Tir na nOg take a giant step towards safety

ACFL Division 1B

Gort na Mona 0-15 Tir na nOg 2-10

Tir na nog took a giant step topwards division 1 safety when they overcame the considerable challenge of bottom club Gort na Mona in an excellent game at Enright Park tonight. The visitors threatened to run away with it in the opening stages and goals from Ciaran Dobbin in the 4th minute and another from Eamon Og McAllister, two minutes later put them in a strong position.

Gort na Mona recovered from this early onslaught however and by half time had closed the gap to 0-8 to 2-3 with Tiarna Keenan’s final score of the half sailing just over instead of under the bar after he had burst through a couple of tackles.

Dessie McClean pointed the Enright Park side ahead with a point in the opening minute but Barry McCormick, who was excellent throughout for Tir na nOg replied with a third minute point before Ciaran Dobbin chipped Thomas McCaffrey in the Gort na Mona goal to put his side ahead with four minutes gone.

Padraic McHugh was causing problems for the Tir na nOg defence and he split the posts after claiming a Mark but the home side were dealt another severe blow when Eamon Og McAllister got in for Tir na nOg’s second goal with only 6 minutes on the clock.

The South West side were dominating possession with Gort na Mona pulling men behind the ball and Ciaran O’Neill kicked a fine point to extend the visitors lead before Padraic McHugh converted from another Mark to leave four between the sides at the end of the opening quarter.

The visitors continued to create chances but had kicked five wides leading up to McHugh’s score but Aaron McNeilly replied immediately with a point at the other end to restore the Whitehill men’s five point advantage and they were still dictating matters at this stage.

Slowly though the ‘Gorts’ began to push up on their opponents and a Thomas McCaffrey ‘45’ conversion in the 25th minute heralded a strong finish to the opening half with Dessie McClean hitting another good point from play and Tirna Keenan threatening to put his side ahead with the last kick of the half but his shot sailed over.

Gort na Mona started the second half as they had ended the first with Niall Melaney levelling the contest with a point in the opening minute but Tir na nOg relied through Ciaran Dobbin and Barry McCormick to move two ahead again with five minutes of the half gone.

The game was being played at fierce intensity with no quarter asked or given as Niall Melaney kicked his second point of the half to close the gap to one and the home side introduced Conor Connolly for Sean Campbell at this stage.

Both sides were giving it everything with Aaron McNeilly from a free for the Whitehill side and Padraic McHugh from a similar award exchanging further points before Christy Sheerin edged the visitors two in front once more.

As the game continued to swing from end to end Tir na nOg sent Brandon McLarnon into the fray to replace Connor Hastings as Gort na Mona came storming back with points from Niall Melaney and Caoimhin Magee to tie matters at 0-14 to 2-8 with 11 minutes remaining.

It was clear that this one was going to go right down to the wire as Thomas McCaffrey pulled off an excellent save to deny Ciaran Dobbin before Darragh Fagan inched the visitors in front again direct from a ‘45’.

Gort na Mona threw everything at their opponent down the home straight and Michael Savage kicked a great point to bring them level once more but they just couldn’t get their noses in front as Manus McMullan was sent into action to replace Tim Scanell.

Trailing by one and with time almost up Thomas McCaffrey launched a 50 meter free into the danger area but it was scrambled away at the expense of a ‘45’. The big keeper struck again from the resulting ‘45’ but Christy Sheerin rose in a crowded goalmouth to pull the ball out of the air as Brendan Toland sounded his full time whistle to bring proceedings to a close.

This win looks like securing Tir na nOg division 1 status for another season while Gort na Mona are relegated to division 2 after an excellent finish to the season which came up just short.

Tir na nOg move above St. Brigid’s on 12 points with the Musgrave Park side on 11 and St. Mary’s Aghagallon on 9 but with a game in hand. These two meet at Musgrave Park on Sunday with a win for both vital if they are to avoid a play-off with All Saints who finished runners up in division 2.

Gort na Mona: 1 Thomas McCaffrey, 2 Sean Campbell, 3 Tirna Keenan, 4 Padraig Cournane, 5 Darren Boyd, 6 Michael Savage, 7 Ciaran Donnelly, 8 Caoimhin Magee, 9 Aodhan McDonagh, 10 Padraig Mulvenna, 11 Christopher Carson, 12 Tim Scanell, 13 Padraic McHugh, 14 Dessie McClean, 15 Niall Melaney. Subs: Conor Connolly for Sean Campbell, Manus McMullan for Tim Scanell

Tir na nOg: 1 Sean Paul McAtamney, 2 Oliver McAtamney, 3 Ethan Higgins, 4 Peter Cullen, 5 Ciaran O’Neill, 6 Barry McCormick, 7 Aaron McNeilly, Ryan O’Neill, 9 Christy Sheerin, 10 Ciaran McKeown, 11 Eamon Og McAllister, 12 Darragh Fagan, 13 Connor Hastings, 14 Ciaran Dobbin, 15 Daniel Martin. Subs: Brandon Mclarnon for Connor Hastings, Kevin Sheerin for Eamon Og McAllister

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lamh Dhearg

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