A commanding second half display – in which Cappataggle out-played, out-fought and outscored Ahascragh/Fohenagh by 11 points to one – secured Gerry Healy’s charges the county intermediate title following what a disappointing final replay at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe last Saturday.
Quite simply, once Cappataggle took control of proceedings in the second quarter of the contest, Ahascragh/Fohenagh, who had started the tie in explosive fashion by hitting their opponents for 1-4 in the opening nine minutes, had nothing left to give. Ultimately, they seemed to just run out of ideas.
In contrast, Cappataggle, after surviving the early onslaught, threw off the shackles to play with a great deal of abandon thereafter. Crucial to this process were two positional switches from the drawn game, with Damien Joyce redeployed to midfield and Darragh Dolan nudged into the centre-forward berth.
While Cappy had struggled to get a foothold in the centre of the park against Ahascragh/Fohenagh first day out, they had no such trouble on this occasion as the tenacious Joyce, looking far more comfortable in the middle third, gobbled up primary possession time and again.
For Dolan’s part, he gave the Cappy forward unit direction. Throughout their campaign, the victors had no problems creating a high volume of scoring chances but, too often, their woes stemmed from their inability to convert them. On Saturday, Dolan was the tip on the arrow, scoring four points from play and securing the Man of the Match award.
That said, this accolade could have gone to a number of players, including Joyce. Daniel Nevin was once again a bundle of energy up front while Patrick Egan’s influence on the proceedings, in terms of picking up breaking ball and tallying two points of his own, was also significant.
Alan Dolan, too, delivered on his potential and this came down to the simple fact that he upped his work-rate from previous outings. Plundering a handful of Ahascragh/Fohenagh puck-outs, he handled more ball in the opposition half of the field than any other Cappy player. A fine contribution.
Indeed, once those five – Joyce, the two Dolans, Nevin and Egan – shifted up through the gears in the second quarter, the rest of their Cappy team-mates began to follow suit and, consequently, Ahascragh/Fohenagh were methodically squeezed out of the game.
Full match report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.