Local rivals Cortown and Dunderry took to the field on a cold October night with survival in division 4 of the Reserve League in mind. This is as glamorous as the GAA gets, a real
Super Monday. Why the powers that be in Croke Park hadn't sold the rights for this match to Sky Sports we will never know. A quick head count before the match in the away dressing room left many wondering was relegation on the cards for another year in the grade. However by 8.05pm the quota was almost filled and in line with historic games between these two sides, Dunderry started the game with 14 and Cortown ended the game with 14 men. Average age for both teams was well north of 30 with not many training sessions completed in 2018 as the strength of the O'Neills player fit jerseys were tested.
Dunderry flew into an early lead with the Garreth Dooley orchestrating things from the ‘40, Colm & Seamus Harte combining as telepathically as Brett and Owen did in the WWE back in the day and Mikey Dowdall ignoring the side line and storming tigerishly into the Cortown attack. TJ Garry shook off the effects of a recent honeymoon, wedding and six week stag party to partner Chris Fitzgerald in a dominant midfield. The flame haired half forward line were working well together together putting Cortown under pressure not usually felt in division 4. Early points from Dooley, Clarke and Harte were then complemented by a speculative effort / miracle strike from Dooley put the cherry on some fine play. Another goalmouth scramble ended with Harte senior finishing to the net leaving Dunderry 2:07 to 0:04 ahead at the half. The half time pep talk revolved around keeping her lit.
Cortown had their own purple patch as the second half clicked into “gear” with some fine scores, mostly from placed balls. Dunderry’s discipline left a lot to be desired, but at this stage of the season, it was not noticed. Further scores from Clarke who was having it all his own way on a younger and lighter corner back were followed by two excellent points from TJ left the scoreboard in good shape. Then disaster struck the author who in his mind was having an evening Rory Beggan would dream of….when a harmless shot came in from the 13-yard line, leaving yours truly with time to wonder what was on telly later on, to then fall spectacularly on the astro turf goalmouth as the ball dribbled in. While Cortown partied like it was 1999, the local umpire laughed, Darcy could only be thankful for Claire Byrne & the Presidential debate keeping most people at home. Not one for the highlights reel.
Thankfully, the obligatory red card was then produced, harshly it must be said, for Cortown’s #10 after an altercation with the Dunderry manager / wingback. Dunderry made the extra man count as Morgan Callaghan reorganised and dominated. Dunderry found their groove again, and finished the game strongly. The team were left thinking of better days the next night out in the Reverse League…..only to find out division 4 status was secure, and no more games (or training) was needed in 2018.
Successful night all round as division 4 status was maintained and our local rivals relegated.
Time to hang up the boots for some…..time to keep going for more and for younger lads to cut their teeth in adult football in a no pressure environment.
Bon voyage back to Australia to TJ and Yvonne.
P Darcy M Dowdall S Maguire T Conroy S Harte M Callaghan G Newman TJ Garry 0:02 C Fitzgerald 0:01 C Daly G Dooley 1:03 S Heffernan G Clarke 0:05 (2 frees) C Harte 1:01 M Garry