MUNSTER CLUB IFC SEMI-FINAL
IT'S very unfortunate that what should have been a great day for Finuge in booking their second ever appearance in a Munster Club Football Final was overshadowed by another sending off incident involving one of their most famous sons, Paul Galvin.
The four time All-Ireland medal winner with Kerry was shown a straight red card by referee Rory Hickey in the 44th minute following a clash with Pallasgreen midfielder Robert O'Donnell, who was sent off in the same incident for a second yellow card.
While it was hard for the naked eye in Bruff to decipher what actually happened in the incident between the two players, the Clare referee (after being alerted to the incident by the linesman) clearly felt Galvin's involvement merited the punishment shown and Finuge had a nervy final quarter, despite Pallasgreen themselves finishing with 13 men following Diarmuid Hayes' sending off (also for second yellow card) on the stroke of fulltime.
Up to that point Galvin had been putting in a Manof-the-Match display for his side, roving ferociously around the pitch, dictating play, making a couple of defensive interceptions and popping over two frees at the other end in the type of performance that has very much defined his career. The first of those frees had actually been brought forward 10 metres by the referee in the fifth minute due to Galvin being impeded in his original effort.
Finuge had been totally dominant in the first 16 minutes of the game, Maurice and Jack Corridan giving them a tremendous platform at midfield and the high ball into the full-forward line gave the Pallasgreen defence no end of problems, James Flaherty sharpest in both the 10th and 16th minute with the North Kerry side's two goals.
The first saw Galvin, Maurice Corridan and Michael Conway combine to set Flaherty up, while the second goal was well broken down into Flaherty's path by Conway.
At 2-4 to 0-2 ahead Finuge looked like pushing on to a comfortable win, however, they took their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the first half, allowing the Limerick side back into reachable range. Two frees from Chris McMahon along with points from Kevin Barry and O'Donnell made it 2-4 to 0-6 at the break with Finuge still having some work to do.
The second half started with Paul Galvin intercepting a dangerous high ball into the Finuge defence but the Kerry side settled again after scoring the first three points of the half, Stephen Power and John Griffin scoring the first two, but the pick of the three was a free from Pat Corridan with the outside of his boot in the 38th minute.
Galvin had given John Griffin a good chance of a third goal for Finuge prior to his sending off, but Pallasgreen goalkeeper Denis O'Connor managed to fist the ball away to safety in the 43rd minute.
Substitutes John McCarthy and Ricky Heffernan pitched in with crucial points in the closing stages as Maurice Corridan made a tremendous defensive block with five minutes to go to keep Finuge's two goal advantage between the sides.
In stoppage time Pallasgreen substitute Pa Hennessy fumbled a mistake from Finuge defender Chris Allen over the line for the Limerick side's goal, but it proved to be only consolation as the final whistle blew from the kick-out.
The Munster Final with Cork city side St Vincents in Mallow on November 25 looks a big challenge for Finuge as they will be (as it stands at the moment) without the services of Galvin and Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
Only the referee's report of last Sunday's game will truly clarify what Rory Hickey was actually alerted to by his linesman in the 44th minute of this game involving the intercounty player. FINUGE: Cillian Fitzmaurice, Chris Allen, Trevor McKenna, Declan McCarthy, Paudie Galvin, Pat Corridan (0-1, 1f), Conor Fitzmaurice, Jack Corridan, Maurice Corridan (0-1), Paul Galvin (0-2, 2f) John Griffin (0-1), Stephen Power (0-1), James Flaherty (2-0), Michael Conway, Raymond Galvin (0-1) Subs: John McCarthy (0-1) for Conway, Keefer Roche for Paudie Galvin, Ricky Heffernan (0-1) for Power, Fergus Fitzmaurice for Jack Corridan and Mike Lynch for Raymond Galvin PALLASGREEN: Denis O'Connor Willie O'Dwyer, Wayne McCarthy, Kevin Dillon, Seamus Hayes (0-1), Lorcan O'Dwyer, Eddie Mulcahy (0-1), Tony McMahon, Robert O'Donnell (0-1), Jonathan Deere, Chris McMahon (0-4, 4f), Seamus Mulcahy, Kevin Barry (0-1), Aidan Shanahan, Alan Wallace Subs: Trevor Cosgrave (0-1) for Seamus Mulcahy, Owen Roche for Barry and Pa Hennessy (1-0) for Wallace REFEREE: Rory Hickey (Clare)