Brave Irish lose out to McCurtain’s

Fulham Irish 2-11 vs 2-14 Thomas McCurtain’s

McCullough Cup Semi Final
Saturday, October 10 2015 – Ruislip

Favourites for the London Championship, Thomas McCurtain’s was Fulham’s opposition in this eagerly awaited tie.
The sides had already crossed paths in the league and championship campaign already this season, with McCurtain’s wining one game and the other drawn,
Three minutes passed the hour of three on the brand new scoreboard in use for the first time at London GAA HQ when referee Eddie Naughton blew his whistle to what was going to be an intense and fast-paced game.
No sooner had the ball been won by McCurtain’s from the throw in, when a long high pass into their full forward was caught and the sliotar was in the back of the net, putting McCurtain’s one goal up with less than 60 seconds played. McCurtain’s found two more scores over the bar as Irish struggled to find their feet.
With five minutes gone and McCurtain’s with a score line of 1-2 to nil, Fulham player Michael Broder was fouled. Objections to the ref on the call by the McCurtain’s players ended up with the free being advanced and Broder sent the ball over the bar to register the first point for Fulham. This railed Irish, and with a further foul committed by McCurtain’s, led to another point in quick secession, taken by Broder
Fulham started to take a hold of the game and their off-the-ball support was taking a grip on McCurtain’s.
Colm Foley and Don O’Connell started to boss their areas, winning ball and with Kevin Davy and Declan Hayes interacting with each other, Irish were dominating the play.
Irish threatened the goal on two occasions but were unable to convert as they mistimed their connection onto the sliotar.
The resilience by McCurtain’s told as once again they managed to break free from their markers and scored a second goal.
Fulham were down by four points, but Irish were unphased with two more points from an on-form Foley, playing the best game this season in a Fulham shirt.
For the latter point, Foley ran 20 metres and scored while on the run.
It was then from the puck out of McCurtain’s that O’Connell caught and passed on to an awaiting McCarthy, but he took a very heavy, hefty and late challenge.
The ref continued play as the ball was passed into Declan Hayes who scored a goal. This was to be O’Connell’s last piece of action as he was initially substituted for a blood injury, but ruled out from taking any further part in the match.
The half-time score was 1-6 to 2-5 to McCurtain’s.
The second half saw Irish pick up from where they left off with them being the more dominant side and with the scores now starting to notch up, especially a lovely point worked from keeper Casey to Tom Kennedy, who caught a lovely ball from 30 metres out from Fulham’s end line and drove a cross field ball into Hayes in the full forward line, who scored a point.
Casey was called on again to show his lightning reflexes as he saved a dead cert goal chance and rebound all in a matter of seconds by McCurtain’s.
Fulham continued to show spirit and pressed on, taking their points when Kevin Davy skipped past his marker and scored Fulham’s second goal.
A further point from Broder put Irish three in front as Foley was continuing to cause the half backs problems, but a rap across his knuckles put paid to Foley’s day as he had to be replaced, unable to continue.
McCurtain’s brought on the subs and now started to take control as they drew level with Fulham with only 10 minutes left and with the game all square they took advantage of Irish who seemed to be off the pace of the game.
With inspirational captain Pat O’Mahoney taking a knock and having to be replaced because of a bloody injury, time was not on Irish’s side as McCurtain’s put thee scores on the board. Despite some valiant efforts by Irish, McCurtain’s stemmed any of the momentum Fulham tried to create and closed the game out without Fulham replying to a score for the last 13 minutes.
With the whistle blown, a vibrant and relieved McCurtain’s celebrated their win while Irish were left to wonder what happened in the final quarter when they had dominated so much of the game.

Fulham Irish: Donal Casey, Colin Smyth, Frank Ryan, James McSwiney, Brian Hearne, Pat O’Mahoney, Tom Kennedy, Darragh McCarthy, Lee Darcy, Colm Foley, Darragh Ryan, Mick Harte, Declan Hayes, Kevin Davy, Michael Broder, Don O’Connell, Richard Hannon, Dermot Fitzgerald, Eoin McCarthy, James Hickey and Jim Nelligan
Referee: Eddie Naughton