Senior Football Championship Group A
Mac Dara Mac Donncha
At half-time in last Saturday’s second match at Fraher Field, it looked as if Clashmore, despite being short a number of influential players, might cause something of a surprise, as they merely trailed Rathgormack by five points. But having faced a huge gale in that opening half, the westerners’ second half challenge petered out alarmingly and they could only add two points to their tally. In the end, without being that impressive, Rathgormack won at their ease, and looking on from the stand, one wouldn’t have thought it was the men from the Comeraghs who were down to 14 players. Conditions were truly awful for this game with a biting wind and squally rain but the standard of play was below standard in an encounter which featured no less than 44 frees.
Rathgormack won the toss and it took the impressive Conor Murray just 15 seconds to register their opening point. Equally influential wing-back Willie Hahessy advanced with purpose to kick their second point two minutes later and their opening goal was scored in the 10th minute by Michael Curry, in a move which was started by Conor Murray’s wonderful defence-splitting pass. Although it took Clashmore some time to get into the game, they improved massively between then and the interval. Playing a patient possession-type game, they worked the ball steadily up the field, with Brian Lynch opening their account with a free on the quarter hour mark.
They should have added a goal almost immediately when Cian Ryan was through on goal but his shot was well saved by Paudie Hunt. Another Brian Lynch free brought them within a goal and when James Power was dismissed for his second yellow card in the 23rd minute, it looked ominous for Rathgormack. But they did finish the half well with a fine Jamie Kirwan score and a late minor from Jason Curry. Despite that brace, their interval lead of 1-4 to 0-2 looked insufficient.Declan Allen kicked an early point for Clashmore to reduce the arrears but their challenge inexplicably almost completely disappeared.
Rathgormack defended en masse but when they counter-attacked, they did so at great speed and this was quite effective. Conor Murray ended one such movement with a blasted shot which was superbly tipped over his crossbar by Fintan Walsh. Indeed, but for the Dublin native, Clashmore’s loss would have been significantly greater. Rathgormack’s second goal came in the 34th minute, a score after Clashmore really caused their own undoing. A sequence of pointless cross-field passes saw them lose possession eventually and from the break, Billy Power set up Willie Hahessy who gave Fintan Walsh no chance. Sean Bourke kicked a 38th minute point for Clashmore but this would be their last score in a most inept second thirty minutes here.
Conor Murray was content to act as conductor for much of the fray but he did show great footwork before fisting a 40th minute point. Their third and final goal was scored by Billy Power- a tremendous shot which went in off the underside of the crossbar seven minutes from time. Once again, Fintan Walsh was called on to brilliantly tip over a Robbie Flynn piledriver over the bar and in one final defiant act, he thwarted Billy Power just before full-time with Robbie Flynn eventually pointing for a far-stronger Rathgormack. They’ll be happy with their second half but equally underwhelmed with the opening half hour, where their discipline was questionable, conceding 18 frees to Clashmore’s five. Their best were Willie Hahessy, Jason Gleeson and Conor Murray. For Clashmore, who were short a number of established footballers here, Fintan Walsh and Tadhg De Búrca stood out.