Kepak SHC Semi-Final
On a bright and breezy summer’s evening, Athleague were in control from the start as Tremane never got to grips with the champions and were well beaten long before the finish.
It was a low-key start as Athleague led by 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter with Robbie Fallon (2), Eamon Flanagan, and Aengus Lyons on target for Athleague while Joe Brennan pointed two frees for Tremane. But once Fallon blasted home a great goal in the 20th minute after a super pass from Stephen Kilcommins, there was daylight between the sides and that’s the way it stayed.
Tremane missed a litany of chances particularly from the placed ball, while down the other end Fallon and company were far more accurate and by half-time there were five points between them: Athleague 1-6 Tremane 0-4.
Immediately on the re-start Cormac Kelly grabbed Athleague’s second goal on the rebound after Ben McGahon’s shot was blocked and it was damage limitation for Tremane after that despite the heroic efforts of the returning Niall Kilroy.
In the 42nd minute Eamon Flanagan grabbed Athleague’s third goal, and when the same player fired home another goal five minutes later, Tremane’s dreams of a famous win against the ‘half-parish’ went up in smoke. Indeed their cause wasn’t helped when sub Conor Melia was shown a straight red card less than two minutes after coming on for Sean Mahony.
Best for an impressive Athleague side on the day were Alan Moore, Niall Connolly, Gary Fallon, Aengus Lyons, Cormac Kelly and Robbie Fallon, while for a very disappointing Tremane, Peter Kellehan, Niall Kilroy and Niall Keenan never gave up the ghost.
Athleague: David Connell; David Delaney, Alan Moore, Aaron Donnelly; Niall Connolly (0-1), Gary Fallon, Pat Nolan; Darragh Heavey, Aengus Lyons (0-3); Ben McGahon, Cormac Kelly (1-1), Stephen Kilcommns (0-1); Eoghan Coyle, Eamon Flanagan (2-1, 1 free), R Fallon (1-4). Subs: David Flaherty for Donnelly (37), Cian Murray (0-1) for Kilcommins (43), Paul Flaherty for Coyle and Thomas Clayton for Flanagan (56), Enda Naughton for Delany (58).
Tremane: Liam Óg Murray; Kevin Brennan, Peter Kellehan, Michael Kellehan (0-2 frees); Sean Melia, Joe Brennan (0-4, 3 frees). Michael Keaveney; Niall Kilroy (0-3, 1 free), John Brennan; Warren Boyle, Sean Mahony, Seamus Lynch, Aidan Casey, Niall Keenan (0-1). Subs: Brian Keenan for C Mahony (48), Cian O’Brien for John Brennan (50), Conor Melia for S Mahony (53).
Referee: Johnny Cahill
Athleague manager Seamus Qualter was under no illusions following his side’s semi-final win over neighbours Tremane last Saturday.
“We have a lot of work to do. It was a good enough performance but Tremane had a lot of wides but having said that we took our changes well and especially the two goals- and goals win matches.
“Semi-finals are all about winning and we have a nice break now (to the final) and a lot of the lads are busy with the football too playing with Fuerty but we just let them get on with it. We are delighted to be back in the final.
“We had to take it game by game and we have players coming back like Aengus Lyons, Eamon Flanagan and Eoghan Coyle and there is competition for places now which is great. It’s good to have the time to prepare now and we will work hard ahead of the final”.