Can Gorts climb the mountain?

ACFL Division 1

Gort na Mona 1-12 Ahoghill 1-5

Going into today’s game Gort na Mona found themselves seated at the foot of the table with only two points from 12 starts, their prospect s of division 1 survival looked as steep as the mountain that overlooks Enright Park.

The Gorts set out to climb that mountain today and while there is still a way to go following their best display of the season and a seven point win over St. Mary’s Ahoghill, they have at least reached first base.

In a swirling wind and intermittent rain it was Gort na Mona who edged matters during the opening half as they played down the slope into the breeze. The sides were tied at 0-3 apiece as the clock ticked down to half time but a Christopher Carson goal in the 30th minute was to prove the turning point in the game.

Carson fielded superbly on the edge of the Ahoghill square and despite the attention of James Magee the big number 11 turned and sent his shot beyond the reach of Noel Crossey to give his side a lead they would not lose.

Ahoghill got themselves right back into contention when substitute Patrick Graham forced the ball home following a goalmouth scramble when the Gort na Mona defence failed to deal with a Ronan Graham free but they failed to build on this bit of good fortune as the home side went on to dominate the second period.

James O’Connell for St. Mary’s and Patrick McCaffrey for Gort na Mona exchanged early points before Darren Boyd edged the Enright Park side ahead from a 13 meter free with16 minutes of a very mundane opening half gone.

James O’Connell levelled matters for the second time from a free in the 20th minute and Aodhan McDonagh and Boris O’Connell exchanged further points before Christopher Carson struck with the game’s opening goal in the 30th minute.

Carson’s goal gave the home side a bit of momentum and keeper Thomas McCaffery stepped up to send an injury time free from 30 meters over the bar to leave the Enright Park side in a good position as they headed to the dressing rooms leading by four points.

Patrick Graham’s goal on the restart made it a one point game again and Dessy McLean pointed following a mark and Ronan Graham replied from a close range free to keep the gap at one with nine minutes of the second half gone.

Gort na Mona were starting to get on top however with their high press and more direct running starting to pay dividends and Padraic McHugh pointed from play and then from a free, following an excellent save from Noel Crossey in the Ahoghill goals.

Another pointed free from Gort’s keeper, Thomas McCaffery following a point from Ahogill substitute, Patrick Dougan with his first touch left three between the sides at the end of the third quarter but the momentum was now very much with the home side.

They finished the game with a flurry as Eamon Scanell, Thomas McCaffery and Padraig Mulvenna hit unanswered points to leave them winners by seven points and hand them a lifeline to climb out of the bottom spot.

It’s still a way to the top of the proverbial mountain as they remain bottom on four points, three behind Tir na nOg and four behind today’s visitors but with four games remaining they are still in with a shout if they can build on today’s performance.

Gort na Mona: 1 Thomas McCaffery, 2 Sean Campbell, 3 Tiarna Keenan, 4 Padraig Curnane, 5 Ciaran Donnelly, 6 Michael Savage, 7 Neill Henry, 8 Caoimhin Magee, 9 Darren Boyd, 10 Aodhan McDonagh, 11 Christopher Carson, 12 Eamon Scanell, 13 Padraic McHugh, 14 Patrick McCaffrey, 15 Desy McLean

Ahoghill: 1 Noel Crossey, 2 Francis Neeson, 3 James Magee, 4 Bernard Graham, 5 Eoin Graham, 6 Thomas McGlone, 7 Eamonn Brady, 8 Neil O’Connell, 9 Daniel O’Neill, 10 James O’Conn ell, 11 Ronan Graham, 12 Fionnbar O’Neill, 13 P.J. O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 Conor Paul Crossey, 17 Patrick Graham

Referee: Cathal McDermott (Tir na nOg)

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