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G.M.I.T.@ Castlebar Sports News - Feb 18th 2003
By Nigel Jennings
18, Feb 2003 - 10:27

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Trench Cup bandwagon keeps on rolling

What a difference a week makes, cancelled due to snow last week, Tuesday’s Trench Cup game against N.W.I.F.H.E. was played in glorious conditions in Derry. It was the Derry side that settled quickest with an early point and the lion’s share of possession. Castlebar did create chances, but worryingly squandered them with very kickable frees being wasted. Derry made the most of this registering a second score in the seventh minute.

A switch involving defensive roles of Dave Condon and Conor O’Malley helped shore up the defence and when Nicky Corr started to break Ball in midfield Castlebar began to clean up the breaks and gain control. Jimmy Killeen opened the scoring in the 13th minute and Dan O’ Connor added a superb point 3 minutes later when Jimmy added a further point from a free Castlebar were in full flow and in control in most area’s of the field.

Nicky turned this superiority into scores when he rushed onto a through ball and cashed the ball to the net. Noel Mchale then caught a great ball, turned inside the defender and sent the ball delightfully over the keeper for the second goal in as many minutes.

David Hussey managed a superb point blank save to deny a goal that might have ignited Derry’s revival and followed this up with a rushing clearance that was the launch-pad for a move that swept the field for another Jimmy Killeen point.

Gavin Kearey rounded off the first half scoring with probably the score of the game. After a fine move and great individual skill he landed the ball over from distance to leave the half time score Derry 0-2 Castlebar 2-5 Old Demons emerged again and Coach Billy McNicholas had cause for concern when Derry were allowed back into the game. They dominated the early encounters and were unlucky not to have more than two scores for there efforts. The lads woke up again and prompted as always from the influential half back line of Gavin Kearey Alan Moran and Ronan Walshe, began to sweep down field with some lovely passing moves. The result of this was two more points from Killeen and Shane O’Connor. Nicky Corr responded to a further score by soloing half the field to execute a beautiful point.

Derry had a little left and last gasp defending from a combination of players kept the ball out of the net despite Keeper Hussey’s protestations that the ball had gone wide. Shane Mclafferty, enjoying another great game at full back then displayed masterful fielding to bring down a ball that looked destined to fly over his head into an onrushing forward. The big Achill man came down hard but had the strength to offload the ball and trouble was averted. Shane Galvin who had worked extremely well against an imposing full back, nearly had the score he deserved when he kicked on the turn after a wonderful piece of fielding, only to see the ball come off the crossbar.

A game plan that demands an awful high work rate from the half forwards saw the replacement of John Ruddy and Sean Walsh, who had an outstanding game winning a load of breaks around midfield, with Declan Gibbons and Stephen Darby who continued to spoil Derry efforts to build from the back. When Liam Duffy, who had been introduced with Thomas Ryan and Jonathan Mullins, found Jimmy Killeen at the far post with an excellent defence splitting ball, the captain concluded a high scoring afternoon by firing to the net. It was still a cause for worry that, with the result beyond doubt Derry were allowed to sweep down field to garner a consolation goal, and this alongside the slow start to both halves will have to be addressed before the arrival of another Derry side, Magee College, to Castlebar next Thursday.

Billy McNicholas was happy with the result and performance as well as being pleased that there has been an observable improvement in each of the last three games. He is also aware that this trend will have to continue if the next challenge is to be met.

Long trips like this leave room for players to make impressions other than for their playing skills, and when Shane McClafferty took the mike and became M.C. there was nowhere to hide. Not leading by example, captain Killeen was noticeable by his absence and normally never stuck for a word Alan Moran let Louisburgh down badly.

Evelyn Bonar helped restore Loisburgh’s pride when accompanied by Maeve, Maureen and Louise they fought the women’s corner admirable. However “Cometh the hour, cometh the man,” and Stephen Darby stepped forward to take star billing, and crown off what had been a great day all round. Bruce Springsteen look out, Offaly’s finest is hot on your heels.

Attention is turned to home next, McHale Park is the venue for the next round on Thursday 20th with throw in at 3.30 if the last two games are anything to go by this should be an entertaining encounter and well worth watching. So why not give a bit of support as the lads try to claim a place in the quarterfinals.

The Women’s team is in action on Wednesday also, as their long delayed All-Ireland league semi-final is scheduled for Athlone with a 2.30 start. The long wait between games has not helped in the preparations but the girls have been training hard and are looking forward to taking on Marino College of Dublin. The men’s team wishes the girls all the best and hopefully some of them will be able to travel to repay the support they received in Derry.

The rugby team makes the step up to competitive college games as they participate in a seven-team tournament in Dublin on Wednesday. This is the culmination of a lot of training and the lads are looking forward to the day and to seeing how they shape up against other third level opposition.

Not being known to shy away from a challenge the men’s second soccer team embraced Rag week in all it’s glory and it will be interesting to see how they recover for the derby game with G.M.I.T. Galway fixed for Thursday next. Terence Gallagher will be looking to repeat his hat-trick performance last time he appeared in a home game. While newcomers Ray O’Connor Nicky Corr and Brendan Ginnelly should have strengthened the side considerably.

The basketball team completes their league schedule with a game against the Galway campus as well but this time in Galway. They haven’t had their best season yet but a game against Galway will always bring the best out of them, and it will give them a chance to assess their strengths as they look to build for next year.

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