For a time it looked like it would be a close run affair between the Macs and Gaels as the teams were tied about 5 minutes into the second half. McAnespies, however, ran away with it in the last 20 minutes as Paddy O’Neill proved instrumental in the middle of the field, and Jimmy Rigney, who came on as a sub, fired in three goals to put the game beyond the Gaels.
|Aidan McAnespies Junior A Team|
McAnespies dominated the opening quarter with some good link up play from the back line all the way to Paraic Dillon at corner forward. Dillon threatened when in possession and within 5 minutes had a goal for himself with a smashing finish from 14 yards. It was mostly one way traffic. The Gaels looked sluggish and in possession were short on ideas going forward. McAnespies on the other had always had an option and well worked moves were finished by Fergus Byrne and Ciaran Wallace.
The Gaels eventually found some traction and came firing back before half time. With McAnespies holding a 1-4 to 0-1 lead, Bradley Fox started the revival with a point from distance, followed by Padraic McDonagh immediately afterwards. An opportunist goal from Stephen Murray, who made his way upfield from corner back, pulled the Gaels within two points and it was game on again. The teams traded scores before the break and it was McAnespies carrying a 2 point lead into the second half.
|Jack Mahon tries to find an opening.|
The Gaels looked like their late first half revival was carrying into the second half as the opening exchanges were in their favor. Fox and Jack Mahon were winning their battles around the middle of the field. After Wayne Flaherty pulled the Gaels to within a point Mahon hit with a goal and the Gaels led by two. For the Gaels, however, that was the high water mark.
McAnespies started to dominate possession once again and the middle of the field proved to be a fertile feeding ground. Paddy O’Neill was involved in many of the good things happening for McAnespies, and the introduction of Jimmy Rigney proved to be a game changer. Dillon pointed, and was followed by a score from Ciaran Wallace that leveled it. McAnespies then opened a 6 point lead before the Gaels could respond. After O’Neill put his side one to the good, Rigney showed great anticipation to get his hand in front for the following kick out, and carried the ball to the 21 before finishing with a great shot that hit the back of the net. Daithi Higgins and Conan McCusker followed with points. With 15 minutes left the Gaels had a mountain to climb, and it only became steeper. Rigney added two more goals to his tally, while in response the Gaels could only muster points from Mahon and Tadgh O’Siochran. A good win for McAnespies, while the Gaels are looking at still finding their first win in the competition. Final score, McAnespies 5-12 Connemara Gaels 2-9.
Connemara Gaels: James O’Donnell, Tom Conroy, Steve Murray, Colman Conroy, Ciaran Killeen, Tadgh O’Siochran, Bradley Fox, Ben Conway, Nessan O’Donnell, Jack Mahon, Donal Reany, Wayne Flaherty, Paraic McDonagh. McAnespies: Paddy Coakley, Ger Dillon, Darren Maher, Conan McCusker, Adam Doyle, Sean Clifford, Paddy O’Neill, Mark Coughlan, Aidan O’Malley, Feargus Byrne, Colm O’Malley, Padraic Dillon, Ciaran Wallace.
By Rory O'Donnell