Galway Maroon 4-23 Galway McDonagh 6-13 AET
A wonderful evening’s entertainment in Kilbeacanty on Friday evening saw Galway Maroon emerge victorious over Galway McDonagh in the Celtic Challenge U17 Group 1 semi-final. The Maroon side thus got revenge for their opening round defeat to the same opposition after a game that ebbed and flowed throughout in perfect conditions in Kilbeacanty.
The local derby brought a good crowd and when Neil Conneely and Isaac DeHora shot quick fire goals on 56 & 57 minutes it left Galway McDonagh 6 up (4-12 to 1-15) and the drive for home looked set to yield a McDonagh victory. But Galway Maroon displayed great character to fight back – and a Niall Coen 57th minute goal followed by a great strike from a close in free from Enda Egan which yielded a 60th minute goal left the sides level in injury time. And it nearly even got better for the Maroon side when a Conor Walsh free from his own 65 rebounded back off the crossbar. Thus extra time beckoned on a 4-12 to 3-15 full time score.
Tired bodies did not deter a huge effort from all the players and in extra time and the scores came coming, but the Maroon side now had a grip on proceedings. Ballindereen’s Niall Coen batted to the net, before Cillian Lawless did likewise for the McDonagh side but significantly Galway Maroon led by 4-19 to 5-13 at half time in extra time.
The Maroon men extended the lead to 6 before Jack Egan pounced for a sixth major for the McDonagh men, but a fine Enda Egan point saw Galway Maroon wrap up a 4-23 to 6-13 in a high scoring and intense contest.
The opening half saw Galway Maroon, with the advantage of a slight breeze, build a 0-6 to 0-3 lead on 14 minutes with Noel Keogh, David Jordan and Paul Creaven getting the pick of the scores. Then Neil Conneely took a Damien McGlynn cross and goaled and with Conor Molloy accurate from frees Galway McDonagh led by 1-5 to 0-6. But the Maroon side responded and Noel Keogh shot to the net 5 minutes from the break and good scores from Nathan Earner and John Fleming left Galway Maroon 1-11 to 1-7 up at the interval.
The McDonagh side raced out of the blocks in the second half with Isaac DeHora hitting the net off the ground instantly from the restart and there was nothing between them for most of the second half. Fine points from the likes of Eoin O’Donnell, Cillian Lawless, Enda Egan and Conor Molloy saw the sides level at 2-12 to 1-15 on 50 minutes. Then came the finish already described as Galway Maroon dug out the win.
Galway Maroon will now play South Tipp in the Division 1 Celtic Challenge Final in Carlow next Saturday, but Galway McDonagh lost nothing in defeat in a game that was a credit to all.
Galway Maroon Squad: 1. Darrach Fahy (Ardrahan), 2. Sean Duffy (Killimor), 3. Ronan Flannery (Pearses), 4. Dean Callanan (Craughwell), 5. Adam Clarke (Craughwell), 6. Conor Walsh (Turloughmore) 7. Noel Keogh (Athenry) 1-2, 8. Enda Egan (Michael Cusacks) 1-6, 1-3 frees, 9. Paul Creaven (Killimordaly) 0-2, 10. Ross Albertini (Ardrahan), 11. John Fleming (Meelick Eyrecourt) 0-2 12. Nathan Earner (Meelick Eyrecourt) 0-4, 13. Liam Quirke (Tynagh Abbey Duniry), 14. David Jordan (Tynagh Abbey Duniry) 0-2, 15. Niall Coen (Ballindereen) 2-4, 16. Diarmuid Mullen (Turloughmore), 17. Evan Ryan (Tynagh Abbey Duniry), 18. Eoin Caulfield (Athenry), 19. Eoin O’Donnell (Ardrahan) 0-1, 20. Alan Callanan (Craughwell) 21. Matthew Lyons (Turloughmore), 22. Oisin Flaherty (Castlegar), 23. Adrian Gavin (Ballygar).
Management: Manager: Niall Canavan (Annaghdown), Selectors: Joe Hession (Turloughmore), Kevin Molloy (Kilnadeema Leitrim)
Galway McDonagh Squad: 1. Daragh Conneely (Liam Mellows), 2. Sean Burke (Kilconieron), 3. Conor Lee (Clarinbridge), 4. Jack Hughes (Skehana), 5. Sean Joyce (Salthill Knocknacarra), 6. Mark Gill (Castlegar), 7. Caimin Killeen (Loughrea), 8. Diarmuid O’Brien (Ballygar) 9. Dylan Shaughnessy (Loughrea), 10. TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge), 11. Mark Kennedy (Clarinbridge), 12. Michael Glynn (Skehana), 13. Damien McGlynn (St Thomas), 14. Conor Molloy (Kilnadeema Leitrim) 0-10, 0-5 frees, 15. Jack Egan (Kilnadeema Leitrim) 1-1, 16. Cillian Lawless (Athenry) 1-2, 17. Neil Conneely (Portumna) 2-0, 18. Cathal Dolan (Kiltormer), 19. Isaac DeHora (Clarinbridge) 2-0, 20. Eoghan Kerin (Rahoon Newcastle).
Management: Manager Damien Curley (Kiltormer), Willie Burke (Oranmore Maree), Gerry Spellman (Clarinbridge)
Galway Maroon Best & Fairest John Fleming
Galway McDonagh Best & Fairest Conor Lee
(As picked by the match officials).