Gallen CS 2-14 Davitt College, Castlebar 2-5
Gallen Community School booked their place in a second successive All-Ireland Vocational Schools A Football final when they overcame a strong challenge from Davitt College, Castlebar in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon on Saturday, March 25th.
Playing with a strong wind in the first half, Gallen went in at the break 9 points to the good but had to fight hard to keep that lead as Davitt college piled on the pressure from the opening minutes of the second half. Gallen, with the elements behind them took 4 minutes before they registered a score from the boot of Joe Maher. Aaron McDonagh was brought down on the 13 metre line as he was bearing down on the Castlebar goal and Maher converted the free. Immediately from the restart Ciaran Cahill won possession on the 45 and sent a direct pass to McDonagh who offloaded quickly to full-forward Colin Kenny who slotted over Gallen’s second point. Davitts replied almost immediately with their first attack and were awarded a free on 7 minutes which was converted by their corner forward Liam Irwin. McDonagh was on hand again a minute later to provide half-back Stephen Wren with a scoring chance which Wren took with great composure. Gallen had a succession of wides after that with McDonagh and Christian Brazil guilty of some wayward shooting. On 13 minutes, Wren ran on to a breaking ball in centrefield and sent a long low ball to corner forward Eoghan Lowry who turned and scored his first point from 30 metres. Davitts cut the deficit again to 2 points with another 13 metre free on 14 minutes. A foul on midfielder Leon Fox led to Lowry’s second score from his trusty right foot from 35 metres and Gallen had their 3-point advantage restored. On Castlebars next attack, the ball struck the upright from the lively Davitts forward Conor Finnerty and straight from the rebound Gallen worked the ball quickly down the field where Joe Maher collected and popped over a lovely point. Maher again gathered the resulting kick-out and scored again. Now a little daylight started to appear on the scoreboard and when A.McDonagh punched to net on 24 minutes after Stephen Wren had delivered a dangerous ball goalwards, Gallen could now breathe a little easier with a scoreline of 1-7 to 2 points. A point each for Lowry and Maher gave Gallen a 1-9 to 0-2 lead but Liam Irwin had the final say of the first half when he got Davitts third point just before the half-time interval.
It was Gallen who had the first scoring opportunity on the second half but a great effort from the right swung left in the strengthening wind and missed the upright narrowly left. Davitts now were winning the 50-50 exchanges in midfield and poor shooting and overhit passes in addition to stout defending from the Gallen rearguard kept Davits scoreless for 5 minutes. It was Davitts dangerman again Irwin who eventually got the Mayo side on the scoreboard when he benefited from a breaking ball on the edge of the square and popped over a neat point on 5 minutes. From a similar situation 3 minutes later, he again latched on to a loose ball in the Gallen square slammed the ball past a helpless Dylan Buckley in the Gallen Goal. His partner in the forward line Finnerty hit the Gallen net again on 11 minutes to reduce the deficit to just two points. Gallen 1-9 to Davitts 2-4. At this crucial stage in the game it was going to take something special to get Gallen back on the scoreboard and a minute later a strong surging run from centre-half back and Gallen captain Darragh Corbett had Davitts on the retreat. Corbett covered 50 metres before releasing Mikey Butler with a pin-point pass who then rounded the keeper with ease and slotted home to an empty net and gave Gallen a point lead again. Long high balls now being the strategy employed by Davitts were causing all sorts of confusion in the Gallen defence and when Ciaran Cahill was moved from midfield to full-back the Offaly lads started to win more of the exchanges. On 13 minutes Davitts converted a close in free which would prove to be their last contribution to the scoreboard. Scoring chances now came Gallens way once again and after Joe Maher scored his 5th point in the 21st minute, Davitts could sense that the game was now slipping away on them. Eoghan Lowry converted a great 45 after Colin Kenny’s point blank shot was brilliantly parried away by the Castlabar netminder. Eoghan Lowry brought his tally to 1-5 with an excellent solo score in injury time before Maher again kept his 100% record with place kicks when he converts another close in free after the Castlebar keeper was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball on the ground.
Gallen CS now march on to their second successive all-ireland final where the winners of Holy Trinity, Cookstown or Clonakilty College await. That semi-final is to be decided next weekend.
Gallen CS Team: Dylan Buckley, Jack Egan, James Nally, Stephen Rourke, Stephen Wren, Darragh Corbett, Ryan Delaney, Leon Fox, Ciaran Cahill, Christian Brazil, Joe Maher, Michael Butler, Aaron McDonagh, Colin Kenny, Eoghan Lowry. Subs: Brian Grehan, Brian Gilligan, Dean Hogan, Dylan McEvoy, Paddy Corgrove, Keith Hamilton, Eoghan Hennessy, Michael Corbett, Robbie Robinson, Darragh Keenaghan. (Gilligan for Brazil on 45 mins. Hogan for Kenny on 55 mins.)