Austin Stacks come up just short in Club Semi Final
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Thanks to GAA.ie for report
AIB ALL-IRELAND CLUB SFC SEMI-FINAL: SLAUGHTNEIL (Derry) 1-14 AUSTIN STACKS (Kerry) 2-10
Mickey Moran has overseen another giant-killing act as Slaughtneil completed a weekend of surprises in the AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Football championship by joining Corofin in the final on St Patrick’s Day.
The former Derry, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim manager must have been delighted as the Oak Leaf champions showed a bottomless reservoir of courage to recover from the concession of two goals in four minutes in the middle of the first half, to go in level at the break.
In a tit-for-tat second half, they were just that bit more clinical, kicking some huge wind-assisted points to snatch it.
In the end, it was Cormac O’Doherty who struck the winning point in the 56th minute. It was his first score but he had been a central figure in the full-forward line throughout. Slaughtneil had a slew of heroes though in a wonderful performance.
Kieran Donaghy stood at midfield for the throw-in but promptly relocated to full-forward with the Stacks having the strong wind in their favour. In fact he was to spend the vast majority of the game on the edge of the square with considerable impact, although his side were definitely second best around the central third.
They had a point from a Shane Carroll free in the second minute after Shane O’Callaghan’s daring run was illegally halted but Gerald Bradley should have had a goal at the other end, failing to connect to O’Doherty’s delightful kick-pass.
Pa McCarthy kicked a brilliant point to extend the Kerrymen’s early lead but Slaughtneil established a midfield dominance that saw them have the better of the possession for most of the opening half, despite facing the elements.
Paul Bradley converted two frees to bring the teams level before Barry McGuigan and Patsy Bradley showed their athleticism by storming forward to go two clear.
Donaghy made his presence felt though when clearly fouled for two penalties in four minutes to rock Slaughtneil back on their heels.
Chrissy McKaigue was the culprit on each occasion and having been yellow carded for the second occurrence, was promptly removed from marking duties, with Brendan Rodgers taking up the cudgel to good effect.
McCarthy made sure of a two-goal return from the kicks, although he needed a rebound from the first after Anton McMullan saved. There was no mistake about the second however, which was sweetly struck.
Moran’s men were teetering at this juncture but after a few minutes, began to reassert around the middle, with five of the next six scores putting them ahead again.
The artistic Christopher Bradley was responsible for two points, while the industrious Padraig Kelly had the score of the game when curling one back into the wind from the wrong side with the left peg.
Then came a contender for goal of the season, seconds before the half hour was elapsed. Patsy Bradley gathered possession from a kickout and aimed for the usual target of O’Doherty.
He broke the ball down to the advancing McGuigan 35m from goal. The wing-back strode forward and rounded a defender, and though his initial low shot came back off the inside of the upright, he was first to react to finish to the net.
It was a microcosm of all that was good about Slaughtneil in that first half but there was still time for Carroll to point for Austin Stakes and it was 1-8 to 2-5 at the interval.
Slaughtneil never played with the same assurance into the wind and Austin Stacks introduced 39-year-old William Kirby to steady the ship.
The Tralee team kicked three of the first four points to open up a two-point lead but Slaughtneil clawed them back once more.
There was nothing in it now but after an excellent David Mannix score gave Austin Stacks the lead, Slaughtneil upped the tempo once more, with Patsy Bradley hugely influential. Gerald Bradley and McKaigue kicked two wonderful points and when Carroll levelled from a free, O’Doherty was the man to decide it.
Carroll did have a chance to level with seconds of normal time remaining but from a good position to the left of the posts and 22m out, pulled his shot left.
There was still three minutes of injury time but it was Slaughtneil who wasted a couple of good chances in that period. They didn’t pay the price though and can now look forward to a Croke Park decider.
Scorers for Slaughtneil: Barry McGuigan 1-1, Paul Bradley 0-4 (4f), Christopher Bradley 0-3, Gerard Bradley 0-2, Cormac O’Doherty 0-1, Chrissy McKaigue 0-1, Patsy Bradley 0-1, Padraig Kelly 0-1.
Scorers for Austin Stacks: Pa McCarthy 2-1 (1-0 pen), Shane Carroll 0-4 (3f), David Mannix 0-2 (1f), Shane O’Callaghan 0-1, Greg Horan 0-1, Kieran Donaghy 0-1.
SLAUGHTNEIL: A McMullan, B Rodgers, C McKaigue, K McKaigue, F McEldowney, B McGuigan, C Cassidy, Patsy Bradley, P McGuigan, P Kelly, C Bradley, R Bradley, G Bradley, Paul Bradley, C O’Doherty. Sub: S McGuigan for G Bradley (53)
AUSTIN STACKS: D O’Brien, F MacNamara, B Shanahan, R Shanahan, P McCarthy, C Jordan, D McElligott, W Guthrie, K Donaghy, M Collins, S Carroll, D Bohan, D Mannix, G Horan, S O’Callaghan.Subs: D O’Brien for Collins (ht), W Kirby for Bohan (39)
Referee: D Gough (Meath)
Report: Daragh Ó Conchuir
After waiting all of twenty years for a County title, one can assume that Austin Stacks are firmly focused on their All Ireland Senior Club semi final tie with Derry’s Slaughtneil in Portlaoise on Sunday next (4pm). The northern side are indeed formidable opposition having come through the minefield that is Ulster Club football unscathed. Stacks did all that was asked of them when winning the Bishop Moynihan Cup – albeit at the second time of asking – and pulled through a tricky encounter with Ballincollig of Cork in the Munster semi final. They will be thankful too that they got a good test of their credentials from The Nire of Waterford in the Munster give that well over two months has elapsed since that game.
The Derry side are everyone’s favourites going into Sunday’s game but that is a scenario that Kerry teams, whether Club or County, relish, and no doubt Stacks will leave no stone unturned in the efforts to make it to Croke Park on St Patrick’s day. They carry the best wishes of all Kerry followers to do just that.