Sunday, November 7, 2010

Match report: Garrycastle 2-13 Mattock Rangers 2-10

Crocked: Doran Harte (r), who will miss the rest of the Leinster Championship after dislocating his shoulder (© Irish Times)
An unconvincing Garrycastle advanced to the semi-final of the Leinster Championship after a three point victory against Mattock Rangers of Louth.

Despite having a man advantage for the last 12 minutes, the Westmeath champions had to survive several late scares before sealing a 2-13 to 2-10 victory in a strange match in Mullingar.

However, the victory came at a price for Garrycastle with captain Doran Harte likely to miss the remainder of the year after dislocating his shoulder in the last minute.

Despite falling behind to an early free from David Reid, Garrycastle started the match strongly and were in complete command after 15 minutes.

Two 45’s from Dessie Dolan, a free from the left boot of Paul Dillon and excellent scores from play by James Dolan and Paddy Mulvihill left the Athlone side ahead by 0-5 to 0-1 after a quarter of an hour.

However the game’s first dramatic momentum shift occurred soon after.

Garrycastle midfielder Justin McAteer appeared to be fouled when poised to shoot for goal, but the referee waved play on and a lighting counter-attack from Mattock Rangers left half forward Adrian Reid one on one with Doran Harte.

Reid had support inside but chose to go alone and roasted Harte before cutting inside and finishing confidently past Garrycastle goalkeeper Cathal Mullen. Although Reid had showed superb pace to get away from Harte, it was poor defending from such an experienced inter-county defender.

Garrycastle appeared shell-shocked and before they had recovered, Niall Sharkey burst clear to score a second goal in the space of 30 seconds for the Louth champions.

Frees from Dolan and Dillon either side of an excellent score from Mark Brennan stopped the rot temporarily before a neat point from Rangers midfielder Christy Grimes and Reid’s second free of the match extended the visitor’s lead.

Paddy Mulvihill then had the final say of the half, after being fed by Aidan Browne, to leave Garrycastle trailing by 0-8 to 2-4 at the break.

Garrycastle introduced David O’Shaughnessy at the break to add some more physical presence in the middle of the field but the first score of the second half went to Rangers corner-forward Darren Brennan.

Seconds later the match was turned on its head for a second time as Paddy Mulvihill collected a long ball and found the net for Garrycastle to square the match.

And before the visitors had time to recover the same player scored a second goal after a glorious move involving Browne and Dessie Dolan.

After another Reid point for Rangers, a rampant Mulvihill almost made it a five-minute hattrick but saw his shot cannon against the crossbar before Shane Mulvihill slotted over the rebound.

Scores from Mark and Darren Brennan cut the gap to one with 20 minutes to play before another Dolan free and a great score from corner back Alan Fox extended the hosts advantage in a wide open affair.

The match should have ended a contest with 12 minutes left on the clock when Mark Brennan, who had been booked earlier for a heavy tackle on Dessie Dolan, received his marching orders after committing a needless foul in the middle of the field.

But rather than pressing home their man advantage, Garrycastle decided to try and hold on to what they had and two superb scores from David Reid cut the gap to a single point with six to play.

A neat point from the highly influential Browne gave the hosts some breathing space but they retreated once again and at one point had all 15 players inside their own 45 metre line.

It was a dangerous game and they were nearly punished with four minutes left when Rangers full forward Robbie Brennan fisted the ball onto the bar after a massive goalmouth scramble.

And Garrycastle rode their luck again in injury time when a long range effort from the impressive David Reid hit the inside of the upper post and dropped into the goalmouth but broke kindly for Harte.

With the last kick of the game, a second point from Shane Mulvihill put the icing on the cake for Garrycastle and sealed a three point win that was scarcely deserved based on the last ten minutes of the match.

Like in their previous round victory against Longford Slashers, Garrycastle had just done just enough, but a dramatic improvement will be required if they are to oust Kilmacud Crokes and reach their second successive Leinster final.

Garrycastle: C Mullen; J Dolan (0-1) , J Gaffey, A Fox (0-1); M McCallon, K Henson, D Harte; J McAteer, A Browne (0-1); S Mulvihill (0-2), D Dolan (0-4, 2f 2 45), R McGowan; J Duignan, P Dillon (0-2 2f), P Mulvihill (2-2)

Subs: D O’Shaughnessy for Duignan (ht), A Daly for Dillon (37) E Mulvihill for McAteer (54), P Rattigan for A Fox (60)

Mattock Rangers: M Englishby; P Bannon, D Brennan, M Sherlock; S Gilsenan, D Englishby; M McKeown; R Leneghan, C Grimes (0-1); A Reid (1-0), M Brennan (0-2), D Reid (0-5, 3f); D Brennan (0-2), R Brennan, N Sharkey (1-0)

Sub: K Brennan for Leneghan (48)

Ref:  Syl Doyle