John Mitchels 4-8
Roger Casements 0-10
JOHN Mitchels got their league campaign back on track with a comprehensive Football League Division One victory over Roger Casements in Coventry.
All three of their full-forward line got in on the goal-scoring act as the visitors blitzed Casements early on to forge an eight-point lead by the interval.
After their narrow defeat to Sean McDermotts a fortnight ago, Mitchels needed to come away from The Sphinx with both points if they were to keep alive their chance of challenging McDermotts with just three games left to play.
Mitchels’ intentions were demonstrated through their first meaningful attack as a quickly taken side line ball by Paul Garvey was collected by Brendan Hickey, the corner-forward making no mistake to slot the ball beyond Mossey Harnett. At the other end Kevin Ryan tapped over a free for Casements.
Afforded time and space, Garvey demonstrated his prowess by looping a shot over the bar after Mitchels advanced through the heart of the home defence, before Hickey came close to a second goal only for his point-blank drive to be superbly tipped wide by Harnett. Garvey tapped over his second point of the game to further extend Mitchels advantage before once again Harnett came to the rescue for Casements denying Garvey with another fine save.
Mitchels were dropping numbers deep to crowd out Casements and launch attacks from inside their own half to great effect, Derek Waldron and Eamon Sheridan in particular were to have stellar games in this regard. With Garvey (free) and Sean Smith Jnr. adding two more points to the tally the lead was extended to six and with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half they grabbed a second goal on the counter-attack when Paddy Hickey drilled home.
Casements improved in the closing moments before the interval, Nigel Herbert forcing a smart stop out of Doyle before adding three more points through Stephen Ormsby, Niall Shannon, and an excellent long range curler from Liam McGovern.
With an eight-point lead going into the second-half, Mitchels almost bagged a third goal moments after the restart when Paddy Hickey released Garvey to advance on goal only for the full-forward to crash a shot off the crossbar and deflect the rebound wide of the near post. At the other end, Shannon reduced the gap to seven with a well-struck effort from close to the left-hand touch line and that margin was further reduced thanks to a close range free from Ryan.
However, just as Casements looked to be building a head of steam, a mistake in the full-back line allowed Paddy Hickey to steal possession in front of Harnett’s goal and present Garvey with the simple task of placing a low 10-metre shot into the far corner of the net.
Mitchels continued to garnish their tally as the game moved into the final quarter. Brendan Hickey rounded off a move instigated down the right-hand side before Paddy Hickey followed up moments later with a successfully converted free, both efforts sandwiching a McGovern free.
As the sun faded behind the clouds, the game became increasingly stretched and presented both sides with more goal scoring opportunities.
With Tom Massey deployed to full-forward, Casements came close when a dropping ball fell to him only for his snap shot to be blocked and cleared to safety. The follow-up attack almost brought better reward for Shannon, however, Doyle proved equal to the task with a fine save to deny a strike in front of goal. At the other end Harnett continued from where he left off in the first-half with two more excellent stops to thwart Garvey - the first a tremendous save when a goal looked odds on.
By this stage the result was secure, leaving Mitchels to take the points and remain in the hunt for league honours.
Man of the match:
Derek Waldron (John Mitchels)
Tireless performance from midfield, did a lot of unsung work which enabled the Mitchels forwards to profit.
Score of the match:
Liam McGovern’s 40-metre drive in the first-half was sweetly struck, coming at a time when Casements needed to gain a foothold in the game.
Mitchels’ early onslaught left Casements chasing the game, the visitors continually adding to their tally in the meantime.
Wides: John Mitchels (3) 10, Roger Casements (1) 3.
Frees: John Mitchels (4) 9, Roger Casements (7) 10.
Yellow Cards: John Mitchels 0, Roger Casements 2 (Kevin Ryan 46; Liam McGovern 53).
John Mitchels: P Garvey 2-4 (1f), B Hickey 1-2, P Hickey 1-1 (1f), S Smith Jnr 0-1.
Roger Casements: K Ryan 0-3 (2fs), N Shannon 0-3, S Ormsby 0-2, L McGovern 0-2.
John Mitchels: A Doyle; C Clifford, C McDermotts, P Donnelly; P Crehan, F Doyle, E Sheridan; D Waldron, L Hayes; S Smith Jnr, S Hennessy, S Smith Snr; B Hickey, P Garvey, P Hickey. Subs: R Curley for Donnelly (40); D Bell for Clifford (45); B Sharkey for Crehan (47).
Roger Casements: M Hartnett; C McMullan, C Dolphin, S Keogh; S O’Sullivan, S Mullin, D Harnett; T Massey, K Ryan; C Kelly-Evans, S Ormsby, N Herbert; L McGovern, N Shannon, S O’Reilly. Subs: C Lenihan for O’Reilly (25).
Referee: M Lydon.