Neil Gallagher in action during Saturday’s All-Stars game in New York.
2012 All Stars 8-17 2011 All-stars 8-07
BY EUGENE KYNE AT GAELIC PARK, NEW YORK
THE 2012 GAA All-Stars, with a little help from New York and replacements, used a powerful closing finish to easily take the spoils in this fun-filled and entertaining contest played at New York’s Gaelic Park on Saturday night.
The winners trailed by two points with seven minutes gone in the second half but then outscored their opponents 6-5 to 3-2 the rest of the way. But for brilliant saves by Brendan Kealy it would have been a wider margin as the goals rained in after countless five and six player moves.
Donegal and 2012 All-Stars manager Jim McGuinness will be delighted with the outcome although the record books will have to be checked to see if any team he has been involved with ever gave up eight goals before in a game at any level!
The first half was played at a leisurely pace. Remarkable with the 13-a-side format only four goals arrived over the half hour. The 2011 side dominated the first fifteen minutes and was poised in a 2-3 to 0-4 lead after Rory O’Carroll had a well finished goal from a long Bernard Brogan delivery.
The game changed when MD Macauley crashed the ball in to the net five minutes in. His side followed with a Bernard Brogan point before the woodwork at both ends took a battering.
The eleven’s had strikes that rebounded out to safety from Macauley and Kevin McManamon while, at the other end, Paul Kerrigan crashed a shot of the outside of the post – goal chances a begging but a sign of things to come.
The sides swapped points before Rory O’Carroll had the second major to give his side a 2-3 to 0-3 advantage with a quarter of the game over. The 2011 side dominated the second quarter and they outscored their rivals 1-7 to 1-1 with Donnacha O’Connor grabbing the goal with seven minutes left in the half while Donegal’s Neill Gallagher also had a screaming point that he certainly was hoping would stay low.
The side actually had a 1-11 to 2-4 lead with 30 seconds left in the half before a five player sweeping move resulted in Macauley grabbing his second goal of the half when he finished to the net from the final Brogan pass.
The game stayed surprisingly close as the second half opened. Paul Kerrigan had a goal in the first minute for McGuinness’s side and Lee Keegan followed with a point of the diving Kealy’s hand when he advanced to the 14-yard line.
The response was swift from Pat Gilroy’s side as they forged back into the lead for the final time with a 2-1 burst. A thunderbolt from Bernard Brogan was followed by his second of the game when the quick thinking Ben Brosnan flicked a short free to the open Dubliner who made no mistake.
A towering point from wide on the right increased their advantage to 5-5 to 2-12 but alarmingly that was where it fizzled.
The next five scores all came for the 2012 side with Cillian O’Connor the catalyst for most of them. He had a goal on the seventh minute and then cheekily volleyed a pass from CJ Molloy over the bar, when he was absolutely thinking net. Karl Lacey, a point, and Lee Keegan, a goal, put light between the sides before Colm O’Neill added 1-1 in sandwiching a Ben Brosnan point to extend their advantage to 5-15 to 5-06 with fifteen minutes left in the game.
Kealy showed again why he is the Kerry number one with two excellent saves that allowed his side to stay within ten.
McManamon had a goal after Ben Brosnan’s shot was stopped by Paul Durcan and Kerrigan and Brosnan swapped points but then the winners put a cherry on top of their dominant performance with four further scores three of which were net-shaking goals from the excellent Neil Gallagher, Donnacha O’Connor and CJ Molloy, a nephew of Donegal’s first All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Molloy. The young American finished brilliantly after Gallagher found him with a sweet pass.
It was nigh on a hammering for the losers and, but for goals from Alan Dillon and Macauley to complete his hat trick, the defeat would have been much worse.
2011 All-Stars: B Kealy (Kerry), M Ó Sé (Kerry), J McMahon (Tyrone), T Ó Sé (Kerry), K Nolan (Dublin), K Cassidy (Donegal), M Foley (Kildare, 0-1), MD Macauley (Dublin, 3-01), D O’Dwyer (New York), K McManamon (Dublin,1-2), B Brosnan (Wexford, 0-2), B Brogan (Dublin, 2-1),R O’Carroll (Dublin, 1-0). Inter-change players: C Hogan (New York), A Dillon (Mayo, 1-0).
2012 All-Stars: P Durcan(Donegal), K Higgins (Mayo), E Cadogan (Cork), L Keegan (May, 1-1), K Lacey (Donegal, 0-2), A Thompson (Donegal), N Gallagher (Donegal,1-2), A Walsh (Cork, 0-1), K McLoughlin (Mayo, 0-1), D O’Connor (Cork, 2-2), P Kerrigan (Cork, 1-1), M Murphy (Donegal, 0-1), Colm O’Neill (Cork, 1-2). Inter-change players: CJ Molloy (New York, 1-0), D Lenane (New York), C O’Connor (Mayo, 1-04), N McGee (Donegal).
Man of the Match: Neil Gallagher
Referee: M Deegan (Laois)