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Defiant St. Rynagh's Dig Deep For Draw in Offaly Senior Football Championship 2013

posted 25 Jul 2013, 05:04 by Unknown user
Thanks to Midland Tribune for this article :

Ballycumber were held to a draw in this SFC game in Doon last Sunday after a gutsy second half fight back by St. Rynagh's. Ballycumber looked home and hosed at the interval when they led by 1-4 to 0-1, but St. Rynagh's hauled themselves back to level with four unanswered points in the last 12 minutes. 
On reflection, a draw was probably the fairest result over the course of the hour. This was a contest that was close and exciting but poor in standard, the first-half especially.
Ballycumber lined out without the ace in their deck Rory Guinan, and they badly misfired without him. To add to their woe, Colm Quinn was forced off after only ten minutes with what appeared to be a back injury.
In a fractious encounter with plenty of late hits disrupting the flow of the game, Ballycumber looked to be cruising in the first half. Fergal Daly's goal on the stroke of half-time propelled them into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead at the break.
For the second championship game in a row, albeit almost 10 weeks since they drew with St. Brigid's in the opening round, St. Rynagh's had just a single point to show for their efforts in the first half.
They did themselves no favours by continually over cooking their forays into the last third of the field, and this played right into the Ballycumber's hands. After the break they brought much more directness and penetration to the table, winning a few vital frees for the impressive Niall Wynne to slot over.
Indeed, the fine contribution of Niall Wynne and his namesake Stephen was one of the telling factors in Rynaghs' comeback in the second half. After starting so well Ballycumber should have been further in front by the break, and they kicked some very poor wides.
In the second period they never came out of the blocks and managed just two scores. Fergal Daly did his best to make things happen, but at wing-forward he was too far from goal to affect the scoreboard and had few options inside.
Ultimately, the game hinged on three key moments. The first was Quinn's injury after ten minutes. Quinn was linking the play effectively from midfield to attack, and his departure hurt Ballycumber. They led by seven at the break, but scores afterwards were at a premium and they only raised the white flag once after the 33rd minute.
Secondly came the big game-changer, Paddy Molloy's missed penalty on 42 minutes. Ballycumber led by four when the first half substitute saw his weak effort saved by Conor Clancy. There had been hints of a Rynagh's revival prior to the penalty being awarded, and had Molloy buried it Rynagh's hopes might have faded. Instead, Rynagh's raced upfield and reduced the gap to three - a four point swing.
Finally, Conrad Casey missed a relatively straightforward free to the right of the goals in the 54th minute. Ballycumber were sinking without a trace, leading by just two points but hadn't scored in 20 minutes when Casey hooked his shot wide. It was a free that would have suited left footed kickers Quinn or Guinan had they been on the field. Rynaghs' response was two quick-fire scores to level the game.
A score each from Adrian Kelly and Ethan Keena gave Ballycumber an early lift and they would have been further in front had it not been for some poor shooting. Niall Wynne pointed a free for Rynagh's as they trailed by 0-2 to 0-1 after seven minutes.
An inability to kick scores was a major worry for Ballycumber. After dominating much of possession, they hit numerous wides and failed to register another point until the Conrad Casey's effort in the 19th minute.
By this time Quinn had departed the play with injury, and his continued importance to Ballycumber's cause was plain to see as they struggled in his absence.
    St. Rynagh's were their own worst enemy at this stage, winning plenty of possession but not affecting the scoreboard due to poor distribution and a lack movement in the forwards.
Conrad Casey drove over a huge wind assisted free from distance to put Ballycumber three in front. With a minute to play in the half, Adrian Kelly collected a kick out and passed to Sean Hackett who slipped in Fergal Daly. Daly arrived at pace that left the Rynagh's defence chasing his shadow and he slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Rynagh's looked dead and buried, but Stephen Wynne kicked things off on the right note after half time with a good score. Ethan Keena responded for Ballycumber with a well-worked point, but it was to be their last point for 15 minutes as Rynagh's started to dominate.
With Ger Rafferty beginning to show his class from centre-back, a typical gutsy response from Rynagh's saw them find a way back into the game. They managed to double their first half tally in the space of a couple of minutes, with a free and one from pay from Niall Wynne closing the gap.
Then came the turning point. Ballycumber were awarded a penalty and a chance to twist the knife into Rynagh's after Sean Hackett was through on goal and about to strike when Conor Daly dragged him to the ground.
Sub Paddy Molloy stepped up to the spot-kick, but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Clancy. Rynagh's made the most of the reprieve and worked the ball upfield immediately for Stephen Wynne to finish off his left.
Colin Daly edged Ballycumber in front by four, 1-6 to 0-5, but you sensed the tide was turned in Rynagh's favour. With the wind at their backs, they kicked four unanswered scores in the final twelve minutes of the game. Niall Wynne's shoot on sight policy served him well and he scored two (one free) as Gary Mahon added one and Stephen Wynne then held his nerve to level the game late on.