The Numbers View- Maghery v Sarsfields

With Shaun Casey

Maghery v Sarsfields

Armagh Senior Championship 18-09-17

Maghery continue their journey in the Armagh SFC with a win over Sarsfields in an extremely enjoyable game on Monday night. Although the champions certainly didn’t have it all their own way. Their class shone threw in the second half to book a semi final spot against rivals Crossmaglen. Whom they previously beat earlier in the championship.

They got off to a perfect start. Ben Crealey won the throw up and Ronan Lappin launched a high ball into the square. Only for it to sail over the keepers head and into the back of the net with 13 seconds on the clock. Sarsfields replied through a Kevin McAlinden point before two points from Stefan and Aidan Forker extended the margin to 4.

The High Moss men were soon level when Michael Stevenson struck for a point before winning the resulting kickout and setting up Eamon McGeown for his sides first goal. Sarsfields then took the lead, with Stevenson again involved, winning the free which Christopher McGaughey converted from 45 metres out.

The game was once more tied when Conor Mackle got his first point. But it was Sarsfields again who edged in front with McGaughey once more scoring a monster free kick. Maghery got the next two scores through Stefan Forker and Brain Fox to lead once again. Scoring 80% of their chances in the opening 20 minutes.

Sarsfields levelled the game for the fourth time with Stevenson scoring after McGeown (who tormented the Maghery full back line all evening) worked hard to set him up. McGeown was then on target from the penalty spot to score his 2nd three pointer of the evening. And more importantly give his sides a three point advantage.

James Lavery jumped highest to win the resulting kickout and begin an attack which led to Seamus Forker’s opening score. 3 of Maghery’s scores coming from winning possession off their own restarts. Aidan Forker then reduced the margin to one with a converted free kick. Before he and his brother Stefan Forker put Maghery ahead by 1-9 to 2-5 at the interval.

1st Half Overview

70% of Maghery’s scores came off the back of kickouts. However they didn’t dominate here as they won 11 of the 20 kick outs throughout the first half. It was Maghery’s efficiency in front of goal that was most impressive as they converted 73% of their shots. Kicking 3 wides and dropping 1 shot into the keepers hands.

Sarsfields only produced 4 turnovers in the entire half. They scored from 75% of these. Whilst getting 3 scores from winning 8 out of 13 of their own kickouts. Sarsfields had 14 attacks in the opening period, their main option of route one football to Eamon MacGeown on the edge of the square. 6 of their 1st half attacks were kicked to him.

2nd Half

Maghery began to impose themselves early in the second half. Nabbing the first 4 scores through Stephen Cusack (2), Conor Mackle, and Aidan Forker. Eamonn McGeown converted for Sarsfields before Sean McAlinden put his name on the scoresheet. Leaving 4 points between the teams with 15 minutes remaining.

Ben Crealey increased Maghery’s lead with a long range point before Cusack once again came forward from centre half back to split the posts. Maghery could have had the game out of sight at this stage. But kicked 5 wides in a row. It seemed they could live to regret the missed chances when Michael McGeown once again rattled the net with a driving effort from a 14 yard free to limit Maghery’s advantage to 3 points.

Maghery would confirm their victory one minute later, when substitute Shea Tennyson kicked his side’s 17th point. To book Maghery’s place in the semi finals with a 1-17 to 3-7 win, as they continue to hunt for a historic two in a row.

Team Lists

Maghery: Johnny Montgomery, Kevin Nugent, Oisin Lappin, Michael Higgins, Michael Gallagher, Stephen Cusack (0-3), David Lavery, James Lavery, Ben Crealey (0-1), Brian Fox (0-1), Conor Mackle (0-3), Ronan Lappin (1-0), Seamus Forker (0-1), Stefan Forker (0-4), Aidan Forker (0-3). Subs: Ciaran Higgins for M. Higgins, Shea Tennyson for Seamus Forker.

Sarsfields: Christopher Scullion, James McAlinden, Peter Stevenson, Declan Breen, Johnny Niblock, Sean McAlinden (0-1), Brian Kerr, Brian Lavery, Christopher McGaughey (0-2), Michael Stevenson (0-2), Paul McGaughey, Aaron McGaughey, Kevin McAlinden, Eamon McGeown (2-1), Kevin O’Hagan. Subs: Caoimhin Robinson (0-1) for K. McAlinden, Conor Creaney for A. McGaughey, Niall Kerr for B. Kerr, M McGeown (1-0).