Saul storm on through the Intermediate Championship and were too strong for St John’s.
A 2020 Down GAA Intermediate Football Championship – Sponsored by The Parador Lodge.
Final Score: Saul 4-07 1-10 St Johns.
Match Report by Sean Cunningham.
Blustery windswept conditions made for difficult playing conditions at Eoghan Rua Pairc at Kilcoo on Saturday afternoon.
Saul burst out of the traps straight away with quick fire scores giving them a 1:03 lead.
The Johnnie’s made a partial recovery with well-taken frees from Andrew Gilmore and John Clarke. Harry McMullan worked tirelessly at midfield in an attempt to build on the comeback.
In the 22nd minute, quick thinking from a Marty Keenan free found Gilmore in space, and the dynamic marksman split the posts with that trusted left foot.
The strong wind was a big factor in Saul’s first half dominance, with Pearse Laverty getting on the end of long diagonal punts coming from the Saul half back line.
The Johnnie’s were having to work hard for their scores and no more so than when Conor Braniff finished off a great team move, despite the relentless pursuit of three Saul defenders. The half-time score read Saul 1:06 to St John’s 0:04.
Saul were economical with their attacks, but St John’s defended resolutely at the start of the second half with Aodhan Morgan leading the line well and young Conor Gilmore using possession calmly and wisely to build from the back.
Still, Saul always carried that threat. The three Harney brothers were excellent and the experienced Cathal Arnold was finding pockets of space to exploit.
The gap was reduced further with a free from Gilmore, but once again the counter attacking and direct style of the blue and gold caused havoc with waves of attacks.
Saul Unflinched At St John’s Goal.
John Clarke used all of his experience to score a fine goal in the 22nd minute of the second half when he received a lovely, floated in 45′ from Marty Keenan and he duly dispatched to the net.
This didn’t rock the Saul men though as they kept attacking and were relentless in their pursuit of further scores.
A late foray from the Johnnie’s almost paid dividends when a dangerous lofted ball in from Gibney landed on the edge of the square, but after a blitz of goal mouth action, it was eventually scrambled away to safety.
Saul effectively killed the game off with another goal at the end that ricoched off both posts before it crossed the line.
An injury to young Damian McMullan was a bitter blow to a young man who has played brilliantly when required this season. Everyone at the Club wishes Damian a speedy recovery.
Saul 4:07 – St John’s 1:10
St John’s scorer’s:
Andrew Gilmore 0-5 (0-4f) John Clarke 1-04 (0-2f) Conor Braniff 0-1.