SFC: Gowna advance to semis at second attempt

September 18, 2016

Cootehill's John McCutcheon with Ryan McGahern and William Stephens (Gowna)

Gowna 0-18
Cootehill 0-13

Gowna saw off Cootehill Celtic at the second attempt yesterday evening in Virginia to move into the semi-finals of the senior football championship.

Liam Higgins' side were full for their victory in this quarter-final replay, with all six of their starting forwards getting on the score-sheet, as they led by as many as nine points at one stage.

After trailing by seven at the break, Cootehill rallied with six consecutive scores to take them into the final quarter but their opponents had plenty left in the tank for them as Shane Briody came off the bench to fire over a brace before Niall Madden rounded off the win.

It sets-up an intriguing semi-final date with Michael Reilly's Castlerahan, who defeated Lacken by a point in Mullahoran in the day's other senior quarter-final replay.

Gerald Pearson curled over a superb opener for Gowna after two minutes and the Longford border outfit pulled 0-4 to 0-1 clear in the ensuing five minutes thanks to Cian Bannon and Pearson (2 frees) registering overs to outweigh Eoin Roche's effort for the Hoops.

Colm Smith sailed over Cootehill's second point and the former Cavan minor struck another in the 18th minute to make it a two-point game, after Enda Hessin had announced his arrival with a free to cancel out Mark McKeever's long range effort.

Pearson knocked over two frees to increase the margin for Gowna, but their counterparts from Hugh O'Reilly Park should have had at least one goal in between the ex-Cavan forward's fourth and fifth points.

Stevie O'Connor saw a goal chance well saved by Ronan Bannon after cutting through and minutes later Tom Hayes would crash his shot off the post and Gowna's scrambling backs cleared the danger.

Instead the leaders finished out the half in impressive fashion, as TJ Fitzpatrick, Cian Bannon, Conor Madden and David Hyland all found their range prior to Smith trying to stop the rot for the Celts, leaving it at 0-12 to 0-5 for the interval.

Madden and Robbie Fitzpatrick made it a nine-point game after just two minutes of the restart, leaving the intermediate winners of 2014 with a real mountain to try and scale.

Ciaran O'Malley's side eventually caught fire with Hessin smashing over and sparking a run of six unanswered points to bring the town side right back into contention.

Substitute Glen Nulty (2), Smith (2 frees) and Hessin had the score-line reading 0-14 to 0-11 in Gowna's favour with a little under a quarter hour remaining, as the game all of a sudden looked to be in the melting-pot.

A superb score from Madden was quickly erased at the other end by Smith, but when Shane Briody - fresh on as a replacement for TJ Fitzpatrick - popped up with a brace the pendulum had swung back the way of the long-time leaders.

A Hessin free was all Cootehill could muster in the closing stages, as they lost goalkeeper Ryan Carroll to a late red card, and Niall Madden put a seal on the win for Gowna prior to Pearson being given his own marching orders on a second yellow card.

Gowna: Ronan Bannon; David Philips, Ryan McGahern, James Madden; Mark McKeever (0-1), Willie Stephens, Andrew Dewart; Niall Madden (0-1), Raymond Keogh; David Hyland (0-1), Robbie Fitzpatrick (0-1), Cian Bannon (0-2); Conor Madden (0-3), Gerald Pearson (0-6), TJ Fitzpatrick (0-1). Subs: John Hyland, Aaron Brady, Shane Briody (0-2).

Cootehill: Ryan Carroll; Sean O'Connor, Barry McGahan, Neil McCluskey; John Carney, Joshua Hayes, Dean Connolly; Eoin Roche (0-1), John McCutcheon; Damien Sherlock, Enda Hessin (0-4), Stevie O'Connor; Caoimhin Carney, Tom Hayes, Colm Smith (0-6). Subs: Glen Nulty (0-2), Mark Mullen.

Ref: John Emo (Butlersbridge)

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