O’Loughlin Gaels GAA 0-19 to 1-8 Carrickshock GAA
Venue: Bennettsbridge, 11th of April 2015 at 2pm
Picturesque Bennettsbridge was the venue for this encounter between two sides looking to gauge their performance for the summer ahead. Bennettsbridge GAA as always had the pitch and grounds in pristine condition with the lines being whitewashed right up to referee’s Michael O’Sullivan’s throw-in at 2pm.
The game certainly didn’t set the crowd’s hearts racing and never caught fire. The first two scores came from frees – the first from Carrickshock’s Richie Power (having already missed a free) and the second from O’Loughlin’s sharp shooter, Mark Bergin. Mark was involved again with some good play to feed the ball to full forward Mark Kelly for the first of his 3 point tally. O’Loughlin’s midfield pairing of Martin Comerford and Davey Burke were already beginning to take a stranglehold on the game and good work from the aforementioned Burke won a free in front of the posts which Mark Bergin duly converted. One more reply from Carrickshock through a John Power point and O’Loughlin Gaels dominance would tell for the next ten minutes with four unanswered points from Conor Bergin, Paddy Deegan, Davey Burke and Mark Bergin (2 including 1f). Then a rear lack of concentration by the superb half back line saw predator Richie Power pounce on a loose ball and run at the defence, off load to corner forward John Power who made no mistake in rifling it to the net. Carrickshock added another point from a free taken by Kevin Farrell who took over free taking duties from Richie Power after Power had missed a few earlier ones. The final point of the half came on thirty minutes from O’Loughlin Gaels Danny Loughnane after some excellent Mark Kelly play. The half time advantage of two points (O’Loughlins 0-8 to Carrickshocks 1-3 ) was not at all reflective of the dominance of the St Johns men. The half back line of Andy Kearns, Brian Hogan and Huw Lawlor was solid with all three getting the better of their opponents. The new mid-field partnership of Martin Comerford and Davey Burke consistently put pressure on the Carrickshock defence with Mark Kelly ,Mark Bergin and Paddy Deegan enjoying the benefits.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first in that O’Loughlin Gaels were clearly the better and Carrickshock looked like they were going through the motions. They got the first point of the second half after a rear mistake in the O’Loughlins defence but O’Loughlins replied with two of their own through Mark Bergin (f) and a majestic point from Paddy Deegan over his shoulder on the right wing from 60 yards. O’Loughlins forwards got to grips with the game now and Paddy Deegan, Mark Bergin, Mark Kelly and Conor Bergin were all causing problems for Carrickshock. On the thirty-eighth minute wonderful fielding from Mark Kelly and Paddy Deegan released Sammy Johnson on goal only to be hampered by a thrown hurl and left referee Michael O’Sullivan no option but to blow for a penalty. The first penalty under the new rules to be witnessed by the onlooking crowd brought an air of anticipation around the Bennettsbridge field. In truth that hush over the crowd probably unnerved penalty taker Mark Bergin for it’s an effort he’d rather forget as it uncharacteristically scuttled wide of the post. A point each from frees was added to by a further well deserved point from Mark Kelly to stretch the O’Louglins lead. Stephen Murphy parried an effort from a rear attack on his goal but the resultant ’65 was not converted. From this point the superior fitness levels of the O’Loughlins players was telling as they now stretched the advantage further. Nine points to the final whistle to Carrickshocks’ three was just rewards for hard work. Three of those points coming from the most hardworking of them all, Martin Comerford. Eddie Kearns, Andy Kearns, Brian Hogan and Huw Lawlor worked tirelessly throughout and Paddy Deegan added another point to his tally after a good days graft.
It’s a good start to the campaign for the St. Johns team with plenty to ponder for Aiden Fogarty, Dick Shelly, Colin Furlong and Nigel Skehan. The healthy support in attendance will be happy with what they witnessed and the lads themselves can by satisfied they gave a good account of themselves. It’s the first hurdle negotiated successfully in a summer of many hurdles to overcome. We look forward to every one of them!
Team: Stephen Murphy, Anthony Forristal, Eoghan Grant, Eddie Kearns, Andy Kearns, Brian Hogan, Huw Lawlor, Martin Comerford (0-3), David Burke (0-1), Paddy Deegan (0-2), Mark Bergin (0-8, 6f), Danny Loughnane (0-1), Sammy Johnson, Mark Kelly(0-3), Conor Bergin (0-1). Jack Nolan for Sammy Johnson (56’)