Connemara Gaels 3-14 Christopher’s 1-13
Christopher’s exited the Senior Football Championship on Saturday evening in Canton as a seven-point defeat to Connemara Gaels extinguished any hope they had of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the competition.
|The Gaels Thomas Corrigan shoots.|
Christopher’s, the 2009 Senior champions, had the better of the opening stages in what was a very competitive first half. Gaels got on the scoreboard through a Colman Mulkerrins point after two minutes, but the men in red and black responded with overs from Kevin McAllister (2), Shane Leahy and Luke Connolly to lead by 0-4 to 0-1 by the 12th minute.
Gaels almost grabbed the first goal of the game when Collie Harkin’s clever shot snuck past Christopher’s goalkeeper Paudie Kenneally only for full-back John Spillane to get back and make a tremendous last-ditch clearance.
But Gaels were on top by that stage and points from Noel Graham, Dave McCormack and Ian Burke made it level pegging by the 20th minute.
A converted ’45 by Burke gave the Westerners a slender advantage, but it didn’t last long as Connolly drilled a penalty to the net to put Christopher’s in the ascendency once again.
However, a goal a minute before the short whistle ensured Gaels went in 1-7 to 1-5 ahead the break. The major came from the boot of Harkin, with goalkeeper Kenneally unable to deal with both the power of the shot and the visual impairment caused by a blindingly low sun.
Gaels extended their lead in the early stages of the second half, with a hat-trick of points from the effervescent Ruairi Corrigan putting the Connemara men in control.
Christopher’s continued to persevere, and a sublime point off the outside of his right boot from Connolly reduced the deficit to just two points.
Gaels were making a habit of scoring at crucial junctures and a goal from Burke, via the underside of the crossbar, nipped the Christopher’s comeback in the bud.
Christopher’s spent much of the latter stages camped inside Gaels’ half. Connolly had two excellent attempts on goal repelled, but on the whole the red and black just didn’t have the killer instinct to prevail.
The winners put together a number of fluid handpassing moves, and it was yet another one of them that led to their third goal with half-forward Graham punching to the net.
Gaels finished the game with 12 men after Mulkerrins was dismissed following a second yellow card. It made no difference to the result, though, as defending champions Gaels marched confidently into the play-offs.
Connemara Gaels: E Connolly, J Donohoe, S Connelly, P McNicholas, C Daly, C Mulkerrins, D McCormack, C Jones, C Harkin, N Graham, R Corrigan, I Burke, C McCormack.
Christopher’s: P Kenneally, E O’Mahoney, J McGuire, J Spillane, C Murphy, D Culhane, D Kenneally, B Coughlan, E Kiely, L Connolly, K McAllister, B Shanahan, S Leahy.
By Seamus Leonard