In the final match of the day, with a blazing sun finally setting over Canton, the Aidan McAnespies did just enough to get over the line in a heavyweight matchup against the Shannon Blues.
Darragh Roche opened proceedings with a strong effort, sweeping a long-range chance over the bar. On the ensuing kickout, Macs keeper Anthony Kidney walked the ball out from his net well into Blues territory. He worked it inside to Eamon Frye, who’s goal chance spilled out on the wrong side of the far post.
Kidney was back involved in the Macs attack again minutes later, jogging up the pitch to loft over a long free off the ground. The northerners added another point to their tally with a well-worked score that featured plenty of hand passing and ended in a Warner Mullen score.
The Blues had an green flag opportunity of their own soon afterwards. Michael O’Neill’s marker was on the wrong side of a long ball into the square and the corner forward plucked it out of the air. He blasted a shot, but Kidney went to ground for a save that held the Blues to one point instead of three.
The Blues added another point on the next play as Roche dispossessed an opponent around midfield and carried into the heart of the Macs lines. He found Nathan O’Brien and it looked like a goal might be on but O’Brien took his point.
Mullen and the Blues’ Connell Lemon traded points before Mullen took a hand pass in tight and slid the ball past Michael Moriarty to give the Macs a three-point lead.
The Shannon men replied with a point, a kick out win, and a goal of their own as Darren Wallace placed a perfect side-footed effort into the top corner.
On the next possession, the referee spotted a foul inside and Robert Croft chipped over a point off the ground for the Macs, who led 1-09 to 1-08 at halftime.
The Blues came out strong to start the second half, with an O’Neill free and a Paul O’Donoghue point from play getting them back on even terms. The scoreline was deadlocked for much of the remainder of the match as neither team could escape the other’s clutches.
Croft picked up where he left off in the first half, sending two soaring points over the bar — one off each boot. Then, after one of his teammates was dragged down just outside the box, Croft avoided the collection of Blues men lining the goal and tapped over a point.
The Macs keeper was invaluable in the last quarter of this one, adding an extra man to their attack that proved the difference on a couple occasions. Kidney didn’t even have the ball on one of his runs forward, but he was an option that allowed Albert Martin to stick over a score.
The Blues had a fine point from Maurice Young as the clock ticked down, but the Macs locked down at the back and held on for a 1-19 to 1-16 win.
Anthony Kidney, Eoin Delmer, Daniel O’Neill, Paul Clifford, Robert Pigott, Caolan Harvey, Warner Mullen, Declan Hughes, Eric Finn, Che O’Donnell, Albert Martin, Robert Croft, Eamon Fyre Subs: Barry O’Connor, Nathan O’Brien, Jake Foster, Seamus Breslin, Lorcan Mallon
Michael Moriarty, Brian Fanning, PJ Hand, Conor Fitzgerald, Mike Cottrell, Denis McElligot, Jerry Troy, Maurice Young, Darragh Roche, Darren Wallace, Paul O’Donoghue, Brian Egan, David Mannix Subs: Stephen Cahill, Connell Lemon, Michael O’Neill, Pat Murray, Shane Nammock