By Gerry Hand
Dunsany will probably be kicking themselves after losing this JFC semi final in Ashbourne on Friday night.
That is assuming they have recovered their accuracy enough not to miss, as such was their poor shooting on the night they would have struggled to find the posts with a Sat Nav.
To be fair though their forwards might have struggled to score but that is nothing compared to the woes that befell their goalkeeper Cian O’ Neill eleven minutes into the second half.
Vincent’s attacker Tommy Fields launched one of those speculative type efforts that forwards occasionally do, one that might just get over the bar but if it falls short will trouble the ‘keeper.
This one fell into the latter category, and as O’Neill was poorly positioned to start with, the odds were against him being able to deal with the dropping ball, and so it proved.
In attempting to regain his ground he initially ventured backwards before turning around and managing to get one hand to the ball while in the process colliding with the upright and knocking two things, the ball into the net and himself out.
It was one of those incidents that should it ever turn up on the ‘What happened next’ round in ‘A Question Of Sport’, neither team would get it right.
Down the other end of the pitch the winners goalkeeper, Evan Connor, was having a fare better night, and made a very good save from Pierre Fox early on, as well as opting, correctly, to punch some dangerous balls clear in the second half.
It took the losers twenty four minutes to get off the mark, but despite that the Ardcath side had only three points on the board themselves at that stage as the teams swapped wides, a fine score by wing back Conor Harford for the Vincent’s being the most notable moment after full back davy tallon had set him up.
The winners were 0-4 to 0-3 in front at the interval.
The goal was ultimately decisive but is it was a turning point then ironically it turned things in Dunsanys favour, as from that moment on they were the better side but couldn’t find a way through the massed ranks of Vincent’s defenders that swarmed around the winners goal any time danger threatened and that was regularly enough.
AS the game wore on the Ardcath side realised that fouling, on this night anyway, would pay as Dunsany kept inventing new ways of missing frees, so they began doing what they had to do and hoping for the best from the resultant dead ball and usually the south Meath side obliged.
The winners were sharp on the break and perhaps the best summing up of the encounter would be to suggest that when Vincent’s had a chance they usually took kit, when Dunsany had one they usually didn’t, even allowing for a skied free kick from Nigel hand in the first half which saw a wide the equal of anything the losers kicked.
On one lightning break from defence Ryan Hand shot over and from another Patrick McGill had a clear goal opportunity but fisted a point.
There were numerous Dunsany chances, in the fifteen minutes of injury time that was played, but under pressure to kick the equalizer neither Eoin Harkin or Fox could convert frees from close in.
It was a game Vincent’s could have lost, perhaps should have lost, but didn’t.
It was a game Dunsany should have won but couldn’t.
And in the end semi finals are for winning no matter how you play.
St Vincent’s; Evan Connor. Ciaran Brangan. Davy Tallon. John Corry. Conor Harford(0-1). Niall Tallon. Leo Corry. Bob Tallon. Ryan Hand (0-1). Martin Fox. Tommy Fields (1-0). Paddy Arnold. Patrick McGill (0-2). Eric Callaghan (0-1). Nigy Hand (02 1f).
Subs; Jack Byrne for Arnold,. Adam Tuite for Fox. Eoghan Corry for Callaghan.
Dunsany; Cian O Neill, Declan Smyth, Alex Smyth, Joey Keena, Gavin Byrne, Conor Harkin, Pauraic Burke, Eoin Harkin(0-1), Shane Brennan, Cathal Burke, Cathal Murphy, Shane Walshe, Pierre Fox (0-5 from frees), Jack Cottrell (0-2), Luke Horan
Subs : David Boyle(0-1) for Luke Horan, Ciaran Flynn for Cian O Neill, Paul O Brien for Shane Brennan, Kyle Donnelly for Cathal Burke, Mark Brennan for Shane Walshe
Referee; Liam O’Brien (Duleek)