Saints steal it at death

Michael Kiely

St Saviours Adam Brophy challanges Brickey Rangers Jimmy Sheehan during their County Senior Football Championship meeting at Fraher Field. | Photo: Michael Kiely

St Saviours 1-11; Brickey Rangers 0-11 

A last-gasp strike from St Saviour’s corner-forward Brian Jacob gave his side two precious championship points in a highly entertaining Senior Football championship match at Kill last Friday evening. This game was as entertaining as Brickey’s opening encounter with Rathgormack was turgid. As expected beforehand it went right down to the wire with the city side probably deserving of their victory on the balance of play.

St Saviour’s were the first to settle and took an early two point lead through a free from Sean Corcoran and a well taken point from the veteran Michael O’Brien. Indeed the returning Corcoran made a huge difference to a St Saviour’s attack that severely malfunctioned in their opening encounter against Ballinacourty when free taking proved their Achilles heel.

St Saviour’s were playing most of the football in the opening half and scored some fine points from play and were very economical with the ball, rarely kicking it away and more often than not, giving it to the best man in position. All this good play enabled them to add on points through Adam Brophy, the marauding John-Paul Jacob and the irrepressible Corcoran.

In contrast, Brickey Rangers had a first half to forget. Time and time again they kicked the ball down the throats of the opposition. Some of their shooting also left a lot to be desired, one effort in particular from Shane McGrath summed up their first half performance as it landed about thirty yards wide. It didn’t help that the threat of star forward, Conor McGrath was completely snuffed out by the excellent Anthony Jacob at centre back for St Saviour’s. They also missed a penalty when Shane McGrath was fouled but Brickey Rangers’ goalkeeper Bob O’Brien drove his spot kick straight at Paul Houlihan.

Brickey Rangers only 2 points of the half came from their two best forwards on the night, full forward Carthach Shalloe and lively corner-forward Christy Power.

At half time, St Saviour’s were excellent value for their four point lead with their defence in particular outstanding. On several occasions they surrounded the Brickey’s forwards and forced them into shots from distance which had little or no chance of being converted.

All change

It was all change for Brickey Rangers as they took the field for the second half. On came Jimmy Sheehan and Andrew Murphy. They had already replaced wing-back Matt Kiely with Vinny McCarthy after twenty minutes. Such was the impact of the substitutes, particularly McCarthy and Sheehan; one has to question whether they should have started the game.

Immediately after the ball was thrown in, the Brickey’s set about eating into the St Saviour’s lead. Points from Christy Power and county star Conor McGrath narrowed the gap down to two points before a Sean Corcoran free stopped the rot for St Saviour’s.

However, Brickey’s were now on a roll and were level by the 46th minute through points from Christy Power, Carthach Shalloe and Mark Shalloe.

It looked as if there was only going to be one winner in this game from here on in. St Saviour’s looked a beaten side with Conor McGrath getting into the game following his move to midfield. St Saviour’s needed leaders to stand up and be counted around the field. Often, in situations like this it is the older hands that steady the ship and guide the team home. However on this occasion, it was the youthful Adam Brophy who took the game by the scruff of the neck. A wonderfully struck 45 was followed by a point from play to open up a two point lead for St Saviour’s.

Back came Brickey Rangers again to equalise with points from substitute Sheehan and one from Carthach Shalloe. Another point from Shalloe in the 54th minute put Brickey Rangers into the lead for the first time and apparently on their way to victory.

The men from the west had hardly stopped celebrating their lead score when Sean Corcoran slotted over a free to level matters again. This was followed by the score of the game from Brian Power which put the city men back in front with three minutes left on the clock.

Brickey Rangers managed to get the ball up the field and Carthach Shalloe sniped his fifth point of the evening to level the scores yet again.

As the game entered injury time, Adam Brophy launched a speculative sideline kick towards the Brickey’s goalmouth. Brian Jacob caught the ball and fired it towards the Brickey’s goal. It took a deflection and went in off the far post to give St Saviour’s the most dramatic of victories.

On the night St Saviour’s owed their victory to some outstanding individual performances, most notably from Anthony and John Paul Jacob, and also Adam Brophy, while Sean Corcoran was unerring from placed balls.

Brickey Rangers are now in serious relegation trouble. They have only one point from two games and have to face Ballinacourty in their final group game. In this game, no fault could be laid at the feet of excellent corner-back Johnny Cooney or the deadly duo of Christy Power and Carthach Shalloe in attack.

St Saviours: P Houlihan, K Boland, T Whelan, P Crowley, J Phelan, A Jacob, I Stenson, JP Jacob, D Crowley, A Brophy, B Power, M English, S Corcoran, M O’Brien, B Jacob.

Scorers: S Corcoran 0-5 (0-4f), B Jacob 1-0, A Brophy 0-3 (0-1 45), M O’Brien 0-1, JP Jacob 0-1, B Power 0-1.

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

Scorers: C Shalloe 0-5, C Power 0-3, C McGrath 0-1, M Shalloe 0-1, J Sheehan 0-1.

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