Championship 2011 Match 1 Raheens v Kilcullen

Intermedidate Championship Raheens make a point! Raheens 0-12 Kilcullen 1-9 . 
We made a solid start to the campaign but could have won it as we were 1 point up with time up for some time. The lads showed good heart to come back after the goal, but the defending was a bit loose at times.

The game opened with Raheens playing with a strong breeze toward the dressing room end. The opening 15 mins was pretty tentative with both teams finding their way. Alan Igoe got the opening 2 scores and 2 from Cathal Carr, the last one on 15 mins being a well taken long ranger gave Raheens a 4-3 lead with Kilcullen staying in touch. They quickly levelled matters and had a wide before good work by Noel Byrne yielded a nice Raheens point. Kilcullen had another wide and with Alan Igoe catching good ball in the centre Raheens had a good spell and a Declan Curran score meant we went in 6-4 up and well worth it.

The second half opened with a Raheens wide followed by a nice Alan Igoe point to go 7-4 up. Kilcullen registered 2 more wides then a score as they attempted to get back in the game.Then on 8 mins they came thundering back when a long speculative ball alluded the Raheens defence and there were 2 Kilcullen men inside to give Niall no chance in the goals. Kilcullen were now 1 up and on top in general play, at this point they had another wide. Alan Igoe steadied Raheens with a nice long range point, but Kilcullen who were seemed to be getting the better in some forward positions drop 2 quick one’s over to go 2 up on 15mins. It was a vital time in the game now, Shane Cooke hit the post with a free but followed up with a good score from play.Noel Byrne was showing well for the ball in this second half as was Cathal Carr. Kilcullen had another wide and Shane Cooke landed a free to level it up with 5 mins left.

Raheens had a good goal chance fall to Stephen Riordain at that stage but his strong shot was a bit high, and the Kilcullen keeper did well to parry it away. Shane Cooker landed a super 50 at this stage to nose Raheens in front but the Kilcullen free taker was not outdone landing a big one from way out on the left. All square, 11 to 1-8 time up and pacemakers were under pressure. Kilcullen had a bad wide from a 21 yard free on the right and Alan Igoe landed a good pressure kick from around 28 yards for Raheens to ensure we wouldn’t lose anyway. Kevin Thompson got good possession on the right and was very harsely adjudged to have over played the ball having shipped a heafy challenge in that play –free to Kilcullen who went down the field and grabbed a point. 12- 1-9.

Overall most of us would admit a draw was fair, as long as you don’t judge it on the last play and how it came about ! Kilcullen had the world of bad wides from easy scoring chances, but Raheens were worthy of a point or more even. It wouldn’t have been a steal to win it either. We did had too many guys who were patchy in the game and we made too many basic errors. A week of hand passing would not go astray. A lot of “commentators” after the game were calling for a return to a more direct long ball kicking game and there may be merit in that.  We need to gain more clean and breaking ball  in the middle, and try to get a hand in first in defence. But it’s a good start and gives us something to play for – we await the draw eagerly now.

Best for Raheens were Niall Rooney, Paddy O’Brien, Alan Campbell, Alan Igoe, Cathal Carr, Noel Byrne and Shane Cooke.

Raheens - Niall Rooney, Gareth Byrne, Alan Percival, Paddy O’Brien, Alan Campbell, Shane Power, Tom Earley, Tim Dunleavy (Declan Curran in after 5 mins) Alan Igoe, Cathal Carr, Darren Earley (Stephen Riordan in 10 mins) Noel Byrne, Shane Cooke, Reddy Coffey, Kevin Thompson. 

Subs not used - Daithi Ivers, Sean Dunleavy, Martin Sullivan, Martin Taaffe, Alan Sharpe, John Taaffe, Pa Percival, John Lawler, Pat Courtney, Ross McMahon.