Gaels back among silverware but improvement required
Tir Chonaill Gaels 1-10
St Kiernans 1-7
Conway Cup Final
By Tony Tighe, Irish Post
After a three-year absence the Conway Cup is back in Tir Chonaill Gaels’
trophy cabinet, and that should serve as a warning sign for their opponents.
When TCG last won this trophy in 2007, they completed a clean sweep of
senior honours, also capturing the league, championship and Tipperary Cup,
as well as a league and championship double at reserve level.
However, if history is to repeat itself for the Greenford side a huge
improvement is required. Their play was littered with errors during the three-
point victory over St Kiernans, and were it not for their opponents’ profligacy in
the opening half things could have been much different.
Despite this decider taking place midweek TCG had close to their strongest
panel at their disposal. Their bench was an alarming sight, such was the
quality of the substitutes on it. But on the field they still haven’t gelled as a
unit, which is a worry considering the championship is around the corner.
A storming start to the second half secured the Jim Conway Cup for TCG.
They hit 1-6 in the opening 15 minutes, Kevin Downes netting, to put the
game beyond the north Londoners. But bar the third quarter it was a day to
The first half was a dreadful advertisement for football in London. Just five
points were scored over the half hour and none of them came from open
play. The game had a fiery edge, with a number of late challenges from both
teams, and no one was sorry to hear referee John Doyle blow for half-time.
St Kiernans would have been kicking themselves as they left the field at the
interval. Boasting seven English-born players in their staring line-up, they
had taken the game to TCG and had carved out the better opportunities.
Derek Hagan and Frankie Callopy gave as good as they got around the
middle, and high balls in on top of full-forward Andrew Brady were causing
no end of problems for the TCG rearguard. Mark Mulholland was giving Niall
Travers the runaround with Kevin O’Leary making menacing runs from half-
back, proving he is currently the best in his position in London.
Yet for all St Kiernans’ promise, their return on the scoreboard was paltry.
From eight scoring chances all they could muster was two Adrian Moyles
frees, and they were punished in injury-time when a Martin Sweeney free
gave TCG an undeserved 0-3 to 0-2 lead at the break.
The TCG management were understandably unimpressed and made three
half-time substitutions, Austin Concannon – formerly of Salthill-Knocknacarra
– coming on to make his debut.
The changes made a difference as TCG clicked up front. Sean Campbell
began to thrive in his free role, firing over a brace of points, with Downes on
hand to put the finishing touches on bright build-up play.
Cavan native Downes goaled on 42 minutes after a ball over the top played in
Liam Gavaghan. The youngster’s shot was well saved by Brendan Mulrooney
but he was helpless to stop Downes knocking in the rebound.
St Kiernans did mount a late comeback, with Wayne O’Sullivan reducing
arrears to three points when he drilled a stunning shot through a mass of
bodies and into the net. But TCG hung on, Damien Donnellan making a vital
catch inside his own area in injury time.
It was a nail-biting finish but ultimately a disappointing affair. Both teams are
capable of much better.
Tir Chonaill Gaels: G McEvoy; R Walsh, H Cunningham, D Donnellan; S
Boyle, P Callaghan, N Travers; B Friel, K Morrow; M Maloney, M Sweeney (0-
2f), S Gormley; L Gavaghan (0-2, 1f), K Downes (1-4, 2f), S Campbell (0-2).
Subs: A Concannon for Travers (ht); G Kane for Maloney (ht); D Alcorn for
Sweeney (ht); D McGreevy for Gormley (45).
St Kiernans: B Mulrooney; J Gallagher, C Byrne, R Harrington; B O’Mahony, J
Callery, K O’Leary (0-1); J Meyler, F Callopy (0-1); M Mulholland, D Hagan, P
Morgan (0-1); W O’Sullivan (1-0), A Brady (0-1f), A Moyles (0-3f).
Subs: B Sweeney for Harrington (ht); T Waters for Callopy (48); S Waters for
Brady (59); M O’Donoghue for Morgan (60).
Referee: J Doyle