McCardle Cup Team Make History
2009 London McArdle Cup Final
Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-13
Round Towers 1-6
By Patrick Doyle
Tir Chonaill Gaels and Round Towers played out a small piece of sporting history in sunny Ruislip with both teams comprising of solely English born and reared players. Both teams played out an entertaining game having won their way through to the final after defeating the competition from the best of London’s junior clubs.
From the first minute the comparatively old Gavin McEvoy steadied the young Gaels team with a well taken point. Round Towers took a little longer to find their rhythm as goal chance went begging for the south Londoners but Tir Chonaill Gaels goalkeeper Kieran Nash dealt well with the danger.
Both Michael Maher and Michael Murtagh fired speculative efforts wide before Murtagh registered a point for the Towers after attractive build up play the centre forward powered the ball over the ball over the bar with thoughts of goal possibly on his mind.
Towers would not have to wait long for a goal to materialise after another surging run from Murtagh he was rather desperately pushed in the back as he bore down on goal. Referee Liam Barry had little choice but to spread his arms and award the penalty. Sean Lacey stepped up to the 14 yard line and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way to bag a goal and give Towers a timely pick me up after 12 minutes of play.
The defences began to get on top with balls keenly contested in every quarter and both sides struggled to produce many scoring chances. Murtagh continued to cause the Gaels defence problems with his direct running often showing his marker a clean set of heels. Whilst the red and whites centre back Ricky Williamson displayed good strength and ability but he couldn’t match Murtagh’s pace.
Sean Hickey broke an eight-minute spell without a score when he slotted over point but not before the towers wasted a good deal of time and effort with some unnecessary messing with the ball whilst in striking distance of the posts. The Gaels responded with a point of their own with Clive Mills fisting a point.
Michael English restored towers four-point lead with an excellent effort after making space for himself just inside the ’45. After great bit of play by one English there was a bit of bad from another as John Paul English picked up a yellow for a mistimed and misplaced tackle. The match although tough and physical was played in a good spirit and the incident was quickly forgotten.
Liam Gavigan had other things on his mind as he pointed a free. Gavigan followed up his first point with a relatively simple effort from a 14 yard free after Noel Maher fouled the ball on the ground. The game was finely balanced at 1-3 to 0-4 but Towers would have hoped to go into the break with a bigger lead having played with a sizeable wind advantage in the first half.
After the break Murtagh got the legs motoring again as he opted for the direct route and struck the ball well for a point. Gavigan however also started the second half well and after some industrious work by Liam Mullan, he sent the ball over the bar. McEvoy followed up with a point with the aid of the post.
The two sides centre forwards, Murtagh and Gavigan as well as finding points found yellow cards as well for separate incidents as the game went scoreless for fifteen minutes. Gavigan then drew the sides level in 46th minute with forty yard free making it 0-7 to 1-4. TCG’s James Bonner had glorious goal chance to put his side in the lead but his effort flashed across the face of goal.
Gavigan then put the Gaels into the lead for the first time with 10 minutes remaining. However, the Towers were not ready to yield, a free from the 21 yard line was nudged over by Oliver Bennett which brought the sides level again at 1-5 to 0-8. Two TCG subs, Chris Moroney and Aidan Lynam combined well to allow Lynam to score and Mullan stretched the Gaels lead to two with a fieneffort as the ball kissed the paint on the post as it went over.
Murtagh got Towers final score with five minutes left as the Gaels set about sealing victory but were starved of any quality possession which would have allowed to snatch victory instead Gavigan added another two to his tally one from play and one from a free. Mullan sealed victory with virtually the last kick of the game to make it 0-13 to 1-6.
(Tir Chonaill Gaels) K Nash, G Geraghty, N Burke, D Ruddy, K McFadden, R Williamson, S Carr, B O’Mahoney, G McEvoy, J Bonner, L Gavigan, T Moriarty, S Butler, L Mullan
(Round Towers) A Smith, R Kavanagh, N Dillon, N Maher, D Connery, JP English, O Bennett, M Maher, T O’Donovan, S Lacey, M Murtagh, M English, C Mullan, D O’Donovan, S Hickey