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Hedderman saves the day in belter against Annacurra

Minor ‘B’ belter with Tomnafinogue

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The Annacurra team who played Tomnafinogue on Monday.

The Annacurra team who played Tomnafinogue on Monday.

Tomnafinogue, who drew with Annacurra.

Tomnafinogue, who drew with Annacurra.

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The Annacurra team who played Tomnafinogue on Monday.

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Annacurra 4-9

Tomnafinogue 1-18

A point from Maurice Hedderman in the dying moments meant both Annacurra and Tomnafinogue had to settle for a share of the spoils in a thrilling, high-scoring affair on a sunny and humid Monday night. The game had everything from hard-hitting tackles to fantastic goals, but Annacurra will be left feeling the worst of the sides after leading for the whole game until the final play.

It was the home side who found the first score of the game courtesy of Sammy Harper. Annacurra then won the resulting kick out and Charlie Graham’s direct ball from midfield was gathered excellently by Luke Nolan. Nolan’s shot was saved by the legs of Lorcan Fitzsimmons in the Tomnafinogue net, but the rebound fell kindly into the path of Rhyan Moules who made no mistake from close range to seal a goal after just over 30 seconds on the clock.

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Annacurra found their second goal of the game by the third minute when JJ Byrne was pulled down inside the square and referee Darragh Byrne awarded a penalty to the hosts. Adam Healy stood up and placed the ball into the bottom corner to continue his side’s remarkable early start.

Thomas Kelly found a point for Tomnafinogue moments later, but Annacurra found yet another goal just before the 10th minute. An attempted point from JJ Byrne didn’t quite have the legs to go between the posts as it fell short into the hands of Lorcan Fitzsimmons. The Tomanafinogue goalkeeper couldn’t gather it on his first attempt and the ball fell onto the foot of Luke Nolan who buried home from just yards out.

Three became four just minutes later when Sammy Harper’s excellent side footed shot from the 13-yard line found the top right corner and although there was just over 10 minutes played, it looked as if the job was almost done for Annacurra.

Tomnafinogue didn’t show any signs of giving up and the partnership between powerful ball carriers Maurice Hedderman and Ciaran Lambert caused the home side trouble. The visitors kept the points ticking over in the minutes following Annacurra’s fourth goal with Eddie Cullen and Daniel Tighe. The away side could easily have had a couple goals of their own as well if it wasn’t for some outstanding stops at point blank range by Daniel Kirwan to deny both Hedderman and Lambert on separate occasions.

The tide drifted slightly in favour of Tomnafinoge midway through the first half with the home side struggling to retain possession. Lambert, Hedderman and Cullen kept the points going over for their side and they reduced the deficit even further with just five minutes remaining in the second half. Thomas Kelly’s menacing run saw the centre forward one on one against Daniel Kirwan.

Kelly’s first shot was saved by Kirwan, but he managed to put the ball in the back of the net on his second attempt to keep his side in the game. Eddie Cullen and Eoin O’Connor traded scores in the final play of the half and Annacurra went into the break with a 4-2 to 1-7 lead.

The goals dried up in the second half, but the excitement grew even further with some fantastic individual battles all over the field.

Annacurra’s Charlie Graham and Adam Healy worked tirelessly in the middle of the park for the hosts and were instrumental in linking play from defence to attack. Annacurra found the first point of the second half through Sammy Harper, but Tomnafinoge replied with points from Daniel Tighe and Eddie Cullen.

Charlie Graham was next to put his name on the scoresheet with a cracker from just inside the 45-yard line and other midfielder Adam Healy added one moments later.

Perhaps the standout performer in the second half was Eddie Cullen of Tomnafinogue and every time the ball came into the full-forward line, he seemed to calmly stroke the ball between the posts at ease. Three frees from Annacurra’s Sammy Harper and another point from Charlie Graham gave Annacurra a four-point lead heading into the closing stages but three points from Tomnafinogue’s Eddie Cullen and a late strike at the death from Maurice Hedderman drew the sides level after an entertaining and exciting clash in Annacurra.

Annacurra: Daniel Kirwan; Cormac Kavanagh, Paddy Horan Flynn, Michael Kavanagh; Eoin O’Connor (0-1), Oliver Doyle, George Doyle; Adam Healy (1-1), Charlie Graham (0-2); J Byrne, Rhyan Moules (1-0), Alexander Cummins Doyle; Sammy Harper (1-5,3f), Sean Carey, Luke Nolan (1-0). Subs: Stewart Davey for Cormac Kavanagh (22), Evan Byrne for Michael Kavanagh (45), Eoghan Murphy for Oliver Doyle (50).

Tomnafinogue: Lorcan Fitzsimmons; Jamie Purcell, Daragh Rawson, Ryan Purcell; Killian O’Keefe, Ciaran Lambert (0-1), Jamie Schoeb; Maurice Hedderman (0-2), McDara O’Neill; Eoin Ivanoff, Thomas Kelly (1-1), Daniel Tighe (0-2); Jack O’Keefe, Eddie Cullen (0-12, 7f), Ryan Hilliard. Subs: Cillian Murphy for Jack O’Keefe (25), Rioghan O’Callaghan for Ryan Hilliard (40), Pearse Byrne for Ryan Purcell (40).

Referee: Darragh Byrne (Ballymanus)


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