An Ceathru Rua 1-16
Claregalway v An Ceathru Rua
Nì dhèanfaidh fainleog anaor samhradh… One swallow doesn’t make a summer.
Nì trèid caora… One sheep doesn’t make a flock.
One elusive victory over Cortoon created hope where previously there was none, however, victory was needed last weekend in Clonbur in order to stave off the relegation dogfight. Not so long this young Claregalway team was sheppardless in the wilderness. A little more than 2 weeks ago, they looked like lambs being led to the slaughter with the ominous clouds of a prolonged relegation battle looming large on the horizon. Step forward stockman in chief, Alan Moran who corralled them from the sideline and we bore witness to the lambs of Baile an Chlair rise and rise again, until lambs…… became lions. At 3:30 on Saturday last, those of us in Clonbur witnessed a coming of age performance from a tremendously young Claregalway side as they had too much firepower for a rough and tumble An Ceathru Rua side in what was a very enjoyable 60 odd minutes of football as they sentenced our opponents to the fiery pits of a relegation battle.
After conceding the first 2 points of the game, Sean Moran got us up and running with a well struck free before we fired a major shot across the bow. When Henno fed Conor Kelly out towards the sideline, Kelly pinged a tremendous crossfield pass into Rohan. Rohan gathered and fed Le Petit Generalè who had timed his run to perfection before finishing unbelievably into the back of the net. This put Claregalway in the lead in what was an excellent team goal. When Sean raised another white flag – it proved to be the catalyst needed to get a reaction from An Ceathru Rua as they racked up 1-2 without reply to give a timely reminder to the Claregalway men, that they were going nowhere… at least for now. As the half wore on the game continued to flourish, scores exchanged, hard tackling and the occasional off the ball strike kept the vocal chords of the fans well warmed up on what was a slightly cold day. Shortly before the break, we registered our 2nd goal of the game as the impressive Conor Kelly, taking advantage of a very nervous goalkeeper, dispossessing him before finishing to the back of the net and as we eventually made it to half time – the score was 2-04 to 1-07, albeit we could have had a 3rd goal although I don’t remember who missed that one…..
When the youngster Jack Glynn was introduced at half time for the injured Padraig Kearney, a totally new dynamic was added to the Claregalway team and although An Ceathru Rua forced a powerful save from Dundee, they were about to fall victim to a seriously fruitful purple patch from the wizards we possess up top. First, LPG clipped over a free, before 2 on the spin from Conor Kelly, a beauty from Jack Glynn and another free from Rohan had us 4 to the good. A monster hit from Peter Divilly prevented a goal chance for the Connemara men before Claregalway began digging the grave for their opponents as Danny sublimely played in Rohan for his first and Claregalways 3rd goal. With 13 minutes played of the second half, Claregalway led 3-10 to 1-08. Credit to An Ceathru Rua, they never gave in and ran us close right to the final whistle but with late scores from Danny and Rohan, they were never going to break down a Claregalway defence marshalled by the Rottweiler Cunniffe, ably assisted in the full back line by Goldrick and Campbell to get the scores they needed – whereas further out the field, M Kilgannon, Roche, Divilly and Glynn stood firm and while there may have been 2 in it at the final whistle – on the day Claregalway were by far and a way the technically better team and more than deserving of retaining their senior status.
It is now no secret of what happened over the summer and with the pressure on in order to get the 2 wins needed to stay up, the entire panel deserve huge credit in achieving this. A huge amount of praise must go to Alan Moran, who, not for the first time, bravely took over when it seemed very few would throw their hat in the ring. No doubt the fickle Claregalway fans out there (you, not me) would have been very quick to get the knives out and refer to players and management alike as *insert expletive* had they not achieved 3rd place – but the reality of the situation is, this panel of players contains a serious amount of quality so from all in the club, well done to everyone involved. The team has 2 final league games remaining but with Breathnachs and An Spideal in the intermediate county semi final, it could be some time before these are played.
Quite unbelievably, the Juniors were forced to travel to Clonbur again on Sunday to play the hosts in their own back garden in their west board semi final, while they battled very very bravely, this young Claregalway side ultimately succumbed by 5 to a physically bigger Clonbur outfit. On the day the team illustrated what they are capable of and had they not left a number of goal chances behind, they could very well be preparing for a west board final, alas cest la vie. Not unlike the senior setup, this team is littered with serious prospects throughout and is a breeding ground for future senior footballers.
Finally, we don’t know what the future holds and the plans of Alan, but all I would say is if my name was James Horan or Mike Solan this evening…… I’d be damdable nervous. I can’t confirm this myself but when Alan went for his Sunday evening pint, he was asked by a local man in a public house how he felt after the weekend…. he replied “one swallow…. doesn’t make a summer”