Tourlestrane get campaign under-way with convincing Gaels victory
Tourlestrane 1-13 Shamrock Gaels 0-10
Fr Kevin Breheny Park was the venue for the second round game in Group one of the Belfry Senior Football Championship where the reigning champions Tourlestrane played Shamrock Gaels in monsoon like conditions.
This was Tourlestrane's first foray in this year's Championship, having had a bye in the first round. On the other hand it was the Gaels' second outing having blitzed St. Molaise Gaels the previous week.
It was also a rematch of the Division 1 League final played a fortnight previously, which Tourlestrane won, completing their five in a row Division One titles.
Straight from the off and in Tourlestrane's first attack Liam Gaughan scored from play. He was to prove the most influential player in that first half kicking five points off both feet from play, and a brace from placed balls to compliment the points from Cathal Henry and Kenny Gavigan. The winners were three points up before the Gaels got their first score a monster of a point from mid fielder James Carroll.
Tourlestrane were content to sit deep often with the entire fifteen players behind the ball inside their own forty five metre line.
it was a tactic that worked a treat as the losers struggled to breach the rear guard. They kicked two more long range points from Johnny Quinn and their wing back Sean Carroll to leave them 3 points adrift in the closing stages of the first half.
Indeed the East Division side would have happy enough at that stage to seek the sanctuary of the dressing rooms but then Tourlestrane got a sublime goal courtesy of Adrian Mc Intyre in a defence splitting move to leave the score board at 1.07 to 0.4 at half time.
The second half commenced with another Johnny Quinn point before Cathal Henry once again found the range from a thirty five metre free. Tourlestrane captain James Leonard kicked a point from play and soon after departed the scene having picked up a second yellow card. Two David Quinn frees in between a Henry free kept the South Division side at arms length from their opponents and they often kept possession for long periods of time much to the frustration of Shamrock Gaels.
This led to a black card for their centre back Karl Mc Kenna for a rash, deliberate pull down during a period of this dominance. Johnny Kelly was an increasing influence and his jinking runs pierced holes in the Gaels defence. Substitute Conan Marren joined the attack and kicked two splendid points from play.
David Quinn also kicked two points, one from play and another from a free but it mattered little as the six point cushion that Tourlestrane had made for themselves by half time was maintained right to the very end.
It was quite a physical game which wasn't helped by poor underfoot conditions and it needed a vigilant Michael Duffy to keep a tight rein on proceedings.
In addition to the previous mentioned cards the referee gave out several more yellow ones with Tourlestrane picking up the most of these.
Shamrock Gaels tried their best and will feel that with every passing game this team in gaining invaluable experience. They were forced to field without both Keith Mc Morrow and Dillon Mc Dermott.
They are almost guaranteed a quarter final place and when they are at full strength they will fear no opponents.
As for the king pins of Sligo football, Tourlestrane play with patience, precision and can inject searing pace when they go on the attack.
Tourlestrane. Adam Broe, Cian Surlis, Barry Walsh, J.F. Carr, Oisin Kenneddy, Adrian Mc Intyre (1.0), James Leonard (01) (cpt) Stephen Henry, Cathal Henry (0.4),Alan Dunne, Jonny Kelly (0.1), Kenny Gavigan, Liam Gaughan (0.5) Gary Gaughan, Kevin O Hara, Subs Conan Marren (0.2) for Gary Gaughan
Shamrock Gaels Daniel Lyons, Evan Lyons, Paul Higgins, Patrick Benson, Andy Flynn, Karl Mc Kenna, Sean Carroll (0.1), James Carroll(0.1), Dylan Willis, Ciaran O Connor, Frank Quinn, Shane Deignan, Johnny Quinn (0.2), David Quinn (0.6), Darragh Hailstones (0.1). Subs Daire Kerins for Karl Mc Kenna B.C