AIB Munster Senior Club Football Championship – Stradbally (Waterford) 0-7 v Doonbeg (Clare) 0-4

Defence the key as experienced Stradbally power past Doonbeg

Stradbally (Waterford) 0-7 Doonbeg (Clare) 0-4

By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, November 08, 2010

STRADBALLY are through to meet Nemo Rangers in the semi-final of the AIB Munster club football championship following a deserved victory over Doonbeg in Fraher Field yesterday. The Waterford side had the strength in defence to hold out in the face of a more aggressive challenge from the visitors in the closing stages, when two quick scores from Shane Ryan gave them hope of a late recovery. That quickly died, however, when Tony Grey made a crucial block as Pádraig Gallagher attempted a shot at goal. “We held on to the ball and we worked it well,’’ winning captain Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh said. “We maybe had more experience than Doonbeg. We are on the road a while now and while we struggled a bit near the end, our backs played well.’’

For his part, Doonbeg manager Kieran O’Mahony accepted his side kicked away their chances: “We said before the game we would go out and take them on,’’ he said. “We did that for the full hour but wide after wide after wide was a killer. I don’t think it killed our spirit, but it certainly killed our chances!’’ The ironic feature of Doonbeg’s performance – which saw them accumulate 13 wides in total – was that for much of the opening quarter they looked a superior team, moving the ball about with purpose in attack after leading Clare scorer David Tubridy had kicked them into the lead in the second minute. However, before Stradbally had even opened their scoring in the 10th minute, Doonbeg centre-forward Shane O’Brien had kicked three wides.

Indicative of their poor finishing was the fact that they did not get their next score until immediately after half-time, whereas Stradbally put over four more points in a 17-minute period. Two of these came from Trevor Curran, one of a number of players whose form was crucial to them taking control. Firstly, Brick Walsh and John Coffey were influential in midfield and their advantage was to be complemented by the contribution of centre-back Eddie Rockett. Up front, along with Curran in the corner, the half-forward trio of Stephen Cunningham, Shane Aherne and Tommy Connors did great work.

Leading 0-5 to 0-1 at the break, Stradbally quickly responded to an opening score from Shane Ryan through an excellent point from wing-back Andy Doyle. And while a Tommy Connors score in the 48th minute marked their last of the game, they were not unduly concerned because of Doonbeg’s continuing problems in attack. Tubridy missed two scorable frees as well as fisting wide at the end of a strong run in along the end line. And as the wides mounted up, Stradbally could afford the loss of a few scores themselves from promising moves and a few frees. However, if impressive full-back Pádraig Gallaher had goaled nearing the final whistle, these misses could have been very costly. Losers by a point to Nemo Rangers in 2005, Brick Walsh concluded that Stradbally will be under no illusions going up against the Cork champions. “They were not as good then as they will probably be,’’ he said. “We have a lot of improvement to make over the next two weeks. That performance would not come near Nemo.’’

Scorers for Stradbally: T. Curran (0-2); S. Cunningham, N. Curran (free), S. Aherne (free), A. Doyle and T. Connors (0-1) each.

Scorers for Doonbeg: S. Ryan (0-3); T. Tubridy (0-1, free).

STRADBALLY: O. Costelloe; T. Costelloe, S. Lannon, T. Grey; J. Hearne, E. Rockett, A. Doyle; J. Coffey, M. Walsh (capt); S. Cunningham, S. Aherne, T. Connors; R. Aherne, N. Curran, T. Curran.

Subs: P. Weldon for T. Curran (43); C. Casey for R. Aherne (60).

DOONBEG: N. Dillon; J. Blake, P. Gallagher, C. Whelan; R. Vaughan, D. Downes, P. Aherne; E. Doyle, F. O’Dea; B. Egan, S. O’Brien, C. Dillon (capt.); D. Tubridy, S. Ryan, K. Nugent.

Subs: C. Downes for Egan (44); S. Killeen for O’Dea (inj. 45); J. Whelan for Nugent (50); B. Dillon for O’Brien (57).

Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary)
Grey stands firm to inspire Stradbally

From the Irish Times newspaper

Stradbally (Waterford) 0-7 Doonbeg (Clare) 0-4

A MAGNIFICENT display by Tony Grey, which saw him keep Doonbeg’s talisman David Tubridy scoreless from play, helped Stradbally into the last four of the AIB Munster SF Club Championship and a semi-final meeting with Nemo Rangers in two weeks’ time. The Stradbally number five, lining out in the corner, had one of his finest hours in the red and white of Stradbally and crucially got his body in the way deep in stoppage time to deprive Pádraig Gallagher a great goal-scoring opportunity and a share of the spoils.

Stradbally in a very stop-start first half had all the procession and lead 0-5 to 0-1 at the break, this despite conceding the opening score of the game on two minutes when David Tubridy slotted over a free from close range. However, as the half progressed there was only one side in it as points from Niall Curran and Shane Ahearne from frees as well as Stephen Cunningham and a brace from Trevor Curran handed the initiative to the Waterford champions at the change of ends. Stradbally had chances to be further ahead at the break as both John Coffey and Tommy Connors had good scoring chances pulled down from going over the crossbar by Nigel Dillon in the Doonbeg goal.

The second half continued to see Stradbally play the standard of football that we have not seen of them in recent years, as they proved to be the better side in all sections of the field. While Doonbeg came out looking a new side with Shane Ryan kicking a point inside the opening 60 seconds of the half, the home county side hit back with points from Andy Doyle and Tommy Connors to stretch their lead. The visitors did manage to put the home side under some considerable pressure in the closing 10 minutes, with Ryan, their best player on the day, kicking two points, the Stradbally defence was able to hold out for a richly-deserved win.

STRADBALLY: O Costelloe; T Costelloe, S Lannon, T Grey; J Hearne, E Rockett, A Doyle (0-1); J Coffey, M Walsh; S Cunningham (0-1), A Ahearne, T Connors (0-1); N Curran (0-1, f), R Ahearne (0-1, f), T Curran (0-2). Subs: P Weldon for T Curran, C Casey for R Ahearne.

DOONBEG: N Dillon; R Vaughan, Padraig Gallagher, C Whelan; Paraic Ahearne, D Downes, J Blake; E Doyle, F ODea; B Egan, C Dillon, S OBrien; K Nugent, S Ryan (0-3), D Tubridy (0-1, f). Subs: C Downes for B Egan, S Killeen for F ODea, J Whelan for K Nugent, B Dillon for S OBrien.

Referee: D Mahony (Tipperary)