Parnells 1-17 Craobh Chiarain 1-15
By Brian G. O'Sullivan.
Those who had reservations that Parnells' display against Cuala was a one off got a rude awaking at Parnell Park on Friday night. The Coolock side produced a magnificent team effort in disposing of the challenge of near neighbours Craobh Chiarain.
Parnells' victory, coupled with Cuala's defeat of St. Vincents, leaves the group wide open going into the final round.
There was a peculiar start to the contest. Parnells were the only team on the field at 6.45pm; the official start time. Craobh emerged a minute later and the action got underway after a quick shake of hands and a toss for choice of ends.
There was a time in GAA circles when "The Punctuality Rule" was enforced to its full limits. There were no soft excuses entertained. Island teams like Valentia-Young Islanders, Achill and Garnish felt the full force of the rule.
Unlike Craobh Chiaran and Parnells, the above teams had the burden of a boat crossing to deal with. In the late thirties, Garnish were due to play Ardgroom in a Beara Football Championship game at Castletownbere.
Not long after they left the island, they realised one of the boards was cracked and the boat was taking in water. They returned to the island and persuaded the local postmaster to send a message to Castletownbere; that they experienced grieve danger on the crossing and took a safety precaution by returning home. The result: Garnish were removed from the championship!
Despite being late onto the field, it was Craobh that started the brighter. Alan McCrabbe (free), Francis Usanga and Stephen Kirwan all pointed inside the opening seven minutes. Kirwan was unlucky not to force the goal umpire to raise a green flag as he saw his ground strike go skimming over the crossbar with the net yawning at him.
GrassRootsGAA Star Man Andrew Shore opened Parnells' account with a free; before sending Aaron Hurley away. Hurley then placed Daryll Curley-Fagan who slotted over from 60 yards.
The sides were level on 12 minutes when Stephen Duffy intercepted a Craobh clearance 40 yards out from goal before turning onto his strong side to tie the game at 0-3 each.
Craobh Chiarans' forward division clicked into gear immediately. Robbie Mahon and Stephen McDonald fired over. Andrew Shore tied proceedings inside a minute. He opened a movement involving Aidan Curran, Des McClean and Brendan Quinn. Quinn was fouled with Shore pointing the resultant free and then added another minor from open play.
Alan McCrabbe landed three frees late in the half; but the remainder belonged to Parnells. They produced some great team movements which resulted in five minors being sent onto the scoreboard.
Des McClean weaved his way through the Craobh defence twice while Colm McDonald and Brendan Quinn also added to the tally. Andrew Shore cut over a sideline which sent the men in black with the green sash to the dressing rooms with a two point lead at 10 points to eight.
McClean, Quinn and Hurley were posing some serious questions to the Craobh rearguard and were unlucky not to add at least one goal to their total.
When action resumed, Keith Mulligan was fastest. He placed Colm McDonald and Thomas Kelly to convert inside three minutes of the restart.
Kelly, Des McClean and Stephen Duffy tried to manoeuvre a major which would have sent Parnells out of sight. Stephen Chester came to Craobh's rescue as Gary Kelly, Damien O'Reilly and Darren Kelly did their utmost in stemming the wave of Parnell attacks.
Alan McCrabbe kept Craobh in touch with two frees and was also involved in a move which saw Francis Usanga flick Damien O'Reilly's speculative shot over the bar. Indeed, the sliotar could well have ended up in the net.
Andrew Shore pointed Parnells two clear with a free after Des McClean was upended. But Craobh continued with their purple patch.
Alan McCrabbe was on target from open play and a "65", while Mark McGuirk fired over seconds after being introduced to the fray. Craobh looked in the ascendancy. They were rocked moments later, however.
Aaron Hurley fielded 60 yards out from goal on the terrace side; he sent a pinpoint pass across the pastures of Parnell Park to Des McClean who was lurking around the 'D'. McClean controlled the sliotar on his hurl and, without taking it into his hand, shot past Stephen Chester in the Craobh goal.
Game on. The final minutes were played out in a welter of excitement. Alan McCrabbe reduced the gap to the bare minimum with a free. Andrew Shore produced another spectacular sideline before catapulting the Coolock men into a three point lead with a free.
That lead was wiped out when Robbie Mahon found Stephen McDonald who finished to the net on 56 minutes. Even Stephen at 1-15 each. There was a wave of emotions in the final four minutes. It's these junctures that decide championship outcomes.
Parnells sparked in the final minutes as darkness descended on Donnycarney. Heroic deeds often decide the initiative of championship games. Andrew Shore put in a heroic effort for Parnells and it was fitting that he would decide this particular contest with two late minors.
Parnells' recent match:
SHC- Cuala v Parnells
Craobh Chiarain's recent matches:
SHC- Craobbh Chiarain v St Vincents
AHL1- Craobh Chiarain v Faughs
AHL1- St Judes v Craobh Chiarain
Andrew Shore (Parnells)
The Wexford native put in a splendid hour for Parnells. His two sidelines were the key to his side's success. Fortunes favour the brave. Parnells fell to a late sideline in their opening encounter with Cuala but can thank their lucky stars that the gods smiled on them this time around. Shore was to the forefront throughout and decided the game with two late points.
Parnells Squad List:
J. Denniffe; A. Curran; P. Reilly; S. Stack; D. Curley-Fagan (0-1); D. Rooney; S. Geraghty; A. Shore (0-9, 5 frees, 2 Sidelines); K. Mulligan; A. Hurley; S. Duffy (0-1); C. McDonald (0-2); D. McClean (1-2); B. Quinn (0-1); T. Kelly; G. George; D. Kelleher.
Craobh Chiarain Squad List:
S. Chester; S. Ennis; E. Farrell; G. Kelly; C. Poole; D. Kelly; D. O'Reilly; S. McDonald (1-1); K. Elliott; S. Kirwan (0-1); A. McCrabbe (0-9, 6 frees, 1. "65"); R. Mahon (0-1); G. Ennis; F. Usanga (0-2); K. Hetherton; M. McGuirk (0-1); J. Ryan; S. Finnegan.
Source: GrassRoots GAA