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Second Half Comeback in Armagh

posted 29 Apr 2012, 14:55 by Unknown user   [ updated 3 Jul 2012, 11:44 ]

Pearse Óg 0-10 Sarsfields 1-11

Sarsfields had Darran McAvoy, Ciaran Kerr and Paul McGeown unavailable so Neill McCann stepped in between the posts, Declan Breen came into the defence and Kieran McAlinden started in the forward line.

Use of the strong wind advantage would prove to be crucial in this game and Sarsfields began playing into the wind. However Thomas McAlinden hit the first point running on to a driving ball and doing well to control it before taking the score. Pearse Ógs replied immediately and the ease with which they took the ball forward particularly emphasised the wind advantage. The home side quickly added a couple of frees, again the danger coming from direct football. Sarsfields were working well, but any mistake was punished with a long ball forward, putting the defence under pressure. The defence was too well aware that any offence inside the ‘45’ would likely result in a score. Added pressure came from the fact that Ronan Clarke was well able to convert possession into scores. By the tenth minute the Ógs were four up. The next ten minute spell was a bit better for the Highmoss but Richie and Michael Stevenson missed scoring chances both from play and from frees. It has to be said though, that no chances were easy against the strong wind. Declan Breen put a dangerous ball in and had Thomas McAlinden connected, there was a goal to be had, however Pearse Óg had a strong finish to the half. They had a fisted point that could have been a goal chance but for good defensive work and another great chance that came off the post. Two points from play put them in a seven point lead and it was a familiar pattern with errors in Sarsfields' short passing into the wind leading to conceded scores. To highlight the tricky conditions Michael Stevenson sent a 21m free wide before Declan Breen sent over an injury time point to leave six between the sides at half time.

Michael Stevenson hit an early free, but the home side pushed forward early in the second half with a wide and a point. At this early stage it looked as if Sarsfields may not have the dominance to take the vital scores. The Highmoss midfield pairing of Brian Lavery and Eimeíd Murray were playing well and Mark Reynolds was collecting a lot of breaking ball. This built a platform on which Sarsfields dominated and fought their way into the game. Three super long range points on the trot from Michael Stevenson brought the Highmoss to within one score. Within a moment Eamon McGeown had found Richie Stevenson with a great pass, and once in space Richie dispatched the ball to the net to level the match. The Ógs hit back with a point, their first in fifteen minutes, regaining the lead and a psychological edge after Highmoss had lost the ball going forward. However Colin Stevenson hit a superb long range point almost immediately, and then got on the end of a great move only to be denied by the Óg’s keeper. Possibly Colin had received the ball when he was too close in. Michael Stevenson sent the subsequent ‘45’ wide but soon had the Highmoss ahead when he caught a great sideline ball from Eimeíd Murray turned and snatched the point despite the best attentions of two defenders. A great point from Eamon McGeown put Sarsfields two up and a point from Richie Stevenson made it three point lead as injury time approached. The home side responded and substitute Ruairi McKernan not only made a superb interception but was the man on the end of a move carrying the ball over the half way line. Ógs pushing for the goal had a further chance but were denied on the line by an outstanding Neill McCann save. Sarsfields pushed forward and Richie Stevenson grabbed the insurance point securing the win. It was a great result away from home bearing in mind three players were unavailable and that Paul Magee had gone off injured early on. It was also encouraging to see Paul McGaughey back in a Hoops jersey and getting a few minutes on the pitch.