Molloy earns a precious point
Near neighbours deadlocked
Graeme Molloy kicked over an equalising free in the seventh minute of added time to move St. James' to within touching distance of a place in the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship quarter-finals at O'Kennedy Park on Saturday.
St. James' 0-8 Horeswood 1-5
The defending champions were heading for Group A defeat, deep into added time, when Kevin O'Grady won a free-kick 25 metres from goal, to the left of the posts. It hadn't been a great evening accuracy-wise for the Ramsgrange side, wafting 16 wides, but Molloy held his nerve to seal a draw.
It came at the end of a dour battle. It certainly wasn't pretty as both sides moved the ball patiently through the hands.
Those gameplans seemed prudent enough for both as the occasional kick-pass often missed its mark in a defence-first contest.
Horeswood played against the breeze in the opening half but took the lead when P.J. Banville converted a free after David Shannon was dragged to the ground.
The county man would finish with two points but ended up doing as much work in the defensive third of the field as the other two-thirds combined.
St. James' levelled in the twelfth minute when Adam Parle flighted over after Shane Murphy's initial shot was partially blocked. However, Declan Murphy was proving difficult to contain and he popped over a brace to make it 0-3 to 0-1 after 16 minutes.
Horeswood rarely got into scoring positions in the second quarter. Instead the game was mostly played in their half. O'Grady opened his account from a Graeme Molloy feed and then, after one short shot and two wides, Emmet Dunning tied the game heading in at the interval (0-3 each).
Sandwiching a booming David Shannon free after the re-start were two St. James' scores. Good work by David Doyle allowed Brian Molloy to point while Mark Molloy was next on target to send his side 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
Showing what was possible from quick balls, Leigh O'Brien sent a free into the danger area that Michael O'Hanlon broke for Banville to level in the 44th minute. After five consecutive wides, St. James' regained the lead when O'Grady glided one over with the outside of his left boot.
It seemed like the Jimmies were about to break clear when substitute Jack O'Brien raised a white flag, after more good work by Graeme Molloy, to make it 0-7 to 0-5, but there was a sting left in the Horeswood tail.
Upping the tempo, accurate handpassing from Liam Shiely and Banville sent David Shannon into the clear to the left of goal. There was only one thing on the attacker's mind as he took possession, then his steps before firing powerfully past John Ryan.
Apart from a wide from Banville, five minutes into added time, it was all St. James' until the end.
They missed several chances to tie the game before Molloy kept his cool with the second to last kick of the game to share the spoils.
St. James': John Ryan; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle; Robbie Barron, Graeme Molloy (0-1 free), David Doyle; Brendan Doyle (capt.), Matthew O'Hanlon; Kevin O'Grady (0-2), Emmet Dunning (0-1), Brian Molloy (0-1); Shane Murphy, Mark Molloy (0-1), Adam Parle (0-1). Sub. - Jack O'Brien (0-1) for Murphy (45).
Horeswood: Conor Swaine; Cian Gleeson, Seán Stafford, Ryan Harris; Darren Shannon, Barry Hearn, Eddie Shiely; Gary Conway, P.J. Banville (0-2, 1 free); Liam Shiely, Declan Murphy (capt., 0-2), Michael O'Hanlon; David Shannon (1-1, 0-1 free), Jim Wall, Leigh O'Brien. Subs. - Eric Banville for Wall, black card (35), Niall Collins for David Shannon, inj. (56), Johnny Keating for L. Shiely (57).
Referee: Frankie Morrissey (Glynn-Barntown).