The Aidan McAnespies made the most of their powerful target man on a sweltering Saturday evening at the Irish Cultural Center that necessitated extra water breaks long after the sun dropped low overhead.
The Shannon Blues started brightly, tapping over three quick points to open the scoring. But it didn’t take long for the Macs to work their way into the match. Their first score came from a soaring ball from midfield into Barry O’Connor, who used his frame to gather possession and win a close-range free.
O’Connor doubled his tally on the next play, pulling a long ball in once more. This time the Blues defenders couldn’t get close enough to drag him down before he knocked it over the bar.
The Shannon men led three points to two at the first water stoppage. After the restart, Michael Moylan scored a fine point to increase their lead, bursting past his marker and finishing for a point as a block came in. The Blues scored another, this time through Maurice Young, in between points from O’Connor and Jason Knight for the northerners.
Shortly before the halftime whistle Emmett Trainor raced forward from corner back, skinning on defender and sidestepping another to reach the six-meter box. His run ended there. Shane Nammock, the Blues keeper, blocked his shot out for a 45 meter free, which O’Connor blasted over the black spot off the ground.
The Macs led seven points to five at the half.
O’Connor had another point to his name soon after the second throw in. On the next Macs possession, he corralled yet another long ball in, but this time laid it off to an oncoming runner. Knight’s pace left him one on one with Nammock, and the Macs forward slipped it past the keeper.
The red-and-white men used their fitness and athleticism around the middle of the park to keep control as the clock ticked down, and an O’Connor goal finished this one as a contest. The McAnespies walked away deserving winners on a 3-17 to 0-6 scoreline.
Shane Nammock, Richard Neary, Liam Beandley, Pat Moriarty, John Craig, Brian Fannon, Pat Murray, John Walsh, Brian Kennedy, Michael Moylan, Conor Mullen, James Feeney, Maurice Young Subs: John Rolston, Conor Fitzgerald
Gareth McAlinden, Emmett Trainor, Sean Clifford, Marty Bogue, Aidan Mullen, Shane McKenna, Johnny Brickland, Conor Bogue, Barry O’Connor, Michael McNally, Kyle Morrison, Jason Knight, Ciaran Wallace Subs: Owen Ward, Eoin Connelly, Alan Comerford