Dawson stars as Harney’s men down Donard-The Glen
DUNLAVIN sealed their place in the semi-finals of the D’Arcy Sands Intermediate Football Championship by defeating near neighbours Donard-The Glen on Sunday evening last in a packed Baltinglass.
While the football on display wasn’t off the highest quality at times, not aided by a strong breeze and wet underfoot conditions, it was a case of, who would adapt the better and in the end, realistically, it came down to Dunlavin’s better free-taking ability to decide who would go forward as this game ebbed and flowed throughout.
Thomas Davis opened the scoring for Dunlavin in the second minute with a pointed free after Daniel Dawson was fouled going through by Bill Flynn who received a yellow for the tackle.
Gary Allen won possession from the kick-out and laid off superbly to Paul Murtagh who placed a great ball into the industrious Thomas Davis who dispatched it over the bar to register Dunlavin’s second point of the evening.
Brian Lennon made a dashing run up the sideline and fed full-forward Conor Healy who split the posts from an acute angle to get the Glen men on the scoreboard in the fourth minute.
Shane Carty tapped over Dunlavin’s third point after great build up play by Gary Allen and it was pretty much all Dunlavin at this early stage of the game, with Daniel Dawson making probing runs, cutting through the Donard defence time after time.
Eoin Murtagh increased the lead with another well taken point. Colin Osborne made a menacing run up the field and passed off to Brian Lennon who was about to shoot but a brilliant interception by James Sinnott cleared the danger and Dunlavin built up another attack.
Thomas Davis knocked over another pointed free to put Dunlavin 0-05 to 0-01 up with only ten minutes played.
Donard responded with centre-forward Harry Mangan laying off to Brian Lennon who soloed 50 meters and landed an inspirational point to keep them in touch with their arch-rivals in what would turn out to be their last score off the opening half.
Sean Brannigan was harshly noted by the Aughrim official for an almighty shoulder that floored Fionn Deegan, as the hits were intensifying at this stage. Full-back William Rooney made a great burst up the pitch and found Ray Halloran but his shot tailed wide.
Brian Lennon missed the target from a free in the 17th minute. Dunlavin should have put their opponents away in the second quarter, but some poor shot selections let Donard off the hook. Dunlavin were dominating midfield with Aaron Phelan spraying a great supply of ball into his forward-line, who couldn’t capitalise it onto the scoreboard, but increasing their wide tally to five at this time.
Donard were guilty of more bad tackling and dissent, and Thomas Davis fired over another pointed free in the 24th minute to increase the lead to four points. Aaron Phelan picked up a yellow card for a high tackle on Harry Mangan as the tension mounted.
Yet again, Dunlavin had their neighbours to the pin off their collar, but could not build on their lead as another four wides were amassed. A big hit drove Thomas Davis out over the end line in the next attack as the half time whistle sounded with the score reading 0-06 to 0-02 in favour of Dunlavin.
The big question at the interval was, Is the lead big enough against the wind for Dunlavin in the next half? It was Dunlavin who got the opening chance of the second period but Eoin Murtagh dragged his shot wide. Donard landed two bad wides from their next couple of chances and were punished when Aaron Phelan made a marauding run through the Donard half-back line and was fouled.
Thomas Davis split the posts from the dead ball to extend the lead out to six points in the opening minutes of the second half. Donard introduced Niall Curran and Darren O’Neill to the fray.
However, Cian O’Sullivan was fouled in the next attack, Davis knocked over Dunlavin’s eighth point of the game as Donard looked out on their feet.
Somehow, Donard responded when Colin Osborne was fouled and a supreme advantage call by the referee allowed the play to develop where Conor Healy won possession and rifled his shot high into the net to close out the third quarter with the score now reading 0-08 to 1-02.
In the next attack Alan Daly should have further reduced the deficit, but his effort tailed wide. Back came Thomas Harney’s men with a brilliant run up the field by James Sinnott who laid off to the on running Daniel Dawson who shot low and hard on goal but goalie Mark Moore brilliantly got down to save and put the ball out for a 45 to keep Darren Behan’s men in this battle.
Up the other end, Harry Mangan landed two wides - one from a 14m free - as Donard could not claw back the deficit in this defining period of the game.
Donard battled to the death but Conor Healy pulled another effort wide to let Dunlavin off the hook, as it was the other way around in the closing period of the first half. Dunlavin rallied again and further punished the glen men with a great point from the boot of James Walsh in the 54th minute to restore a four-point cushion.
Davis missed the target from a free before Brian Lennon pointed again for Donard to leave it a dangerous three-point lead for Dunlavin in the 58th minute.
Conor Healy missed another chance to leave two in it. Shane Carty fielded a brilliant mark and fed James Walsh who laid off to man of the match Daniel Dawson who pointed going into injury time.
Gary Allen picked up a black card for his troubles and was replaced by Enda Bowes. A Darren O’Neill fisted point in the 63rd minute left it a three-point game as the Dunlavin faithful were baying for the full-time whistle.
Donard did get another chance of an equalising score but their effort was brilliantly caught under the crossbar by goalie Tom McGuirk and cleared as the full-time whistle sounded.
Dunlavin will have a big say in this, in what is turning into a riveting Intermediate football championship, as we come to the business end off matters with plenty of exciting football still to be played yet.
Scorers - Dunlavin: Thomas Davis 0-06 (5f), Shane Carty 0-01, Eoin Murtagh 0-01, James Walsh 0-01, Daniel Dawson 0-01.
Donard-The Glen: Conor Healy 1-01, Brian Lennon 0-02 (1f), Darren O’Neill 0-01.
Dunlavin: Tom McGuirk; Thomas Whelan, Thomas Kelly, James Sinnott; Fionn Deegan, Eoin Murtagh, Alan O Sullivan; Aaron Phelan, Paul Murtagh; Shane Carty, Daniel Dawson, Gary Allen; Cian O’Sullivan, Thomas Davis, James Walsh. Subs: Mark Rigley (42min), Enda Bowes (60min).
Donard-The Glen: Mark Moore; Kevin Osborne, William Rooney, Conor Kelly; Alan Tutty, Colin Osborne, Bill Flynn; John Hanbidge, Brian Lennon; Dermot Daly, Harry Mangan, Sean Brannigan; Alan Daly, Conor Healy, Ray Halloran. Subs: Darren O’Neill (37min), Niall Curran (37min), Eoin Kelly (50min), Kevin Kealy (53min).
Referee: John Keenan (Aughrim)
Dunlavin’s Alan O’Sullivan looks to get clear of Donard-The Glen’s Bill Flynn. Photo: Joe Byrne
Dunlavin’s Thomas Whelan gets the better of Alan Daly.
Dunlavin’s Daniel Dawson in action against Donard’s Sean Branigan.
Donard-The Glen’s Brian Lennon with Dunlavin’s Eoin Murtagh.