Sars strike to remain Senior
Fintan's for relegation battle
Midfielder Lee Chin was the inspiration as two late goals helped Sarsfields to a six-point victory over the now relegation-threatened St. Fintan's in this Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A game in Kilmore on Monday.
Sarsfield 2-9 St.Fintan's 0-9
At the start both sides had so much to play for as they were deadlocked, point-less, at the bottom of the table.
A victory for either would copper-fasten their Senior status for at least another year so as a result it was always going to lead to a close and tense 60 minutes.
Even neutral supporters did not expect an expansive game of open football, as both sets of players were determined to try to keep mistakes to a premium. This led in turn to some close, negative football, particularly as the respective defences closed the paths to goal and made scoring somewhat difficult.
Just four scores were managed through the opening quarter as Sarsfields, despite an opening minute effort from Paul Murphy, were unable to add to their tally, as St. Fintan's responded with frees from Conor Sinnott, Donal Shanley and Shane Sinnott to lead by 0-3 to 0-1.
During this opening spell following a well-worked Sars move, the ball ended with Seán Pailing who saw his shot rebound off the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
The high fielding and superb runs of Lee Chin helped Sarsfields to win the midfield battleground, with one run and pass setting up Paul Murphy for an excellent point, while at the opposite end Joey Wadding had a shot for goal deflected for a '45 that Donal Shanley pointed to leave his side leading by 0-4 to 0-2.
For Sarsfields it was all about staying in touch during this opening half, as Paul Murphy and a Philip Cullen pointed free levelled the sides at 0-4 each before a fine Brendan Hughes point left the south county side ahead by 0-5 to 0-4 at the interval.
In an effort to provide more scoring power, Sarsfields started the second-half with Paul Murphy and Lee Chin in the full-forward line.
However, St. Fintan's, in the absence of Chin, assumed midfield control, leading to points from a Shanley free and Pádraig Doyle to lead by 0-7 to 0-4 after 35 minutes.
One minute later Chin was fouled under a high ball, leaving Philip Cullen to point the resulting free, but when midfielder Doyle restored his side's three-point advantage, Sarsfields mentors switched Chin back to his midfield role where his former dominance returned to benefit his side.
Now showing more attacking options as Chin continually drove forward, Paul Murphy pointed a 45th- minute free, with Philip Cullen following up with a further point, while Shanley was wide with a free at the opposite end. A superb Chin 40-metre pointed free from the sideline had the sides level at 0-8 each with ten minutes remaining.
Sarsfields took the lead for only the second time when Cullen pointed a 51st-minute free.
One minute from the end came the decisive break, when Conor Halligan was fouled by Adrian Murphy, who received a black card for his efforts and was dismissed as he was already on a yellow.
This left Paul Murphy to goal the resulting penalty, while almost two minutes into additional time, substitute Shane Wilde found the net, with Shanley's late pointed free proving insignificant as Sarsfields breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of this tense tie.
Sarsfields: Adam Doyle; Brendan Mulligan, Michael Hanrahan (capt.), Cillian Lawlor; Fran Cleary, David Mooney, John Bridges; Eoin Roche, Lee Chin (0-1 free); Seán Pailing, Jason Murphy, Seán O Corcora; Philip Cullen (0-4, 3 frees), Ciarán Kirwan, Paul Murphy (1-4, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free). Subs. - Conor Halligan for Kirwan, inj., Shane Wilde (1-0) for Pailing, Pailing for J. Murphy, inj.
St. Fintan's: Patrick McDonnell; Adrian Murphy, Jimmy Staples, Pádhraic Rossiter; Brendan Hughes (0-1), Frank Staples (capt.), Kevin Day; Paddy Keane, Pádraig Doyle (0-2); Jim Rossiter, John William Rowe, Donal Shanley (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '45); Shane Sinnott (0-1 free), Joey Wadding, Conor Sinnott (0-1 free). Subs. - Robert Coakley for Rowe, Conor O'Reilly for Wadding.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).