Connemara Gaels 2-10 Aidan McAnespies 2-14
The senior football championship got off to a blistering start with the opening game contested between the Gaels and McAnespies. The game had lots of talking points, some great football, 4 goals, a schmozzle, and a sending off. The Gaels opened strongly, but McAnespies played a steady game and patiently took advantage of the extra man to come out 4 point winners in the end.
|Ryan Caffrey headed off on his way to goal.|
The Gaels had the better of the early exchanges and had plenty of opportunities to have gone into the break with more than their one goal half time lead. There were a handful of goal opportunities that went amiss, or a taking point may have been the better option at such an early in the game.
McAnespies had opened the scoring with back to back points from Peter O’Connell, one a free. But within minutes the sides were level. Keelan Sexton at corner forward was a danger man for the Gaels and the man from Clare pointed the first 3 for his side. The Gaels had Nathan Donnelly and Paul Donaghy winning a lot of midfield ball, and while putting the pressure on, a goal came from Donaghy following a well worked move. McAnespies looked to Peter O’Connell for their scoring outlet. The St. Michael’s clubman from county Meath also accounted for 3 of the Macs first 4 scores.
Things got heated and a fracas broke out in the middle of the field about 20 minutes into the game. The end result was a player from each side yellow carded, Kieran Killeen and Tony Brosnan, and Nathan O’Neill from the Gaels set off with a red. Tony Brosnan, who has lined out in the Green and White of the Gaels in previous summers, netted for the Macs soon afterwards. The Gaels, however, managed to keep up the pressure and restore their lead with another goal, this time a Sexton pass across the goalmouth was deflected into the net. At the break it was a 2-5 to 1-5 lead for the Connemara men.
|Conor Maunsel bursts out of defence.|
The second half saw McAnespies make their advantage count. A string of 8 scores to 2 over the 15 minutes following the break saw the northerners into a 3 point lead. O’Connell’s shooting from wing forward was magnificent, and McAnespies ran at the Gaels defence at every opportunity. Anthony Cournane and Tony Brosnan opened the gaps and made the most of their chances. The Gaels now labored to get any traction going forward, but kept in touch thanks to Sexton points. The Macs had a killer blow left and it came from Kerryman, Anthony Cournane who finished a move also involving Evan Cronin. With time almost up that was it as a contest. A good win to open the championship for McAnespies while the Gaels will be looking to adjust for the next game against Galway in two weeks’ time.
Gaels: Sean Fox, Niall Collins, Cian Murphy, Kieran Killeen, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Nathan O’Neill, Ryan Caffrey, Nathan Donnelly, Sean Connelly, Paul Donaghy, Pauric McAhenly, Keelan Sexton, Kevin O’Halloran.
Macs: Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsel, Ronan Murphy, Mickey Boyle, Oisin McConvey, Liam Laverty, Declan Hughes, Sean Walsh, Evan Cronin, Robbie Smyth, Peter O’Connell, Anthony Cournane, Tony Brosnan.By Rory O'Donnell