Brickeys move into more comfortable pastures

Brickey Rangers 1-12; Gaultier 1-8

With the threat of relegation past, last year’s Intermediate champions Brickey Rangers enhanced their hopes of featuring in the eventual shake up for the senior crown thanks to a four-point win over Gaultier on Wednesday last.

Played under lights at Kilmacthomas, the match underpins the sheer folly of persevering with this particular competition in its present format, given that the losers faced another play-off over the weekend.

With the month of November fast approaching and not an end to the race for the Conway Cup, delegates at last week’s County Committee meeting voiced their annoyance at the long drawn out nature of the championship. One thing is certain: changes will surely come into play next season.

Gaultier went into this match considerably under strength for one reason or another, and it clearly showed right from the beginning as they continuously laboured to keep the lively and better marshalled Rangers at bay.

Carthach Shalloe gave them a lead never subsequently surrendered as early as the game’s second minute, added another point after ten minutes, and was denied a third score shortly afterwards by the woodwork.

Conor and Shane McGrath chipped in with white flags in the 11th and 12th minutes respectively. And when the impressive Dermot O’Neill kicked a fifth point on the quarter hour, it was really looking bad for the Barony Men.

It even got worse for Gaultier, as the Brickeys continued their attacking thrusts unabated, and after Olan Casey, Andrew Murphy and Carthach Shalloe tagged on three more points.

In the 27th minute, Olan Casey hammered the ball to the net to extend the lead, remarkably to 1-7 to no score.

Matters improved slightly for Gaultier before half-time thanks to points from Paul Maher and Anthony Fitzgerald, but they still trailed by nine points at the break.

After the break, Gaultier made a better fist of things. Anthony Fitzgerald had his second match point from play in the 37th minute, but the Brickeys lead eventually opened to nine points.

But Gaultier didn’t lie down. A brace of points from Anthony Fitzgerald and another from second half replacement Conor O’Riordan, narrowed the gap to five.

With 10 minutes left on the clock and when the much improved Eastern outfit got a further boost with a cracking Thomas Dunphy 55th minute goal, after he had been brilliantly set up by Anthony Fitzgerald, it certainly begged the question what could have transpired had Gaultier played like this in the first half.

Still very much on the offensive Conor O’Riordan narrowed the deficit to three with as many minutes of normal time remaining, yet the Brickeys held firm in the face of sustained pressure, and eventually came away for an insurance point in injury time from a free by Carthach Shalloe.

Brickey Rangers: Jim Cooney, Mark Cummins, Conor Phelan, John Cooney, Richard Halpin, Jimmy Sheehan, Kieran O’Brien, Dermot O’Neill, Conor McGrath, Andrew Murphy, Carthach Shalloe, Vinny McCarthy, Shane McGrath, Olan Casey, Mark Scanlon . Subs: Mark Shalloe for M Scanlon, Christy Power for V McCarthy.

Scorers: Olan Casey (1-1), Carthach Shalloe (0-4), Conor McGrath (0-3), Andrew Murphy (0-2), Kieran O’Brien and Shane McGrath (0-1 each).

Gaultier: Paul Murphy, Ronan McDonagh, Gary Molloy, Tyrone Power, Robin Croke, Ray Hearne, Ian Hatton, Thomas Dunphy, Rory Walsh, Thomas Connors, Paul Maher, Mark Wyse, Paul Fitzgerald, Anthony Fitzgerald, Ian Power. Subs: Conor O’Riordan for T Power, Noel Smith for T Connors, Andy Moloney for I Power.

Scorers: Anthony Fitzgerald (0-5), Thomas Dunphy (1-0), Conor O’Riordan (0-2) and Paul Maher (0-1).

Referee: Maurice Condon (Clashmore).

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