Tourlestrane send out message as they see past Tubbercurry
Tourlestrane 1-12 Tubbercurry 0-7
The weekend's football action will have done little to sway those who believe Tourlestrane are heading for four-in-a-row, after they saw off Tubbercurry with relative ease in Curry on Sunday evening.
Considered by many as the leading candidates to halt Tourlestrane's push for four senior titles on the bounce, an under strength Tubbercurry couldn't make the very most of early misses from Eamonn O'Hara and Gerry McGowan's side.
Tourlestrane, themselves forced into pre-match changes, never really looked out of their comfort zone, after Gary Gaughan's goal ten minutes in had them in front for the first time.
More worrying for any potential suitors to the county crown, was the fact that the holders looked like they had a gear or two more left to shift through. Opening scores from frees against a strong breeze from both Jason Perry and captain David Kelly had Tubber ahead.
While Tourlestrane had to ride out that poor start, with three of a total of eight first half wides arriving in the opening five minutes.
The game's first nine scores all came from frees and Tourlestrane, when settled, had their first two courtesy of Cathal Henry and Liam Gaughan. Tubbercurry lacked that bite expected of them in such a game. And chances of making it three wins from three in group two may have come to an end as early as the tenth minute, when they fell behind for the first time.
Gary Gaughan profiting from the room afforded to him by a sleeping back-line after he cut inside, before sliding the ball under Griffin Gallagher in the Tubber nets. Colm McGee's charges then went ten minutes without a chance of note.
A Liam Gaughan double from set plays meaning Tourlestrane led by 1-4 to 0-2 with 13 played. This tie took 22 minutes to produce its first score from open play. A left footed free from Perry answered by a routine score from Tourlestrane's Henry. Tubber were restricted to just one more score before the break as a short shower descended on Curry.
Tourlestrane raining chances on their goal now, with Johnny Kelly and Kenny Gavaghan adding to the total.
Gallagher's superb reactions kept the Black and White alive as he denied Liam Gaughan's low drive with his legs. The break welcomed more by last year's runners-up as the champions held the advantage, 1-7 to 0-4 at the interval.
The inclement weather meant supporters made their way to the shelter of the stands for the second half. But there was no retreating from Tourlestrane who enjoyed the majority of the possession in the second period. Liam Gaughan had his fourth score of the evening on 34. While Darragh Kilcoyne found the posts shortly after, Tubber's first of just three second half scores.
A sustained period of hand-passing as Tubber sat in, resulted in the inevitable as Liam Gaughan sold his marker a dummy before slotting over.
Oisín Kennedy repeating the trick on the next visit to the Tubber posts. Tourlestrane steadily emptied their bench as their ability to squeeze and see out the game came to the fore. Almost ten minutes had elapsed since Kennedy's white flag, when Henry floated over another free.
This result shouldn't harm Tubber's chances of qualification and they did finish up with some positives to take into their final group game against Shamrock Gaels.
Kelly and Perry kept Tourlestrane's defence occupied with two good scores from play while the same players had successive goal-scoring opportunities blocked down.
But it was a case of job already done for the Green and Gold. Liam Gaughan adding his fifth in injury time after Tubber's David Brennan was shown a straight red for striking an opponent.
Referee Conor Conway informed by one of his officials after the incident had taken place in front of the Tourlestrane posts.