THEY may have suffered a set-back in their opening game in this season’s Joe Fox Tool and Plant Hire Intermediate Football Championship, but Raheens have recovered well since and on Saturday last at the well manacured Sallins GAA headquarters booked a place in the quarter finals with a fully deserved eight point win over Ballyteague on a score line of Raheens 3-11 Ballyteague 0-12. writes Tommy Callaghan.
Joe Fox Plant and Tool Hire Intermediate Football Championship Round 3
With a stiff breeze blowing down the pitch on the backs of the Ballyteague boys in the opening half one felt a lead of some five or six points would be required before the change of ends but for Ballyteague this did not materialise as Raheens failed to read that in to the script.
Ballyteague did open with a Steven Ennis point and certainly looked threatening early on before the Caragh boys got into their stride.
Alan Igoe levelled up after Noel Byrne was fouled and a Ross McMahon point quickly followed, set up by Martin Taaffe.
Steven Connley opened his account to level up but despite a few decent opportunities Ballyteague failed to kick on with both Connley and Seamus Hanafin failing to find the target.
At the far end Alan Igoe set up Martin Taaffe for a goal but his effort was denied by Mick Kenna in the Ballytegue goal but the ball broke to Taffe who fly kicked it over the bar.
Taaffe was causing The Larks defence a lot of bother and added another soon after quickly followed by a Ross McMahon white flag to leave it 0-5 to 0-2 mid-way through.
Steven Connley found the range to reduce the deficit but Raheens replieid with a fine move began by Shane Power, and involved Noel Byrne and Martin Taaffe ended with Byrne adding another point.
Almost immediately Raheens had the Ballyteague defence at sixes and sevens again. This time the infuential Alan Igoe found Noel Byrne who off-loaded to Martin Taaffe clear on goal however his shot rose high and over.
Raheens continued to dominate and Grahem Waters again found Taaffe who headed for goal, seemed to lose control but kept cool to toe poke the ball over the line to make it 1-7 to 0-3 after 24 minutes.
Kieran Brennan and Steven Connley replied with points and before the break The Larkes got themselves right back into the game when a long ball in from Kevin Murphy was well gathered by Seamus Hanafin, who fell to the ground but still managed to ‘steer’ the ball over the line, Joe Sheridan style.
A vital score that as the half time whistle sounded with Raheens leading 1-7 to 1-5 but importantly the Caragh men would have the streong wind in their favour on the resumption.
And it took a mere 15 seconds to see just what that wind advantage meant as a centre from way out the field caused panic in The Larks defence, the ball broke and first to react was Ross McMahon to make it 2-7 to 1-5.
Steven Connley replied with a point but Ross McMahon quickly added another before goal no. 3 arrived.
Again it came from the direct route manual, Alan Igoe did well to gather, off-loaded to Cathal Carr who said thank you very much as he made it 3-8 to 1-6 after 39 minutes.
A sweeping move, began at the back by John Jennings saw Ross McMahon set up Noel Byrne for another point as the game was effectiively over mid-way through the half.
The Larks added three more points but the winners replied with three of their own and while Steven Connley had the final point of the game it was Raheens who march on impressively to the quarter final on score line of Raheens 3-11 to Ballyteague 1-9.
A fine display from the winners who are certainly improving with each game. Strong at the back, a good hard working midfield pairing of Shane Power and Tim Dunleavy and a decent sextet up front where Alan Igoe pulls the strings and with the likes of Noel Bynre, Ross McMahon and Cathal Carr, not forgetting Martin Taaffe who scored 1-3 in the opening half but did not re-appear after the break, this Raheens side could any team problems.
Rahens, Martin Taaffe 1-3, Ross McMahon 1-3, Noel Byrne 0-2, Cathal Carr 1-1, Alan igoe 0-2 (1 free),
Ballyteague, Steven Connley 0-6 (3 frees), Seamus Hanafin 1-0, Steven Ennis 0-2, Kieran Brennan 0-1.
Liam Power; Pat Courtney, Andrew Earley, John Lawler; Darren Earley, Graham Waters, Gareth Byrne; Shane Power, Tim Dunleavy; John Jennings, Alan Igoe, Cathal Carr; Ross McMahon, Martin Taaffe, Noel Byrne. Sub: David Fitzpatrick for Martin Taaffe (half time).
Mick Kenna; Conor Mullaney, Tommy Coogan, Ciarn Gilligan; David Reddy, Michael Hanley, Seán Jacob; Kieran Brennan, Niall Moran; Seamus Hanafin, Kievin Murphy, Jason Mooney; Steven Connley, Seán Dowling, Steven Ennis. Subs: John Enright for Tommy Coogan (42 minute); Cathal Hanafin for Jason Mooney (50 minute); Donal Dempsey for Steven Ennis; Marc Herbert for Steven Connley (59 minute).