AFTER this blistering share of the spoils, one Sligo GAA County Board official quipped that Tourlestrane and Curry should be made play every Sunday evening at Tubbercurry’s Kilcoyne Park, each rematch having a higher admission charge for eager punters.
Given the intensity of this Group Two clash, Curry drawing level with four minutes left (0-13 to 1-10) and forfeiting additional chances to sink last year’s champions, it is likely fans would keep turning up and willingly pay top dollar to savour further intricate episodes involving these Sligo Senior Championship heavyweights.
Even if referee Gus Chapman appeared to signal full-time at least seven seconds shy of 30 minutes, these south Sligo rivals had enthralled the vocal support.
Only a series of unthinkable results for these clubs over their remaining four Group Two games will prevent both from making the business end of the competition, indeed an October county final involving these GAA cornerstones would be a humdinger.
Curry, for whom Adrian Marren was in blistering form, equalised through Marren’s sixth point in the 56th minute. But two wides and an almost perfect point attempt from Marren, the shot striking the upright and rebounding into play, let Tourlestrane off the hook.
In truth, a draw was the fairest outcome. Matters were tied on six occasions, including the final score, as these arch-rivals dominated in patches.
Curry started the first-half and second-half with purpose (they were 0-3 to 0-0 ahead by the sixth minute and similarly bagged three points in a five-minutes spell early in the second period) with Kevin Giblin, tireless as a sweeper, Brian McDonagh, Cathal Brennan and Sean Davey each growing in stature.
Tourlestrane, without the likes of Eamonn O’Hara and Stephen Henry, had a hero in full-forward John Quinn. The tall, rangy forward contributed 1-4 and was a willing targetman as Tourlestrane aimed ‘route one’ ball his way with positive results.
His goal was an unerring 16th minute finish from a move constructed by the Egan brothers, Brendan and Brian, and, indeed, this was Tourlestrane’s opening score as, although quicker to this breaking ball, they failed to turn possession into scores.
Quinn later displayed versatility when switching to midfield, a reshuffle prompted by David Durkin’s withdrawal and, given that Tourlestrane’s defence lost Barry Kirrane after 10 minutes, Adrian McIntyre’s unwavering presence at No. 6 for the second-half was priceless.
The county champions were 1-5 to 0-5 clear at the interval but, even accounting for eight first-half wides, their advantage was more or less correct given Curry’s potency.
Tourlestrane’s attacking gem, Brian Egan, shot 0-4, including one astonishing point from play, although his opposite number, Adrian Marren, currently the best forward in Sligo, exacted the greater influence.
The tenacity of both sides was wonderful. There were no snidely tackles only honest-to-God challenges, leaving smiling match official Gus Chapman with an easier job.
Tourlestrane’s hunger to hold onto their title was evident in a 44th minute incident when Curry ace Adrian Marren was through for a goal shot. Tourlestrane defender Noel Gaughan, tormented at times by Marren’s wizardry, didn’t give up and denied the attempt with a gutsy block. The team that beats Tourlestrane will have to do it the hard way. Curry, who gave it one hell of a blast last Sunday, would certainly relish a future clash with Neil Egan’s charges.
Player of the Match: John Quinn
Tourlestrane: Seamus Gildea, Barry Kirrane, Noel Gaughan, Colin Neary, Diarmuid Dunne, David Durkin, James Leonard, Brendan Egan, Adrian McIntyre, John Marren, Gary Gaughan, Shane Dunne, John Quinn (1-4, 3f), Brian Egan (0-4, 1f, 0-1 ‘45’), Aaron Murtagh (0-1)
Subs used: Barry Walsh, Gerry McGowan (0-1), Alan Dunne
Curry: John O’Hora, Ken Morley, Stephen Marren, Aodhan Brennan, Stephen Maher, John Feeney, David McDonagh, Brian McDonagh (0-2), David Maye, Cathal Brennan (0-2), Sean Davey (0-2), Robert Wynne, Kevin Giblin, Adrian Marren (0-6, 4f), Jason Marren (0-1)
Subs used: Emmet Marren, Ciaran Brennan, Keith Davey