TOUCH TIGHT Tooreen captain Stephen Coyne comes under so heavy pressure from his marker during last Sunday’s quarter-final victory over Four Roads. Pic: Memories thru a Lens
Four Roads 0-19
THE flatlands of Athleague played host to the beautiful game on Sunday afternoon as Tooreen and Four Roads served up an absolute cracking match in near perfect conditions. The Mayo champions delivered an awe-inspiring display to overcome the gallant lads from Four Roads in a game for the ages.
This was champagne hurling from start to finish, laden with passion and skill and talent that had us all imbibing from the fountain of this game that nourishes the soul. It was a day that yielded 48 white flags and, strangely enough, not one green flag.
An indication of what would reveal itself as a special day in the annals of Tooreen hurling came after six minutes when Kenny Feeney executed a cheeky ‘pick-flick’ to Fergal Boland, who posted a terrific point from near the sideline to move them three clear. It was the moment that put down a marker that Tooreen were on fire.
Four Roads have a proud tradition in Roscommon hurling and it was Padraig Kelly who got them up and running with a great strike with Brendan Mulry tagging on another as the game began to take on a see-saw pattern.
Marvellous long range shots from Seán Regan, Shane Boland and Fergal Boland found the target but the Roscommon lads showed sturdy resilience when firing over some delightful points from Noel Fallon, Cathal Dolan, James Cunniffe and Brendan Mulry.
The game was delicately poised at 0-8 each after 20 minutes, which was a fair reflection on all the play that had gone before.
The Mayo champions made a decisive break in the closing ten minutes of the half when they outscored Four Roads by 0-8 to 0-2. Five of these came from play and it was the quality of the points that gladdened the hearts of all Tooreen folk.
Seán Regan floated over a cracking point before Kenny Feeney completed a move inspired by a quick puck out by Stephen Lenehan to the unmarked Daniel Huane. This was inspirational play from Tooreen, capped by great scores from Cathal Freeman, Eoin Delaney and Fergal Boland, and with Seán Kenny knocking over a free and a ’65, Tooreen led 0-16 to 0-10 at the interval.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Tooreen had extended their lead to nine points with Seán Kenny accounting for three, Fergal Boland chipping in for two and one each from Kenny Feeney, Shane Boland and Conor Henry. Cathal Dolan registered all five points (four frees) for Four Roads during this spell of the second half.
Four Roads were now desperate for a goal as the game entered the closing ten minutes. They almost secured one too but Johnny Coyne was denied by a heroic goal-line stop by Conor Henry who took a knock but was back on his feet two minutes later.
Tooreen closed the game out in style with two points from Eoin Delaney, one from Fergal Boland, and two converted frees by Seán Kenny.
This was a glorious display by the Mayo lads who are now within one game of reaching the Connacht Final for the third year in a row. The defence was superb, ensuring a quite day for Stephen Lenehan, with Gary Nolan (brilliant again), Michael Morley and John Cassidy holding the Four Roads full forward line to just three points.
The half-back line of Conor Henry, Stephen Coyne and David Kenny were superb from start to finish and led the resistance in style.
Cathal Freeman made a massive contribution and was back to his brilliant best with a class display. Daniel Huane was solid all through while Fergal and Shane Boland, Seán Regan, Seán Kenny, Eoin Delaney and Kenny Feeney gave a masterly performance that will endure in the hearts of all who witnessed this special day.
Tooreen will now play Robert Emmets from London in the Connacht Intermediate semi-final in Athleague at 1pm next Sunday, November 3. Robert Emmets won the London championship last Sunday by a single point after two periods of extra time, edging out St Gabriel’s by 1-24 to 3-17.
S Lenehan; G Nolan, M Morley, J Cassidy; C Henry (0-1), S Coyne, D Kenny; C Freeman (0-1), D Huane; S Kenny (0-8, 7f, 1 sideline), F Boland (0-7), S Regan (0-2); S Boland (0-5, 3f), K Feeney (0-2), E Delaney (0-3).
Subs used: C Finn for Feeney; C English for D Kenny; L Lavin for Regan, D Harrison for Freeman.
D Dowd; C Coyle, J Lawlor, M McLoughlin; J Moran, M Kelly, J Donnelly; S Curley (0-1), C Coyne; C Dolan (0-10, 9f), N Fallon (0-1), P Kelly (0-4, 1f); A Lawlor, B Mulry (0-2), J Cunniffe (0-1).
Subs used: P Gannon for A Larkin; D Treacy for Coyle; J Coyne for Fallon; D Kelly for Moran; N Hynes for Cunniffe.
Referee: S Hynes (Galway)