Senior Football : St Rynagh's 3-7. Shamrocks 0-9 : Report by Tullamore Tribune
Goals win games is the old maxim and that was definitely true of this game played at Doon on Sunday morning when St Rynagh's got three of the somewhat softer variety to give them victory over luckless Shamrocks by a seven point margin.
With two wins out of their three games thus far St Rynagh's are now on the verge of qualifying for the quarter finals in their first year back in the top grade after winning the intermediate title last year. With games against Walsh Island and Clara to come, they stand a very good chance of finishing in the top four and making the knock out stages.
For Shamrocks it is a totally different picture and they look destined for a relegation battle. They have now lost all three of their games and have to face Gracefield and Ballycumber in their final two games to try and salvage their season. They made the county semi-finals last year but just seven of the team that started that semi-final started against Rynagh's on Sunday due to injuries, retirements, transfers and holidays and their resources are severely stretched.
Still they put up a spirited effort in this game and but for the concession of some soft goals could have got something out of the game. They made the brighter start and had most of the possession in the first 10 minutes as they opened a two point lead. Rynagh's then struck for their first goal and there was little between them until seven minutes before half time when Rynagh's netted for a second time and they went on to lead by 2-4 to 0-5 at half time.
Shamrocks dominated the third quarter and cut the lead back to two points but once Rynagh's scored their third goal with 13 minutes left they were back in control and they went on to win by a seven point margin at the end.
Rynagh's will be pleased with the victory but there are aspects of their game which they will look to improve on. They made slow starts to both halves and against stronger opposition could have found themselves in a position from where they would have been unable to retrieve the game. It took them 11 minutes to get their first score but they played some good football after that as they built up that five point interval lead.
Whether they thought they had the job done at that stage or not, they struggled through the third quarter and it took them 17 minutes to get their first score of the second half. That score was a goal which knocked a lot of the heart out of Shamrocks, who had battled gamely to get back into the game at that stage.
Shamrocks showed great fighting spirit after half time but they were unable to convert their possession into scores and missed some good chances of narrowing the gap even further. A goal might really have ignited their challenge at that stage but they never really created a good goalscoring opportunity until very late in the game, when it was out of their reach.
Over the hour St Rynagh's deserved the victory. They played some good flowing football at times and looked lively as they played the ball around well but they also should have converted more of their possession into scores and that is something they will have to rectify if they hope to make further progress.
James Rafferty, Ger Rafferty and Joe Carroll played well in the St Rynagh's defence with Pat Camon winning some good ball around the middle of the field. Gary Mahon was at the heart of many of their best moves with Joseph O'Connor, Ciaran Flannery and Sean Kenny also contributing well in attack.
Anthony Condron, Rory Kearney and Barry Mooney worked hard in the Shamrocks defence, Michael Conroy was prominent in the middle of the field while in attack Leonard Mooney and Daniel Heffernan did well.
A minute's silence was observed before the game in memory of Jimmy Minnock, Ballina, Ballycumber.
Shamrocks went in front after three minutes when Barry Kelly pointed a free and they doubled that lead after six minutes when Leonard Mooney sent a lovely crossfield pass to Michael Conroy and he kicked a lovely point.
Rynagh's were slow to get into their stride but they got a boost with a goal after 11 minutes. Gary Mahon looked to be shooting for a point but the ball dipped under the crossbar and landed in the net. They almost had a second goal a minute later when Gary Mahon and Joseph O'Connor set up Sean Kenny but his shot hit the sidenetting.
Shamrocks levelled again when Barry Kelly pointed a 13m free but a fine six man move ended with Ciaran Flannery fisting a point to restore Rynagh's lead before Joseph O'Connor stretched it to two after taking a return pass from Gary O'Connor. Shamrocks then strung a good move together which ended with Michael Conroy kicking his second point to reduce the lead to the mimimum.
Seven minutes before the break St Rynagh's scored their second goal. Sean Kenny collected a long ball in the left corner. He worked his way in along the endline and with everyone waiting for a pass outside, he caught everyone by surprise by shooting from a tight angle and found the net. Shamrocks responded with a Leonard Mooney point but in the closing minutes of the half Gary Mahon and Ciaran Flannery pointed for St Rynagh's to give them a 2-4 to 0-5 interval lead.
Rynagh's had a couple of early wides in the second half before Shamrocks enjoyed their best spell. Daniel Heffernan set up Joe Neville for a point before he himself added another after taking a pass from Paul Minnock. Barry Kelly pointed a 13m free and the gap was down to just two points 11 minutes into the half. They hit two further wides that could have reduced the lead further before disaster struck for them with Rynagh's third goal.
Shamrocks lost the ball deep in their own defence and sub Odhran McIntyre gathered and his looping shot from the left landed in the far corner of the net. It was the boost St Rynagh's needed and took a lot of the steam out of the Shamrocks challenge. Gary Mahon added a further point after a good move on 23 minutes and Joseph O'Connor pointed another a minute from time.
