Elphin v St. Faithleachs SFC Quarter-Final ’07

Sunday, September 02, 2007 St. Faithleach’s 2-12 Elphin 1-10 St. Faithleach’s and Elphin served up an absolute cracker of a quarter-final at O’Rourke Park, Castlerea on Sunday evening.This game was real championship fare great passages of play, full commitment from both sides and some superb score-taking. St. Faithleach’s were good value for their win and must be quietly fancying their chances of going one step further than last year. Next up for Faithleach’s is a semifinal date with Padraig Pearses. That should be another contest to savour with both sides in tremendous form at the moment. Elphin, for their part, will count themselves unlucky.  For periods of this game, they were the dominant team. When they moved the ball quickly, they had the Faithleach’s defence at sixes and sevens. Unfortunately for them, they did not translate their few periods of dominance into scores and, once Aidan Dooney cracked home Faithleach’s second goal, they were always chasing the game. Elphin will also point to the loss through injury of influential midfielder Brian Higgins 20 minutes into the first half. Although Higgins made a Dara O’Shea-like return to the action with ten minutes remaining, it was too little too late for Elphin.  Faithleach’s hit the ground running and had 1-1 on the scoreboard inside three minutes Alan Brehon shooting over after receiving a pass from Martin Reynolds. Less than a minute later, Faithleach’s struck for their first goal. Senan O’Grady superbly fielded the ball from an Elphin kickout. Advancing into Elphin’s half, he fed Enda Kenny, who was careering through the Elphin defence. Kenny ran about 20 yards and from the edge of the large square unleashed a piledriver that flew high into the top of the net.  Elphin remained calm and worked their way back into the game. Points from Shane Tiernan, John Collins (2) and Fintan Cregg saw the sides level by the 25th minute. James Vesey edged Faithleach’s in front with a 26th-minute effort, before Collins and Stuart Roddy points put Elphin in front for the first time in the game.  Vesey replied with two frees to nose Faithleach’s ahead again. The last of the first-half action saw Collins level matters again, 1-4 to 07.Elphin went in front immediately from the throw-in John Collins scoring from play. Faithleach’s hit back through a Kenny free three minutes later. This dingdong tie saw Elphin go ahead again in the 36th minute Collins again doing the needful.  The game really needed one of the teams to take it by the scruff of the neck and Faithleach’s duly obliged. In a ten-minute spell from the 38th minute, they outscored Elphin by 1-5 to nil. Elphin never recovered fully from this avalanche of scores.  Points from Vesey (2), Kenny (2), Reynolds, coupled with a fantastic goal from Aidan Dooney, saw Faithleach’s race into a 2-11 to 0-9 lead by the 50th minute. Dooney’s goal was a beauty a wonderfully directed rocket from the corner of the small square into the left-hand corner of Shane Reynolds’ net.It was now do-or-die for Elphin and, to their credit, they fought hard to get back into the game. Brian Cregg, who was moved from defence, took a pass from Collins, and, on the run, hit a piledriver into the top right-hand corner, for as good as goal you’ll see all year.   Derek Thompson, who had a fine game between the posts for Faithleach’s, had no chance. Fintan Cregg cut the gap to four points from a free and the game was in the boiling pot again.Faithleach’s kept their cool in the latter stages. Another Vesey free extended their lead to five with four minutes left and despite some concerted Elphin presure, Faithleach’s deservedly held out to win.ST. FAITHLEACH’S: Derek Thompson; G. Murray, A. McCormack, Diarmuid Thompson; D. Murray, A. Murtagh, S. Ormsby; S. O’Grady, M. Reynolds (0-1); A. Dooney (1-0), A. Brehon (0-1), P. Wallace; J. Vesey (0-6, three frees), E. Kenny (1-3, two frees), D. Hussey (0-1). Subs used: H. Kenny for D. Hussey (52 mins), P. Cox for P. Wallace (58 mins)ELPHIN: S. Reynolds; M. Glancy, B. Cregg (1-0), B. Neary; J. Carney, P. O’Connor, J. Callery; B. Higgins, S. Tiernan (0-1); P. Fox, J. Collins (0-6, one free), B. Rock; F. Cregg (0-2, two frees), C. Rock, S. Roddy (0-1). Subs used: R. Brady for B. Higgins (20 mins), B. Higgins for J. Callery (50 mins).Wides: St. Faithleach’s 5; Elphin 3.Booked: St. Faithleach’s D. Murray (31 mins); Elphin J. Collins (51 mins).Referee: S. Regan.Man of the Match: Derek Thompson (St. Faithleach’s). It’s not too often that goalkeepers get awarded Man of the Match, but Thompson was excellent on Sunday. He made a number of fine saves, including one crucial one from Brian Cregg in the closing minutes. His massive kickouts were also the launching pad for many St. Faithleach’s attacks.
Source: Match Reports