Gaels re­turn to se­nior foot­ball with three point win over Curry

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - By GERRY MCLAUGH­LIN

SHAM­ROCK GAELS 1-13 CURRY 1-10

IT was the golden au­tumn day that John McPart­land’s mighty young men from Sham­rock Gaels walked in the shadow of Par­adise.

And, they can thank a tal­ented 18-year-old teenager called Dylan Wil­lis who had real ice in the blood when he blasted the ball past Curry keeper James McDon­agh to bring the cup back for the first time since 1985.

Wil­lis had only one thing on his mind when he took a pic­ture pass from Sea­mus Hail­stones as the crowd in the hugely at­mo­spheric Bun­nanad­den Com­mu­nity Park held its col­lec­tive breath in the 63rd minute.

And the roar that greeted his deadly fin­ish could be heard around the rolling hills of the place famed for that great Gaelic clan called Gorm­ley.

But, spare a thought for Curry who came roar­ing back and forced Gaels keeper Donal Tuohy into a dra­matic save from Curry’s Michael Gor­don just be­fore ref­eree Barry Judge called time on an epic fin­ish.

Gal­lant Curry came in a green wave, but the Gaels held out for the tini­est but ul­ti­mately de­served vic­tory in a hugely en­ter­tain­ing af­fair.

How­ever, the losers were struck a heavy blow when they lost the tal­is­manic Adrian Mar­ren to a sec­ond yel­low card in the 53rd minute.

His dis­missal came just af­ter mid­fielder Sean Col­leary had put them into a 1-9 to 0-11 lead.

And the south Sligo men will be for­ever won­der­ing what would have hap­pened if he had stayed on the pitch.

The fi­nal seven min­utes of or­di­nary time were pep­pered by sev­eral mo­ments of high drama, as the el­e­gant David Quinn fired over two points to re­gain the lead for the win­ners by the 60thminute.

There were four more min­utes of fre­netic ac­tion when Red Og Mur­phy lev­elled mat­ters with his sec­ond 45 me­tre free to leave the score at Curry 1-10 Sham­rock Gaels 0-13.

But, just when we were steel­ing our­selves for more drama in ex­tra time, the youth­ful Sham­rock Gaels surged for­ward again.

Sea­mus Hail­stones found him­self loose on the edge of the square and in­stead of tap­ping over the bar, he went for the jugu­lar by feed­ing the in­rush­ing Wil­lis in­stead and the rest will be long re­mem­bered in and around River­stown, Sooey, GLeann and Bal­lyrush.

But Curry contributed to an epic af­fair by re­cov­er­ing from a 0-8 to 0-2 de­fe­ict by the 26thminute to head­ing their op­po­nents thanks to a scram­bled Sean Davey (40) goal in the 52nd minute.

They showed all their na­tive courage, char­ac­ter and class and may feel that they de­served a draw at least.

It was Curry that set­tled quick­est with two open­ing pointed frees from the usual sus­pects like Adrian Mar­ren and Red Og Mur­phy (who was pretty well con­tained by the equally ath­letic Karl McKenna.

But, the Gaels set­tled, and with the tow­er­ing Dil­lon McDermott, Joe Henry and James Car­roll rul­ing mid­field the scores be­gan to flow from marks­man David Quinn, who fin­ished with (0-9, seven from frees).

Cen­tre for­ward Brian Boyd got the Gaels off the mark and Quinn lev­elled mat­ters from a free in the 8th minute.

But Curry did not score for an­other 23 min­utes as they were re­peat­edly turned over and the im­pres­sive Gaels tacked on the scores.

Points from Quinn, Frank Quinn and Boyd pushed them to a 0-8 to 0-2 lead by the 26thminute.

Adrian Mar­ren ended the Curry scor­ing famine from a free in the 31stminute to leave the Gaels lead­ing by 0-8 to 0-3 at the break.

Curry did a bit of surgery at half-time, mov­ing Sean Davey into the full-for­ward line, bring­ing on the in­flu­en­tial Ken­neth Mor­ley and Ja­son Mar­ren and it worked.

They took con­trol of the mid­dle third and Adrian Mar­ren and Davey nar­rowed the gap to 0-10 to 0-8 by the 50th minute.

The Gaels were find­ing it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to break out of their own half and they can thank keeper Tuohy for a few cru­cial saves and the unerring ac­cu­racy of David Quinn for keep­ing them in con­tention.

And they showed great char­ac­ter in com­ing back from a po­ten­tially killer goal from Sean Davey.

There were hugely emo­tional scenes on the pitch in the af­ter­math of this long awaited county ti­tle.

For the next few days they will be drink­ing deep from the wine red rose of vic­tory.

But Curry should not be too de­spon­dent as they showed true char­ac­ter when it re­ally mat­tered.

Sham­rock Gaels: Donal Tuohy, De­clan Wil­lis, Evan Lyons, Keith McMor­row; Karl McKenna, Paul Hig­gins, Andy Flynn; Dil­lon McDermott, Joe Henry; Shane Duig­nan (0-1), Brian Boyd (0-2), James Car­roll; Darragh Hail­stones, Frank Quinn (0-1), David Quinn (0-96f).

Subs; Ciaron O’Con­nor for James Car­roll (55), Dylan Wil­lis (1-0), for Darragh Hail­stones (59)

Curry: James McDon­agh: Aaron Kearns, Tommy Sten­son, Stephen Mar­ren; Kevin Reilly, David McDon­agh, Gary Walsh; Jonathon Durkin, Sean Coller­ary (0-1); Red Og Mur­phy (0-2), Sean Davey (1-1), Alan Reilly; Michael Gor­don, Adrian Mar­ren (0-5f), Tommy Henry.

Subs: Ken­neth Mor­ley for David McDon­agh (h-time), Ja­son Mar­ren (0-1) for Kevin Reilly (38), De­nis Cof­fey for Sean Davey (58), John Feeney for Stephen Mar­ren (59)

Ref­eree: Barry Judge (Castle­con­nor)

Red Og Mur­phy goes into at­tack mode against Sham­rock Gaels at Bun­ni­nad­den.

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