2010 Intermediate Championship Quarter Final

Smyth sends Caulry into last four as Tang pay the penalty
 
Cauly 2-9
Tang 0-13

IT all seemed to be going pretty much to script as this Westmeath IFC quarter-final clash approached its latter stages.
Pre-game favourites Tang were in the driving seat, just about, and led their neighbours by a single point as Caulry's play became more desperate in the dying moments. But how quickly things can change in Gaelic football.
With only three minutes remaining on referee Liam McDaniel's stopwatch, a long searching ball into the Tang danger area was superbly fielded by impressive Caulry full-forward Peter Smyth. Supporters of both sides drew a breath, and as Smyth plucked the ball from the sky, his jersey was visibly pulled by Tang defender Eamonn Carey - and it was a penalty kick for the red and whites.
With the pressure firmly on Smyth, he calmly hauled himself from the ground and expertly hammered his penalty past Tang netminder Michael Galvin, to make the scoreline 2-9 to 0-13 in Caulry's favour.
Tang immediately and gallantly went up the other end in a last gasp bid to stay in the championship, but late, late misses cost them dear, and a dogged Caulry - inspired largely by Ben Moran, Kevin Maguire, Alan Fitzpatrick and match-winner Smyth - had sealed a place in the semi-finals.

This was a game that fluctuated in quality, with the teams struggling to get into their stride during the first half, before a more gripping second period followed.
Tang looked for the larger part to have better strength in depth in the forward line, where Aidan Burke was again quite exceptional, but they allowed Caulry to hang onto their coat tails until the dying moments, and that's always asking for trouble against a team with Caulry's battling qualities and youthful exuberance.
Caulry's other goalscoring hero was John Maguire, who also contributed well to a ferociously determined Caulry display, while goalkeeper Joe McMahon should also be credited with making a crucial point-blank save from Aidan Burke in the early stages of this largely entertaining encounter.

Despite Tang appearing to possess the greater scoring power, it should be noted that it was Caulry who found the back of the net twice, and they really should've notched at least another goal on the stroke of half-time, when both Smyth and then the tenacious Keith McMenamin were denied by Michael Galvin.
It was very much a contest that could genuinely have swung either way, but while aiming to keep grounded in the wake of such a sweet derby victory, Caulry will now be harbouring hopes of going all the way in this year's intermediate championship.
Some early good defending by Johnny Buckley prevented Tang from opening their account with their first foray forward, and it was Caulry who opened the scoring in the second minute through Peter Smyth's free. The usually reliable Niall Bannon had an opportunity to level matters but struck a very wayward free in the fourth minute, before clever defending by Ben Moran thwarted the efforts of Tang veteran Paul Conway.
Caulry's more up-tempo start was further rewarded when Brian Mullarney made a great run forward and set up Smyth to claim his second point of the day.

McMahon then made a point-blank save to deny Aidan Burke, who had shown Johnny Buckley a clean pair of heels, and Tang were soon reeling when Caulry broke swiftly upfield and netted through John Maguire's precise finish into the roof of the net.
Tang finally settled and claimed their first point through Niall Bannon's eighth minute free. Aidan Burke clocked up Tang's second point before a Niall Bannon free brought Tang to within two points by the 13th minute.
Caulry would go 14 minutes without scoring (since Maguire's goal) and Tang were getting a foothold on proceedings, winning the midfield battle and picking up the vast majority of breaking ball.
Burke capped a fine four-man Tang move to further reduce Caulry's lead, while Ben Moran was hugely unfortunate to see his effort rattle the Tang post on its way wide. A brilliantly taken point by Smyth briefly gave Caulry some respite, but points by Denis Bannon and Burke (the latter from a free) restored parity by the 23rd minute. Tang led for the first time when Denis Bannon fed Trevor English and he pointed in composed fashion.
Both Conway and Martin Rock went close to stretching Tang's lead before Burke eventually did three minutes before the interval, showing good poise to convert a knockdown by Conway.

On 28 minutes, Alan Fitzpatrick scored the best point of the opening half to give Caulry a much-needed injection of confidence, but a very rare mistake by Ben Moran allowed Tang to take a two-point lead into the break after Alan Higgins pointed. 
Caulry did have a terrific chance to get ahead before the interval, but both Smyth and then McMenamin lacked conviction in front of the posts and allowed Michael Galvin to make a couple of saves. Brian Mullarney had to come off for Caulry at the break, with the defender feeling unwell, so McMenamin reverted to defence, with Mark Fitzpatrick coming on in attack.
Brendan Clarke's charges came out fighting and were level within four minutes of the restart thanks to a couple of points by Fitzpatrick - one set up by Moran and Johnny Dolan, and the other coming from a free won by the ever-willing Ernie Buckley.
Smyth spurned a good chance to give Caulry a one-point advantage, and Tang were back in front by the 38th minute thanks to a Niall Bannon free.
Burke took Tang's lead to two points again, but Caulry were showing a never-say-die attitude, and quickly replied through Smyth's lovely free. 
Trevor English's point kept Caulry at arms length, but again the tenacious Mount Temple men fought back with a point from Robbie Kenny (after good work again by Smyth (inset)). 
Caulry then had a couple of goalscoring chances. Firstly, Smyth's effort struck an upright and the rebound fell to Fitzpatrick but he couldn't react quickly enough. Then, Tang goalkeeper Galvin fumbled an effort by Smyth but nobody was on hand to capitalise for Caulry.
Tang then hit three poor wides in the space of a minute and Caulry sensed a comeback was far from out of reach.
Their enthusiasm grew further when Damien Dolan and Smyth teed up Fitzpatrick for an outstanding score to leave the scoreline level with seven minutes left.
It was anyone's game at this juncture, and Tang seemed to have stolen a march on their rivals when substitute Dean Reddin set up Trevor English to restore their slender lead with six minutes to play.

Caulry kept battling though, and their youthful players helped them maintain a high level of energy during the closing stages.
This effort and commitment was rewarded with three minutes remaining when Smyth converted a penalty to the back of the Tang net to give them a most memorable and just about deserved victory.

SCORERS - Caulry - P Smyth 1-5 (1-0pen, 0-3f), J Maguire 1-0, A Fitzpatrick 0-3, R Kenny 0-1.
Tang: A Burke 0-5 (1f), N Bannon (3f) and T English 0-3 each, D Bannon 0-1, A Higgins 0-1.

CAULRY: Joe McMahon; Johnny Buckley, Kevin Maguire, Brian Mullarney; Damien Dolan, Ben Moran, Michael Donohoe; Gary Flanagan, Robbie Kenny; Keith McMenamin, Alan Fitzpatrick, Ernie Buckley; Johnny Dolan, Peter Smyth, John Maguire. 
Subs: Mark Fitzpatrick for Mullarney (inj, HT), Pat Buckley for J Buckley (60).

TANG: Michael Galvin; John Rock, Robert English, Eamonn Carey; Kieran Duncan, Niall Bannon, Alan Murray; Joe Conlon, Colm Conlon; Martin Rock, Paul Conway, Alan Higgins; Denis Bannon, Trevor English, Aidan Burke. 
Subs: Tom McCormack for M Rock (44 mins), Dean Reddin for Murray (46).

REFEREE: Liam McDaniel.
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