Tir Chonaill Gaels make it five in a row
Parnells: 1 -06
Tir Chonaill Gaels booked their place in their fifth consecutive senior football final, after a three point win over Parnells. Although Parnells seemed to have the better of possession and territory, their final pass and shot on goal was lacking, and with just one extra prolific forward things could have been different in this semifinal.
Meanwhile, the Gaels made the most of whatever opportunities came their way and had a far superior conversion rate, with Adrian Hanlon, John McGrath and Liam Gavaghan in particularly good form. Killian Butler put the first free wide, before some great passing between Eanna Flaherty and Seamus Stenson also resulted in a wide.
The next opportunity fell to Hanlon, who scored well, before he was set up by a superb ball by John McGrath for the next chance, which went just wide. Gerry Canavan put the next free wide, before McGrath again made himself a nuisance, but after he was fouled the next free by Marty McCoy was also struck wide.
After a McGrath wide the bulk of play fell to Parnells. Kevin Lynam secured a short free in under the posts and it allowed for Niall Corkery to make a run towards the opposite posts from midfield, before offloading to Jarlath Branagan who put his shot to the right of the posts.
The next chance fell as Gerry Canavan executed a brilliant pass to set up Flaherty, but again Parnells would come away with a wide, before Tir Chonaill Gaels capitalised on their poor shooting to get a score of their own as Killian Butler got a great point against the run of play from the right wing.
Flaherty shot another wide next and it seemed that even with all of the territory his side were winning, all forwards were reluctant to shoot and even when in good positions themselves, forced an extra unnecessary pass to move in closer on goal and end up losing possession or forcing Flaherty to shoot with men surrounding him.
Stenson missed a very scoreable free next, before the Gaels stretched their lead further as Adrian Hanlon made the most of the space to his left and set up McGrath for his first score, again against the run of play. Gavaghan and Hanlon teamed up for the next attack, as the captain’s attempt on goal went just wide of the posts, before Parnells missed another scoreable opportunity, this time through a Canavan free.
McGrath would get the Gaels’ fourth on the break, coming off the last Parnells attack, before Canavan eventually broke the deadlock on 28 minutes for his team’s first point. McCoy who was constantly finding himself in space allowed Butler in on goal next, but Evan Byrne made a great save to keep the goal out, before Lee Magee’s attempt was hit short for Parnells.
Butler and Gavaghan (free) would add two more before the break to give their side a five point lead at half-time. Flaherty ended his scoring drought immediately after the break after a brilliant interception in the middle of the park by Kevin Culhane, as Tir Chonaill Gaels played deeper and deeper into their own half, just allowing for their forwards to create chances on the break.
Ryan Forde’s attempt for Parnells went well wide next before Canavan’s free was struck short from close range.
Jake Moran did well to win the ball next and offloaded to Flaherty who won his side a free which Canavan took with ease. Gavaghan scored a free to make it a four-point game and it was once more against the run of play, before the next two Parnells’ frees went wide and short before a Moran wide from play.
The missed opportunities allowed the Gaels to regain another point with their next opportunity as McGrath set up Hanlon for an excellent score as he ran through the Parnells back-line to give his side their eighth. Martin Carroll did brilliantly next to get a shot away, and on target, when he was closed down quickly by Gaels’ defenders after claiming Corkery’s ball. But the Gaels negated it quickly as Gavaghan got the score of the game as he emerged from a midfield position to run almost unchallenged until the final third to score from his right.
Parnells still seemed to be playing one pass too many, and working the ball too far in amongst the Gaels’ back three, but on 49 minutes they got a breakthrough as Corkery managed to pounce on a ball from the right wing to get a goal, and leave just two points between the teams. But they failed to build on this closing of the deficit and almost immediately Gavaghan set up Butler for the next point.
Parnells closed the gap once more as Moran took a point cooly from midrange, and for the first time they saw the rewards of taking their scores from further out rather than forcing the ball too far in. But the issue happened again next, as they had the chance to close it to a one-point game again as Carroll passed from a scoreable opportunity to Canavan who put it wide.
A further Cattoll wide showed they were too hesitant still, and Gavaghan would put the game to bed soon afterwards as he once more ran almost the length of the pitch for the next point, leaving his two markers for dust. Canavan would get one back through a free next, but there wasn’t enough time left and the Gaels’ put it back to three points between them as Hanlon finished the game off with another impressive score.
TIR CHONAILL GAELS: Eoin Higgins, Brendan McAtarsney, Philip Butler, Michael McWilliams, Stuart Johnston, Gary Magee, Marty McCoy, Ronan Breen, Anthony McDermott, Shane Murney, Killian Butler (0-3), Adam Askin, John McGrath (0-2), Adrian Hanlon (0-3), Liam Gavaghan (0-4, 2f)
PARNELLS: Evan Byrne, Jamie Barry, Kevin Lynham, Kevin Culhane, Alan Murray, Lee Magee, Jake Moran (0-1), Niall Corkery (1-0), Ryan Forde, Seamus Stenson, Jarlath Branagan, Eanna Flaherty (0-1), Joe Fegan, Gerry Canavan (0-3, 3f), Jordan Fegan SUBS: Martin Carroll (0-1)