McCurtains claim trophy with major goal-fest
Thos McCurtains: 3-16
Fr Murphys: 5-03
By Adam Shaw
Thomas McCurtains captured the McCullough Cup with a hard-fought win over Fr Murphy in Greenford. They worked tirelessly to keep the scoreboard ticking over and maintained their discipline during the more tetchy periods of the match.
Their forwards were scintillating at times while the defence, led by Dean Corrigan, presented few opportunities.
Murphy’s had considerable success when the ball was around their opponents’ goal but their lack of consistent point scoring proved fateful. McCurtains were quick from the off and their hassling and harrying meant they established a ten point lead before Murphy’s even got on the board.
Kiran Donoghue got the ball rolling with a fine point from a tight angle out right before Colm Grace capitalised on a frantic scramble to score the game’s first goal. He added a point seconds later after dispossessing Kenneth Watchorl and slotting it through the posts.
Grace was inspired and a surging run and lay-off gave Eoin Caldwell the chance to score another point which he duly accomplished. Caldwell converted his own free before adding another point ten minutes in with a smart score from out wide.
Jimmy Byrne, who was proving a nuisance in the Murphy’s half, got in on the act when he battled hard for the ball, emerged with it and knocked it over the bar. If that point had been all about will and determination, his next point was pure power.
Picking the ball up well inside his own half, he advanced to the 65m line and saw his shot sail through the uprights. Murphy’s finally made a breakthrough midway through the first half when Stephen Bardon punted the ball up field, the McCurtains keeper missed it and 13 nudged it home.
Maurice Crowe added a great score soon after before his opposite number halted any potential charge with a point from 20 metres. A game which had been fairly docile hitherto took a violent turn as it approached halftime.
A standard scuffle between Sean Murphy and Ryan McGlen broke out into a fully-fledged boxing match.
Helmets were removed, punches were thrown and both men were shown red cards. Down to 14 men each, the game continued in a similar fashion as Caldwell and Alan Clancy racked up two more points for Mc- Curtains. With seconds remaining in the opening period, Murphy’s slashed the deficit with another goal.
A smart pass through to Martin Harrell saw him have the goal at his mercy. He struck the post but the ball was hoovered up by Michael Gordon who gave him a second opportunity and this time he made no mistake.
McCurtains didn’t let this late blow set them off their stride and Byrne grabbed their second goal after latching on to Craig Doyle’s long ball.
He then capitalised on a fluffed puck out to open up a ten point advantage and a free from Caldwell pushed them further ahead. Another free and a long-range point meant Murphy’s now had a huge mountain to climb while their opponents looked utterly comfortable.
But Bardon took full advantage of a free close to the goal by slamming it through a wall of defenders before a point brought them back into contention.
Their momentum was halted though as Byrne grabbed his second of the match and, despite another goal from Watchorl, it looked as if the game was up.
Caldwell knocked over a free before Murphy’s familiar tactic of pumping it long and hoping for a flick into the net paid dividends once again, this time Harrell finishing the move.
They had the last word with a monster point from close to halfway but this ultimately had no bearing on the final result, leaving Mc-Curtains to celebrate with their silverware.