DO underdogs win replays?
That's the question that will be rattling around the heads of Beale boss Mike Enright and his Duagh counterpart John Halpin this week. Beale were most people's fancies for this title and the first 45 minutes did very little to dispell this notion. Beale had the game in their grasp. They were in control. Okay they were struggling for scores in the second half, but Duagh weren't exactly scoring with impunity.
They were getting a few scores here and there. Nigel O'Connor and Joey Shanahan raised the Mall's hopes, but it wasn't until Anthony Maher stepped up to the plate that Duagh supporters began to believe and Beale supporters started to worry. In the end Beale hung on, just about for a draw their first half performance merited. The worry for them is that had the game gone on another two minutes Duagh would surely have triumphed.
Going into the replay Duagh would seem to have the momentum. Beale were arguably the nicer team, they played a nice crisp brand of football, their passing worked in a way that Duagh's rarely did, but they went a whopping 35 minutes (not including added time) without scoring following Shane Joy's beautiful score on 25 minutes. For Duagh the worry is didn't play well for long stretches. It wasn't until well into the second half that they truly came to life.
Beale's Enright feels that the game will stand to his men.
"In the end, a draw was probably a fair result, because the wind really picked up in the second half. It was very hard to play against it. We had a lot of the ball, but we just couldn't get those one or two points, which would have been vital, but I was delighted with the performance of the Beale boys. We haven't had a game for five weeks and this game, should bring us on a lot," he commented.
"The experience from last year's final helped us. We were very disciplined in our tackling. We knew with Anthony Maher around, he would pop over a few from frees, but overall I am happy. I thought we played great football, moved the ball well, ran off the shoulder, they were taking it on against the wind working it in. Maybe we missed a few scores in the opening fifteen minutes and if we had been seven or eight points ahead at half-time it could have taken us over the line.
"Our biggest problem now for the replay is that two of our players are flying out to Dubai tomorrow for a week. They were to fly out today, but we re-arranged their flights for tomorrow. They will be a huge loss, but we hope our squad will be strong enough."
John Halpin was more than pleased with Duagh's performance in the second half of this game of two halves.
"Relief in one way. We were five points down. In the first half our handling errors were killing us, but we showed great heart in the end. Maybe a few debatable frees at the finish, but it could have gone either way.
"It took us probably fifteen twenty minutes to settle down and get used to the conditions and I think Beale were quite similar in the second half. You couldn't fault any player really.
"The conditions were horrendous. If they got a second goal the game was over. Anthony Maher's second half display was unbelievable. I got a message from him this morning, to say that he was struggling with the flu, but he put it to one side and to give a performance like he did, fantastic.
"Looking at the replay, we won't train that hard, because grounds are soft. Players are making a massive commitment. They've done a phenomenal amount of work over the past three weeks. At the moment we have the usual bumps and bruises, but we should be okay for next Sunday."