Friday 20 April 2018

Final beckons Mitchelstown after big win

County IFC semi-final: Mitchelstown 2-13 Cill na Martra 1-10

Mitchelstown's Greg Carroll and Cill na Martra's Noel O'Leary seek out the ball in the County IFC semi-final. Photo by John Tarrant
Mitchelstown's Greg Carroll and Cill na Martra's Noel O'Leary seek out the ball in the County IFC semi-final. Photo by John Tarrant

John Tarrant

A step in the right direction for Mitchelstown's huge work ethic to better 14-man Cill na Martra in the County Intermediate Football Championship semi-final in Banteer on Saturday.

The quality, power and fluency of Mitchelstown play was exceptional; the victors efficiency all through emerged the essential difference between the sides. Operating a fast and fluent brand of football, excellent teamwork earned reward from good moves.

Simply put, favourites Cill Na Martra were unable to function with comparable flair and fluency. As a consequence, their commendable efforts to get back into the contest was always shrouded in futility, not helped by the loss of key midfielder Michéal Ó Deasúna in the 22nd minute, red carded for dissent.

That proved a major setback, Cill Na Martra's earlier promise had faded and to concede 1-5 without reply either side of the break left Mitchelstown very much in the driving seat to progress to a decider against familiar rivals Kanturk.

From the off, a fancied Cill na Martra were soon into their stride from lead points to Ó Deasúna and Dan Ó Duinnín. A nervous Mitchelstown took a time to settle before the Avondhu side hauled themselves back into contention, Cill na Martra 'keeper James Aynsley failed to hold a greasy ball from a Shane Beston delivery and the ideally positioned Dave Dineen was on hand to net.

That score lifted 'Town, Shane Cahill pointed and though Ó Duinnín answered for Cill na Martra, Mitchelstown put together an attractive brand of football. Their defence was strong, a half-back line of Greg Carroll, Pa Molloy and Pa Magee combined defensive work with an eagerness to launch attacks, while Seán Walsh and Dineen established a strong platform at midfield.

And Mitchelstown held the better attacking combination with Michael Walsh and Cahill to the fore as Magee and Cathal O'Mahony pointed. Cill na Martra sparked a comeback. Ó Deasúna and Mairtín Ó Conchúir pointing to leave the minimum between the sides.

However, the Gaeltacht side incurred a major setback in the 22nd minute, midfielder Ó Deasúna incurring a straight red card. Growing in confidence by the minute, Mitchelstown offered a powerful routine that ran Cill na Martra ragged with James Sheehan and Walsh pointing.

And Mitchelstown further underlined their predatory instincts on the call of the interval, Cathal O'Mahony goaled from close range for a comfortable 2-6 to 0-5 grip at the break. And 'Town raced out of the starting blocks for the restart, Walsh and Shane Beston adding points.

Cill na Martra attempted to rekindle their hopes, shooting four wides caused frustration before they ended a barren 22 minutes on points to Shane Ó Duinnin, Mairtín Ó Conchúir and Daire Mac Lochlainn to cut the leeway 2-8 to 0-9.

Making some progress, it wasn't quite enough to establish a rhythm that would knock Mitcelstown off their powerful stride. Indeed Mitchelstown regained the upperhand and a productive spell yielded points to Dineen, Sheehan and O'Mahony.

Trying to retrieve an eight point deficit was always going to be a tough task for Cill na Martra yet they never gave up, a peach of a goal from Dan Ó Duinnín offered a glimmer of hope.

Soaking up late pressure, Mitchelstown saw their task to a successful conclusion, Dineen delivering the insurance point to secure a ticket to the decider against Kanturk.

MITCHELSTOWN: L Hanna; M Maher, F Herlihy, L Finn; G Carroll, P Molloy, P Magee 0-1; S Walsh 0-2, D Dineen 1-3; S O'Sullivan, S Cahill 0-1, M Walsh; C O'Mahony 1-2, S Beston 0-1, J Sheehan 0-3 (0-1f) Subs: L O'Flynn for O'Sullivan (50), O Burke for Finn (52), D Reidy Price for O'Mahony (55)

CILL NA MARTRA: J Aynsley; A Ó Cuana, G Ó Mocháin, D Mac Lochlainn 0-1; S Ó Céilleachair, D Ó Conaill, T Ó Corcora; G Ó Goillidhe, M Ó Deasúna 0-2; M Ó Conchúir 0-3 (0-1f), D Ó Duinnín 1-3 (0-1f), C Ó Laoire; M Ó Duinnín, N Ó Laoire, S Ó Duinnín 0-1 Subs: F Ó hÉalaithe for M Ó Duinnín (ht), E Ó Loinsigh for Ó Corcora (52)

Referee: J Larkin (Ballinora)