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Sarsfields Defeated by Crossmaglen

posted 18 Apr 2011, 02:29 by Sarsfields PRO   [ updated 18 Apr 2011, 15:20 ]
Sarsfields 2-09  Crossmaglen 2-19
This match saw the introduction of Declan Breen and Colin Stevenson in the starting lineup. Peter Stevenson had returned to the squad after his travels down under however his brother Michael Stevenson will be unavailable until later in the season, Patrick Stevenson was unavailable and Paul Magee had a slight injury.
Sarsfields were on the attack straight from the throw in but the move was broken down by good defensive work. Crossmaglen responded and although Ciaran Kerr showed good anticipation in getting in front of his man he was unable to hold on to the ball and Crossmaglen fired over their first point. The visitors kept the pressure on Sarsfields but good defensive work from Peter Stevenson forced a wide from the Crossmaglen forward. However Crossmaglen’s next attack cut through the Highmoss defence and ended in the Sarsfields net. This was immediately followed by a quick point and the signs were looking very ominous for the home crowd.

Sarsfields settled into their game and in a good move, Mark Reynolds flicked a ball to Paul Hughes and took the return to force a save from the Crossmaglen keeper. Thomas McAlinden saw his effort for a point come off the post and Crossmaglen cleared the danger. In the tenth minute Richie Stevenson registered the first score, following a good move started by Paul Hughes retrieving a ball that seemed to be lost. Yet again Crossmaglen showed their strength and shot over two quick points. Paul Hughes continued to show great determination at midfield and supplied another ball into Richie who set Thomas McAlinden up for a point. Crossmaglen however were on top with David McKenna winning the majority of the midfield exchanges and it took great defensive work from Brian Kerr to deny the visitors a second goal. The resultant 45’ led to a point give Crossmaglen a six point lead. Aaron Kernan followed up with a free and things were looking fairly bleak for the Hoops. Sporadically Sarsfields were producing some good moves and Colin Stevenson picked off a point from one such move involving Mark Reynolds and Eamon McGeown, though it could have been considered to be a goal chance.  Typically Crossmaglen responded with a couple of points. Sarsfields had a few chances go wide and the feeling was that Sarsfields would need to take every score. With five minutes of the half remaining Crossmaglen had gone into a nine point lead and were making life very difficult for Sarsfields. In particular they were putting our half back line and the midfield under severe pressure. Sarsfields had a positive end to the half first with Colin Stevenson landing a long range point and moments later he was tripped allowing Richie to score a free. Yet again most decent moves were beginning with good work by Paul Hughes in midfield. Sarsfields were seven down at half time but they could have had a few more scores on the board and had they cut out a few basic errors the match could have been tighter.

On the restart Crossmaglen were first to score whilst the Highmoss put one chance wide and another pass into the corner forward drifted out over the sideline. Colin Stevenson added his second decent point from distance after collecting a quick pass from Thomas McAlinden. Crossmaglen however added a quick point and, it was very much as you were for the visitors. Sarsfields continued to pressurise and had a few chances the best of which slipped through the fingers of full forward Eamon McGeown on the edge of the small square. Again Paul Hughes was putting in good work in midfield and his case had been helped by the fact that David McKenna had gone off injured. Sarsfields were getting a fair amount of the ball but were not getting enough scores, whereas Crossmaglen had the ability to make their possession count. Darren McAvoy kept the Highmoss in the game with a superb save that went over for a point and Thomas McAlinden replied with a well taken free from well outside the ’45. Then Sarsfields had a bit of a breakthrough. Colin Stevenson dropped a ball into the danger area which was flicked towards the net but kept out. Richie Stevenson was first to react but was fouled and a penalty was awarded and Johnny Reynolds confidently put it away. The gap between the sides was now four points and Sarsfields had a bit more confidence in their play. Crossmaglen though were able to show their strength in depth bringing on Armagh star Jamie Clarke from the bench. In contrast Sarsfields star player Mark Reynolds was stretchered off with suspected ligament damage. Within five minutes Jamie had scored a goal and a point, the goal coming from a penalty. Sarsfields heads dropped and the visitors tagged on a couple of quick points and Crossmaglen were back in a ten point lead. The lead might have increased but for a superb block from Peter Stevenson preventing a shot on goal. To their credit Sarsfields didn’t give up, Paul McGeown who had come on for Mark added a point. With five minutes remaining Richie Stevenson might have had a goal chance when a ball in from Johnny Reynolds was flicked down to him by Eamon McGeown, though he did take the point. Sarsfields piled on the pressure and Colin Stevenson saw a shot off the outside of his boot go wide. Crossmaglen added a few points just to demonstrate the quality of their side. Sarsfields kept up their hard work and Richie Stevenson was rewarded with a goal in injury time to put a better complexion to the scoreboard. It came after good tackling in midfield from Brian Lavery and Paul McGeown made a good run and put the ball across the goal to Richie. Sarsfields still had time for another goal chance which the Crossmaglen somehow kept out to deny Richie Stevenson. Crossmaglen had the final say with a point deep in injury time to win by ten points.

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