Wasteful to the point of danger they may have been but Allen Gaels eventually made their possession and an extra man for the second half tell against 14-man Drumreilly in last Saturday’s Connacht Gold Senior Championship encounter in Cloone.
Drumreilly raced into a 1-2 to no score lead in the first half as Allen Gaels hit some appalling wides but once they found their scoring range, you always got the feeling that the Drumshanbo men would prove victorious on the day.
The tally of 13 wides is something that will concern the Gaels management as they really should have made far better use of their extra man but they will be happy with how they finished this encounter, recovering from a second half Drumreilly rally that left them two points up with 19 minutes to go.
Drumreilly, however, weren’t happy after the dismissal of James Holohan as they vented their fury at referee Brendan Sammon at halftime, somewhat forcibly and at length although the dismissal of the Drumreilly man appears to be clear cut.
But Drumreilly’s anger was compounded by what they felt were a series of decisions which went against them over the course of the game as there were several incidents when they failed to get what looked like clear cut frees.
It is hard to know what might have happened had Holohan stayed on the field as he is a major part of the Drumreilly attacking strategy but the Drumshanbo men were dominating play when it was 15 on 15 only for their poor shooting to let them down.
Strangely, this was Allen Gaels first victory in the round robin stages for the championship since 2006, a startling statistic and even if they still have a bit of work to do, the value and confidence boost of this victory is immense.
Best for Allen Gaels were Alan Wynne, Ciaran Mattynnsenns in the first half, James Flynn, Derek McGourty, Michael McManus and Sean Mulvey while Anthony Holohan, Graeme Taylor, Olly Maguire, Declan Maxwell and John McKeon were best for Drumreilly.
Olly Maguire’s fine point on the run after just 50 seconds was the first score for the first 12 minutes with Allen Gaels hitting four poor wides. It got much worse for the Drumshanbo men when Sean Fee profited from a mistake in the Gaels backline from a high ball to drill the ball to the net on 12 minutes.
James Holohan’s great point from a tight angle stretched the lead to five points five minutes later but once James Flynn put a huge high ball over the bar two minutes later, Allen Gaels began to motor. Declan Gilhooley’s free followed before Derek McGourty did exceptionally well to get between defender and keeper to fist a high ball to the net.
Points from Mark Gunning and Brian Mulvey followed but the most critical issue was a red card in injury time for James Holohan for striking out at Thomas Mulvey, reducing Drumreilly to 14 and causing their bench to go mad as they felt they were not getting any decisions from the Aughnasheelin officials.
Instead of buckling, Drumreilly started the second half with four unanswered points from Olly Maguire, Declan Maxwell, Graeme Taylor and Maxwell again, all four magnificent points as they led by two with 11 minutes gone.
But from there to the finish, the Gaels were in control as, over the next ten minutes, they added points from Nicholas Moore, Sean Mulvey, Mickey McManus and Martin Beirne, two of which could have been goals.
The extra man saw Allen Gaels cruise the final ten minutes as Gilhooley (2), Flynn and Sean Mulvey all added points with only a Damon Maguire point for a tiring Drumreilly to show for their efforts.
Kevin Nolan, Thomas Mulvey, Alan Wynne, Mark Gunning (0-1), Ciaran Mattynnsenns, Colm McGovern, Martin Raftery, Martin Beirne (0-1), Michael McManus (0-1), James Flynn (0-2), Declan Gilhooley (0-3), Sean Mulvey (0-2), Nicholas Moore (0-1), Derek McGourty (1-0), Brian Mulvey (0-1). Subs: Daniel Egan for McGourty (52 mins), Shane Beirne for Moore (56 mins), Emmett Burke for McGovern (57 mins).
Michael McGirl, Fergal Mitchell, Kevin Holohan, Anthony Holohan, Cormac Maguire, John McKeon, Graeme Taylor (0-1), Sean Fee (1-0), John Fee, Brian Fee, Olly Maguire (0-2), Damon Maguire (0-1), Ronan McCartan, Declan Maxwell (0-2), James Holohan (0-1). Subs: Ciaran Holohan for B. Fee (HT), Adrian McGirl for Mitchell (50 mins),
Referee: Brendan Sammon.