Town start well but Burren finish in style
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
BURREN battled back from a poor start against Castlewellan to earn a deserved place in the Down Senior Football Championship semi-finals.
At Pairc Esler on Saturday evening, the St Mary's, team although not hitting the high spots early on, gave a workmanlike second half performance to, in the end, stroll into the last four.
Burren boss Paddy Carr, while reasonably happy with how things panned out, realises there's still room for improvement as he said: "We were so disappointed when we lost our last Championship match (against Bryansford); but you learn more lessons in defeat. It's the fuel for future victories.
“We didn't play vintage football tonight but we were up against a pacy, athletic Castlewellan side. We dug deep and grinded out a result. We showed ambition, worked extremely hard and displayed a fair amount of character to make the county semi-finals."
But while it wasn't the Burren of old, nonetheless they did show one moment of sheer class. With 21 minutes gone Castlewellan were well on top and four points in front, but then came a real match-changing moment. There seemed little danger as Conor Toner picked up a ball 35-yards out. But the big midfielder began a move, with a series of slick, quick interchanges that cut the Town defence to ribbons. Finally Shay McArdle found himself looking at the whites of the Castlewellan keeper Michael Cunningham's eyes. The corner forward, betraying his youthful years, dummied to shoot and almost in the same moment fired the ball into the back of the net with the keeper going the other way. That goal gave Burren the confidence they had lacked up to then and they surged to the winning post.
The St Mary's side got off to a reasonable start with points from Eamon Toner and Donal O'Hare. But Castlewellan, who had former Burren icon John 'Shorty' Treanor at the helm, stormed back into contention.
And with the McKibben boys, Donal and Liam, in fine form, backed up by Kevin Duffin and Rory Burns, the Town bossed the match for the next 15 minutes and added points from Fintan McGreevy (2), Donal McKibben (2), Duffin, Cathal Crilly and Sean Dornan. And the Castlewellan lead could have been greater but for a stunning point-blank Cathal Murdock save when it seemed Donal McKibben must find the net.
Meanwhile at the other end only James McGovern could reply for Burren.
But then came that magical McArdle three-pointer with the pattern of the match changing dramatically. After that major score the terrifically talented Donal O'Hare fired over twice to edge Burren in front. Yet approaching the break the Town reversed that advantage when McGreevy and Dornan pointed.
Two minutes after the resumption McGreevy doubled Castlewellan's lead but that was as good as it would get for Shorty's men with Burren then taking almost complete control. And with Sean Murdock, Kevin McKernan, Eamon Toner and James McGovern running the show, they piled up the scores. These came from Shay McArdle, Anton McArdle, Ryan McGovern, Donal O'Hare (2), keeper Cathal Murdock, Eamon Toner and substitute Eoin McCartan, the latter who had been on the park less than a minute and pointed with his only kick.
To illustrate Burren's almost total dominance Castlewellan could only manage a single score (from McGreevy) in the last 28 minutes plus injury time.
And although they didn't start particularly well and at times stuttered a little, none of the other semi-finalists will relish coming out of the hat along with the St Mary's team.
Burren: C Murdock (0-1), D McCartan, G McGovern, R McGovern, J McGovern, P O'Rourke, K McKernan, C Toner, A McArdle (0-1), J McGovern (0-1), S Murdock, C McGovern, D O'Hare (0-6), E Toner (0-3) and S McArdle (1-1) with subs: G McCartan (for O'Rourke: halftime) and E McCartan (0-1 for C McGovern: 61 minutes).
Castlewellan: M Cunningham, B Travers, R McArdle, A Brogan, C Flanagan, K Duffin (0-1), D McGrady, F McGreevy (0-5), L Toner, D McKibben (0-2), L McKibben, P Boyle, R Burns, S Dornan (0-2) and C Crilly (0-1) with subs: D Morgan, A Burns and D Gilmore.
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