Safety guaranteed for Tinahely after victory over Dunlavin

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Tinahely 2-16

unlavin 2-10

Tinahely ensured Senior status for next year after a comfortable victory over Dunlavin on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, for their opponents, they will have to overcome Donard-The Glen in order to avoid a drop to Intermediate football next season.

It was Dunlavin who started the better of the teams and they opened up an early two-point lead thanks to points from Jack Reid and Sean Doyle. The hosts did pull one back moments through an Eoin D’Arcy free.

Just after the 10th minute, the green flags were waved for the first time.

A sliced effort from Daniel Dawson fell kindly into the path of Sean Doyle. The Dunlavin corner-forward turned well and smashed the ball goalward.

It looked initially like Tinahely had enough bodies behind the ball, but on further inspection from the referee and his umpires, the goal was given and Dunlavin extended their lead.

Cian O’Sullivan and Daniel Dawson added to Dunlavin’s tally, but unfortunately for them, that was as good as it got for them in the first half.

Jason Cushe’s point, followed by another three points from Eoin D’Arcy helped Tinahely get well and truly back in the game and a real swing in momentum came shortly after.

Matthew Ging and Noel Mulhall also put their names on the scoresheet, helping their side take the lead for the first time in the game. In the 25th minute, Tinahely found their first goal through a wonderfully worked attack.

A precise pass from Matthew Ging found Paddy O’Rourke in space.

O’Rourke ran through on goal before unselfishly squaring the ball across to Brian Walsh who fisted the ball home from close range.

The battle in the Tinahely half-forward line between two regular county stars, Tom Moran and Rory Stokes, was a thrilling battle, with Stokes seeing plenty of the ball for the home side.

Paddy O’Rourke, Jason Cushe and Cillian McDonald helped Tinahely extend their lead to seven points before the break, giving Dunlavin a huge deficit to overturn.

Matthew Ging found the first score of the second period with a well-taken free, but Dunlavin did hit back just moments later.

A move which started with a fantastic tackle from Paraic Carmody inside his own half to overturn possession, Dunlavin quickly worked the ball up the field to Darragh Dillon.

Dillon then found the ever-lively Cian O’Sullivan who buried the ball into the top corner.

In the next play, O’Sullivan added another point, reducing Tinahely’s lead to just four points.

With it starting to look like Dunlavin were getting themselves back into the contest, two points from Eoin D’Arcy helped settle any nerves which might have been creeping into his side.

Dunlavin looked to their bench for reinforcements, introducing Matt Miley and Gary Allen.

With his first touch of the ball, Matt Miley fired home expertly from a difficult angle to keep his side in the game. James Hedderman and Cian O’Sullivan traded scores in the minutes following, but Tinahely put the game to bed shortly after.

An Eoin D’Arcy ball across the face of the Dunlavin goal was misjudged by goalkeeper Thomas Davis and the ball trickled to the back post where Matthew Ging had an open goal to aim for, as he fired home his side’s second of the game.

Ging added a free in the last few minutes to keep Tinahely scores ticking over, but Dunlavin fought until the final moments

Two points Gary Allen and another from Cian O’Sullivan brought Dunlavin back to within six points of their opponents, but it wasn’t to be as Tinahely secured Senior status.

Tinahely: Alan Lillis; Bradley Hickey, Kevin Mulhall, Daniel Hedderman; Cillian McDonald (0-1), Connor Hatton, Larry Kinsella; Brian Walsh (1-0), Noel Mulhall (0-1); Patrick O’Rourke (0-1), Rory Stokes, James Hedderman (0-1); Matthew Ging (1-4, 4f), Eoin Darcy (0-6, 4f), Jason Cushe (0-2). Subs: Tony Darcy for J Hedderman (55)

Dunlavin: Thomas Davis; Paraic Carmody, Sean Phelan, Rory Martin; Mark Murtagh, Tom Moran, Mark Reid; Daniel Dawson, Eoin Murtagh; Darragh Dillon, MJ Moran, Jack Reid (0-1, 1f); Cian O’Sullivan (1-5, 2f), Aaron Kennedy, Jack Reid (1-1, 1m). Subs: Matt Miley (0-1) for M Murtagh (37), Gary Allen (0-2) for J Reid (37)

Referee: Stephen Fagan (Baltinglass)

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