Sunday, August 5, 2012

Senior Football: McAnespies Still Alive

Connemara Gaels 3-11 Aidan McAnespies 3-13

Aidan McAnespies kept the door open for themselves following a win over the Gaels in a game that was in the balance right until the final minutes.  The Gaels could have got themselves in and knocked their opponents out with a win, but missed several good scoring opportunities in the second half.  Daniel McKenna was involved in many of the good things that happened for McAnespies as was Emmet McGuckian, as McAnespies kept themselves alive in the senior football championship.

Michael Rogers tries to round Paul McConway
It was an exciting first half of football.  McAnespies went into a five point lead right off the bat.  Points from Colm McCrory and Emmet McGuckian sandwiched a goal from McGuckian following some indecision in the Gaels back line.  The Gaels settled in however, and rattled off three points from Kevin Owens, Joe Greaney and Michael Stevenson.  Again the Macs goaled, this time from Sean Cournane who was fed by Daniel McKenna; McKenna was having a great outing on the wing for McAnespies.  The Gaels enjoyed a spell on top and got back into it eventually.  The westerners needed a goal and eventually got it from Cathal Sweeney.  McAnespies coughed up the ball coming out of defence and Noel Graham fed Cathal Sweeney who buried from 14 yards.  The Gaels took full advantage of errors made by their opposing defenders and pulled within two points.  McAnespies finished the half strong however.  Four unanswered points to end the half put them in a 2-9 to 1-6 lead to get the second going.

Michael Stevenson with Fergal Doherty in pursuit.
McAnespies suffered a loss in personnel when Gareth O’Neill had to leave the field with a shoulder injury 5 minutes after the restart.  The Gaels took advantage of the big man’s absence and netted five minutes later.  Joe Greaney dithered a little but eventually found Graham and the Offaly man took his chance well.  Michael Stevenson followed with a point and there was just a score in it again.  It was up and down the field stuff.  The Gaels had another great goal chance but it skidded wide, and then McKenna again broke free for McAnespies, found McGuckian and his shot was almost saved by James O’Donnell, but the Gaels keeper could not hold on and the ball ended up in the back of the net.  Macs ahead by four again.  There was plenty more to come.  Michael Stevenson was fouled in the penalty area and stepped up to take the kick, and made no mistake.  Ten minutes left and all to play for.  The sides traded points and with the clock ticking away the Gaels introduced Daryl Hayden and moved the big men into the full forward line.  The westerners could not open the door to the McAnespies goals a fourth time.  With the win McAnespies just had to wait and make sure that the Blues would keep the door open for them by beating Kerry in the following game.  And sure enough they did.  It is a Tuesday night date with Kerry for the northerners, and should they win that game it will be a rematch on Thursday night against the Gaels.

Referee:  Richard Maloney (Luimnigh)

Man of the Match:  Daniel McKenna (McAnespies)

Gaels:  P. Coakley, M. Bogue, F. O’Doherty, P. McConway, G. O’Neill, N. Gallen, D. Kingston, C. Donnelly, D. McKenna, E. Bradley, C. McCrory, E. McGuckian, S. Cournane.  Macs:  J. O’Donnell, C. O’Donnell, S. Connelly, F. O’Beara, C. Sweeney, C. Mulkerrins, J. Greaney, B. Joyce, K. Owens, N. Graham, S. Moran, M. Rogers, M. Stevenson.

By Rory O'Donnell

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