Shamrocks did have a goal chance as the game entered injury time when Daniel Heffernan put Michael Conroy through but Gary Kelly made a fine save. Michael Conroy did add a point from a free but St Rynagh's had the last say when Odhran McIntyre fisted a point to leave them victors by seven points.
Gracefield Hold Off Late Rynagh’s Rally For Narrow Win : Report by Tullamore Tribune
Gracefield had to withstand a strong second half rally from St Rynagh's to hold on and win by the minimum margin in their opening game in the Offaly Senior Football Championship played at Killeigh on Saturday last.
In a game dominated to a large extent by the wind, Gracefield led by six points at one stage in the second half but backed by the wind Rynagh's whittled that down to a single point but were unable to snatch an equaliser.
Both sides had difficulty coping with the strong wind, which blew into the road goals, and consequently a lot of possession was wasted by both teams. Too often high booming balls were directed towards the full forward lines, which they were unable to utilise.
Although Rynagh's scored first against the wind, a 10th minute goal for Gracefield put them in front but as the wides mounted up they were unable to build up their lead. They were five points up but when Rynagh's got it back to three points three minutes before the break, they looked to be in a strong position but two further Graceifield points helped them to a 1-5 to 0-3 interval lead.
Rynagh's must have felt reasonably confident at that stage but eight minutes into the second half they had only managed one point from a free, which Gracefield had added two more against the wind to go six points clear. It wasn't until the final 10 minutes that Rynagh's began to find the range and four points in a six minute spell left them just one behind with two minutes plus injury time to go. The momentum seemed to be with them but Gracefield rallied and did enough to hold on for a narrow win.
Had Gracefield seen victory slip away, they would have been left to rue the 15 wides they hit over the hour. Ten of those wides came in the first 22 minutes and many were long aimless balls that carried wide with the wind. They also hit four in the third quarter at a time when Rynagh's were struggling to get into the game despite having the wind behind them.
Last year's intermediate champions finally began to get on top in the final quarter and began to pile on the pressure. They hit nine wides themselves but the play began to come very congested with over 20 players inside the Gracefield 45m line on occasions. Rynagh's also dropped a number of balls short into Gracefield goalkeeper Jonathan Knight, when they could have been making better use of their possession.
Gracefield attacked well at times in the first half with the half backs regularly joining in attacks and two of them got on the scoresheet as well. Ruairi Allen had a fine game at centre back, showing good attacking instincts in the first half while impressing in a defensive capacity after the break when the pressure began to mount.
Elsewhere in defence Jason Ryan and Adrian Murphy performed well. Niall Smith was much more prominent at midfield in the second half when he won some vital possession, while in attack Karol Slattery, Stephen Slattery and Peter Smart all played well.
For St Rynagh's Gary Kelly handled well in goals, Tomas Flaherty, Ger Rafferty and Joe O'Connor put in a big effort in defence. Pat Camon did well when moved to midfield to join Paul Quirke, while Niall Wynne, Gary Mahon and sub Ciaran Flannery worked hard in attack.
Gracefield had registered four wides before Rynagh's opened the scoring after six minutes when corner back Tomas Flaherty pointed. A minute later Gracefield came close to a goal when Niall Smith and Tommy Fitzpatrick set up Karol Slattery but his shot crashed off the post. Peter Smart levelled from a free before they did find the net after 10 minutes. Again it was a good move involving Peter Smart, John Knight and Niall Smith and ending with Stephen Slattery firing to the net.
Gracefield failed to build on that and neither side scored over the next 10 minutes as the wides added up at both ends. Rynagh's had a glimpse of a goal chance when a high ball from Gary O'Connor hung in the wind, and Pat Camon got a fist to it but it went just across the goals and wide.
The deadlock was broken when Peter Smart's free from 60m hopped in the goalmouth and went over the bar. Adrian Murphy then came upfield to fist another point. Rynagh's kept in touch as Gary Mahon and Niall Wynne pointed to leave just a goal in it again. John Knight pointed a free for Gracefield and Ruairi Allen came forward to finish a good move with a point and leave Gracefield 1-5 to 0-3 ahead at half time.
A minute after the restart Peter Smart was on target again. Niall Wynne pointed a Rynagh's free but good link up play between John Knight and Thomas Doyle ended with the latter pointing with 22 minutes left but that proved to be Gracefield's last score.
Niall Wynne kicked a good point for Rynagh's but again we had a 12 minute spell without a score before James Rafferty pointed for Rynagh's. Ciaran Flannery then kicked a fine point from out the field after a move out of defence and when Niall Wynne pointed frees after 26 and 28 minutes, there was just a point in it and the momentum was with Rynagh's. However they were unable to sustain it and Gracefield managed to get the ball away from the danger area to secure the victory.