Su­gar­loaf side too strong for Strat­ford-Grange­con

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - DIAR­MUID HAUGH­IAN at Bless­ing­ton

THERE was quite a lot rid­ing on this fi­nal group match for Strat­ford-Grange­con, Kilmacanogue and Dunlavin with all three teams vy­ing for third in the group and a quar­ter-fi­nal cham­pi­onship date, a place which de­servedly went to the Kilmacanogue men.

The first half was cagey, very low scor­ing, and the first touch from both teams was poor or ner­vous.

On a pos­i­tive, the tack­ling from both sides was ex­cel­lent and ref­eree Pat Dunne had lit­tle rea­son to use his whis­tle.

Much of the build-up play from both teams was good but the end prod­uct left a lot to be de­sired. Many shots dropped short or wide, how­ever, Strat­ford-Grange­con got off to a per­fect start when Diar­muid Cronin latched on to a full-back’s ball, turned and buried into the net on six min­utes.

Kilmacanogue lev­elled the score on 11 min­utes when Sam O’Cal­laghan net­ted and seemed to set­tle into the game, how­ever Strat­ford Grange­con re­sponded with two points and al­most on half-time Aaron Creavin nar­rowed the gap to one in favour of Strat­ford-Grange­con.

The half-time break can make or break a team and usu­ally the fit­ter younger team can ‘up’ their per­for­mance, and so it proved for Kilmacanogue.

Their in­ten­sity im­proved, their shot ac­cu­racy went up a level and their fit­ness re­ally started to take a hold of the match in the third quar­ter.

In fact, they won the first four goal kicks of the sec­ond half and scored 2-3 in the third quar­ter, a point from cen­tre half for­ward Michael Whe­lan who was start­ing to cut through the mid­dle at will, a ram­pag­ing goal down the right from half back Ben O’Cal­laghan and then the defin­ing goal.

A penalty made and scored by Michael Whe­lan, his shot com­ing off the cross­bar and a need­less foul by the Strat­ford-Grange­con de­fender led to a very avoid­able penalty. Ben O’Cal­laghan and Aar- on Crevin each tagged on points which left the score 3-5 to 1-3.

Ef­fec­tively the game was won at half-time on the line and in the third quar­ter of this match, Strat­ford-Grange­con failed to get out of the blocks and were sim­ply blown away on the restart.

It wasn’t till the 53 minute that Strat­ford-Grange­con reg­is­tered their first score of the sec­ond half. Most balls played into Diar­muid Cronin in the full-for­ward line were over­hit and when pos­ses­sion was oc­ca­sion­ally re­tained it was well out­side the scor­ing zone.

Kil­mac eased off the gas in the last ten which al­lowed Strat­ford-Grange­con to find a bit of form, scor­ing five unan­swered points, with corner-for­ward Colin Byrne reg­is­ter­ing a cou­ple of nice points from the left.

The gap was now three points with time al­most up, but Kil­mac re­sponded well en­sur­ing the vic­tory with a goal from Robert Co­nan and a point from Josh O’Cal­laghan.

Man of the match: Cian Raf­ferty at 6 for Kilmacanogue had a steady influential match and right half-back Ben O’Cal­laghan had a great sec­ond half, scor­ing 1-1 at a crit­i­cal stage.

Fi­nal Score: Kilmacanogue 4-6, Strat­ford Grange­con 1-8.

Kil­mac march on to the quar­ter-fi­nal where stiffer op­po­nents await! Strat­ford-Grange­con must de­feat Ash­ford in or­der to re­tain their In­ter­me­di­ate sta­tus.

Scor­ers - Kilmacanogue: Ben O’Cal­laghan 1-1, Robert Co­nan 1-0, Michael Whe­lan 1-2, Sam O’Cal­laghan 1-0, Aaron Crevin 0-2, Josh O’Cal­laghan 0-1.

Strat­ford-Grange­con: Matt Man­ley 0-1, Michael Man­gan 0-1, Ross Coogan 0-2, Colin Byrne 0-2, Diar­muid Cronin 1-0, Mark Mur­phy 0-1, Alan Nor­ton 0-1.

Kilmacanogue: Niall King; Donal Tuohy, Paddy O’Don­nell, Mar­cus Raf­ferty; Ga­van Burke, Cian Raf­ferty, Ben O’Cal­laghan; An­drew Mol­loy, Robert Co­nan; Si­mon Doyle, Michael Whe­lan, Sam O’Cal­laghan; Aaron Crevin, Josh O’Cal­laghan, Niall Mel­don.

Strat­ford-Grange­con: Pa­trick Cronin; Joe O’Neill, Pa­trick Walsh, Ian Moore; Adam Doyle, Eoin O’Neill, Mar­cus Han­bidge; Matt Man­ley, Michael Man­gan; Ross Coogan, Jason Bol­ger, Kieran Byrne; Colin Byrne, Diar­muid Cronin, Mark Mur­phy. Sub: Alan Nor­ton for Joe O’Neill.

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