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Knockaderry push on in extra time

posted 19 Dec 2010, 02:54 by Unknown user

County Junior B football championship semi-final, 22/10/05

Knockaderry 1-15 Milford 1-8

(after extra time. 1-8 apiece at end of normal time)

West champions Knockaderry took another step towards repeating their 1999 success when squeezing past Milford in a rip-roaring county junior B football semi-final in Croagh on Saturday. Although the scoreboard showed seven points between the sides at the end, it took 20 minutes of extra time to separate them as the city title-holders held out against a concerted second half rally, fell behind in injury time and revived their hopes through an ice-cool John Collins free with the last kick of normal time.

Make no mistake about it, this was a marvellous advertisement for one of the county’s less glamorous championships. Some excellent individual performances and passages of polished teamwork were of a standard expected in grades a few levels above junior B but what transformed this late autumn afternoon was the hunger shown by all thirty-seven players who graced the field.

Key to the winners’ victory was a power-packed midfield strengthened by the introduction of former county under-21 Richard Wall at half-time and the possession gained not only allowed them to counter Milford’s threat on the break but also to grind down a resolute defence as legs wilted during the added periods. And while a draw was arguably a fair reflection of events over the regulation hour, the fitness gained through a long intermediate hurling campaign ensured that there was only one side in contention at the end.

Yet for most of the preceding hour, it looked as if the county’s youngest club were on the verge of a major surprise. Boosted by Ronan Grimes’s goal just before the break, they absorbed Knockaderry’s reply immediately on the restart, saw a penlty go wide and a goal effort cannon off the crossbar and then recovered the initiative to keep enough daylight between themselves and the Westerners’ furious offensives. But just as their stubbornness at the back and wayward shooting by their opponents appeared to inch them over the line, Knockaderry minds were focussed by the loss of Tom Sheehy to a straight red and they picked off two vital points that brought them the lead for only the second time in the game.

Dual county minor Ger Collins set the ball rolling with an immediate score and Tony Connolly followed up with Milford’s second before Knockaderry had a chance to settle. But once they trimmed their gunsights, Donagh O’Sullivan, Micheál O’Sullivan and Tom Condon shot them in front.

The city club’s best option lay in directing the ball towards Collins. They equalised after he drew a free for John Collins to convert, took the lead when he laid off to John Morrissey and, when Grimes drilled home a bullet off Connollys pass after Ger Corkery had shaken the crossbar at the other end, they had moved themselves into a half-time advantage of 1-4 to 0-3.

Wall left an immediate mark on the restart when he fed Micheál O’Sullivan for a 15th second goal and, after being denied by an Ollie McGarr goal-line clearance, Knockaderry drew level through Muiris O’Connor. Three successive wides prevented them from going in front and they paid when, on the break, Ger Collins, Colman O’Flaherty and Collins again restored Milford’s advantage.

Diarmuid O’Sullivan hit back when coming on for Corkery but fellow county minor hurler Don Hanley then drove a penalty wide and, after skipper Patrick Downes had shaved the gap to the minimum, Milford held out until Sheehy’s dismissal. When Micheál O’Sullivan equalised with a free and O’Connor grabbed the lead in the 31st minute, the pendulum looked to have finally swung west but the Sky-blues clawed back a foul for John Collins to convert from a difficult angle for a 1-8 to 1-8 equaliser.

But that was Milford’s last throw of the dice. When O’Connor, Donagh O’Sullivan, Diarmuid O’Sullivan and O’Connor again had shot Knockaderry four points to the good in as many minutes, the writing was already on the wall and two from Micheál O’Sullivan and a final effort from Wall in the second added period were the icing on the cake.

Scorers. Knockaderry: Micheál O’Sullvan (1-4, 2f), Muiris O’Connor (0-4), Donagh O’Sullivan (0-2), Diarmuid O’Sullivan (0-2), Tom Condon (0-1), Patrick Dowens (0-1), Richard Wall (0-1); Milford: Ronan Grimes (1-0), Ger Collins (0-3), John Collins (0-2, 2f), Tony Connolly (0-1), John Morrissey (0-1), Colman O’Flaherty (0-1).

Knockaderry: Ollie Dowling; Mike Hennessy, Darragh Moloney, John Power; Tom Sheehy, Colm Moloney, Don Hanley; Donagh O’Sullivan, Fergal Moloney; Micheál O’Sullivan, Patrick Downes, Ger Corkery; Adrian Guiry, Muiris O’Connor, Tom Condon. Subs: Richard Wall for Adrian Guiry, Diarmuid O’Sullivan for Ger Corkery, Mike O’Connor for Ollie Dowling, Willie Guiry for atrick Downes.

Milford: Kevin Keenan; Ollie McGarr, Colm Cunneen Eamon Hawe; PJ Byrne, John Daly, Neil Clancy; Dara Murphy, John Morrissey; John Collins, Ronan Grimes, Tony Connolly; Liam O’Meara, Colman O’Flaherty, Ger Collins. Subs: Eoin Lyne for Liam O’Meara, Luke McGinty for Tony Connolly, Joe Redington for PJ Byrne.

Referee: Bob Heuston (Clonlara).