In what could very easily be a preview of this years Senior Final, The Connemara Gaels met Donegal in the Boston Senior Football Championship. Both teams at the start of the day had the same 2-0-1 record going in, and were both coming into this match off victories.
The Gaels Nathan Donnelly bottled up.
Donegal opened the scoring with their latest signing in Former Kerry Senior, and All Ireland winner Barry John Keane scoring a point. The Connemara Gaels replied however with 4 unanswered points from Colm O’Shaughsney, Cian Murphy, Sean Connelly, and Kellan Sexton. The tally should have been more as the Gaels would have a number of wides during this period, and would have similar throughout the game. Donegal would bring the game within a point again after scores from Gary Walsh and Shane Carthy. Sexton had a great chance to extend the Gaels lead after receiving a cross field pass, and was 1 v1 with Donegal Keeper Hugh Boyle, but opted to go for a point instead of taking on the Donegal keeper. Donegal would retaliate though with their own attempt at goal, when Barry John Keane would lose his man, and stick the ball in the low corner to put Donegal in the lead for the 2nd time in the match. Donegal would add to the tally with a great run and a point from midfield from Ray Connelan. The Gaels would have an attempt to score a goal of their own, when Pauric McAnenly would be 1 on 1 with the Donegal shot stopper, who would make a brilliant save and push the Full Forwards shot out around the post to concede a 45, which was converted by Clare Senior Player Kellan Sexton, ending the half with a score of 0-8 Gaels to 1-6 Donegal.
Aidan O'Sullivan tries to play the ball for Donegal.
The 2nd half started out with a point from Barry John Keane to continue to add to his and Donegal’s tally. The intensity of the game was starting to show as tempers rosed between Adam Fallon and Mark Bradley, the situation was handled by referee James McGrath, who gave both players Yellow cards to dissolve the situation. The Gaels would then have an attempt to get a goal of their own as McAnenly made a great pass to Sexton, who thanks to the pressure from Boyle, shot wide to preserve Donegal’s lead. Donegal would continue to chip away at the score with points from John Bingham and Gary Walsh to give Donegal a 7 point lead. It was looking like the wides from the Gaels, as well as the heroics from keeper Boyle was going to be their downfall on the day, however, a goal from McAnenly gave them a lifeline to cut the lead to 4 points. This would be the beginning of the resurgence of the Gaels, as Sexton would score a number of points to counter the points of Connelan and Bingham to keep the Gaels within reach. The Gaels had cut the deficit down from 7 points to 2 up until former captain Sean Connelly would make a breakthrough and get a goal for the Gaels to go into the lead once again. Donegal weren’t going away though, and with points from Ciaran Murtagh, and Shane Carthy to bring Donegal into the lead once again, it looked like Donegal would walk way with another victory. However, Kellan Sexton had something to say about that, and went on to score a goal to get the Connemara Gaels a victory over their rivals with a scoreline of 3-12 to 1-16.
With a victory for the Gaels, they now improve their record to 3-0-1, and have a few weeks to recover as they prepare to face Donegal once again on July 28th. While Donegal will be in action sooner as they look to recover from this tough lost as they face Galway on July 21st.
Connemara Gaels: Sean Fox, Adam Fallon, David Larkin, Ciaran Kileen, Colm O’Shaughsney, Cian Murphy, Ryan Caffery, Nathan Donnelly, Nial Collins, Sean Connelly, Nathan O’Neil, Kellan Sexton, Pauric McAnenly
Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Aaron Deeney, Aidan O’Sullivan, John Bingham, Jack O’Brien, Sean Doherty, Ray Connellan, Shane Carthy, Ciaran Murtagh, Gary Walsh, Sean Donnelly, Barry John Keane, Mark Bradley
Written by: Evan McDonagh