Drab draw not for the purists

Sean Byrne-Deise Sport

Dead end: Conor Phelan (Brickeys) in a tight spot with Mervyn Cummins and Richie Power (Rathgormack) during their County Senior Football Championship meeting in Leamybrien. | Photo: Sean Byrne-Deise Sport

Rathgormack 0-6 Brickey Rangers 0-6

Drab, dour and less than exhilarating! The weekend’s senior football action got off to a less than auspicious start last Friday night when Brickey Rangers and Rathgormack drew in Lemybrien. This was not a good game of football and highlighted a lot of what is wrong with the game in the modern era. It will be Rathgormack who will be kicking themselves that they did not come away with the victory from this encounter. For long periods of this match they dominated possession but could not find a way through the massed Brickey’s defence.

Despite living on meagre portions of possession, Brickey Rangers did manage to open the scoring after 3 minutes of play. Carthach Shalloe converted a harshly awarded free after a seemingly innocuous clash between himself and Rathgormack full back, Jack Nugent.

This was the only score of the first 20 minutes and virtually the only time that the Brickey’s managed to get into the Rathgormack half of the field. Mervyn Cummins was dominating the midfield sector winning ball after ball. However, too often Rathgormack gave away possession easily or kicked a bad wide.

Rathgormack’s frustration grew and this allowed Brickey Rangers to gain a foothold in the game. They got on top for the last 10 minutes of the half and added points through county star Conor McGrath and speedy corner forward, Christy Power.

This left Brickey’s leading on a scoreline of 0-3 to 0-0 at half time with Rathgormack absolutely livid with themselves for not raising a single white flag despite dominating possession.

Whatever was said in the Rathgormack dressing room at half time seemed to work the oracle as they came out in a completely different mood for the second half. Straight from the throw-in, Victor O’Shea placed Kevin Power and the former county player made no mistake to score Rathgormack’s first point of the game.

A Paudie Whelan free narrowed the deficit to a single point before Edmund Hogan equalised with another free following a foul on veteran Richie Power.

Dug in

Rathgormack took the lead for the first time in the 42nd minute through a well-taken point from Kevin Power.

Justas it looked as if Rathgormack were going to kick on to victory, Brickey Rangers dug in again. A point from excellent midfielder, Olan Casey brought the sides level before substitute, Jimmy Sheehan put the Brickey’s back in front.

With 3 minutes left on the clock, Carthach Shalloe converted another free to put a little bit of daylight between the sides and everyone thought that this had sealed a victory for Brickey Rangers.

It is likely that 29 of the 30 players on the field thought that Brickey Rangers were ‘home and hosed’. But crucially for Rathgormack, one man didn’t. Twice in the closing minutes, Richie Power burst through the Brickey Rangers defence to score and snatch a crucial draw for Rathgormack.

Rathgormack will also feel aggrieved that they were not awarded what looked like obvious frees in injury time which would have sealed what would have been a deserved victory.

In this group which also contains Ballinacourty and St Saviours, a victory here for either side would have put them in pole position to take the second qualifying position behind Ballinacourty. However a draw here leaves the group wide open and with scoring difference likely to decide the group, both sets of forwards will have to improve.

Rathgormack will be the side who will feel that they left this one behind them as they dominated territorially for much of this game but could not convert possession into scores. The man of the match was unquestionably Rathgormack’s veteran centre forward, Richie Power. He was everywhere in this game and showed the younger players around him what work rate really is. He also pulled the game out of the fire with those two late points. Others to shine for Rathgormack were Paul Power, Mervyn Cummins and Kevin Power.

Brickey Rangers will feel a little lucky to come away with a point in this game. Derry All-Ireland winner Dermot O’Neill played well at full back while Olan Casey put in a lot of work around the middle of the field. Up front, Conor McGrath and Christy Power were the pick of an attack which was forced to survive on slim pickings.

Rathgormack: D Larkin, M Crotty, J Nugent, Jamie Kirwan, P Power, T Power, J Crotty, M Cummins, K Hassett, E Hogan, R Power, John Kirwan, P Whelan, V O’Shea K Power. Subs: R Cahill for J Crotty, P Drohan for John Kirwan.

Scorers: K Power 0-2, R Power 0-2, P Whelan 0-1f, E Hogan 0-1f.

Brickey Rangers: B O’Brien, M Cummins, D O’Neill, J Cooney, R Halpin, C Phelan, M Kiely, O Casey, M Shalloe, C Lane, C McGrath, S McGrath, W Queally, C Shalloe, C Power. Subs: J Sheehan for W Queally, V McCarthy for M Kiely, B O’Halloran for C Power.

Scorers: C Shalloe 0-2f, C Mcgrath 0-1, C Power 0-1, O Casey 0-1, J Sheehan 0-1.

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