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Blackhall into SFC Final - SFC - 17th Sep 2005 - Blackhall Gaels 1-10 Trim 0-5

Blackhall into SFC Final

Blackhall Gaels 1-10 Trim 0-5
At: Pairc Tailteann
Date: 17th Sep 2005

Blackhall Gaels claimed their first SFC title just two years ago and they made sure of another appearance in the showpiece event of the year when they defeated Trim at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

This will not go down as one of the classic semi-finals as both sides repeatedly stumbled and stuttered their way through the flawed drama.

The opening half was particularly forgettable. It was full of mis-timed passes and spurned opportunities with neither side managing to find any fluency.

The difference in the second-half was that Blackhall were able to tap into a rich vein of form and shatter Trim's hopes of engineering a win.

What is it about Trim and semi-finals? This was their third successive defeat in a semi-final. Many felt that surely this would be their year, particularly after the chastening defeat by Simonstown in the semi-final last year.

They led by 0-3 to 0-2 in this encounter after a moderately efficient first-half. Then it all unravelled. Almost everything about their play in the second-half lacked the conviction and self-belief they required to subdue their revitalised opponents.

Trim even showed a certain lack of belief in the way they lined out. There were raised eyebrows when Darren Fay started at right-corner-back with the obvious job of negating the influence of Mark Crampton.

Fay was quickly moved back to his more customary centre-back after he was troubled by Crampton's pace and he eventually ended up at full-back.

The moves indicated Trim's fears and their problems in dealing with the increasingly dominant Blackhall defence.

The meagre two points Blackhall scored in the opening half is an indication of just how much they struggled to find any consistency.

They came out for the second-half with renewed purpose, and inspired by some fine fielding by Anthony Moyles, they started to dominate.

They were quicker to the breaking ball with Moyles, Stephen Nally, Nigel Nestor and Noel O'Hora mopping up a lot of possession.

This game was very much a tale of two penalties. The first was awarded to Trim after 23 minutes when a long ball from Fay caught out the Blackhall defence and Eoin McGrath was fouled going through. Paul Gilsenan stepped up, but drove the penalty wide of the right upright. The fight visibly drained from Trim after that.

With 13 minutes elapsed in the second-half Blackhall pressed forward. Crampton made a good interception, passed to Tadhg Brosnan, off-loaded to Sean Whelan and he was brought down. Up stepped Paul Nestor to confidently stoke the ball low to the net. That put Blackhall into a 1-6 to 0-4 advantage and in control.

Unlike the previous week when he struck eight points against Wolfe Tones, Whelan looked tentative from placed balls, although he did bisect the posts three times, twice from play. He also forced two excellent saves from Brendan Murphy.

Substitute Denis Beirne was just on the field when he popped over a candidate for point of the game with Barry McKeown and Brosnan also making impressive contributions to Blackhall's tally.

Trim's failure to score for 21 minutes in the second-half said a great deal about how hard they found it to get any momentum.

Playing with the breeze, they did have a reasonable first-half. Two points from Ronan Fitzsimons and one from Gilsenan gave them their slender interval advantage.

Maurice Power and Barry Sheridan were prominent with surging runs from deep, but they were unable to help their team find a midfield foothold in the second-half.

Blackhall's dominance in the closing stages meant the outcome looked obvious long before referee Jimmy Henry sounded the end in the gathering gloom.

(Meath Chronicle 24/09/05)

Team: Blackhall Gaels - M. Whelan; D. O'Neill, P. Nestor (1-0), B. Moyles; J. Joyce, G. Beirne, A. Dalton; A. Moyles (0-1), N. O'Hora (0-1); S. Nally (0-1), M. Ferris, N. Nestor; S. Whelan (0-3), T. Brosnan (0-2), M. Crampton. Subs - O. Creevey for O'Hora, D. Dalton for A. Dalton, B. McKeon (0-1) for S. Whelan, D. Beirne for G. Beirne.