Connemara Gaels 2-12 Shannon Blues 2-10
A dramatic finish marked the tie between the Gaels and Blues, which for the most part had the air of a routine Blues win. The Blues started with American born midfield pairing of Pat Murray and Maurice Young, and built a 5 point lead and were looking fairly comfortable holding on until the final 5 minutes when the Gaels pulled within a point and took advantage of a last minute penalty to grab the spoils. The Gaels also had Eoin Connolly to thank for some point blank saves that prevented the game from getting beyond the Connemara men and will be working on their shooting for their next outing.
Referee David Hickey with captains Colman Mulkerrin
and Denis McElligott
After a first half that saw 3 goals the Blues held a decided advantage. At the beginning of the half a Pat Crowley goal finished a sweeping move, the Blarney followed the first shot from Brian Egan to put the rebound into the net. Brian Egan added a point himself shortly afterwards. The man from Tourlestrane looked dangerous at corner forward and added 3 more well taken points before the break, as well as slotting home a penalty after being dragged down in the box. The Blues were rampant and the Penalty gave them a 7 point cushion, but the Gaels pulled themselves back into the game. Matt Sullivan, who featured last season for the Gaels, started to win ball in the middle of the field and runners and options began to appear for the Gaels. Tyler Flaherty pulled back a goal, putting a nice finish to a well worked move. The Blues, however, finished the half strong. Three quick points erased the Gaels goal, and at the break it was a five point Blues lead.
Colm Mannion hangs on to the ball under the challenge
of Pat Murray.
The Gaels had the upper hand in the exchanges following the restart, but could not convert possession into points, hitting several wides. The Blues added to their lead with another from Egan, and the teams traded scores with the Gaels unable to make a dent in the Blues lead and the result looked like it was headed in the Blues favour. With the game entering the final quarter three points unanswered brought the Gaels within a score. A lovely effort from Kenny Gavigan was followed by a free from Colman Mulkerrin and a Cullen McDonagh score. The Gaels had the momentum, but the shooting woes reappeared and chances were missed. It was looking like a game that the Gaels would say they kicked away, however there was a twist in the tale. Points from David Black, who made a foray forward from corner back, and Joe O’Shea pulled the Gaels within one, and the grandstand finish came when former Galway Under-21, Colm Mannion, intercepted a pass and hurtled toward goal to be pulled down from behind by Egan. Mulkerrin put the spot kick away and it was cheers from the Gaels side of the field as the final whistle blew as there would be time for no more.
Blues: Dara O’Brien, Shane Kelly, Derek O’Brien, Brian Fanning, Dennis McElligott, Mike Cottrill, Pat Murray, Maurice Young, Conor Fitzgerald, Darren Wallace, Pat Crowley, Michael O’Neill, Brian Egan.
Gaels: Eoin Connolly, Michael Coyne, David Black, Christy Cunningham, Ryan Caffrey, Joe O’Shea, Matt Sullivan, Colm Mannion, Kieran Killeen, Colman Mulkerrin, Kenny Gavigan, Tyler Flaherty, Ryan Galvin.
By Rory O'Donnell