First half Gabriels blitz proves decisive

First half Gabriels blitz proves decisive

St Gabriels 4-19

Brothers Pearse 2-12

EARLY in every London Ardent Tide SHC a team likes to make a statement and an impression - which is precisely what St Gabriels did on Sunday at Ruislip.

An enterprising and efficient opening period display, when backed by a significant wind, ensured Gabriel's seized the initiative.  After the restart Brothers Pearse, spirited until the bitter end, were much improved, but by then sufficient Gabriels damage had already been inflicted. Smooth and sharp Gabriels were economical converting chances at the outset hitting 1-9 from 12 opportunities.

That was a sign of their considerable ability at this level - Pearses were struggling to cope. As the match wore on the underdogs did enjoy small pockets of joy, but Gabriel's recovered each time.

An encouraging and emphatic success was registered because Gabriels commenced in blistering fashion. Pearses just couldn't contain a vibrant Gabriels outfit that stroked over delightful points from varying angles and distances in the first quarter.

Eoin Kelly's splendid skill was evident initially as during Gabriels initial burst the wing forward drilled five points including an immaculate sideline cut. Having struck nine points on the spin Gabriels grabbed a fortuitous 18th minute goal when Michael Ivors' delivery spilled over the line.

Pearses eventually registered courtesy of Stephen Frawley point, but Gabriels were crafty enough to pounce for two more goals before the interval. Ultimately those majors proved decisive because even when there was a hint of a Pearses revival the gap was simply too large.

Bernard Gaffney nailed two important points, and then Ivors scampered clear to net a fine goal. On the stroke of half-time Kelly lashed a 20 metre free through a cluster of bodies as Gabriels departed at the break 3-12 to 0-5 ahead.

Despite being in serious trouble Peares remained defiant slowly, but surely trimming the deficit. Mick Noonan was effective on the edge of the square grabbing a 36th minute goal to inject Pearses with a drop of hope.

Phil Hogan's long range shooting ensured Pearses trailed 3-12 to 1-9 at the three quarter mark. Unperturbed Gabriels replied as Kevin Coen, Enda Cooney, and Gaffney lofted over points in quick succession.

Stephen Frawley smashed a delightful goal for Pearses, but Gabriels finished strongly as David Egan contributed an equally crisp score at the opposite end. Gabriels are quietly confident about making an impact this year - the evidence at the Emerald GAA Grounds suggests the optimism isn't misplaced.

Scorers for St Gabriels: E Kelly 1-8 (1-4fs, 1 sideline), M Ivors 2-1, B Gaffney 0-5, D Egan 1-1, F Tierney 0-1, K Coen 0-1, E Cooney 0-1, M Finn 0-1.

Scorers for Brothers Pearse: M Noonan 1-3 (2fs), S Frawley 1-1, P Hogan 0-4 (3fs), D Connolly 0-2, D Bruen 0-1, J Kelly 0-1.

St Gabriels: M Coady; E Collins, N Coady, N Rogers; E Cooney, D Morkan, D Coffey; M Ryan, D Egan; K Coen, B Gaffney, E Kelly; M Ivors, F Tierney, M Finn. Subs: L Hands for Finn (40 mins), T Lally for Coffey (43 mins), D Coffey for Cooney (57 mins).

Brothers Pearse: P Egan; C Jordan, C Kennedy, K Murphy; P Hogan, S Frawley, S McKelvy; D Bruen, A O'Brien; J Greaney, P Unicke, D McAuliffe; T Clarke, M Noonan, D Connelly. Subs: Subs: S Sylver for Murphy (31 mins), J Kelly for Greaney (56 mins).

Referee: E Naughton.