Tuam Stars 1-13
TUAM Stars were almost caught with two late sucker-punches in Tuam Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Caherlistrane came mightily close to forcing extra time in a preliminary quarter final contest in which they appeared to be dead and buried at the three quarter mark.
When Shane Curtin curled over a fine point on 45 minutes to make it 1-11 to 0-7 for Ja Fallon’s men, who were motoring well without their captain Gary O’Donnell who will miss the rest of the campaign with an Achilles injury, their place in the draw for the quarter-finals seemed assured as Caherlistrane struggled for scores despite winning more than their fair share of possession.
Caherlistrane chipped away at the lead with three points in succession but Tuam regrouped to be still six ahead when the drama began to unfold in the final minute. When Caherlistrane were awarded a free on the 20 metre line, Cormac Bane quickly spotted that the defenders were nowhere near ready.
He fizzed a low shot that took everybody by surprise into the bottom left corner passed an unsighted Johnny Trayers in the Tuam goal, and suddenly there was just a kick of the ball between them. Surely Tuam, a side who had pulled off a mini-Houdini routine of their own in overcoming Salthill-Knocknacarra in round two, would calmly see out the remaining minutes.
Far from it. Within sixty seconds, Caherlistrane defender Eanna Glynn had somehow ghosted into space in the right corner forward position and ran onto a handpass that put him one-on-one with Trayers, who rushed out smartly and smothered the shot instinctively. Further consternation was caused with a few long balls into the danger area but Tuam survived.
They now go forward to face Monivea/Abbey in the last eight, and should do so full of confidence despite the late scare, as they played by far the better football in perfect conditions. Intelligent, compact defending laid the foundation on which an inside duo of Jamie Murphy and Cormac McWalter could prosper in a more open environment.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.