Dominic’s defence earns final place

Roscommon Herald Intermediate Football Championship semi-final  St. Dominic’s 0-7 St. Croan’s 0-6 The play: Thirty minutes of determined resistance from a defence led in battle by Padraig Naughton, Aidan Weir, and Padraic Mullaly at Castlerea last Sunday evening secured a berth for St. Dominic’s in the Intermediate Football championship final.    Leading by three points at half-time, Naughton, Weir, Tom Gately and colleagues held fast against the onslaught of a hungry, anxious, but ultimately unprolific St. Croan’s forward-line throughout the second half. An impenetrable defence thus compensated for less than clinical forwards and the Knockcroghery team progressed, with some confidence, to a county final with Michael Glavey’s.   Loss by the smallest margin in a county semi-final is bitterly disappointing for a parish that is passionate about its football and the GAA people of Ballintubber can claim, with some merit, that fortune was not on their side. Martin Towey was agonisingly unlucky to hit the post with a great shot in the last minute. A point at that stage in the game would have secured a replay and it is on this that they will reflect this winter.   They had scored just three points in the previous 30 minutes, however, and when the lava of narrow defeat hardens into history, St. Dominic’s will be remembered as unspectacular but worthy winners.   Personal duels between Michael Finneran and Brian Mullin; Padraic Naughton and Eamon Towey and Conor Fallon and Aidan Kelly determined the result of this game last Sunday evening. Towey has been scoring for fun all year but in this semi-final Padraig Naughton held him to one point from play. Finneran held his own against Mullin at midfield too: the men who partnered Roscommon CBS at midfield in 2002 enjoyed even pickings at midfield. With Mullin and Towey thus constrained, St. Dominic’s suffocated their opponents and carved out a narrow but deserved victory.   Early points from Fallon (2) and Seamie McKeown gave St. Dominic’s the impetus from the beginning. Towey responded with a free in the 15 th minute, and Mullin scored a great point in the 18 th minute, but three points from Finneran, Niall Naughton, and Liam Murray gave them a 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the break.   Lorcan Maughan’s point in the 36 th minute could have been a springboard for a strong St. Croan’s challenge in the last 20 minutes. Time and again their attacks broke down on the Knockcroghery ’40, however, where Aidan Weir and Tom Gately played excellently.    An Eamon Towey point in the 40 th minute was followed by 22 scoreless minutes during which St. Croan’s struggled to penetrate the winning team’s defence. Brian Mullin reduced the margin to a point four minutes into injury-time after a score from Fallon, and Martin Towey was then unlucky with his effort from a tight angle, but the day belonged to St. Dominic’s and they march on towards the final. Players who did well: Tom Gately, Padraic Mullaly, Liam Murray, and Michael Finneran did well for St. Dominic’s. Brian Mullin, Ger Mockler, and Damien Cahill were best for St. Croan’s. Man of the match: Padraic Naughton’s task of marking Eamon Towey was a forbidding one, but to his credit he held the highly-regarded St. Croan’s player to just one point from play on Sunday evening. Curbing Towey’s influence was crucial to the success of Naughton’s team and the Culleen man executed this task with maturity and great competence.  St. Dominic’s: Mark Miley; Padraic Mullaly, Padraic Naughton, Andy Grady; Anthony Naughton, Aidan Weir, Tom Gately; Liam Murray (0-1), Michael Finneran (0-1, free); Brian Carney, Niall Naughton (0-1), Ultan Kelly; Seamus McKeown (0-1), Conor Fallon (0-3, 0-1 free), Tomás Gilleran. David Corcoran for A. Naughton (half-time); Kieran Hunt for Carney (39 mins.); Ian Naughton for Corcoran (53 mins.); Arthur Beades for McKeown (55 mins.). St. Croan’s: Vincent Egan; Ray Hynes, Aidan Kelly, John Ward; Tommie Garvey, Ger Leech, Damien Cahill; Ger Mockler, Brian Mullin (0-2, 0-1 free); Charlie Hynes, Thomas Mockler, James Connaughton; Lorcan Maughan (0-1), Eamon Towey (0-2, 0-1 free), Martin Towey. Subs used: Joe Towey for Ward (half-time); Damien Garvey for Maughan (48 mins.); Pat Flynn for Leech (55 mins.).