The Shannon Blues were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive as they met the Connemara Gaels in an evenly matched contest. Both sides had pace and athleticism to burn, and there was very little between the sides early on.
The Gaels’ Ronan Kennedy put the first point on the board, then Sean Moriarty opened the Blues’ account by absorbing a hard tackle and sending the ball over the black spot. The Gaels were working the ball out of defense with speed, but many of their attacks ended when they met Denis McGelligott around the Blues’ 45 meter line.
Kennedy converted two fine frees for the Gaels, who added another to their tally when Ryan Hyde burst through the Blues’ defense before laying it off for Sean Connelly to tap over the bar. But it was the Blues who had the momentum heading into halftime after a superb goal by Ian Parker. He spun around his marker with ease then drove a low shot that beat the Gaels’ keeper at the near post. The Blues led 1-06 to 0-06 at the break.
The Blues picked up where they left off as Connor Cox calmly stepped up and drilled a free over the bar from 50 yards out. On the very next possession the Gaels zig zagged their way up the pitch, giving one hand pass after another until the excellent team move ended with Joe O’Shea slamming the ball into the net.
From there, Conor Cox took over. The Blues man put on a long distance shooting clinic, complete with one strike that hung in the clouds for what seemed an eternity before dropping safely inside the posts. He followed that point with three more, earned in an instant by way of a low shot rifled into the Gaels’ bottom corner. The Blues proved they are alive and well heading into the business end of the summer as they won 2-14 to 1-11.
By Mark Dunphy