VGC Intermediate Football Championship Rnd 2
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
Cian Doyle inspired Garryowen to back-to-back victories in this year’s intermediate championship, and take the club within touching distance of a place in the semi-finals.
The former Louth senior contributed 1-8 at McGovern Park in mid-week, to add to the 1-9 he racked up in Garryowen’s Round 1 win over St Josephs.
Having trailed by six going into the last ten minutes, Tara got back to within just two points thanks to Paul McDermott’s goal to set up a grandstand finish. But two late scores from Doyle guided Garryowen over the line.
The former Louth player wasn’t Garryowen’s only star performer, however. Sean Murphy provided the creative spark in midfield and his distribution was excellent, while Eddie Corcoran’s performance deserved more than the two points he finished with.
The corner forward, from Pomeroy Plunketts in Tyrone, linked up well with Doyle and was a willing outlet throughout.
Andrew Bingham also linked well in attack while Oladimeji Olajubu produced some strong carries.
It was Tara who set the pace for most of the first half, and it was a tempo that Garryowen struggled to live with at times.
Big, strong and agile, Tara moved the ball swiftly and accurately, with Conall Kelly of Laune Rangers in Kerry causing problems.
But they only led by a point after 18 minutes, when Murphy burst through to finish a nice move by burying the ball into the roof of the Tara net past Liam Gill. Garryowen led 1-3 to 0-4.
A minute later, though, Tara had the ball in the net at the other end. Paddy McKenna started an attack which saw Aidan Ward and Gareth Clarke involved, before Laughlin McCurdy raised the green flag.
Both sides would enjoy purple patches and Tara proceeded to open up a four-point lead with Garryowen, playing into the wind, on the back foot.
Eddie Corcoran’s point was much needed, before Olajubu’s run set up Doyle to goal. Doyle’s fierce strike cannoned down off the crossbar and over the line, before bouncing out and being snaffled by Liam Gill.
The goal was awarded despite the Tara ‘keeper’s protests that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, and Michael Sweeney’s point saw Garryowen lead by 2-5 to 1-7 at half-time.
Although Clarke levelled things up upon the restart, it was Garryowen who made the better start to the second half and they opened up a four-point cushion.
Anthony Press forced Luke Wallace into a good save, but a brace of Doyle frees extended the margin to six points with 12 minutes to play, with Garryowen beginning to look comfortable.
But things can change very quickly and two minutes later it was game on. Tara veteran Paul McDermott was on hand to tap home to the net from close range and end Tara’s 19 scoreless minutes.
Dean McDermott added a point and Garryowen were suddenly faced with the prospect of letting slip a game which moments earlier had seemed theirs for the taking.
Cool heads prevailed, though, with Garryowen snuffing out Tara hopes by claiming all but one of the game’s remaining five scores. Murphy and Doyle stepping up to guide Garryowen home.
Intermediate champions as recent as 2015, something seems to be stirring again at Garryowen.
Garryowen: Luke Wallace; Michael Moriarty, Barry O’Donnell, Cian Caulfield; Oladimeji Olajubu, Gavin Leonard, Miguel Kaguako; Patrick Doherty, Sean Murphy (1-2); Andrew Bingham, Dean Matthews, Michael Sweeney (0-1); Charlie Corcoran, Cian Doyle (1-8, 5f), Eddie Corcoran (0-2). Subs: Hughie Molloy for Moriarty, Brendan McGoug for Doherty.
Tara: Liam Gill; Steven Griffey, Mark Beirne, Aidan Ward (0-1); Paddy McKenna, Ciaran McCurdy, Gearoid Lynch; Dean McDermott (0-1), Kieran Gill; Eugene McLoghlin (0-1); Anthony Press, Paul McDermott (1-1); Conall Kelly (0-3), Gareth Clarke (0-1), Laughlin McCurdy (1-1). Subs: Sean McCabe for Kieran Gill, Aidan Harte for McCabe, Stephen Finnegan (0-1) for Ward, Alan Nagle for McLoghlin.
Referee: Karl Rogers.