Ranelagh Gaels 3-14 – St Kevin’s / Killian’s 0-5

Venue: Kingswood

Gaels continued their late season charge to the top of the AFL Division 10 South table with a convincing win over St Kevin’s/Killian’s at Kingswood on Sunday. The Gaels’ form earlier in the campaign had been patchy, but a recent run of good results as seen them climb up the ladder and now they sit on top of the pile with just a handful of games remaining in the normal season.

This was a tough away assignment against a team that still had an outside chance of making the playoffs so the stakes were high. The pitch in Tallaght was tight as the physically imposing Kevin’s/Killian’s team attempted to play to their strengths.

But the visitors stuck to the game plan; passing the ball out of defence, running hard and then delivering possession fast and low into the dangerous full forward line where Eamonn Courtney, Johnny Conlon, reliable as ever with the frees, and Jer McCarthy did the damage. Gaels piled on the early pressure, but the wides tally started to mount up and there was a worry that they wouldn’t be able to make their dominance count.

However, these fears disappeared when Courtney got the first goal of the game, which was followed shortly afterwards by Gordon Pritchard’s first ever green flag for the club. Pritchard is a native of Australia and only recently took up Gaelic football, amazing manager Liam O’Hagan and his team mates with his new-found skills with the round ball.

Some of the good work was nearly undone before the break when a short kick-out routine misfired, but fullback Shane ‘Corky’ Minihane and keeper Kieran Rouse just about managed to rescue the situation and clear the ball to safety. Ranelagh held a commanding lead at the break, but the expected onslaught after the interval made sure that there were a few uncomfortable moments before Conlon hit his side’s third to make the points safe.

Before the end O’Hagan emptied the bench and this allowed Alan Kelly to make his return at wing forward following a long injury lay off and though there were signs of rustiness the game-time will stand to him with vital games still a head. Another replacement for the multi-cultural Gaels was American Pat Koucheravy, who arrived in this country after marrying an Irish girl and duly scored his first point – a fisted effort – at the weekend.

The game also marked the last appearance in the Ranelagh jersey – for now – of long-serving cornerback John Lawrence, who is leaving the country for an extended break in Australia.

REFEREE: Philip Brady

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