GAA | Geraldines finish with a flourish to beat St Patrick’s in Dowdallshill

Anchor Tours Louth Senior Football Championship Group Four
Geraldines 1–14 St Patrick’s 0–14

Geraldines’ Shane O’Hanlon holds off St Patrick’s defenders Dessie Finnegan and Conor Grogan……
…..and then buries this effort past Pat’s goalkeeper Sean Connor in the Louth Senior Championship Group Four game in Dowdallshill. PICTURES: CIARAN CULLIGAN

The Geraldines had to dig deep to get their Louth Senior Championship campaign off to a winning start against St Patrick’s in Dowdallshill on Sunday afternoon.

Three points ahead with less than 15 minutes to play, Pat’s looked good value for a win, their first at this stage since they last won the crown in 2015, but Jim McEneaney kept the Gers quietly ticking away with a hat-trick of scores from dead balls.

His first point from open play, with two minutes left on the clock, propelled last year’s quarter-finalists in front before the excellent Shane O’Hanlon settled it with two late scores to put Eamon McEneaney’s side in the driving seat in Group Four.

Early scores from O’Hanlon and Cathal Grogan got both sides off the mark before Josh Arrowsmith collected a neat pass from Neil Jones and neatly slotted over for the Gers.

Pat’s manager Davy Nelson employed Paddy Keenan in the full forward line and he produced a stunning catch in the 10th minute, collecting Evan White’s booming pass under pressure before feeding Darragh Lafferty for a point.

Paddy Keenan plucks this ball out of the air for St Patrick’s
Left: Dessie Finnegan of St Patrick’s breaks clear of Geraldines’ Shane O’Hanlon. Right: St Patrick’s Danny O’Connor is held up by Geraldines’ Paul Clarke. PICTURES: CIARAN CULLIGAN

The former Louth star then latched onto a Patrick Kirk pass to put the Lordship side in front for the first time.

After three bad misses by his standards, McEneaney found his range with a 16th minute free but Pat’s went straight down the other end of the field and Danny O’Connor fired over with a delicious effort from the right.

The first goal of the afternoon arrived in the 20th minute. A long ball down the middle looked destined for the hands of Pat’s goalkeeper Sean Connor but Dessie Finnegan’s touch deflected the ball kindly into O’Hanlon’s path.

Connor did brilliantly to stop the first effort but O’Hanlon kept his cool, rifling home at the second attempt to move the Haggardstown side two ahead, 1–3 to 0–4.

The Gers had further opportunities to extend that lead but O’Hanlon saw an effort go wide of the mark before McEneaney, much to his frustration, miskicked from a good position.

Eamon McEneaney’s team had the momentum at this stage and when Neil Jones broke through a static Pat’s backline in the 26th minute it looked like goal number two was on the cards. Connor, however, stood tall, making another stunning save with Jones happy to take a point with the follow-up.

Pat’s needed a response before the break and they got it in the shape of two quickfire scores, Lafferty making no mistake with a well-taken score off Eoin O’Connor’s sideline pass.

Left: Geraldines’ Matthew Corcoran holds off St Patricks’ Cathal Grogan. Right: Eoin O’Connor of St Patrick’s gets away from Geraldines’ Nicky Mackin. PICTURES: CIARAN CULLIGAN

A Keenan free then left it a two-point game at the break, 1–5 to 0–6, and very much everything to play for when Noel Hand’s whistle blew.

Eoin O’Connor was involved in a minor scuffle on the sideline early on in the second half and this only seemed to fire the Pat’s man into action.

His side registered five scores in the next nine minutes with the inter county star bagging the pick of those with a sublime effort with the outside of his right-boot. An O’Hanlon point, along with an eye-catching effort from Robbie Lynch were sandwiched in between for the Gers.

With 10 minutes played in the second period, it was Pat’s who held a one-point lead, 0–11 to 1–7, and looked like they were building a head of steam.

The Gers steadied the ship and they fashioned a golden opportunity to raise a second green flag in the 46th minute. O’Hanlon’s pass to the right was collected in his stride by the breaking Jack Traynor but his goal bound effort was blocked in sensational fashion by Darren O’Hanlon.

Nelson’s men enjoyed another spell of good scoring after that with Danny O’Connor adding a brace of fine points.

Jim McEneaney leaves Dessie Finnegan in his wake
Geraldines’ Jim McEneaney gets away from St Patrick’s Daniel Rice. Right: Paul Clarke and Nicky Mackin celebrate the Ges’ win. PICTURES: CIARAN CULLIGAN

The first of those could so easily have been a goal but for the strong wrist of Gers goalkeeper Sean McEneaney. How crucial his touch proved to be at the end of things.

Four McEneaney frees not only kept the Gers in touch, but drew them level in the 57th minute of play, and when the Louth man squeezed a right-footed effort inside the post, the pendulum tilted back their way.

Pat’s became ragged in the dying stages and the Geraldines ruthlessly exploited the spaces left behind with O’Hanlon’s tidy left-footed effort, followed by a good score on the run, securing a three-point win and putting them in pole position in Group Four.

GERALDINES: Sean McEneaney; James Craven, Kevin Pepper, Jack Traynor; Gareth Neacy, Gerry Hoey, Paul Clarke; Nicky Mackin, Paddy Hoey; Robbie Lynch (0–1), Jim McEneaney (0–7, 6f), Neil Jones (0–1); Josh Arrowsmith (0–1), Shane O’Hanlon (1–4), Matthew Corcoran. Subs: Killian Dempsey for R Lynch, 45 mins.

ST PATRICK’S: Sean Connor; Alan O’Connor, Dessie Finnegan, Patrick Kirk; Conor Grogan, Darren O’Hanlon, Daniel Rice; Thomas McCann, Darragh Lafferty (0–2); Evan White, Eoin O’Connor (0–2), Aidan McCann (0–2); Cathal Grogan (0–1), Paddy Keenan (0–3, 1f), Danny O’Connor (0–4). Subs: Aaron Rogers for A O’Connor, 44 mins; Jason Woods for E White, 58 mins.

REFEREE: Noel Hand (Hunterstown Rovers).

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