Toole tried to be a little bit too precise with a kick-out, that was brilliantly read and intercepted by the ever-alert Jason Bolger, who laid off to Matt Manley whose shot just rose over the crossbar for a point.
In the 13th minute Peter O’Toole took the resultant kickout and it fell straight into the arms of Stratford’s number 13, Mark Murphy, thirty metres out, straight in front of the posts. Murphy let fly and ripped the net out of it with O’Toole rooted on the 13-metre line, cursing his luck, for a huge turning point in the game.
Liam Gaffney won the resultant kick-out and put through Mark Keenan on goal, but Paddy Cronin dived low to his right hand side for a brilliant save from Keenan’s shot, to the roars of approval from the large Stratford faithful, to close out the opening quarter.
Peter Byrne pointed a free for An Tochar’s second score, as they started to apply pressure. Liam Gaffney who was putting in a big shift, again fed Mark Keenan with a peach of a ball, but yet again the ball was scrambled out off the goal-line and cleared as another great chance went unpunished. Yet again, both defences stood firm as no score was registered for another ten minutes. Colin Byrne had a goal chance for the Slaneysiders but Peter O’Toole brilliantly saved and cleared.
Peter Byrne pointed another free for An Tochar to reduce the gap to three points. Brendan Kennedy and Peter Byrne let Stratford off the hook when tagging on a wide each.
In the 28th minute, Paddy Walsh brilliantly intercepted the ball on his own 14-metre line and soloed 80 metres up the pitch and landed an inspirational point for Stratford.
Matt Manley added another point after great work by Eoin O’Neill. Roundwood finished out the half adding on a brace of points from Brendan Kennedy and Conor Davis to leave the half-time score 1-05 to 0-05 in favour of Stratford-Grangecon.
An Tochar thought they had a penalty in the opening minute after the restart when Joe Gaffney went down under pressure in the big square, as his shot went wide, but Gareth Whelan deemed no foul. Kieran Byrne rounded his marker and tagged on a good point.
Manager Mervyn O’Neill brought on Mark Caplice and Diarmuid Cronin. Brendan Kennedy and Liam Gaffney were involved in all the good build up play by An Tochar and when Conor Davis was fouled, Peter Byrne pointed the free to reduce the deficit to three points. Eoin O’Neill and Mikey Mangan were linking up well as a brace of points followed from Mark Murphy and Diarmuid Cronin to restore a five-point cushion with 39 minutes on the clock. Brendan Kennedy won possession of the kickout and found full-back Gavin Kenny who drove up the field and fed the ball back to the on running Kennedy, who shook the back of Cronin’s net as an instant reply.
Moments later, An Tochar suffered a massive blow when they lost Joe Gaffney on a second yellow after a linesman call to the ref.
In fact this spurred on An Tochar with Mark Keenan hitting a great point and Peter Byrne pointing another free to level matters, as the temperature gauge rose going into the final quarter.
Shane Byrne was introduced into the fray for Stratford. The game got a bit messy with some off the ball nonsense, however An Tochar hit the front in the 40th minute, when Eamon Wolohan fed Liam Gaffney who pointed as it was all Roundwood at this stage.
Paddy Walsh broke down another attack and found Mark Caplice who levelled matters.
Colin Byrne had a good goal chance well saved by O’Toole as Stratford went for the jugular. David Cush put the Slaneysiders back in front with a point that deflected over off the upright.
Yet again, to their credit back came An Tochar, once again Peter Byrne levelled matters with a long range free with 55 minutes played.
Diarmuid Cronin landed a monster of a point from 55 metres out as once again Stratford edged in front. Brendan Kennedy took the paint off the outside of the upright as an equaliser got away.
The referee felt the full wrath of manager Andy Jameson and the Roundwood faithful as they thought Diarmuid Cronin got away lightly, with only a yellow card for a tackle on one of their players. Brendan Kennedy picked up a black card with two minutes to go which was a major loss for An Tochar as this crucial stage.
In the final minute Peter Byrne had a 45-metre free for the chance of an equaliser, however his effort tailed wide as we went into five additional tense minutes of additional time. However neither side could improve on their tally and Stratford held out as the fulltime whistle sounded.
Stratford scorers: Mark Murphy 1-01, Matt Manley 0-02, Diarmuid Cronin 0-02, Ross Coogan 0-01, Michael Mangan 0-01, David Cush 0-01, Mark Caplice 0-01, Kieran Byrne 0-01, Pat Walsh 0-01.
An Tóchar scorers: Peter Byrne 0-05, Brendan Kennendy 1-01, Joe Gaffney 0-01, Conor Davis 0-01, Liam Gaffney 0-01, Mark Keenan 0-01.
Ashford’s Mikey Treanor is closed down by Hollywood’s Conor Burke.