DONAL O'GRADY: Forward thinking proves key

SARSFIELDS are county champions for the second time in three seasons because they had a bit more scoring potential up front than Glen Rovers.

The Glen men needed more of a return from their inside line inparticular to be in with a chance of winning this one; in a game that could be described as a tame affair, however, two good points fromTadhg Óg Murphy as the gamedrew to a close dragged Sars over the line.

However, the crucial score came from Sars’ excellent defender Conor O’Sullivan in the 11th minute. He struck a free from his own half-back line which dropped into the Glen net past hapless ‘keeper Cathal Hickey.

It gave Sars that little cushion all through the first half and helped them keep their noses in front to half-time.

Sars’ hurling in the first half was also a little crisper around the field and they dominated midfield with busy displays from Daniel Kearney and Daniel Roche, though the Glen’s Dean Brosnan made some good runs from the middle of the field.

Gavin O’Loughlin, named in the corner but operating in thehalf-forward line, scored three good points from play and this ability to score points which eventuallydecided the issue.

AT no stage did either goalkeeper have any real saves to makeyesterday. Alan Kennedy, the Sars goalkeeper and captain, was smart and alert around his goal area and he was fronted by a very tightdefence.

Sars’ corner-backs Darren Kenneally and the aforementioned Conor O’Sullivan were excellent all through but particularly in the second half.

Joe Barry at full back was troubled early on by Patrick Horgan, the Glen’s only real danger-man, but as the second half wore on Barry gotto grips with his opponent, giving Horgan very little space.

Glen Rovers’ defence, led by the combative Graham Callinan, tied Sars up and drove the Glen forward in the 20 minutes after half-time. When the Glen led by three points it looked as if they might hold on, with Dean Brosnan and David Goggin – named at wing-forward but dropping deep into midfield – giving the Glen an advantage in this area.

Sars’ management made someastute switches, however. Theyintroduced William Kearney, who gave them impetus around themiddle and crucially, switched Tadhg Óg Murphy to corner forward, where he scored the winning points.

WHEN you look at the scoring stats from this game it came down to a battle between the free-takers, Cian McCarthy of Sars and Patrick Horgan of the Glen.

Crucially, McCarthy was unerring from placed balls, hitting over all the frees he took and a 65 in the second half.

Unfortunately for the Glen, a long-range effort from Horgan in the 57th minute tailed off to the right and wide. They needed that score in the end to make a draw of it, as Horgan was forced to go for goal from a difficult angle with the last puck of the game as the Glen were two points down. No-one in the Páirc yesterday would have quibbled with a draw but Sars would have been annoyed with themselves if they’d lost.

They hit very poor wides all through, but particularly in the first half, where they had eight wides,often as the result of poor option-taking. Going forward into theMunster club campaign, Sarsmanagement will be concerned with this stat in particular, and theirinability to create goal chances from some good possession. But all told they’ll be happy with the win, as it’s the result, rather than the display, that counts in a final.


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