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Friday 20 September 2019

Sarsfields get back in hunt

GAA: senior football championship - Sarsfields 2-13, Gusserane 2-5

Gusserane's Sean Ryan tries to keep Sarsfields' Brendan Mulligan at bay. Photo: Mary Browne
Gusserane's Sean Ryan tries to keep Sarsfields' Brendan Mulligan at bay. Photo: Mary Browne

Sarsfields are back in the hunt for a Senior football championship quarter-final spot after getting the better of Gusserane in O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Sunday evening last.

The Pairc Charman club came into the game without a point in their opening three games but that wasn't evident in their performance as they battled their way past a struggling Gusserane outfit with plenty to spare.

It's unlikely that anyone within the Sarsfields club would have contemplated an unlikely last eight spot before this weekend but that is a real possibility after this result and, more importantly, all around excellent team performance.

In the last few years when Lee Chin played everything went through him, understandable but not a recipe for success in the medium to long term. This was different, this was Sarsfields getting back to playing football as a team, this was a lively mixture of young men and experienced campaigners starting to show progress as a group.

Look, they aren't out of the woods yet. They must avoid defeat to Kilanerin to stay out of another relegation final but if they manage that - and they will do it if they give this performance again - they can then look towards the favour they need from St Martin's to progress.

On the flip side this was pretty ugly from Gusserane. They can justifiably look at the wide count and say they had their chances but their profligacy was just a reflection of an overall disjointed display. It will be interesting to see what St Martin's team they face in the final group game.

The sides were tied at 0-4 each after the opening quarter and it was probably a fair reflection on the game at that stage. Sean Ryan had flashed an early shot across the face of goal but otherwise the teams felt each other out.

When David Gouldson put Sarsfields ahead in the 18th minute it started a remarkable run. The Wexford Town club scored 1-8 unanswered while Gusserane kicked eleven wides and dropped four balls into Philly Cullen's hands before they scored again in the 47th minute.

Sarsfields were four up when Shane Hall was taken to the ground by Tom Foran. Michael Ryan saved the resulting Lee Smith penalty but the taker followed up to smash in the rebound as his side went in 1-8 to 0-4 ahead.

While the eventual victors kept the scoreboard ticking over, they were indebted to Philly Cullen in the 37th minute. Foran, who somehow escaped a black card for the textbook example when taking Hall down in the first half, almost netted with a low shot that Cullen somehow tipped onto the post.

Other chances came and went for Gusserane but they did finally get a 48th minute major when Mark Rossiter hared away to net. However, Lee Chin went through on John Bridges' bouncing ball to reply in kind seconds later.

Gusserane were never as close to a revival as it might have felt on the Sars line but they did get another goal through Jamie Sheehan, it was too little to late to dampen the spirits of their delighted opponents.

SARSFIELDS: Philly Cullen; Ryan Furlong, Brendan Mulligan, Con Ó Donnagáin; Dylan Furlong, Mikey Hanrahan, Shane Hall (0-1); Cathal Kirwan, Sean Ó Corcora; Andrew Harrington, Eoin Roche (0-4), Pierce O'Connor; Lee Smith (1-2, 0-1 free), Lee Chin (1-3, 0-1 free), David Gouldson (0-2). Subs. - Ciaran Kirwan for O'Connor (29), Conor Kehoe (0-1) for Harrington (39), John Bridges for Ó Corcora (43), Conor Halligan for Cathal Kirwan (54), Colm Browne for Bridges (60), Adam Carroll for Gouldson (60+4).

GUSSERANE: Michael Ryan; Sam Wall (0-1), Jack Burford, Mark O'Neill; Jack O'Connor, Adrian Redmond, Gavin Sheehan; John Roche, Adrian Flynn (0-1 '45); Tom Foran, Graeme Cullen (capt., 0-1), Paraic Conway (0-1); Mark Rossiter (1-0), Shane Flynn, Sean Ryan (0-1). Subs. - Shane Cullen for S. Flynn (37), Jamie Sheehan (1-0) for Conway, inj (55), Fintan Ryan for Roche (60+3).

REFEREE: Fintan O'Reilly (Kilmore).

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