Celbridge 2-11 St Margarets 1-09

Celbridge held off a fierce onslaught from St Margarets to win their first U40s match of the year

A very solemn 1 minutes silence to Jean Martin

led way to a spectacular showcase of male over indulgence and residual skill and talent!

The game started well for St Margarets who had an initial willingness to have everyone involved – there were several mesmerising passages of play between the forward line of Ivan Smith, Mick Kennedy, Mark Thomas.

Half forwards Drew Barnwell, Declin Cowley and Joe Block – fed by midfielders Dermot O’Grady and Greg Doyle were all excellent in these early exchanges! – play after play seemed to indicate natural born talent over fitness!

Full backs Jem Fitz, Hu Madigan and Richie Cantwell had little to do whilst half backs Robert Lumley, Jamie Nugent and Martin Lumley were superb in starting attack after attack – Greg Doyle and Dermot O’Grady in midfield winning everything – seriously impressive!

Those early exchanges could have yielded 3-5 extra points but lack of practice led to poor finishing.

Cowley and Smith were particular culprits in these early exchanges – missing a serious amount of goal and point opportunities – the radars clearly still needing focusing from the long lack of practice!

But a lot to be happy with here – the quarter ended unbelievably Celbridge 2 points up – 5 points to 3

Some tactical changes seemed to induce more vigour into the Celbridge half backs with excellent movement from half back to midfield to the forward line – Celbridge were on fire here – figuring out that obeying the one hop one solo (madness?) rule was the way to beat this healthy but unfit St Margarets outfit.

St Margarets seemed to wilt.

Celbridge continued their dominance of this quarter – they were excellent – St Margarets becoming tired of the onslaught of clever play from the the Celbridge mid field and half forwards – they couldn’t deal with the runners from all angles.

In the end – poor finishing from the Celbridge forwards – in combination by excellent harrying by Margarets defenders with great goal keeping by stand in keeper Aidan Conaty – kept Margarets in the game and at half time – they were only 5 points down – the half finishing Celbridge 8-5 up.

Half time couldn’t come quick enough for some thirsty souls with some damaged muscles from the hard ground at Celbridge’s number 1 pitch – plenty of running and covering done by most St Margarets back in that last quarter – effort not rewarded by poor forward finishing.

Manager Leslie Cowley – furious – rejigged tactics and moved the ever impressive Dermot O’Grady to half forward to get some momentum in the top half – and Dermot did not disappoint – his vision, tactical prowess and constant talking – seemed to start St Margarets off to a change of momentum – corner forwards Joe Block and Richie Cantwell making space for the midfield and half forward runners of Drew Barnwell and Greg Doyle.

Yet they couldn’t get the ball far enough up the field to affect anything – Celbridge continuing where they left off – quick minds, passing, reduced errors – score after score – the damage was done in this quarter – St Margarets barely able to get out of their half!

2 (jammy) goals seemingly put this tie to rest – Celbridge in complete control at 2-9 to 0-7. Tempers were always boiling on the service and frustrations showed with Mark Thomas in particular showing a will and desire – deemed not fitting of the ‘friendly’ nature of the encounter by the ref.

A demoralised team crawled into the 3rd quarter water break demoralised and wondering how this game was going to play out – with little possession – so many ‘tired’ mistakes.

One thing that was always going to affect St Margarets was there lack of numbers on the night – whilst Celbridge had a brimming squad of 30 to Margarets 17 – the freshness was always going to be with Celbridge – 3rd Quarter ended Celbridge 7 points up! Score 2-9 to 0-7

But whatever you say about this team – or this club – you can never take away it’s spirit and when manager Leslie Cowley clarified positions and roles – St Margarets came out into the final quarter like a different beast,

Now having some structure – Margarets seemed to move down the lines more fluently – and the ever running motor of mid fielder Greg Doyle – the engine of this side – linked play from back to front. Margarets had serious momentum this half – and it told in the score board as they knocked off score after score. A goal by Declin Cowley – a serious culprit in the first half – and some suberv fre kicks from Mark Thomasand Dermot O’Grady – had Margarets within a score of a shell shocked and tiring Celbridge!

But as the replacements rolled on and off for Celbridge – Margarets just didn’t have enough time to affect the outcome of this came – which they would have if there were 5 more minutes – and O’Grady Baggio style free kick being the final kick of this encounter!

Celbridge deserved this win – for their early momentum – cleverness – movement – and for Margarets lack of precision in front of goal. Congratulations – and we hope to avenge this defeat another time!

St Margarets: Aidan Conaty; Richie Cantwell, Hubert Madigan, James Fitzgerald; Jamie Nugent, Robert Lumley, Martin Lumley; Dermot O’Grady, Greg Doyle; Drew Barnwell, Declan Cowley, Trevor Ratcliffe, Mick Kennedy, Ivan Smith, Joe Block

Want to join the Over 40s?

Lads – there are 55 on our Whatsapps / ClubZap – but only 15/16 ever show up – we need a better showing – especially now that this age category is attracking more interest (see here). We need to get fitter faster and lets start 2022 like we ended 2021 – an unbeatable force!

For anyone who isn’t currently on ClubZap – just download the ClubsZap app, search and ‘subscribe’ to ‘St Margarets GAA’, go to chats, click on the bottom right green chat icon, find the ‘Over 40s’ group and request to join.

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