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Strong First Half Secures the Points

posted 29 Apr 2013, 12:55 by Unknown user   [ updated 29 Apr 2013, 12:57 ]
St. Paul’s 0-09 Sarsfields 1-14
This local derby was a match that both sides would have viewed as an opportunity to gain points. In Sarsfields case they certainly should be able to defeat the promoted teams. However St. Paul’s would have told themselves that Sarsfields were less than convincing against newly promoted Shane O’Neills last weekend and in a home derby match they could possibly pull off an upset.

Sarsfields were without Michael Stevenson through injury, but otherwise had an unchanged line-up. As in previous matches the conditions would play a part, with a strong diagonal wind favouring Sarsfields in the first half. 
St. Paul’s were quick off the mark with a point. The Highmoss defence had disrupted the initial attack but couldn't regain possession and the Taghnevan side took their opportunity. Sarsfields responded with a flowing move finished off by Johnny Niblock pushing forward from half-back. This was quickly followed by a long range point from midfielder Brian Lavery, taking advantage of the wind to carry the ball. In a period of dominance Paul McGeown saw a great shot for goal cleared off the line by the foot of the St. Paul’s keeper. Richie Stevenson added a point from the resultant forty-five. A few chances were squandered, but vitally a Richie Stevenson goal gave Sarsfields a deserved five point lead. Johnny Reynolds had a couple of very well taken points each side of a St. Paul’s pointed free. The home sides’ point was their first in a quarter of an hour, but they were showing signs of coming into the game. A defensive error from Highmoss almost did away good work the team had done, letting St. Paul’s in for a goal chance, but Darran McAvoy denied both the initial chance and a follow up effort. Sarsfields pushed on and there were good points from Richie Stevenson and centre half back Darren Breen. Sarsfields could have been further ahead, but judging the wind was difficult and shots were carried to the left of the posts. Richie added a point from a fifty yard free, but as the half came to a close Sarsfields concentration dropped and St. Paul’s got in for a second goal chance. Fortunately for the Highmoss the effort came back off the underside of the bar. Deep in injury time Richie Stevenson landed his fourth point from a free to give Sarsfields a nine point lead. It was a decent half time advantage, but the team would have been in no doubt that scores would be difficult to come by in the second half. 
St. Paul’s were quick out of the blocks in the second half and with two quick points reducing the deficit to seven points, reinforcing the opinion that the win was going to be no certainty for Sarsfields. Reassurance though came quickly and within a minute the St. Paul’s points were cancelled out. First Richie Stevenson hit over a point at the second attempt; the first effort having carried back to him by the wind, or maybe he was playing the ‘up and under’. Chris McGaughey added a point and certainly he was coming more into the game. St. Paul’s grabbed a point coming from a bad Sarsfields pass and this underlined that playing the possession game would be crucial. Sarsfields had the most of the possession, but scores were difficult to come by. Chris McGaughey hit his second point in a move that highlighted what Sarsfields were capable of. The move began with a great catch at midfield by Eamon McGeown with a pass to Johnny Reynolds who picked out Chrissie for the score. Credit though to St. Paul’s who responded with two points from play and with six points being the difference, a goal would certainly have put a different complexion on the game. Paul McGeown though stepped up with a super point that eased the pressure on the Highmoss. It was a seven point lead with seven minutes to go and the feeling was that the home side were running out of time. Good Highmoss defensive work forced St. Paul’s into a couple of wayward shots and when a superb Johnny Reynolds free directly into the wind increased the lead, the result was never in doubt. St Paul’s bombarded Sarsfields with the long ball and while one effort narrowly missed the goal, the Sarsfields rearguard coped admirably with Paul Magee making a super catch under pressure to clear the lines. For Sarsfields it was a good team performance, but next weekend’s visit to Maghery will give the team a better assessment of their position.

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