Match Report-Connacht Gold JAFC S/F St. Michaels v Owenmore Gaels

Back 11/10/2021 @ 13:57 | mainnews | Match Report-Connacht Gold JAFC S/F St. Michaels v Owenmore Gaels

Connacht Gold Junior A Championship Semi-Final

Saturday 9 October

Kent Park:

Referee: Bill Carty


St. Michael’s 1-17 Owenmore Gaels 1-6


Familiar rivals over the years, neighbours St. Michael’s and Owenmore Gaels met in a Junior Championship semi-final that was a repeat of the semi-final meeting between the two sides from two years ago, and just as it was on that evening in Coola, on Saturday afternoon last at Kent Park it was the Ballintogher side who emerged as winners after an impressive display.


Played in fine conditions in front of a good-sized attendance, the early exchanges were tight with neither side gaining any real advantage. Ryan Phillips opened the scoring for Owenmore Gaels after two minutes with a point from a tight angle, which was replied to by a free from James Mackey three minutes later.


Shortly afterwards the St. Michael’s full forward Simon McKeon crashed a shot off the bar when he drove through the Owenmore Gaels defence. Ryan Walsh put Michael’s in the lead on seven minutes after the Gaels lost possession under pressure, which was to become a common theme of the game as play progressed.


St. Michael’s were denied a second goal opportunity when Mackey had a chance saved from close range, and the Gaels levelled when a well worked move set Nathan O’Malley up to score. Mackey put Michael’s back in front on fifteen minutes before Owenmore Gaels had their own missed chance on goal when the ball broke inside for Ronan Sweeney but his shot was saved by Fintan Ruddy.


As play resumed after the first water break the game began to turn in St. Michael’s favour, though it took time to be reflected on the scoreboard. Ryan Walsh doubled their advantage on 27 minutes and on the half hour McKeon added another point after being set up by Niall Mullen, who had gained possession in the middle of the field. The Michael’s goalkeeper Fintan Ruddy then converted a 45 to put them 0-6 to 0-2 clear. Ryan Phillips pointed a free in reply and in the following passage of play Roly Anderson scored a fine point from distance to create some momentum for the Gaels. However their efforts were cancelled out when just before half time Jack Haran scored two points from long range in quick succession, to leave Michael’s 0-8 to 0-4 ahead at the interval.


The second half carried on as the first had ended, with James Mackey pointing early from a free for St. Michael’s. Three minutes in Stephen Fallon pointed in reply for the Gaels before a dramatic sequence of events, when St. Michael’s appeared to have scored a goal when Mackey beat Jason Farrell to a incoming ball, but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line, despite his protestations, and in the resulting move upfield Mark Walsh charged in on goal and laid the ball off to Stephen Fallon who finished to the net, to cut the gap to a single point, 0-9 to 1-5.


 Hopes that this would spark the Gaels to life would not be realised though, as Michael’s scored twice in quick succession through Ross McLoughlin and Kyle Carty, and then wasted two more opportunities to stretch their lead afterwards.


The decisive moment would then come in deciding the outcome as the second water break approached. Ryan Phillips pointed a free for the Gaels, which would prove to be their final score of the day, and from the resulting kickout the ball landed deep into Gaels territory and was played in to the ever-threatening James Mackey who this time was not to be denied, and his goal put five between the sides. He added a point from a free shortly after to make it 1-12 to 1-6 as the final quarter beckoned.


The concession of those scores appeared to knock the spirit out of the Owenmore Gaels challenge, and the final quarter was dominated by a St. Michael’s team that were growing in confidence, though as in the first half the scores were slow in coming. Indeed it was cards that came next, when an incident off the ball led to St. Michael’s centre back Steven Clerkin being dismissed, and the Gaels forward Stephen Fallon joining him having received a second yellow card.


The final stages saw Michael’s drive their dominance home, and a brace of points from Mackey put the result beyond doubt before Jack Haran claimed the score of the afternoon, with a spectacular point from near the halfway line. Kyle Carty added a point from a narrow angle, and Padraig McGoldrick then rounded off the scoring with a free, to ensure that St. Michael’s would claim the local bragging rights, and a place in the Junior final, on a final score of 1-17 to 1-6.


The winning margin would have come as something of a surprise to many, but there could be little argument about the merits of the St. Michael’s victory, and they will have quite strong claims to win a third Junior Championship in six years, and fourth in all, when they face St. Patrick’s in the final in two weeks’ time.


St. Michael’s: Fintan Ruddy (0-1), Ross McLoughlin (0-1), Cian McGowan, Patrick Kelly, Ciaran McKeon, Steven Clerkin, Jack Haran (0-3), Colm McTiernan, Gavin McGowan, Niall Mullen, Kyle Carty (0-1), Paul Flanagan, James Mackey (1-7), Simon McKeon (0-1), Ryan Walsh (0-2). Subs: Brian Taaffe, Padraig McGoldrick (0-1), Conor Feeney, Gavin Walsh, Hughie McGowan.


Owenmore Gaels: Jason Farrell, Garret Lavin, Liam Gilligan, Ryan Quigley, Cian Whiteside, James Duffy, Roly Anderson (0-1), Mark Walsh, Nathan O’Malley (0-1), Conor Davey, Peter Wynne, Aaron Walsh, Ryan Phillips (0-3), Stephen Fallon (1-1), Ronan Sweeney. Subs: Kevin Healy, Oisin Geraghty, Niall Hodgins.