Monday, July 25, 2016

Senior Football Championship: Galway v Aidan McAnespies

Galway 1-13 Aidan McAnespies 1-14

Sunday served up yet another fantastic senior football championship game, this time between McAnespies and Galway.  Neither side really had the upper hand over the 60 minutes and battled it out with the game going to and fro.  The result could have gone to either side as, with the teams level, Ryan McCrystal pulled off a close range save from a Fionn Ferguson shot, and McAnespies chance came a minute later substitute JP Gallagher put the ball between the sticks for the winning score.  

Michael Daly takes off for Galway.
It was a tight first half in the heat of Canton with each side playing some uncompromising, solid hard hitting football.  Galway opened with a flurry of points from Michael Daly, Kevin McDonnell and Kevin Cummins.  It did not take McAnespies long to get into the swing of things, Kevin McKernan and Shane Daly pointed.  A goal from Gareth O’Neill gave McAnespies a boost and a real lift.  O’Neill was beaten by the hop as he came to meet the incoming ball, but didn’t give up on the play and turned and continued his run till McKernan fed him the ball, and the Dromintee man then buried it into the roof of the net.  Shades of 2011.

Galway refused to be rattled though and answered well.  Daly put a monster point over from play and Cummins added another from the dead ball.  Neither side could find an advantage as the game ebbed and flowed, two evenly matched teams.  McAnespies ended the half with back to back points to send themselves into half time leading 1-6 to 0-7.

Barry Kerr get McAnespies moving.
A goal came for Galway early in the second half from Cillian O’Sullivan.  After some nice linking play O’Sullivan was played in with the keeper to beat and the Meathman slid the ball low and into the net.  Galway had missed about four very scoreable chances, chances they would come to regret when looking back at the game.  The goal, however, tied up the game as Daly had pointed for Galway to two points for McAnespies from McKernan and Forde. 

Finnerty put then Galway ahead with a trademark point, but as was the nature of the game momentum swung back to McAnespies with three unanswered points from Kerr and McKernan to put McAnespies into a two point lead.  There was some controversy as each side had what were initially called as points wiped, and the game was poised for a grand finale.  It was Galway’s turn to then go on a scoring run with Cummins and Daly bringing the Tribesmen level and then O’Sullivan and Jamie Kehoe with the go ahead points.  It looked as though the Galway winning run would continue.  

But back came McAnespies with three points of their own, and in between Ryan McCrystal came up with a huge save from Fionn Ferguson with the teams level.  Ferguson, who got behind the defence, but with a tight shooting angle went low and McCrystal was down to keep the shot out.  Cur McAnespies final foray forward, and in the end the winning point came from Strabane native, JP Gallagher, who had entered play in the second half, and McAnespies come up with a huge win to underline their championship credentials.

Galway:  J. Kelly, J. Kennedy, K. McDonnell, S. Cullen, P. Naughton, C. Mannion, E. Stritch, M. Daly, F. Ferguson, K. Cummins, C. O’Sullivan, J. Kehoe, E. Finnerty.  Macs:  R. McCrystal, J. Allen, P. Daly, C. Daly, P. Holloway, R. Reynolds, S. Daly, D. Ward, B. Kerr, K. McKernan, G. O’Neill, A. Forde, S. Attride.

Rory O'Donnell

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