They say goals win games, and so it proved in Summerhill on Saturday evening in this Premier Division 2 semifinal. Summerhill scored four goals, including a penalty, while Simonstown managed just one major over the course of 80 minutes of football. The Proudstown men were quicker off the blocks, were 4 points to the good after just 4 minutes, the Summerhill side finding the going tough in the opening exchanges. Eamonn Ryan’s opening point from play after 12 minutes got the home side going and an expertly taken penalty from Eamonn McDonnell, after he himself was fouled, added more impetus to Summerhill after the sluggish start. An excellent goal from Ben Moran, who was brilliant throughout, closed the scoring for the first half which the visitors deservedly led by a single point.
The introduction of Aaron Williams, Ross Tallon and Bobby Lyons for the second half had a considerable bearing on the outcome of this game. Strong running by Williams and the physical presence and experience of Lyons and Tallon caused all sorts of problems for Simonstown. Ciaran Gillespie started to totally dominate midfield, and half forwards Eamonn Ryan came more in the game and caused a few problems of his own, finishing up with 4 points to his name.
The last few minutes of normal time were hard on the heart for natives and visitors alike. With the clock on 35 minutes it seemed that Summerhill were home and hosed after Eamonn Ryan brought the lead to two points with time almost up. But Simonstown spoiled that particular party by winning possession from the resultant kickout, transferring the ball quickly to their inside forwards to score a cracking goal and take the lead with time up. Referee Seamus O’Connor allowed one more play, and with the clock now on 38 minutes Paddy McGrath got possession and let fly from about 35 yards for a dramatic equaliser. McGrath, who had a quiet enough game by his own standards, was the hero of the hour and brought the game to extra time. Full time score Summerhill 2-10 Simonstown 1-13.
Extra time was always going to be a grind, with fitness and strength off the bench going to be vital to the outcome of this game. And so it proved to be. Summerhill scored three more times to Simonstown’s four, but crucially two of the home scores were goals from Bobby Lyons in the first period. The point, a free from Ross Tallon came in the first minute . The situation was now critical for the visitors as they added just two points in this period. Tired bodies and cramp were in evidence all over the pitch, Summerhill had a five point cushion going into the second period and barring a meltdown of glacial dimensions they would survive, which they did.
AET: Summerhill 4-11 Simonstown 1-17
Full-Time: Summerhill 2-10 Simonstown 1-13.
Half time Summerhill 2-03 Simonstown 0-10
Summerhill team and scorers.
Robbie McDonnell, Mark Donoghue, Iarla Hughes, Jack Davies; Ben Moran (1-0), Jack Bannon , Conor Ryan; Ciaran Gillespie (0-2), Paddy McGrath (0-1); Conor Summerville, Luke Moran,Eamonn McDonnell (1-0), Eamonn Ryan(0-4, 1f), Cathal Brien, Cathal Ryan (0-1).
Subs: Aaron Williams (0-1) for Luke Moran 32 mins
Ross Tallon (0-2, 1 f) for Cathal Ryan 37 mins
Bobby Lyons (2-0) for Cathal Brien 43 mins
Eoghan Jennings for Conor Summerville 50 mins
Extra time substitutions
Roddy McAuliffe for Aaron Williams, Donal Matthews for Eamonn McDonnell, Darren Chapman for Conor Ryan.
Referee Seamus O Connor.