Bective survive the battle in Boardsmill
Bective travelled to Boardsmill to clash with Longwood in this Intermediate relegation semi-final on a sunny but windy Saturday afternoon. Both sides had to field with key players missing through injury and others heavily strapped and a lively contest was expected. Bective got off to a flying start when Ciaran Reilly knocked down the throw-in to his midfield partner Mathew Cully who punted forward to Con Smith and he stroked it over the bar from 30m. Longwood replied with a classy point, but Smith again delivered with a point from the left boot on 3 minutes after patient approach work from the backs. Bective showed calm determination to control this match and Mark O’Brien pointed and was quickly followed by a point from play from Marty Mulhall and again from a free kick on 6 minutes after Smith was fouled. Longwood sparked into life and carried the ball well to create an opening for a 20m shot blasted to the roof of the net on 12 minutes. They added a point minutes later and Mulhall pointed from a free kick from 30m on 16 minutes. Longwood replied with a superb long-range point and followed up with 3 more points as they attacked through the middle to lead by the goal. Bective needed to get back on track and worked the ball out to midfield and Reilly passed to O’Brien who broke the first tackle and gave back to Reilly who stormed to the 13m line and calmly slotted to the left corner of the net on 25 minutes. This was a huge score for Bective and with a couple of great turnovers in defence Jack Grant punted to Mulhall who fisted to Tristan O’Neill and back to Mulhall and on to half back Finn Murray who dummied onto his left foot and blasted to the net on 27 minutes. Longwood hit the bar from a long-range point effort and Bective backs recovered and worked the ball up field to Mulhall and he pointed after he was fouled. Longwood responded strongly and added a pointed free kick and a point from play to put the half time score
Bective 2 – 7, Longwood 1 – 8.
Relegation battles are going to be tight and hard-fought affairs and Bective knew this one would be no different. Good support work through the middle got Bective inside the 13m line and pressure on the Longwood backs forced a stray ball that O’Neill captured in front of goal and passed to O’Brien and on to Mulhall for a point on 3 minutes. Longwood replied with a pointed free kick on 6 minutes. Experienced warrior Kevin Brennan and a few minutes later Ciaran Mc Connell and Mark Dowdall were brought into the Bective side. High fielding by Donagh Garvey secured possession from the kick out but he was fouled. Mc Connell punted the free kick to the ever-available Smith who fisted to Garvey who passed to Mulhall, and his blasted shot was deflected to the Longwood net on 10 minutes. Longwood kicked a couple of wides as Bective backs kept tight but still fired over 2 fine points. Bective were staying with their game plan and Cully, Smith, O’Neill, Mulhall, Murray, Luke Heneghan and Neil Dowdall were delivering the hard yards in the middle third and Ben Malone had a huge shift at centre back. Mulhall converted a further free kick on 21 minutes after O’Brien was fouled. Paul Lyness came into the forward line. Mulhall wins his free on the 45m line and punts to Mc Connell who kicks high into the square for O’Neill to palm over the bar on 25 minutes. O’Brien gains a good turnover but was fouled and Mulhall delivers to Mc Connell who kicks a fine point from outside the “D” on 27 minutes. Longwood kick out goes over the line and Mc Connell passes to O’Brien to shoot over on 28 minutes. Ben Sherlock comes into the Bective forwards. Longwood are finding it difficult to get good scoring chances with Grant and Jarlath Brennan marking tight, but they keep plugging away and point from a free kick on 30 minutes. O’Brien is fouled on the 20m line after a lung busting carry from O’Neill and Mulhall converts on 33 minutes to put Bective 6 points up. Longwood showed their quality and tenacity, and their goalie is fouled for a close in free kick on 34 minutes. This was blasted over the bar. However, the drama was not over yet as Longwood attacked again and the goalie was deemed to have been fouled in the Bective square and a penalty kick was awarded. Bective goalie Scott O’Sullivan dived low to his left and parried out and was again out to smother the rebound shot for a 45m kick. This was dropped into the square but was defended well and Longwood had to be satisfied with a point from play which completed the scoring in this hard-fought encounter.
Bective showed a lot of team spirit, composure and belief in their game plan and could look forward to building on their year’s progress.
Bective 3 – 13. Longwood 1 – 14.
Bective team: Scott O’Sullivan, Jack Grant, Craig Roche, Jarlath Brennan, Neil Dowdall, Ben Malone, Finn Murray, Donagh Garvey, Mathew Cully, Ciaran Reilly, Tristan O’Neill, Con Smith, Luke Heneghan, Marty Mulhall and Mark O’Brien.
More match photos here