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Andrew Curtin

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St Gabriels 2-15 Thos. McCurtains 1-18   19/07/2018

This eagerly awaited first round intermediate championship clash opened briskly with both teams looking to impress. It was St Gabriels who got off to a flying start with the opening score coming from a Ronan O Sullivan free, followed up by a splendid effort by Luke Hands from the left wing. Another O’Sullivan free left St Gabriels 3 points to the good after 5 minutes. Thos. McCurtains responded when they opened their account with a free before a concerted St Gabriels attack was finished with a well taken goal by Pa Dowley. St Gabriels were getting the better of the opening exchanges in defence with Cormac Thornton marshalling his forces to great effect. A long clearance from Tom Higgins created an opportunity for Kieran Fogarty who duly pointed.  McCurtains hit two in reply before Luke Hands broke the cover and drilled a cracking goal to the roof of the net on 13mins. O’Sullivan followed up by pointed a 65m free to leave St Gabriels ahead  2-6 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Thos. McCurtains then started to gain control with their half backline getting on grips with the task in hand, setting up a brace of scores before Anthony Hands responded with a point of his own on 19 mins.

McCurtains  continued to eat into the St Gabriels lead with further points before O Sullivan fired over another free in reply. This was now an absorbing contest with a real championship feel. St Gabriels fought for every ball in a resolute defence and with a confident Kieran Flaherty in goal they withstood numerous attacks.  Frankie Tierney and Tom Lally had to employ all their experience in the full back line. As the half hour approached a further two pointed frees by McCurtains left the score at half time 2-8 to 0-10.

St Gabriels faced the hill and the breeze  for the second half and clearly had work to do. The introduction of Quentin Lynch early in the second half brought an improvement to the  St Gabriels midfield. However, a flurry of points by McCurtains brought them right back into contention and when they scored a rather fortunate goal on 49 mins, given after the sliotar rebounded from the crossbar, it looked like game on.

St Gabriels though defended resolutely and kept the scoreboard ticking over with a number of pointed frees by O Sullivan. It was real championship fare and a frantic last 10 minutes gave supporters on both sides plenty to cheer about. With nothing between the sides as the clock ticked into injury time it took a late free from O Sullivan to level matters for St Gabriels and  ensure a share the points.

St Gabriels can take much from this performance and have plenty scope to build on as the intermediate championship takes shape. Well done everybody.


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