Mulryan Construction IFC Semi-Final
St Faithleach’s 2-18 Castlerea St Kevin’s 1-10
The Ballyleague-based club laid the foundations for their win with a dominant first-half display, at the end of which they led by 2-7 to 0-2. However, their manager Wally Burke and his selectors will be concerned about a 15-minute period in the second half when their players allowed Castlerea to score 1-8 without reply, narrowing the gap to five points by the 50th minute.
Faithleach’s did eventually awake from their slumber and they finished the game well with six unanswered points.
On a perfect day for football, Faithleach’s were rampant from the first whistle. It was no surprise that Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh were to the fore, and they had excellent back up from Dave Rooney, Karl Nerney and Mikey Dunne.
The first 13 minutes saw only one score for each side as Ciaráin Murtagh and Adam McDermott exchanged points. Once Diarmuid Murtagh drilled home a 14th minute goal after a great run, Faithleach’s took over completely.
Castlerea were chasing shadows as Faithleach’s attacked relentlessly. When, in first-half injury-time, Diarmuid Murtagh scored their second goal – netting at his second attempt after his first effort was blocked – it sent them in leading 2-7 to 0-2 at the break.
When Jonathan Hussey (2) and Diarmuid Murtagh added points on the restart to open up a 2-12 to 0-3 lead after 38 minutes, it looked like Castlerea were in for a hammering. To their credit, Castlerea responded and began to play with real purpose and effect.
Points from Thomas Callaghan, Aaron McDermott (free) and Peter Farrell started the revival. Then in the 45th minute, Jonathan Hester drilled home a great goal. Points from Shane Keenan, Aaron McDermott, Nathan Bligh and Adam McDermott narrowed the gap further – and with ten minutes to go it was Faithleach’s 2-12 Castlerea 1-10.
St. Faithleach’s, aware that they were suddenly in difficulty, upped their game and finished with a flourish. Points from Ciaráin Murtagh (2), Diarmuid Murtagh, Dave Rooney, Conall Kennelly and Shane Phillips sealed a comfortable win.
Outstanding for the winners were Diarmuid Murtagh, Dave Rooney, Ciaráin Murtagh, Mikey Dunne and Mikey Cox, while best for Castlerea were Adam McDermott, Jonathan Hester and Shane Keenan.
Now St. Faithleach’s will meet St. Dominic’s in the final, a very hard match-up to call. Faithleach’s have plenty of firepower but they will know that nothing less than a very good performance over 60 minutes will be sufficient to win the Jimmy Murray Cup and send them back into the senior ranks.