Sallins Daragh Mangan and Castledermot's David Keating tussel for possession in The Auld Shebeen Pub Athy IFC semi-final. Photo: Michael Andserson
The Auld Shebeen Bar Athy Intermediate Football Championship
Castledermot completed a shock comeback to beat Sallins and progress into this year’s Intermediate Football Championship final against Ballyteague. A Gavin Keating free-kick won the game for his side with the last kick of the game. The wing-forward, having missed his previous two frees, kept his nerve when it mattered most and slotted the ball between the posts.
The eventual winners were six points down with ten minutes left but were given a huge lift when Sallins’ Kevin Foley brought down John Joe Mahon inside the box.
Both a penalty and a black card were dished out on the 53rd minute and Castledermot’s David Keating stepped up with his side currently trailing by five. He passed the ball calmly into the net, sending Sallins goalkeeper Ryan Herbert the wrong way. Game on.
Two points of the highest quality were needed to draw this game level as Sallins sat deep to protect their lead. The first of which came from full-forward Emmet O’Keefe, which was followed by a brilliant score from Conor Nolan who sent the ball high, curling and dropping beautifully over the bar.
The sides were now level two minutes into injury time and the stage was set for Gavin Keating’s winner in the final minute of additional time to give his team a famous win.
Sallins will wonder how they ended up on the losing end of this fixture but you would have to look at a combination of ill-discipline, suffering two black cards at crucial periods of the game and the concession of some sloppy goals that cost them here.
The first half saw Sallins in complete control, just five minutes into the game their fast start saw them leading by five following James Dalton’s goal. Sallins corner-back Luke Kelly drove forward with the ball before handing off to Dalton who, with two men around him, turned sharply leaving both of the defenders chasing shadows. Dalton finished past Ryan Herbert to leave proceedings at 1-2 to no score.
However, all credit has to go to Castledermot who trailed by seven points at the break and had lost their only recognised goalkeeper in Shane Nolan. Veteran outfield player Anthony Nolan had to fill the gap between the posts and Castldermot didn't concede a goal during his time in the net.
Castldermot’s Gavin Keating got his side back to within four just after the break with a brilliant goal on the break. Keating’s goal closed the gap but Castldermot still didn't look like it was going to be their day as the sides traded scores before the trailing side lost full-back Oisin Nolan to a black card on 39 minutes.
However, momentum is a powerful thing and following David Keatings penalty Sallins fell back and invited pressure. There was nervous handling and not many options when they had possession late on and it ultimately cost them.
The stunning comeback sets up a fascinating final with Ballyteague and if you were taking odds, not one you have expected at the start of the Championship.
Casteldermot, David Keating 2-1, Gavin Keating 0-5, Conor Nolan 1-1, Emmet O'Keeffe 0-3, Billy O'Gorman 0-1.
Sallins, Colm Dalton 0-7, James Dalton 1-2, Luke Killian 0-2, Cian Grimes 0-2, Jamie Cox 0-1, Paul Farrelly 0-1, Alan Marshall 0-1.
CASTLEDERMOT: Shane Nolan; Thomas Murphy, Oisin Nolan, Barry Nolan; Billy O'Gorman, Bryan Nolan, William Kelly; Gavin Farrell, David Keating; Conor Nolan, Pauric Murphy, Gavin Keating; Paddy Whelan, Emmet O'Keeffe, James O'Reilly. Subs: Anthony Lawlor on for Shane Nolan (13 minutes), Paul Fitzgerald on for Paddy Whelan (Half time), John Joe Mahon on for William Kelly (35 minutes), David Dooley on for James O'Reilly (44 minutes).
SALLINS: Ryan Herbert; Ruari O'Domhnaill, Darren Keane, Luke Kelly; Conor McElroy, Ben Caulfield, Conor Dalton; Luke Killian, Daragh Mangan; Alan Marshall, Colm Dalton, James Dalton; Cian Grimes, Paul Farrelly, Jamie Cox. Subs: Aaron Carney on for Ruari O'Domhnaill (38 minutes), Rory Gavin on for Jamie Cox (44 minutes), Kevin Foley on for Conor McElroy (47 minutes), Sean Conway on for Daragh Mangan (56 minutes).
Castldermot manager Tony Gray said after his sides comeback win, “I go back to even the league games because we get great experience out of Division one and that helps because if you don’t scrap and you don’t fight there you are going to get turned over. I think we were able to dip into that today.”
Castledermot edging close games has been a trademark of their Championship campaign so far, but now into an Intermediate final, it’s all in the rear-view mirror.
“We hadn’t been setting the world on fire in the Championship so far, we’ve been winning by the odd point here and there. We have even lost and drawn a game…but all that doesnt matter now because we are after getting the win that didn't look like it was going to be but we are looking forward to the final now,” Gray said.
The manager’s final word had to go to Gavin Keating who stepped up to convert the crucial final free-kick to win his side the game.
Gray said, “I don't know how he does it, he has been doing it now since he was a young lad. He has massive mental strength. But not just the kick that won the game but having missed two just before that and to step up and kick the next two you have to take your hat off to him.”
Game at a glance
The midfielder drove his side forward time and time again to create chances and in a game where they were largely on the back foot. Add that drive to two goals, including a game changing penalty, and you have yourself a starring role.
Kevin Foley’s penalty concession and subsequent black card turned this game on its head. The man disadvantage coupled with what appeared to be serious damage to their confidence lost them this game.
One Sallins supporter in front of the press box was subjected to a not unusual question after the game but one that hurts after a loss nonetheless. “Ah jaysus, how did you lose that one?” and that will be the discussion for a long time.
Castledermot will face Ballyteague in a surprise final pairing but a more than intriguing one. Brilliant attacking talent with the Keating's versus Hyland and co. will decide this Championship.
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