Gaultier’s nervy win leaves Mitchell’s facing senior basement battle

Gaultier’s Anthony Fitzgerald is tackled by John Mitchell’s Kieran O’Connor. photo: Michael Kiely

Gaultier’s Anthony Fitzgerald is tackled by John Mitchell’s Kieran O’Connor. photo: Michael Kiely

Gaultier . . . 2-11; John Mitchell’s . . . 2-9

The unpredictability of this year’s football championship was fully demonstrated in Kill on Saturday evening last when relegation-threatened John Mitchell’s came within a whisker of a desperately needed victory.

Following three successive defeats, only Stradbally stand between the Fewsmen and a place in the relegation series.

To be frank, Mitchells require the greatest Houdini escape of them all they are to avoid the relegation play-offs.

On the run of play, Gaultier just about merited their first outright win of the season. However even their most biased fan would admit that there was a fortuitous touch to the way it all worked out in the end.

On this occasion John Mitchell’s had the wind at their backs from the off and ran up a three-point lead inside seven minutes.

But Gaultier responded excellently and levelled matters through JJ Hutchinson’s firing the ball into the Mitchell’s net four minutes later.

Points were exchanged at either end via the boots of Gearoid O’Connor and Paudie Kirwan and it was clear that a fine contest was developing.

Gaultier grew in stature was the half wore on and had raised the green flag for a second time on 28 minutes through a well-struck Ian Power shot.

Leading by 2-4 to 0-7 at the break, Mitchell’s stayed in touch thanks to some well-taken points, with John Power’s accurate kicking proving a first half highlight.

And they started the second half in great fashion, with Neil O’Connor and David Kirwan narrowing the gap to the bare minimum.

But back charged Gaultier who impressively rattled over six points without reply, including braces from Hutchinson and Eddie Kirwan.

Yet, to their credit, Mitchell’s shoulders didn’t drop and back they came through the outstanding Tony Kirwan, who provided the assist for a fisted goal from John Power in the 47th minute. In the mist, their supporters celebrated as the drama cranked up a few gears.

But the air seemed to be fissuring out of the Mitchell’s tyres as Gaultier embarked on another scoring spree through Kirwan, Gearoid O’Connor and Anthony Fitzgerald, this restoring their five-point advantage. The game’s real excitement, however, was just about to unfold.

In the first minute of added on time, a ‘foot block’ offence led to a John Mitchell’s penalty, duly despatched by John Power, putting the pressure back on the seasiders.

And they could have nicked a remarkable win in the game’s dying moments, with Tony Kirwan left cursing his luck as two efforts sailed wide from positions he feel he should have fared better from.

Gaultier now look safe, with their fourth round match against the Nire now crucial to their ambitions.

As for Mitchell’s, they now firmly find themselves firmly planted at the bottom of the group and will require a good result from their last match with Stradbally – and perhaps one or two other group results – to stay clear of the drop.

Teams & scorers

Gaultier: Paul Murphy, Ronan McDonald, Gary Molloy, Tyrone Power, Robin Croke, Thomas Dunphy, PJ Scollard, Rory Walsh, Ian Power (1-0), Paul Maher (0-1f), Gearoid O’Connor (0-2), Eddie Kirwan (0-4; 0-3 f), JJ Hutchinson (1-2), Anthony Fitzgerald (0-1), Paul Fitzgerald (0-1).

John Mitchell’s: Ivor Kelly, Niall Barry, Kenneth O’Reilly, William McGrath, Leo Barry, Damien O’Reilly, Kieran O’Connor, David Kirwan (0-1), Tony Kirwan, Paudie Kirwan (0-1), Fergal Fogarty, John Power (2-5; 1-0 pen, 0-3f), Paddy O’Sullivan, Neil O’Connor (0-2), Aidan Kirwan.

Subs: Gary Whelan for A Kirwan, David Whelan for P Kirwan.

Referee: John Power (Dunhill).

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