Tourlestrane back in final
TOURLESTRANE 3-12 COOLERA/STRANDHILL 1-9 Belfry Senior Football Championship Semi final replay
NORMAL service was resumed in Collooney on Saturday evening as a much improved Tourlestrane overcame Coolera/Strandhill at the second attempt to reach their third senior football final in as many years.
Coolera did have some bright spells of their own, but a much more clinical and determined Tourlestrane were too much for John McPartland’s men who found themselves a goal behind with just 30 seconds played.
A long ball towards the Coolera area catching their defence off guard as Gary Gaughan jumped to thump the breaking ball past Kevin Kelly.
Up against a different beast in comparison to the more sluggish effort put in by their opponents six days earlier, Coolera/Strandhill were five behind after seven minutes of this encounter.
An Oisín Kennedy score from play, was followed up by Rian Kennedy’s first of four for the afternoon from the 45 metre line after Gary Gaughan was upended by Enda Mitchell.
Coolera/Strandhill gradually came to grips with Tourlestrane’s hungrier, pressing game and managed two scores without reply.
Peter Laffey kicking into the sun behind Adam Broe’s goals, before the Tourlestrane net minder elected to fist away Gary Cadden’s punt at goal which fell short of goal. Broe’s over-eagerness to clear his lines should have been punished but Colm Parke could only fire the loose ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
Both Laffey and Rian Kennedy exchanged white flags to see Tourlestrane lead by four with eleven minutes played as Eamonn O’Hara’s charges began to assume control once more.
Tourlestrane captain Pat Harte swept over a beautiful point from all of 40 metres out to push the advantage to five, while the south Sligo men could have stretched that lead to eight mid-way through the half.
Liam Gaughan’s surging run bringing him around two defenders, but pressure from the third man back was enough to see the full forward miscue as the ball sneaked past the far post.
Coolera/Strandhill then had a five minute purple patch of their own. Barry O’Mahony’s attempt from a tight angle didn’t have the necessary spin on it to bring it over the black spot. Gary Cadden was on hand however to recycle play as he judged the space to perfection, firing over Coolera’s third point before repeating the trick one minute later.
The Owen B Hunt Cup holders struck back with three quick fire scores of their own. Oisín Kennedy making the best of the space afforded to him down the right to lace over a point. Team mates Johnny Kelly and Gary Gaughan adding to Tourlestrane’s haul on the following attacks.
That was to be Tourlestrane’s last score of the half as Coolera/Strandhill rallied once again to cut the deficit to three at the interval. Murphy finding form on 26 minutes, while patient play from Parke and Kevin Banks was rewarded when Cadden found the posts again. Murphy on target once more to reduce the arrears to just one goal, after Keelan Cawley was fouled by Harte.
Coolera/Strandhill were unable to bring that momentum into the second half as Tourlestrane firmed their hold on this replay. McPartland’s men chased shadows as the champions went more than half of the second period without conceding.
Two frees from the floor in front of goal were easily dispatched by Rian Kennedy either side of Liam Gaughan’s score.
There was a sense of inevitability about the destination of this game on 43 minutes when Gary Gaughan was tugged to the ground as he attempted to round Kelly.
Referee Conor Conway taking no time to order the penalty which Harte, who might have considered himself lucky to be on the pitch after an earlier off the ball altercation with Keelan Cawley, slotted into the bottom corner. Coolera/Strandhill full back Mitchell was black carded for the second game running following his protestations after the spot-kick was awarded.
Things went from bad to worse for Coolera/Strandhill just five minutes later when a second Tourlestrane penalty arrived. Conor McDonagh this time bringing substitute Joe Molloy to the floor in front of goal with Cathal Henry finishing past Kelly from eleven metres.
Staring down the barrel at eleven behind with little over ten minutes left, Coolera/Strandhill did manage a score through Keelan Cawley.
But as Tourlestrane introduced fresh legs from the bench, they managed to squeeze the life out of the contest.
The seasiders did produce a late rally but it was a drop in the ocean in com- parison to what was required to tighten the gap.
Laffey’s point one minute into added time was merely a memento. While Broe, largely untested in the second half, showed great reactions to deny the same man’s initial effort at goal. But could do nothing about Cadden’s follow up which he tapped into an empty net.
TOURLESTANE: Adam Broe; Cian Surlis (Colin Neary 50), Barry Walsh, Shane Dunne; Oisin Kennedy (0-2), Adrian McIntyre, James Leonard (0-1); Stephen Henry, Pat Harte (1-1) (John Marren 47); Alan Dunne, Cathal Henry (10) (Conan Marren 54), Rian Kennedy (0-4) (Joe Molloy 48); Gary Gaughan (1-1) (Kevin O’Hara 59), Liam Gaughan (0-2), Johnny Kelly (0-1).
COOLERA/STRANDHILL: Kevin Kelly; Enda Mitchell (Karol O’Neill 45, black card), Gary Cawley, Mark Comerford; Sean Murphy, Conor McDonagh (Shane McCallion 51, black card), Aaron Boyle; Kevin Banks, Barry Doyle; Colm Parke (Shay Doherty 45), Keelan Cawley (0-1), Peter Laffey (0-2); Gary Cadden (1-3), Barry O’Mahony, Niall Murphy (0-3).
REFEREE: Conor Conway.
Keelan Cawley wins possession for Coolera/Strandhill as Tourlestrane brothers Rian and Oisín Kennedy challenge during the Belfry Senior Football Championship semi final replay in Connolly Park on Saturday. INSET: Stephen Henry of Tourlestrane in an aerial tussle with Coolera/Strandhill’s