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IFC Semi Final

posted 14 Sep 2015, 10:03 by Athlone GAA
13th Sept 2015 in Cusack Park

IFC Semi Final
Athlone 1-10 Rosemount 2-5

Our Intermediate team qualified for the club's first ever Intermediate Championship final after an intensely dramatic day's events, both on and off the pitch, in Cusack Park on Sunday.  The start of the game was delayed when a member of our panel, Cathal Joyce, became seriously ill in the warm-up, but thankfully prompt action from a number of medical personnel and officials means that Cathal is recovering well (see below).

Athlone had qualified for the semi-final after relatively comfortable progress through the group stage but any thoughts that this serene progress was going to continue were quickly dispelled when Rosemount goaled in the first minute, after Athlone had turned over possession from a free deep in their own territory.  A fine team move led to John Connellan opening the Blues' account with a point after four minutes but Athlone were struggling to get into the game and some more indecisive defending let Rosemount in for another goal, which they followed up with great point to lead by 2-1 to 0-1 with 10 minutes played.  They added two more fine points to stretch their lead to eight before Noelly Mulligan got Athlone's second and final point of the half from a free.  Rosemount were still well on top at this stage and added two more minor scores to leave us trailing by nine points, 2-5 to 0-2, at the interval.
A good start to second half was vital to Athlone and they got that when John Connellan scored within 30 seconds of the restart.  Athlone then had major let-off when Rosemount struck the crossbar when a goal would almost certainly had put the game beyond them, and they responded with two frees from Ray Connellan and Noelly Mulligan.  The Athlone defence had tightened up considerably at this stage and Rosemount weren't getting the chances they did in the first half, but scores were also hard to come by at the other end and there were still six points between the sides with twelve minutes remaining, although Ray Connellan was unlucky not to score a goal after a great run along the end line.

It really looked that Athlone had given themselves too much to as the game entered its final stages, but another John Connellan point give them hope.  Noelly Mulligan followed this up with a free and substitute Mickey Greene scored a great solo point to bring the gap back to just one score.  Athlone were now on top in most positions but still trailed by three as the game entered its final two minutes.  The pressure was beginning to tell on the Rosemount  defence, however, and John Connellan added a free before his brother Ray reduced the gap to a minimum with a great point from out on the sideline.  An Athlone team, who would've been grateful for a draw up to this now felt that they could win it and they got their chance when Mickey Greene got pulled down in the square as the game ticked into injury time.  John Connellan stepped up to take it, and while most people were discussing whether he should take a point, calmly blasted the ball to the Rosemount keeper's left to put Athlone ahead for the first time.  There was still time for a couple of Rosemount attacks but, fortunately for the Shannonsiders, they were unable to add their total and Athlone held out to win on a scoreline of 1-10 to 2-5, a result nobody who witnessed the first half would've predicted.

Team: Darren Costello, Eoin Maher, Damo Kelly, Fergal Murray, Danny Lynam, Noelly Muligan, Mattie Darling, John Stapleton, Paul Bannon, Stephen Ward, Ray Connellan, Dermot Bannon, John Connellan, Jordan Marshment, John Egan.  Subs: Sam Omukoro, Charlie McMickan, Mickey Greene

We wish Cathal Joyce a speedy recovery and wish to thank sincerely all those who assisted Cathal including Donal McCabe, First Responder from the Order of Malta, Dr. Patrick Boland a player with Rosemount, our own Colin O’Leary, a Garda trained in CPR. We also wish to thank Physios, Stacey Egan and Gerry Sommers from Milltown CLCG who as well as assisting Cathal stayed behind to help when our own Physio, James Joyce (brother of Cathal) accompanied him to hospital. The Club is extremely grateful for everyone's assistance and support.