Holders Loughmore/Castleiney maintained their 100% record in this year’s County Senior Football Championship, following a well-deserved victory over a youthful Ardfinnan side at a breezy Gortnahoe on Wednesday evening of last week.
However the 2013 county champions were made fight all the way for their victory in this entertaining Round 2 tie.
With limited possession for the majority of the second period, Loughmore’s ability to create quality scoring opportunities on the counter attack was a very laudable tactic that was a key factor in their victory.
The pace at which Loughmore generated their attacks really suited their pacy forwards, as they looked very dangerous on every occasion. Players such as Evan Sweeney, Joseph Nyland, Cian Hennessy, Liam Treacy and the classy Liam McGrath were all to the fore throughout.
Ardfinnan had a very youthful look to their side and will take great heart from the spirit they showed in being right in the contest until the final minutes, having been dominated for much of the first half.
However their inability to find a way past a crowded Loughmore defence for long periods, particularly in the second half, having had primary possession in good scoring opportunities, proved costly for the south side.
Loughmore opened the scoring inside the first minute as they signalled their intent early on, racing into a four points to one lead with ten minutes played.
For the next 15 minutes the sides exchanged three points apiece before Loughmore got the game’s first goal. This came courtesy of a quality finish from man of the match Liam McGrath, as he neatly flicked up a breaking ball on the run and then managed to finish with a delightful chip over the onrushing Niall Hickey in the Ardfinnan goal.
To their credit Ardfinnan responded well as they narrowed the gap between the sides to just four points, going in at the interval when the scoreboard read 1-8 to 0-7 in favour of the mid side.
Ardfinnan really put the pressure on in the second half, but on too many occasions their attacks lacked clear purpose and once they broke down Loughmore made excellent advantage of the available space to match their opponents scoring exploits.
Both sides shared 5 points each in the second half, which left the score at 1-13 to 0-12 at the final whistle.
Ardfinnan are an emerging side and they had impressive displays from their main attacker Billy Hewitt, along with Gerry Cronin and Daniel O’Regan, all of whom managed to grace the scoresheet on more than one occasion.
This result leaves Ardfinnan without a point from their opening games and Loughmore on top of their group following back-to-back wins.
Loughmore/Castleiney - Dominic Brennan, Tommy Long, Willie Eviston, Tomás McGrath, John Ryan, Ciaran McGrath, Joseph Hennessy, Joseph Nyland (0-1), Noel McGrath (0-2), David Kennedy, Cian Hennessy (0-1), Aidan McGrath, Liam Treacy (0-2), Liam McGrath (1-7, 4 frees), Evan Sweeney
Subs - D. Bourke for A.McGrath and T. Maher for L.Treacy.
Ardfinnan - Niall Hickey, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Eoin Walsh, Darren Bray, Jason Coffey, Jonathan Ryan, Stephen Lambert, Philip Murphy, Carl Costigan, Colm Nugent, Johnny English, Gerry Cronin (0-2), Billy Hewitt (0-6, 4 frees), Aidan Savage (0-1), Daniel O’Regan (0-3, 2 frees).
Subs - Michael O’Sullivan for S.Lambert, J.O’Mahoney for J.English and C.O’Gorman for C.Costigan.