By Aimee McAtamney
All County Football League Division 2
Tir na nÓg 0-11 Gortnamona 0-10
Tir,na,nÓg secured two league points when they held off the challenge of visitors Gort na Mona at Whitehill on Sunday in a tough and tense battle. The Blues had lost Darren McCormick during the well when he suffered a broken jaw at training and it also was to be Ryan O’Neill’s last game before heading to Africa for 6weeks to volunteer so it was important to secure both league points. However they welcomed back Christy Sheerin who had a knee operation a few weeks back.
Gortnamona got off to a better start after a foul on Caoimhin Magee by Christy Sheerin which Niall Melaney put over the bar after 3mins. One minute later Gort struck again when Caoimhin Magee hit a long range shot to counteract Tir na nÓg’s two sweepers. He nearly got the third of the game but his effort went right of the upright. After a few poor kick outs Christy Sheerin broke from defence and sent a direct ball into Ciaran Dobbin who popped it to Kevin Coogan for Whitehill’s first score after seven minutes. After a few bad misses on both tams Sheerin made got the home side going again when he won a ball and played it to his brother Pearse who sent over Tir na nÓgs second. Both teams hit another wide apiece before Gort’s Sean Campbell capitalised on another poor kick out from blues keeper Michael Dempsey and sent to ball between the posts on 14 minutes. As the rain came down in torrents Christy Sheerin, Niall Melaney and Sean Campbell were all off target from scoreable positions, but in fairness the conditions certainly had a part to play. With half time fast approaching Ciaran Dobbin broke through on goal but to the disappointment of the home supporters the shot came back off the Gort naMona upright and a good chance was gone, and the wastefulness continued when Sheerin and Dempsey were both off target to leave Tir na nÓg trailing 4 points to 2 at half time.
Tir na nÓg emerged with a change of strip after half time, so the blues had now become the whites, but it was to have no immediate effect on their performance as Sean Doyle won the ball from the throw in and sent over a point to put Gortnamona three clear. Two minutes later Sheerin once again was charging down on the Mona defence only to be fouled as he attempted to fist the ball over the bar. The perpetrator received a yellow card for his actions and Sheerin’s brother Pease gained retribution when he stepped up to point the resultant free and cut the gap back to just two.
Sheerin cut the gap to a single point soon afterwards and the home side could easily have gone ahead, but wayward shooting but Ciaran McKeown and Pearse Sheerin denied them the chance of at least drawing level, as one went wide of the target and their other dropped into the arms of Gort’s goalkeeper Declan McComb.
However Tir na nÓg captain Barry McCormick then stepped forward to kick a point from 40 metres to level the game and with the introduction of substitute Ciaran Logan after 42minutes they appeared to be getting to grips with the game. The home side went a point up when a short 45 to Sean Redmond saw him burst through to put the ball over the bar and with Kevin Sheerin now on the edge of the square the Randalstown men also changed their tactics and began launching long high balls into the danger area. The move paid dividends on 45minutes when Sheerin won a high ball and popped it to brother Pearse who raced in and put it over the bar to put his side two clear.
Christopher Carson continued to put in a hard shift at midfield for Gortnamona and his efforts were almost rewarded when he blocked a super ball in his defence and played it to full forward Magee who popped it to Campbell, but the chance was wasted.
On 47minutes another long ball into Kevin Sheerin was again rewarded as Sheering played the ball off to Sean Duffin who fisted it over the bar to put his side 3 up. It was out to four when Daniel Martin’s hard work in defence won a great turn over and he started an attack which seen Christy Sheerin knock over another point.
Just when it seemed that Tir,na,nÓg were home and dry Gort na Mona’s Sean Doyle put the ball over the bar at the other end and a great long distance score by Niall Mellaney cut to two. However once again a high cross field ball came into Sheerin in full forward, and at this stage everything seemed to be sticking, so Sheering laid the ball off to Ciaran Dobbin who set Barry McCormick up for his second point after 53mins.
The Gorts continued to pile on the pressure as Campbell was brought down and Melaney sent over the free and they cut the gap back to the minimum again when Michael Savage broke from defence to start a move brought an excellent point. Christy Sheerin eased the pressure when he pointed an excellent free to put his side two clear but back came the visitors and to close to within one once again.
With the game hanging in the balance Christy took one for the team when he pulled down Gort na Mona’s Sean Doyle at midfield and received a resultant black card for his actions. Gorts played the free high into Caoimhin Magee at the edge of the Randalstown square but high intensity defending from Pearse Sheerin and Ciaran McKeown seen Sean Duffin break with the ball and the final whistle blew as Tir,na,nÓg held on by the skin of their teeth for a one point victory
Tir,na,nÓg: 1. M.Dempsey 2. G.Martin 3. Colm Duffin 4. D.Martin 5. B. McCormick 6. Caoimhin Duffin 7. S.Duffin 8. P.Sheerin 9. R. O’Neill 10. S.Redmond 11. C.Mckeown 12. C.Sheerin 13. C.Dobbin 14. K.Sheerin 15. K.Coogan 16. SP. McAtamney 17. C.Logan 18. D.Mallon 19. D.O’Kane 20. N. O’Connor
Scorers: P.Sheerin (3-1free), C.Sheerin (3-2frees), B.McCormick (2), K. Coogan (1), S. Redmond (1), S. Duffin (1)
Subs used: C.Logan for K.Coogan (42mins)
Cards: C.Sheerin-Black (60mins)
Gortnamona: 1. D.McComb 2. B.Burns 3. C.Devlin 4. C.Connolly 5. P.Mulvenna 6. T.McGoran 7. M.Savage 8. D.McCabe 9. C.Carson 10. S.Campbell 11. S.Doyle 12. A. McDonagh 13. N. Melaney 14. C.Magee 15. D.McVeigh 19. 22. 23.
Scorers: 19 (3- 2frees), S.Campbell (2), S.Doyle (2), N. Melaney (1-free), C.Magee (1), 22 (1)
Subs used: 19, 22,23
Cards: C. Connolly- Yellow (35minutes), D.McCabe- Yellow (40minutes)