Geraldines 0-2 Carew Park (1st June, 2013)
Carew Park took one step closer to the league title in an extremely tight game at Rathuard this evening.
The away side started out in their usual 4-4-2 shape. There was one change from the team that lost to Janesboro in last Sunday’s Lawson Cup final – Cyril Maher in for Brian Ahern, with John Boyle moved out to the right flank in place of the latter. The Dines were operating a 4-5-1/4-3-3 shape with Donie Curtin leading the line.
Geraldines broadly had the better of the first period, but were guilty of not maximising their 3 v 2 advantage in the middle of the field. Too often when going back to front they chose to go direct too early instead of playing the ball into that area. Ian Storan was being used in the anchorman position, and despite putting in a number of successful tackles, didn’t look suited to that role from a distribution perspective. None of the Dines back four, with the exception of left full Danny O’Neill looked comfortable in possession either. As such, despite seemingly having the edge on their opponents, the home side were unable to capitalise. It was Carew who would open the scoring.
Mark Slattery found the ball at his feet in his own half. He delivered a simple long ball up to John Connery who was able to bring it under control in the box under no pressure. He showed great technique to turn centre back Thomas O’Grady, before the Dines man slid in and bundled him over, conceding a penalty. Carew right full Gary Griffin calmly rolled into the bottom right past James O’Connor. 0-1.
At the other end of the field however, Griffin was struggling. Dines’ left sided forward Derek Daly was consistently getting the better of him. Towards the end of the first half, he beat Griffin down the line, before delivering a low cross into the area. Eddie Lee, the right sided forward, looked certain to convert, but Carew left full Fra Kett tracked him all the way to deny the Dines man. 0-1 at half time.
The second half was only five minutes old when the home side were forced to make a change. Right full Paul Fitzgerald came off due to injury. He was replaced by striker Derek Hannon. This resulted in a big reshuffle. Danny O’Neill moved from left to right back. Ian Storan moved to left full. Bobby Tier dropped into the anchorman position, with Donie Curtin moving back to fulfil Tier’s box-to-box duties. Almost immediately Tier played a perfect long pass to Eddie Lee on the right, and it appeared that the Dines would now be able to move the ball forward more effectively.
Carew, however, had other ideas, and had a 10 minute spell that killed the game off. First, on 55 minutes, Somers came in off the left and went close with a strong right footed drive. Then, on the hour mark, an seemingly innocuous free kick from Fra Kett deep in the Carew half led to Jonathan Grant being allowed to collect on his chest in the box easily. He turned and shot, but shot over. A good chance gone begging. The killer blow, however, was still to come. On 65 minutes, Somers again received the ball on the left, cutting inside. He laid off to Connery, who beat Danaher before squaring to Pa Boyle on the edge of the area. Donie Curtin was not close enough to him, and one half of the Boyle Brothers did what he does best – a fantastic left footed drive into the bottom left corner. Game over.
Geraldines made a couple of changes with 15 to go, moving to a 4-2-3-1 shape with George Daffy behind Derek Hannon. They looked a little better in possession with two holders but were unable to create any significant chances. Apart, of course, from when they were clean through on goal, only for the referee to call it back, failing to utilise the advantage rule!
Huge win for Carew in what many would argue was their last remaining potential banana skin. They’ve struggled of late. The possession game of the first half of the season has gone as the nerves and edginess have set in. Unsurprising really, considering that many of these players have never been in this position before. You have to admire, however, the way in which they’ve ground out results despite this dip in performance. I would again, however, question the omission of Steven Grant of late. Early in the season his presence in front of the defence was a key reason that Carew were so efficient at holding onto the football. Perhaps there are good reasons for his absence from the side, but I find it quite strange personally.
Geraldines will be delighted with a 4th place finish having just been promoted. Their attempts to do something different by trying to operate a possession based 4-3-3 is admirable, but you suspect that they don’t yet have the players to do this. They need defenders who are comfortable in possession, an anchorman with excellent distribution, and a prolific target man who can compensate for the lack of a partner. They’re a young side and if they can stay together the sky’s the limit. Credit to all involved at the club.
Geraldines (4-3-3): O’Connor; Fitzgerald, Danaher, O’Grady, D. O’Neill; Storan; Tier, C. O’Neill; E. Lee, Curtin, Daly
Carew Park (4-4-2): Stewart; Griffin, Slattery, Keane, Kett; J. Boyle, Maher, P. Boyle, Somers; J. Grant, Connery