Connemara Gaels 3-9 Aidan McAnespies 3-13
Aidan McAnespies made it two out of two with an impressive second half performance to turn a deficit into a lead that they took with them all the way to the final whistle. The Gaels had a slight edge at the break, but whatever happened at half time, McAnespies took the field after the restart with bold intent. A quick 1-3 to no reply from to start the second half shocked the Gaels and the Connemara men never could recover their first half form.
|Johnny Brickland spearheaded McAnespies second half efforts.|
It was a blistering first half with some fine scores, narrow misses and great football from both teams. The Gaels took the break a goal to the good having pushed hard for the second quarter. McAnespies will rue some goal chances that did not come through. Collie Donnelly was in for a goal chance early, however, although the shot beat the keeper, Damien Doolan tipped it over for a point. Later in the half Fergal McGeough had the goal at his mercy, but the wing forward caught the ball wrong with his placed effort and wide it went.
The Gaels had their goal chances, and took two of them. Fintan Cooney netted both, first putting Martin Farragher’s feed low past Paddy Coakley. Later in the half the man from An Spideal finished a move that started with a Coleman Mulkerrins’ interception in his own half with a punch into the net. Chris Healy accounted for McAnespies’ goal, Danny Tallon provided the assist. Each side moved the ball well and at speed as the pace of the game never let up. Tony Brosnan, Jack Kielt (who entered the game for the injured Luke Purcell), Farragher and Ryan Caffrey accounted for the Gaels points, while it was Healy, Donnelly, and McGeough converting for McAnespies.
The critical first few minutes of the second half went to McAnespies. A three point deficit was turned into a lead within 5 minutes as three points on the trot was followed by a goal. A heightened sense of urgency was evident from McAnespies and Johnny Brickland signaled the intent with a point from the throw in. Healy and Gareth O’Neill followed with points to level the scores before Healy netted following a good move.
The Gaels were at sixes and sevens at that stage and had Eoin Connolly to thank for preventing the gap from growing wider with some solid goalkeeping. Brickland was in excellent form in the middle of the field for McAnespies, winning midfield ball and covering acres of ground, and was ably supported by his teammates. The Gaels still generated a handful of chances that went awry before Farragher leveled the scores with a third Gaels goal. However, quick as a flash, McAnespies canceled it out through the boot of Donnelly.
The last five minutes were marked by scuffles as tempers flared. As time ran out the teams traded points, with McAnespies managing to add an insurance through Healy. The Gaels looking to get the first win of the year and McAnespies 2 for 2 in the early going.
Gaels: Macs: P. Coakley, Marty Bogue, Mickey Bogue, B. Cawley, R. Kennedy, B. Greenan, M. Day, J. Brickland, G. O’Neil, C. Donnelly, F. McGeough, D. Tallon, C. Healy. Gaels: E. Connolly, D. Black, L. Purcell, D. Doolan, R. Caffrey, C. Mulkerrins, S. O’Connor, K. Murphy, S. Conneeley, N. Graham, F. Cooney, M. Farragher, T. Brosnan.
By Rory O'Donnell