Gilsenan shoots Shamrocks into last eight
Drumlane crash out of IFC
Paul Fitzpatrick at PJ Duke Park
Midway through the second half and down by 0-11 to 0-6, Bailieborough Shamrocks seemed to be crashing out of the Intermediate Championship. But from somewhere, they summoned a fantastic finale to secure a 12-point turnaround and seal their place in the quarter-finals.
At one stage, it looked highly unlikely for the Shamrocks. They were almost exclusively reliant on the outstanding Luke Gilsenan’s frees to keep them in touch – after Michael Argue kicked the opener from play, Bailieborough’s next six points were all frees from Gilsenan – but when youngster Dylan Turner booted over from play, it seemed to give them confidence and they kicked on in devastating fashion.
Drumlane’s Gary Tubman was the best forward on show in the first half. He opened the scoring and would land four from play in total before half-time.
After a good build-up, Argue equalised but two good scores from Tubman made it 0-3 to 0-1 seven minutes in.
Gilsenan responded with three frees, two from 40 metres out, but by the 19th minute, the sides were level again after well-taken scores from Ryan Connolly and Tubman.
Connolly sent over an attacking mark from a difficult position and when Daryl McGurren did likewise and Michael Owens curled in a fantastic score from the right wing, the Sons of O’Connell were three clear for the first time.
Just before the break, Gilsenan converted another free, with Josh Marsden picking up a yellow card which could have been black, to leave it 0-8 to 0-6 in favour of Fintan Reilly’s side.
And Drumlane started the second half on the front foot and soon extended their lead to five. Tubman found McGurren who won the ball well and was fouled, converting himself.
Next, a shot from McGurren dropped short and Owens grabbed it and squeezed over a shot and when McGurren converted another free after a foul on Connolly, the Milltown men had one foot in the knock-out stages.
But Bailieborough had other ideas. Gilsenan converted a difficult free and then Turner drove forward and sent over a superb point off the left.
Suddenly, it was a three-point game and when Padraic Brennan was felled, Gilsenan again did the honours to cut the gap to two. The Shamrocks, with a numerical advantage after Declan Lunney saw black, were pouring forward now and they struck for the crucial score in the 46th minute when Gilsenan squared the ball and Peter Clerkin rose highest to palm it past Harry Clarke.
Moments later, the excellent Gilsenan scored with the left foot and when Brendan Argue scored a quality point, they were three up and with all the momentum on their side.
The issue was put beyond doubt in the 57th minute when Gilsenan stepped up to bury a penalty; moments later, he fisted over to make it 2-12 to 0-11 and his sensational performance was complete when he converted a sideline ball from the 13-metre line, with the outside of the boot, to put the seal on a memorable victory.
Bailieborough: Conor Gilsenan, Jack Smith, Gary Daly, Jack Clerkin, Jack Barry, Philip Clarke, Padraic Brennan, Michael Argue (0-1), Peter Clerkin (1-0), Oisin Clarke, Rhys Clarke, Dylan Turner (0-1), Rory Farrell, Brendan Argue (0-1), Luke Gilsenan (1-10, 7f, 1-0 pen, one s/l)
Drumlane: Harry Clarke, Declan Lunney, John O’Dowd, Josh Marsden, Ciaran Crowe, Donal Monahan, Francis Lunney, Michael Owens (0-2), Kian Monahan, Gary Tubman (0-4), Ryan Connolly (0-2, 1m), James McCahill, Dane O’Dowd, Darragh Dolan, Daryl McGurren (0-4, 3f, 1m)
Ref: Martin Brady (Lacken)