Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday July 17 - Senior Football: Mayo v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 0-12 Mayo 1-8

The Gaels and Mayo ground it out over 60 minutes in the heat of Canton with the Gaels just about making it over the finish line. The Gaels always had a slight upper hand but almost let it slip at the end. A late goal from Mayo had the Gaels in the precarious position of playing out the final whistle in injury time while holding a one-point lead.

Mayo had the Gaels nerves on edge for the last few minutes but came out on the losing end on Sunday.
Mayo were on the attack right away and had an early chance of a goal shortly after the throw-in, however twice in the same sequence the ball hit the crossbar. Both sides kicked some early wides, though the Gaels were the guiltier party with three poor efforts in a row. Mayo got on the board first with a Fintan Kelly point, and again almost goaled after Danny Kirby was found with a great cross-field ball, but Liam Wylie blocked the shot well. Pete Dooney made it a two point Mayo lead, and then the Gaels came into the game. Barry Murphy who returned from injury and Brian Connor combined well in midfield. Robbie Fox got the Gaels off the mark following a good move involving Connor and Murphy, and Connor pointed twice from frees and once from play. Play slowed in the heat as the half wore on and players tired. Ray Geraghty and Connor traded points to end the half with the Gaels leading by five points to three.

The Gaels made a change and brought in John Molloy to start the second half, a change that worked well as the Westmeath native helped himself to four points, one a free from 45 yards. Mayo made some changes themselves, bringing Pete Dooney into the middle of the field. Jack McDonnell pointed beautifully for Mayo to get things going in the second half, and the sides were on level terms at one point after Ray Geraghty put back to back points together. Very much game on. The Gaels asserted themselves on the game and proceeded to open a lead however. Pat McNicholas won several good balls in the half back line and Brian Carroll also worked hard in the trenches for the Gaels. Points came from Molloy, Toner, and Brian Carroll and late in the game the Gaels led by four points and looked to have done enough. The Connemara men were somewhat wasteful with chances to clinch the win late in the game and Mayo almost made them pay. Dooney was found all alone on the wing and ran untouched 30 yards to the 21 and let fly into the far corner of the net. Now the Gaels held a shaky one point lead with time left to play. The Gaels managed to play out the clock in a nervous finish and sit in second place in the table with only the Wolfe Tones and Donegal able to catch them.

Gaels: G. Joyce, L. Wylie, G. Kelly, P. McNicholas, P. Devine, B. Carroll (0-1), B. Murphy, B. Connor (0-4), S. Connelly, B. Toner (0-1), R. Fox (0-1), S. Monaghan, N. Judge. Mayo: A. Townsend, S. Clifford, B. McShea, P. O’Donohue, K. Comer, F. Kelly (0-1), D. Kirby, R. Geraghty (0-4), M. Butterfield, P. O’Hanlon, P. Dooney (1-2), J. McDonnell, D. McLoughlin. Sub: J. Molloy (0-4).

By Rory O'Donnell

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