Churchill GAA Club News

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Churchill 1-09

Ballydonoghue 0-10.

Churchill kicked off their Junior Premier Championship campaign with a 2 point victory over Ballydonoghue in a wet and windy Finuge on Sunday afternoon, and they had to battle to the end having played much of the second half with 14 men.

Both sides settled quickly into the game and an early Ivan Parker point was cancelled by a Thomas Kennelly free.

Parker added a second and Jason Mortimer, starting his first game for Churchill, put his team 2 points ahead after 10 minutes.

Paul Kennelly pointed a free for Ballydonoghue from a tight angle to reduce the score to 0-3 to 0-2. Churchill were coping with theie physically stronger opponents and were coming out on top in most of the individual battles around the pitch.

Gary Rolls at full back was marshalling Paul Kennelly and at the other end Ivan Parker was making life difficult for Kerry’s Jason Foley. Around the middle of the field, Chris Hurley, Sean Donnellan and Killian Fitzgerald were covering well and setting up the foundation for our attacks.

Churchill finished the half well with three Micheal O’Brien points, interrupted by another Thomas Kennelly free and a fisted effort from Paul Kennelly, for Ballydonoghue’s only score from play in the first half. At half time the teams retreated with Churchill leading by 0-06 to 0-04.

The second half started with a black card for Ballydonoghue’s Jack Foley and shortly after Cillian Fitzgerald was shown red for Churchill.

Fitzgerald can feel hard done by as his attempted quick free was blocked by a Ballydonoghue player who went down in the collision, however the referee decided that the incident deserved further action and Churchill were left with 14 men for the last 25 minutes.

Ballydonoghue were quickly level through Thomas and Paul Kennelly as Churchill struggled to adjust. Cathal Rodgers, Matt Finnerty and Chris Hurley stepped up for Churchill and controlled possession for long periods and carried the ball when required, Another Micheal O’Brien point was cancelled by a 45m free from Thomas Kennelly and the sides were again level with around 15 minutes remaining.

Then came the defining moment of the game, when Ivan Parker picked out JJ Prior with a pass and JJ ran through unchallenged and finished to the net via the post.

Prior is making a nice habit of late of popping up with important goals for Churchill and this gave his side something to defend for the final quarter of the game.  Ballydonoghue reduced the scoreline to a single point through Daragh Sheehy and Paul Kennelly, but points from Chris Hurley and O’Brien restored the three point lead.

As Ballydonoghue searched for a goal Churchill defended resolutely with Sean Donnellan and PJ Mahoney putting their bodies on the line. Ballydonoghue could only manage a late point and when the referee blew the final whistle there was relief and elation from the Churchill team and supporters.

Churchill’s next game in the Championship is this Saturday evening at 6:30 in Churchill against Skellig Rangers.

Academy: The underage Academy for boys and girls from under-6 to under-10 will resume this Sunday 8th April at 11am in the pitch in the Spa. All players are to bring suitable footwear, gum shield, water and €2. Gum shields are mandatory for all players and must be worn for all training sessions and matches.

Lip Sing Battle: Churchill will launch the Lip Sing Battle this Friday night, 6th April, at 9pm in the Oyster Tavern. The acts have been put through their paces for the past few weeks and excitement is building for the big event on Sunday 6th May in Ballyroe.  Tickets will go on sale at the launch on Friday night and are expected to sell quickly.

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