Stradbally advance to quarter-finals leaving Mitchells in basement battle

Stradbally’s Tommy Connors and Robert Ahearne and John Mitchell’s Simon Kenny pictured in action during their Waterford Senior football championship third round clash at Kill GAA grounds.	photo: Michale Kiely

Stradbally’s Tommy Connors and Robert Ahearne and John Mitchell’s Simon Kenny pictured in action during their Waterford Senior football championship third round clash at Kill GAA grounds. photo: Michale Kiely

Stradbally 2-16; John Mitchells 2-8

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Without setting the football sphere alight, Stradbally guaranteed their place in the last eight of the Senior Football Championship thanks to an eight-point win over luckless John Mitchells at Kill on Sunday.

After an early flourish during which they went six points to two ahead by the 17th minute, the seasiders were rocked back on their heels a minute late.

A complete mix-up in their last line of defence enabled Fergal Fogarty to race through for a Mitchells goal to cut the deficit to the minimum.

But Stradbally swept upfield immediately and in a movement in which both Stephen Cunningham and John Hearne played notable roles, minor star Shane Ahearne finished to the Fewsmens’ net to instantly negate the game’s first green flag.

Undaunted Mitchell’s responded with some of their best football of the match, and points from David Kirwan and unerring free taker John Power leaving them just two points adrift after 23 minutes.

However the ex-champions had no intention of allowing their opponents get any closer and three additional points – two Niall Curran frees and a great Shane Ahearne point left Stradbally 1-9 to 1-4 up at half-time.

Mitchells had the better start to the second half- when points in as many minutes by Fergal Fogarty and the outstanding Leo Barry, raised flagging hopes appreciably.

But Stradbally couldn’t be denied that long, and after balancing points from Shane Lannon and John Coffey, a well-taken Stephen Cunningham goal in the 40th minute, pointed them in the right direction yet again.

The teams continued to trade points until with five minutes remaining the winners had opened up a commanding 2-15 to 1-8 advantage, before Mitchells made a strong finish.

A speculative, low-hit free from John Power was blocked and touched on the ground for a rather dubious penalty award, with Paudie Kirwan making no mistake from the spot-kick.

Even at that, the final say still belonged to the winners and substitute Luke Casey whose 61st minute point rapped up the scoring.

Stradbally: Eoin Cunningham, Emmett Cummins, Kevin Coffey, Thomas Walsh, Tony Grey, Shane Lannon, Paddy Doyle, John Hearne, Robert Ahearne, John Coffey, Michael Walsh, Tommy Connors, Niall Curran, Stephen Cunningham, Shane Ahearne. Subs: Luke Casey for T Walsh, George Walsh for S Ahearne, Oliver Costelloe for N Curran, Trevor Curran for T Connors, Andy Doyle for E Cummins.

Scorers: Niall Curran (0-5), Stephen Cunningham (1-2), Shane Ahearne (1-1), John Coffey (0-3), Robert Ahearne (0-2), Shane Lannon, Michael Walsh and Luke Casey (0-1 each).

John Mitchells: Ivor Kelly, Niall Barry, Kenneth O’Reilly, David Whelan, Kieran O’Connor, Damien O’Reilly, Willie McGrath, Tony Kirwan, David Kirwan, John Power, Fergal Fogarty, Leo Barry, Neil O’Connor, Paudie Kirwan, Paddy O’Sullivan. Subs: Paul Fogarty for K O’Reilly, Simon Kenny for W McGrath.

Scorers: John Power (0-5), Fergal Fogarty (1-1), Padraig Kirwan (1-0), David Kirwan and Leo Barry (0-1 each).

Referee: John Murray (Rathgormack).

 

 

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