The semi-final double header certainly didn't disappoint neutral spectators in Markievicz Park on Sunday last, with the much-anticipated clash between St Mary's and Tourlestrane the final encounter of the afternoon. Tourlestrane have been enjoying a good championship performance, with a League title also in their cabinet, however St Mary's are a team who emerged from the 'group of death' and have really come to form.
St Mary's 1-10 Tourlestrane 0-13
With plenty of talking points after the hour of football, including a penalty miss, and sending off, the supporters from both sides were certainly animated at the end. And rightly so as this match could have gone in either favour towards the full time whistle. However it finished all even and both will battle it out again tomorrow (Sunday the 18th of October) in Markievicz Park in what should be another thrilling affair. The winners will play Curry in the Belfry Decider on Sunday the 25th of October.
St Mary's went five points in front in the second half, however Tourlestrane chipped away at their lead and brought it back all square.
Right from the throw-in and the southsiders were in front, a sprinting attack from full forward Brian Egan who pointed. He could have followed with another after a foul was given to Pat Harte, however the ball bounced off the post.
Rory Guinan got St Mary's off the mark in the second minute with a fine score and sixty seconds later Egan slotted over a free after a push on John Kelly.
There was to be a spell of ten minutes with no scoring from both sides, but that didn't mean there was no drama.
Referee Barry Judge signalled a penalty after Stephen Keenan scrambled with Cathal Henry in the St Mary's danger area, with Pat Harte stepping up to take. However his shot to the right slammed off the post much to the St Mary's relief.
Minutes later and Keenan was again involved this time with a huge block on the attacking Kelly who was bounding goal-ward.
There were a few chances for both sides, however the next score came from the hard-working Stephen Coen in the 13th minute.
A spectacular run from Guinan saw him try and fist the ball over but Coen was waiting and quickly palmed it into the Tourlestrane net to put St Mary's two ahead, Coen in the right place at the right time.
Tourlestrane were looking dangerous on the attack and the St Mary's defence had to ward off lots of quick balls that were being sent in from midfield.
Two frees in the space of a minute were duly converted by Harte and Egan to bring it level as Tourlestrane had lots of possession in the St Mary's area, with Egan threatening and Johnathan Martyn stopping his attack in the St Mary's defence.
Guinan pointed a free in the 17th minute to bring St Mary's in front again, while Coen hit their first wide shortly after.
Noel Gaughan in the Tourlestrane defence made an exceptional block on a possible St Mary's goal, eventually the referee signalled a foul after a scramble with a number of players, which Coen pointed to edge them three in front.
Henry and Harte were covering a lot of ground for Tourlestrane once they were fed possession.
Harte reduced it to two with 24 minutes gone, after a foul on Kelly, which was taken well by Harte, his second point of the afternoon.
Kelly was looming down on the St Mary's goal and their keeper Fintan Ruddy had to fist the ball out of danger.
Coen scored a fine point bringing his tally to 1-1 with five minutes to go until the interval, Mark Breheny involved in the build up play.
One point separated the sides at the break, with James Leonard pointing from play leaving it 1-4 to 0-6 in favour of Tommy Breheny's men.
Straight after the resumption and it was St Mary's who went on the attack, Coen again involved with a pass to Breheny who slotted over a point.
This was to mark a scoring spell from St Mary's as they converted four unanswered points in the space of two minutes.
Following Breheny's point, Colm Egan went on the attack and slotted over from his right boot.
He was involved again moments later after Johnny Davey and Kyle Cawley passed to him and he was illegally brought down, Guinan pointing the free.
Coen added his third point with a brilliant turn around his marker and sending St Mary's into a five point advantage.
Tourlestrane began to wake up and Egan was on target again five minutes into the second half, with an excellent score.
He followed this with a free two minutes later as the gap was down to three.
Another St Mary's move from Cawley and Breheny gave possession to Coen who slotted another point in the 39th minute.
Then Tourlestrane were dealt a blow with Cathal Henry receiving a second yellow card in the 41st minute after a challenge on Cian Breheny.
Six minutes later and Pat Harte was black carded for a challenge on Gerard O' Kelly Lynch as Tourlestrane looked to be in trouble as they were finding it hard to break through the St Mary's defence.
Leonard added his second with ten minutes to go, a goal separating the sides.
Egan sent over another in the 52nd minute and he possibly could have gone for goal, Gerry McGowan involved in the build up play.
Substitute John Quinn was making a difference for Tourlestrane and he got on the scoresheet with six minutes to go in what was an extremely physical game.
As the supporters stood on their feet urging their sides on, the atmosphere in Markievicz Park was electric.
Five minutes to go and only one point separating them.
Whose game it was had yet to be answered with Tourlestrane showing much more promise in the final quarter. An Egan pass to Kelly levelled the game as the Tourlestrane fans were ecstatic.
With time almost up, Guinan pointed a free to huge roars from the St Mary's support, while it wasn't over yet.
A Tourlestrane free was quickly taken and into the arms of Kelly who hits into the St Mary's area.
Who was waiting only substitute Quinn, using his height advantage he assuredly grabbed the ball, turned and fired it over the bar in the last play of the game.
St Mary's: F Ruddy, S Keenan, J Martyn, L Henry, N McManus, J Davey, G O'Kelly Lynch, M Butler, B Smith, D Kigallon, R Guinan (0-4, 3f), C Egan (0-01), K Cawley, S Coen (1-04, 1f), M Breheny (0-01).
Substitutes used: C Breheny for D Kilgallon 39, C Kelly for M Breheny 50, S Cawley for C Egan 57.
Tourlestrane: P McVeigh, C Neary, B Walsh, N Gaughan, J Carr, B Kennedy, N egan, A McIntyre, S Henry, G Gaughan, J Kelly (0-01), J Leonard (0-02), P Harte (0-02, 2f), B Egan (0-06, 3f), C Henry.
Substitutes used: J Quinn (0-02) for N Egan 44, G McGowan for P Harte BC 47, L Gaughan for G Gaughan 54.
Referee: Barry Judge.
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