By Fiona O’Brien
London held Gloucestershire to just five scores as they made their way through to the semifinals of the provincial junior football championship. Winning their first two matches with comfortable enough score lines, they now bypass the quarter-final stage and must now be favourites to take the title.
They took a while to settle into the match after scoring first through Killian Butler and a Padraig McGoldrick free, but conceded two goals in the opening fifteen minutes, to a Peter O’Donovan hand-passed goal and a Kevin Stankard penalty to go four points down.
They reacted well however, with Butler particularly troublesome for the Gloucestershire defence in the first half. He got the next point before winning a free for McGoldrick to convert in minutes later.
They would get a goal back to go a point ahead on seventeen minutes, when Alfie McNulty toe punted a pass across goal from the left wing, which Ger Byrne got on the end of to put to Matthew Turner’s left.
McGoldrick would score again through the next free before setting up McNulty for his first score, before Butler got his name on the score sheet again. Conor Day would get one back for the visitors through a pointed free, which was to be their last score of the half.
London would almost get another goal when Eamonn McGovern set up Butler for a strong run through the centre of the pitch, but when he offloaded to James Gartlan the St Josephs man was taken down.
Butler would put the resultant free well wide in a rare error, but his fellow freetaker kept the scoreboard ticking with a point from play, before Butler reacted quickest to the rebound from McNulty’s goal attempt to flick the ball for Ben O’Reilly to put over the bar for a 1-9 to 2-1 lead at halftime.
St Clarets Shane Buckley came on for the second half and opened the scoring with a huge effort at distance from the left wing.
Niall Hendserson got a rare Gloucestershire point from play next, before McNulty added another to his tally.
Some great quick movement between McGovern and Butler led to the next goal as the Tir Chonaill Gaels man put a ball across goal, where McNulty was waiting to claim three points. They would stretch their lead further through Byrne, Ronan Campfield and Butler once again in quick succession as the game looked well and truly wrapped up at 2-14 to 2-2.
Butler would get another free before being substituted with a tally of five points, and as the game quietened down it was left for McNulty and Mark Gilsenan to finish off the scores, as Gloucestershire got their final point through Ciaran Barrett. Gloucestershire go on to face Warwickshire this Sunday in the quarter final in Bristol.
LONDON: Conor Hallissey, Richard Ellis, Robert Reid, James Cooper, Tom Moriarty, Ryan Jones, James Grant, Gavin O’Flaherty, Killian Butler (0-5, 1f), Ben O’Reilly (0-1), Eamonn McGovern, Ger Byrne (1-2), Alfie McNulty (1-3), Padraig McGoldrick (0- 4, 3f), James Gartland SUBSTITUTES: Shane Buckley (0- 1), Ronan Campfield (0-1), Mark Gilsenan (0-1)
GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Matthew Turner, Billy Breen, Paul McMenamin, Nigel Farrelly, Stephen Rice, Mickey McAleer, Johnny Murray, Kevin Smith, John Merron, Gavin Doyle, Niall Henderson (0-1), Niall Wright, Tim O’Loughlin, Conor Day, Kevin Stankard (1-0, 1 pen), Peter O’Donovan (1-0) SUBSTITUTES: Ciaran Barrett (0-1)