St . Patrick’s 1-12
Sarsfields brought their season to a close at Abbey Park last Saturday night where they were comfortably beaten by a St. Pat’s Cullyhanna side who were better in most departments.
The Trasna men will now leave the stage in the knowledge their season possibly went as expected with a commendable third place in the top flight followed by a Championship quarter-final exit.
The Hoops however certainly made their task of reaching the Senior semi-final more difficult against their South Armagh opponents when they shot 12 wides over the hour, but goal chances were at a premium and although both Michael Stevenson and Eimead Murray had efforts blasted narrowly wide, the three pointer converted by the winners at the end of a defence splitting move on 44 minutes came at a time when the Trasna men had re-grouped to display tenacity and a sterling third quarter.
The first quarter was a cakewalk for the winners, St Pat’s physicality and direct running caused the High Moss all sorts of problems as they raced to a six points lead before the break. With the wides mounting, Trasna with points from Michael Stevenson and Eamon and Paul McGeown invented the notion that on the short whistle it was all to play for in the second half.
Although the winners showed much endeavour with early points from Eugene Casey, Barry McConville and Tony Donnelly, great movement down the left flank brought reward when the Hoops moved to within two points of their opponents with three brilliantly worked scores from Colin and Michael Stevenson and the best strike of the game from the left boot of Paul McGeown from close to the sideline.
On 40 minutes the Hoops almost took the lead, Michael Stevenson raced through but saw his low effort take a coat of paint off the base of the post, the winners however gained composure and the tie with a Tony Donnelly point and the only goal of the game which not ironically came from the games best player Kieran Hoey, albeit with the help of an unsuspecting touch from a Sarsfields defender.
Although losing most of the personal battles Sarsfields played to the final whistle, while lacking the cutting edge of many of their league performances the Trasna side can look to some of their younger players for inspiration but they may be forced to replace their talisman Mark Reynolds who will no doubt be pondering his future having played for his side for well over 20 years. With St. Pat’s cruising to an eight points win in the final quarter, the losers had battling performances from Declan Breen, skipper Paul Magee put in a good shift and in goals and Darren McAvoy was sound.