Senior Hurling League - Sunday 24th April - V Gort Na Mona

27 April 2016

After a poor start to their league campaign, coming away from Milltown on the wrong side of a St. Galls team, on a sunny afternoon the Kickhams lads had a comfortable win over Gort Na Mona.

Going into the game as underdogs, missing the Small brothers, Conor & Kevin, the Carey brothers, Donal and James and the McCann brothers Conor and Ruari, team manager Tommy McCann left it late to re-arrange his team, but his decisions paid dividends. Moving Kevin Rice to number 14 made the difference today,  hitting the onion bag a total of four times secured the Creggan men's victory. Had it not been for the superb goalkeeping on the Gort Na Mona keepers behalf, Rice would have bagged a few more, as on many occasions he got the better of the Creggan full forward.

First to raise the green flag were Gort Na Mona in the 5th minute with a superb point by number 11. The city side team started the game with much more confidence than their Creggan counterparts, nevertheless two minutes later, Creggan managed to get themselves on the score board with a point from Oran McCann. From then on, it appeared to be Creggan who took charge of the game. A goal in the 10th minute gave an insight into McCann's plans, moving the midfielder into full forward due to injuries paid dividends as Rice soon scored a further goal and 2 points before the break. Gort Na Mona responded quickly with a point and goal on the 25th and 27th minute respectively, but Rice got a third goal before the short whistle to leave Creggan 3.4 to 1.5 at the break.

The loughshore lads were slow to come out after the break, and this was evident for the first 7 minutes of the second half as the Gort Na Mona dominated pucking four unanswered points, leaving a scoreline difference of just 1 point between the sides. Soon the Creggan half back line realised they had a game to win. Sam Maguire, Michael Maguire and Teddy McKeown upped their game significantly and fed the Creggan forward line a few well placed balls enabling them to keep the scoreline ticking over. Free taker Oran McCann was on form and punished some of the harsh tackles by a frustrated Gort Na Mona side.

The final quarter was dominated by Creggan. Rice netted one more goal and his teamate Oran McCann rattled home a screamer of a goal, totally the fifth goal of the game. Rice's younger brother Ciaran harassed the Gort Na Mona midfied, leaving Sam Maguire free to pick up the loose ball. Jake Mcateer and Niall Mccauley paired up well both getting their names on the scoresheet towards the end with two well placed points. This killed off the game as a contest. If it hadn't been for the heroics of the Gort Na Mona keeper, pulling off several remarkable saves and his attempt to motivate the team, the Kickhams lads would have scored much  more.

Star men for Gort Na Mona were numbers 14 and 8, both putting in outstanding performances, but it was the big man Rice whose ability to muscle in on defence and snatch goal opportunities really made the difference today.