Apologies for the twenty-four hour delay on what was a much anticipated report from our last league game of 2014.
As many of you know, I was busy getting nicely oiled yesterday evening, with a lovely assortment of some of the Shammie’s top brass in one of the city’s drinking emporiums. As I’m sure you will all understand, for such a bumper edition like this one, I couldn’t take the risk of half arsing what is thee premier article of this writers short career to date.
Plus, Crettyard character Adrian Byrne was on fire with the yarns about growing up in the spice county, so let’s face it-none of us were going anywhere!
So my advice to you is this: If you’ve boiled the kettle, fill it back up and boil it again. Maybe go for the twin pack of biscuits too, because this ones a belter…
“COMEYOU! BOYS IN GREEN” echoed around Tom Bateman Reserve, as the jubilant Shamrock’s players, management and supporters alike, jumped, hugged and kissed, following an epic finale to the final league game of the 2014 season.
The Sham’s partied right through until the small hours on Monday morning (some till Tuesday) celebrating what was without doubt, the most nail-biting, exciting finish to any game of football seen in WA this year. You couldn’t have wrote this stuff, but you know me, I’m going to try anyway.
The tie was perfectly set up for the Sham’s. Three points clear at the top of the table after their excellent win against second placed Southern District’s seven days ago, all that was required was two points from this game, their final fixture against a Morley side who had nothing to play for bar pride.
Well if only it was all that simple…
Team news was bitter sweet for Shamrock’s. Mr. consistency Eoin Horan missed out on a starting place due to a broken arm sustained a week previous, as did Tyrone man Collie Donnelly, who was nursing a groin problem.
Manager Ray ‘Bishop’ Reilly waved the wand for the umpteenth time this year, switching Ratoath’s Kevin Boyle to corner back, with Castlewellan’s Fearghal McLoughlin going in along side him at number four.
Darren ‘Chips’ Drummond regained his starting place at right-half back following a spell on the sideline’s, whilst Laois’s Adrian Byrne, likewise regained that starting place at wing-forward, after impressive showings in training during the week.
Finally, the man who bring’s you these report’s and club captain Ger McCullagh, made himself available for the first time since June, after a nightmare run of injuries had limited the Meath man to just two appearances this term.
But as the mouse said to the mousetrap: “we won’t go into that”
On a beautiful Perth Spring morning, the sides set up almost identically, both electing to deploy extra men in defence. The game as a result, was different to anything we had seen in recent weeks, as each team nullified the other to a large extent.
Despite this, Shamrock’s incredibly were in for a goal chance after less than forty seconds played.
An excellent move released wing-back Darren Drummond straight through on goal, but the Aodh Ruadh star’s attempt was well saved by the Morley keeper from a tight enough angle.(I know, he should have punched it over the bar, but more about that later.)
A beautifully struck forty-five from top scorer Brian Dempsey opened the scoring in the sixth minute. From the resulting kickout, Shamrock’s were two to-the-good, after Chris Hayes clever tap-down to Mark Finnegan, carved open the opportunity for Dempsey to curl over on the right peg.
Excellent pressure from Armagh midfielder Danny McKavanagh, got rewarded with an excellent Hayes point from distance, in between two pointed Morley free’s, before Lillywhite Finnegan made it 0-4 0-2 after twenty minutes, driving over following a lovely weaving run through the Morley defence.
Playing with the aide of a decent breeze into the Nicholson Road end, Shamrock’s became wasteful in front of the posts.
Bad wides from Finnegan and Hayes, as well as three kicked into the keepers hands from Donaghy and Dempsey, left Manager ‘Bishop’ and Ciaran Duffy looking frustrated figures on the line.
Morley took full advantage. Two more free’s from their deadly accurate free taker, tied it up heading into the last five minutes of the half.
Unreal intensity from Claudy’s Gavin Donaghy who was working his socks off, manufactured two Dempsey points, the first from a free and the second a peach of a score, after a trademark Finnegan scud missile pass onto the Ballyadam’s man’s chest.
Shamrock’s had slightly shaded the first half exchanges, but any Morley supporter wouldn’t have been bothered too much. Going in only one point in arrears, having played against a significant breeze in the first half, was a nice position to be in. Their game plan was causing Shamrock’s problems up front and with their giant midfield pairing getting the better of the kickouts, something special was going to be required in the second half from Ray Reilly’s men if they had any chance of seeing it out.
HT WESTERN SHAMROCKS 0-06
MORLEY GAELS 0-05