Clancy points end Annascaul dream

THANKS mainly to the match-winning heroics of centre-back Paul Clancy, Moycullen fashioned a one- point triumph over Annascaul in yesterday’s All-Ireland IFC semi-final clash at the Limerick Gaelic Grounds.

With his side reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of midfielder Gareth Bradshaw for a second yellow card offence in the 53rd minute, the inspirational Clancy came to Moycullen’s rescue with two points in the last five minutes to secure victory.

It was fairytale stuff for Moycullen but a heart-breaking experience for Annascaul, who missed the opportunity of a lifetime to level matters two minutes into injury time.

Awarded a 30-metre free straight in front of the posts, Annascaul saw Genie Farrell’s attempted conversion sail wide.

This was the cruellest blow of all for a side that had been totally outplayed in the opening half and yet came back to hold a commanding position at the most vital stage of the match.

And what a personal tragedy it was for Farrell himself who, with five points to his credit, was responsible for bringing Annascaul back from the dead and giving them a new lease of life after the break.

Moycullen, with the aid of a slight wind, dominated the first half but seemed intent on kicking the game away.

Two pointed frees from Genie Farrell was the sum total of Annascaul’s tangible contribution to the first half.

But to Annascaul’s great relief, Moycullen seemed adamant on pressing the self-destruct button

Four points from the Lydon brothers and another from midfielder Bradshaw gave them a 0-5 to 0-2 lead at half -time.

Living up to their reputation as second-half specialists Annascaul, with three points from Genie Farrell, two from play, drew level just five minutes after the restart.

Annascaul were on song and powered their way into a three-point lead with some great strikes from Brendan O’Driscoll, Shane Fahy and Kieran O’Driscoll.

But a shell-shocked Moycullen side responded with two pointed frees from Philip Lydon to leave just the bare minimum between them going down the home straight.

Then came Bradshaw’s dismissal by referee Michael McGann.

But with numerical advantage and the game in the palm of their hand, Annascaul faltered at the final hurdle and allowed oceans of space to hero of the hour Clancy, who was allowed to solo up-field to first kick the equaliser and then the match-winning point for Moycullen three minutes from the end of normal time.

Annascaul manager Dan Sheehy was dignified in defeat, admitting: “We are a bit disappointed but not too much so.

“We had our chances to win but we did not take them and fair play to Moycullen, they showed some mighty heart to pull this game out of the fire, particularly Paul Clancy, a player I greatly admire.”

Scorers: Moycullen: P Lydon 0-4 (0-4f); P Clancy 0-2; M Lydon, P Lydon, G Bradshaw 0-1 each. Annascaul: G Farrell 0-5 (0-3f); B O’Driscoll, K O’Driscoll, S Foley 0-1.

MOYCULLEN: S Friel, K Carr, B Conneely, K O’Connor, S Bradshaw, P Clancy, B Hanley, M Lydon, G Bradshaw, B Flaherty, T Higgins, C Bohan, F Lydon, P Lydon, G Clancy.

ANNASCAUL: G O’Shea, T O’Shea, A O’Donnell, C Barry, J Farrell, T Farrell, K O’Driscoll, E Kennedy, N Sheehy, B O’Driscoll, G Farrell, J O’Driscoll, G “Bingo” O’Driscoll, J O’Driscoll, S Foley.

Substitute: E Hickson for J Farrell.

Referee: M McGann (Clare).

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