Wednesday 17 January 2018

Gusserane in the last four

Tables turned on St. Anne's

Alan Aherne

St Anne's' Kevin Hannigan tries to stop Gusserane's Adrian Redmond
St Anne's' Kevin Hannigan tries to stop Gusserane's Adrian Redmond
Cian McGovern of St Anne's is chased by James Cooney of Gusserane

Saturday was all about turning the tables in Innovate Wexford Park as, after St. Martin's reversed the outcome of last year's Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship decider, Gusserane did the exact same in this repeat of the 2014 final.

Gusserane 1-12 St. Anne's 1-6

It was a competent performance and comprehensive win from the New Ross District side as they availed of the wind to forge ahead by 1-6 to 0-3 at half-time in this fairly drab last eight clash.

And although St. Anne's briefly asked them questions towards the end of the third quarter with a quick burst of 1-1 from the wily Francis Simpson, Gusserane closed out the game quite comfortably afterwards.

The eventual winners were slow to start alright with the elements in their favour, with the full-forward line winning precious little possession in the opening quarter.

Seán Gaul surged forward from centre-back to give St. Anne's the lead in the fifth minute, and he doubled their advantage from a free before Gusserane gradually came to life.

They ought to have taken the lead in the ninth minute when Graeme Cullen - lining out at centre-back rather than in his normal attacking role - fed a long ball to Adrian Flynn who transferred it quickly to Shane Cullen. It had 'goal' written all over it before the former county player took aim, but he fired low and wide.

Amends were quickly made though as a hat-trick of pointed frees from Shane Cullen put Gusserane in front by the 18th minute.

Seán Gaul levelled after being fouled on a solo run, but Gusserane put some distance between the teams with a fruitful finish to the opening half.

Another Shane Cullen free restored their lead before they got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 23rd minute.

It was a route one affair as Adrian Flynn drove a long ball inside to Cullen. Defender Cian McGovern seemed to misjudge its flight, and when Cullen caught it he wasn't about to miss a second gilt-edged opening.

He was relieved of some of the scoring burden too in the approach to the interval, with Jamie Cooney and Seán Ryan both picking off points to leave Gusserane ahead by 1-6 to 0-3.

It won't matter to the eventual winners that the first ten minutes of the second-half produced some very poor football, with possession given away repeatedly by both sides.

The experienced Philip Wallace had been introduced at full-forward to hold up the ball and give the attack a focal point playing into the elements. And with St. Anne's missing the cut and thrust that the injured Liam Og McGovern would normally supply, their own chances were limited.

It took just under ten minutes before Adrian Flynn kicked the first point after the break from a free, and Seán Ryan quickly added another following good work by John Roche and Wallace.

St. Anne's did manage to locate a spark briefly when they grabbed 1-1 in less than three minutes, but the revival then fizzled out before it really started.

Francis Simpson was on hand to palm the ball to the net when Paddy Miskella's miscue broke into his path, and he added a point which thundered off the crossbar and went over (1-8 to 1-4).

Gusserane never looked like crumbling though, with a brace of pointed frees from Adrian Flynn settling them down again.

David Fogarty and Seán Gaul (free) did manage to reply for St. Anne's, but two late fisted points from Páraic Conway ensured that the O'Rahilly's joined Glynn-Barntown, Castletown and St. Martin's in the hat for the semi-final draw.

Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Jack O'Connor, Liam Dillon, Cathal Somers; Jack Burford, Graeme Cullen (capt.), Mark O'Neill; John Roche, Adrian Flynn (0-3 frees); Adrian Redmond, Jamie Cooney (0-1), Páraic Conway (0-2); Seán Ryan (0-2), Kenneth Cahill, Shane Cullen (1-4, 0-4 frees). Subs. - Philip Wallace for O'Connor (HT), Mark Rossiter for Cooney (50).

St. Anne's: Richard Cleary; Cian McGovern, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O'Keeffe; Kevin Hannigan, Seán Gaul (0-4, 3 frees), Diarmuid O'Keeffe; David Fogarty (0-1), David O'Connor; Patrick O'Brien, Mark Furlong, Ben Moore; Redmond Barry (capt.), Paddy Miskella, Francis Simpson (1-1). Subs. - Jack Murphy for Moore (HT), Jonathan Fogarty for Furlong (40), Mikey O'Brien for P. O'Brien (49).

Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).

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