Tuesday 24 October 2017

Curran eager to keep Kickhams' feet on ground


BALLYMUN KICKHAMS manager Paul Curran tried to dampen any expectation that might build around his side in the wake of this comprehensive dismissal of Mullingar Shamrocks, but the Dublin outfit made their intentions clear at Cusack Park.

Curran adopted the "one game at a time" mantra after 60 minutes that were an example of how teams can react after a county final win.

Shamrocks were a shadow of the team that ousted March's beaten All-Ireland finalists Garrycastle in the Westmeath SFC final replay, while Ballymun looked like a side that hardly missed a beat since they were crowned Dublin champions on the October Bank Holiday weekend.

They got out of the blocks quickly and when Davy Byrne scampered through for his side's first goal on 11 minutes, it put them 1-4 to 0-0 up and the writing was already on the wall.

Shamrocks shuffled their deck and introduced Anthony Clinton, which coincided with a better period for the home side.

They settled somewhat but some wayward place-kicking hindered their cause and by the time the short whistle blew, Ballymun had opened up a 1-7 to 0-3 lead.

The game's statistics make for depressing reading for Shamrocks. They didn't get their first score until the 23rd minute, when Sean Daly pointed a free. And they didn't manage a score from play until Clinton obliged in the 46th minute.

Mullingar's no-show was compounded by Ballymun's efficiency. Dean Rock's talents are well documented and his ball-striking was magnificent from play and frees.

Ted Furman kicked 1-2 in a display that will have reminded Jim Gavin of his talents.

"Ted is a strong bugger and he has got himself into a good position fitness wise," said Curran.

"Everyone in the county knows how talented he is. He has been playing senior football since he was 16. We are seeing it more this year, we didn't really see it last year. He's very fit and is playing great stuff."

Furman and Rock had plenty of help. Jason Whelan was excellent -- the wing-forward kicked two points and provided the final pass for both goals, even if Furman had a lot to do for their second.

Furman's goal was the first score after half-time and put the Dublin side 10 points to the good, which left the result beyond all doubt.

"We knew it was going to be tough but we played well and we hit the ground running," Curran reflected.

"The start gave us the breathing space you need in these matches. The lads played well, we are happy to be in the next round.

"None of these fellas have played in this competition before. They have no experience of it, so we just tried to focus on ourselves."

Ballymun Kickhams head to a Leinster semi-final meeting with Kildare champions Sarsfields in Newbridge in a fortnight's time, with Shamrocks manager Ray Smyth offering no excuses.

"In training, we didn't do the work we should do and didn't work hard enough after the county final," he conceded.

"I can't blame them because, them young fellas, none of them had a senior championship medal. Now they have a senior championship medal and they're happy. Maybe they were satisfied with that.

"I saw them playing in the Dublin championship and I didn't think they were as good. I thought we had a great chance and maybe if the real Shamrocks team showed up today we would have had a chance. I hope they win the Leinster championship."

SCORERS -- Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock 0-8 (6f), T Furman 1-2, D Byrne 1-0, J Whelan 0-2 (1f), K Leahy 0-1. Mullingar: C Curley 0-3 (3f), S Daly (f), L Smyth (f), A Clinton, D Daly 0-1 each.

Ballymun kickhams -- S Currie; Enda Dolan, P McMahon, Eoin Dolan; A Hubbard, K Connolly, J Burke; Davy Byrne, J McCarthy; E Reilly, K Leahy, J Whelan; T Furman, D Rock, A O'Brien. Subs: Derek Byrne for O'Brien (43), J Small for Whelan (52), F Andrews for Furman (54), J Welby for Burke (57), S Forde for Davy Byrne (59).

Mullingar shamrocks -- R Tyrrell; E Moore, K Gavin, A Purcell; M Curley, D Gavin, K Daly; D Corroon, D O'Donoghue; P Joyce, S Daly, J Ganley; S Quinn, C Curley, L Smyth. Subs: A Clinton for Daly (18), D Daly for Quinn (35), A Smyth for Ganley (40), C O'Leary for O'Donoghue (46), P Christie for Moore (56).

Ref -- F Barry (Kildare).

Irish Independent

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