The Giants welcomed the Dublin Demons to their alternate home ground of Harbour Field, Mullingar on Saturday 7th July last for Round 6 of the ARFLI Premiership. Both teams were short a few regulars but this did not take from the quality or effort on display, while the Giants had the luxury of welcoming back International Cup winner Aidan Hickey into their ranks following his recent return from China.
The first quarter started with two rushed behinds from the Demons before Damo registered the Demons first major from a mark 35 metres from goal. The score provided the catalyst for the Demons to dominate territory for the remainder of the quarter before Joe Cunnane added their second goal. The Giants regrouped following the loss of Pat Leavy to a knee injury and their efforts to keep the Dees at bay were rewarded by a Fergal Condron soccer style goal late in the quarter to leave the Giants trailing 1.1.7 to 2.3.15 at quarter time.
The Demons started the second quarter in a similar fashion to the way they played the first with constant pressure on our midfield and defence but fortunately for the Giants the Dees were guilty of registering another 6 behinds in this quarter when on another day a goal would have been their reward. The Dees were not helped by the retirement of their influential centre Damo as a result of a dislocated figure. The Giants began to assert themselves a little more in this quarter with the big man Stephen Lynam helping himself to a fine goal while also curtailing the effect Joe Cunnane in the middle of the park, and Aiden Hickey demonstrating great awareness in the centre to provide a platform for our attack. Sean Fallon got off the mark with a long range effort shortly before the break to leave the score 3.3.21 to 4.9.33 in favour of the Demons at half time.
The third quarter is known as the championship quarter and so it turned out to be in this game with Tom Cleary setting the early momentum with a well taken goal. The movement of Aiden Hickey from the centre to the forwards proved a master stroke where he kicked a goal from 40 following a good team move and from where he provided an option for the long clearances of backs Martin Fitzpatrick and Brian Duffy. The big men of Ross Dack and Jonas Spiris alternated at full forward while Ciaran Fagan crumbed off them and worked tirelessly for the afternoon and is growing in confidence with every passing game. Sean Fallon scored his second of the day before Joe Cunnane scored the goal of the quarter to leave the Giants just trailing by two points 6.4.40 to 5.12.42.
With all to play for both teams gave it their all in the last quarter and with the benefit of a larger reserves bench the Giants fresher legs began to tell with Tony Watene and the impressive Martin Fitz and Duster shoring up defence and Tom Cleary’s experience in the centre came to the fore as he set up Sean Fallon for the lead score before Fergal Condron kicked the final major of the day for the Giants following quick thinking from Ciaran Fagan.
The tiring Demons fought hard to get back into the game but could not find the scores required to get a result. The final score in favour of the home team, Giants 8.6.54 to Demons 5.14.44.
This result leaves the Premiership table wide open in what is proving to be the most competitive year yet for ARFLI.
Goal Kickers: 3 S.Fallon, 2 F. Condron, 1 T.Cleary, 1 A.Hickey, 1 S.Lynam
Best Players: S.Lynam, T.Cleary, B.Duffy, M.Fitzpatrick, A. Hickey.