St Patrick’s cruised through to the next round of the Avonmore Senior Championship as they set up a third consecutive clash with Mattock Rangers at the semi-final stages since 2009.
In a below par game at The Grove on Sunday evening, the Pat’s didn’t have to move out of third gear as a toothless Dreadnots failed to put it up to them for large parts of the game.
The Pat’s first score took the sting out of the game as they netted after just two minutes, as Aidan McCann’s long ball was well held by Eoin O’Connor. He manoeuvred well to create space before dispatching the ball into the net.
It’s as if the goal came too early for the Pat’s as they stayed in the same gear throughout – until the 50th minute when they moved to see of the effort of the Dreadnots, who were again blighted by the
absence of ace shooter Paraic ‘Pepe’ Smith.
The game itself lacked the bite that was prevalent during the first game of the double header at The Grove – between Cooley Kickhams and Naomh Mairtin – as it strolled along at an elementary pace.
Thankfully for those neutrals in attendance, the pace picked up slightly in the second half as the Dreadnots tried to their best to test the Pat’s.
Their quest was made harder when Paddy Keenan smashed the ball against the right stanchion holding up the nets in the first half. It gave the Dreadnots a mountain to climb, one which they never looked capable of.
As a result, the Pat’s will face Mattock in the semi-finals, but on their showings so far this year, 2011 may well be the Pat’s best chance to dethrone the county champions and book their first final spot since 2008.
What will worry the Pat’s is their lack of firepower as Karl White and Sean Connor were badly missed in this game as many chances went a-begging up front, but in the end it was enough to see off the Dreadnots, who hindered their chances with ten wides, many of which were efforts that should of been converted.
O’Connor’s goal was followed by a series of wides from the Dreadnots, Califf and Pat Lynch being the guilty parties involved.
They did get off the mark when Califf squeezed a shot in from the sideline. Paddy Keenan replied with a free kick with his trusted right boot. Califf spurned two more chances, finally converting with a third effort but the Pat’s inflicted more damage seconds later as Keenan fired a goal in anger on 21 minutes.
Receiving the ball from Shane Hynes, Keenan forcefully blasted the ball off the back post holding up the nets as supporters applauded his technique.
Califf split the posts to leave it 2-3 to 0-3 in favour of the Pat’s at the break.
The momentum swung in favour of the Dreadnots at the start of the second half as referee Paddy Matthews give them a series of frees which helped them reduce the deficit to three points, thanks to scores from Califf (two), Conor Campbell and Pat Lynch, with Eamonn Carroll getting the Pat’s score with another sidefooted volley.
However, that was as close as the Dreadnots got – within two points – as they could not close the gap between the sides. O’Connor had another stab for a second goal, but ‘keeper Niall Levins did well to push it away from the net.
A snapshot by Keenan, followed by trademark Carroll score extended the Pat’s lead to three before Califf again reduced it to two, but the Pat’s, knowing that another semi-final appearance was within their grasp made sure of the Mattock Rangers date by firing over three more scores; Daniel O’Connor, Eamonn Carroll and Ray Finnegan chipping in to make sure of the win.
Perhaps they were saving their big performance for the Collon men, but the Pat’s will know that in order to reach the final, they will need to step it up considerably as they look to get their hands on Joe Ward once again.
Scorers - ST PATRICK’S: Paddy Keenan (1-3, 1f), Eamonn Carroll (0-4, 1f), Eoin O’Connor (1-0), Daniel O’Connor, Ray Finnegan (0-1) each. DREADNOTS: James Califf (0-7, 5f), Pat Lynch (0-2), Conor Campbell (0-1). ST PATRICK’S: Robert Arthurs; Jamie O’Hare, Dessie Finnegan, Darren O’Hanlon; Ray Finnegan, Paudie Mallon, Owen Zamboglou; Paddy Keenan, Colin Goss; Diarmuid McArtain, Eoin O’Connor, Aidan McCann; Eamonn Carroll, Shane Hynes, Daniel O’Connor. Subs: Eamonn Breen for Paudie Mallon (55mins), Kevin Toner for S Hynes (60mins).
DREADNOTS: Niall Levins; Anthony Williams, Derek Shevlin, Dermot Campell; Cian McEvoy, Padraig Rath, David O’Brien; James Califf, Liam Shevlin; Conor Campbell, Chris Mulroy, Fergal McGuigan; Peter Kirwan, Pat Lynch, Anthony Lynch.
Wides – ST PATRICK’S: 5 (4 first half), DREADNOTS: 10 (6 first half).
Bookings – ST PATRICK’S: Diarmuid McArtain (27mins), Shane Hynes (31mins).