Easkey top west Sligo shoot out to reach Intermediate final

Back 03/10/2022 @ 22:29 | mainnews | Easkey top west Sligo shoot out to reach Intermediate final

With just four points between them Easkey and St Pat’s served up a cracking Connacht Gold Intermediate championship semi-final, seeing the Sea Blues reach the intermediate final for the sixth time.

Two first half goals and a third in the second half (against the run of play) helped Eamonn Sweeney’s side to push past their West Sligo counterparts in Markievicz Park.

Wing back Jack Scott got the scoring underway off his left foot, before the duo of Canice Mulligan and Jim Davis put St Pat’s one ahead.

Joe McHugh stepped in as Easkey captain in the absence of Mikey Gordon, notching his first on four minutes, as Andrew Kilcullen put them ahead a minute later.

The first quarter played out as described, a back and forth exchange with some well taken scores from St Pat’s – who led 0-4 0-3 against the breeze.

Soon after, calamity struck for the men from Dromard. Scott sauntered forward for Easkey again, and his attempt at a point dropped short into the arms of Cormac Boland. The goalkeeper caught the ball on the goal line, but in attempting to advance out of the goalmouth, got his footing caught in the net, and the ball was carried over the line. As they say, championship football takes on a mind of its own!

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Padraic Clarke got his first of the afternoon shortly after, while having a great battle with Niall Kilcullen, bringing matters back to a single point.

Andrew Kilcullen and Joe McHugh struck again for Easkey in the latter stages of the first half, either side of the game’s second goal.

A powering move through the middle involving telepathic play from the McHugh brothers parted the Pat’s defence. Lying in wait was Kevin Duffy, who dispatched his effort to the bottom corner of Boland’s net. After a hat trick against Enniscrone/ Kilglass and a brace against Bunninadden, Duffy now has 6-4 in this year’s championship – a similar return to that of Raff Cretaro in the 1999 senior championship!

Six between the teams at half time, 2-5 to 0-5, and with the wind at their backs St Pat’s had a mountain to climb.

Pat’s wasted no time in charging at the Easkey goal and forced Daniel Rolston into saving a certain goal mere seconds into the restart. Davis kicked the resulting ’45.

With Niall Kilcullen coming off at half time, this left more room for Padraic Clarke to manoeuvre, who kicked three points in the next five minutes.

Kilcullen slotted another Easkey free to bring it back to two points, before Conor Kevany and Clarke scored to bring it back to just a point. Kevany was also denied in on goal by Rolston, who was having a stormer at netminder.

And then on 43 minutes, where a goal would prove crucial in the game, Easkey hit the net for the third time. Substitute Jonathan Conway, who showed well, saw his attempted point fall short of the crossbar. Full forward Fionn Moylan rose above all to palm the ball to the net, and against the run of play Easkey halted the charges of Pat’s.

Easkey restored the lead of six, but the game was still not over as after four second half goal chances, St Pat’s finally hit the net. Donal Brady carried the ball well up the right wing, before cutting inside and hitting a low shot which was saved by Rolston, but Brady managed to slot the rebound to reduce the deficit to three points.

The sides exchanged points as Brendan McGrath scored off the left, and Padraic Clarke got his sixth.

The last score of the game came in added time to seal victory for Easkey and put them four ahead. Up stepped Rolston from the ’45, and despite the breeze going against him, slotted the ball over with yards to spare.

This lands Easkey in an intermediate final against St Molaise Gaels. Both teams are in the hunt for their sixth title, with Easkey winning their most recent coming in 2015. They hope to keep their 100% record in intermediate finals intact and make it two senior championship teams in the west for 2023.

Easkey scorers: Andrew Kilcullen (0-5, 0-2f), Jack Scott (1-1), Kevin Duffy, Fionn Moylan (1-0 each), Joe McHugh (0-2), Daniel Rolston (’45), Brendan McGrath, Jonathan Conway (0-1 each).

Easkey team: Daniel Rolston; Ian Barrett, Niall Kilcullen, Bernard Feeney; Eoghan Rua McGowan, Rory McHugh, Jack Scott; Eanna Moylan, Noel McGuire; Kevin Duffy, Andrew Kilcullen, Hayden Gilroy; Rossa Sloyan, Fionn Moylan, Rory McHugh.

Subs used: Ciarán Montague, Jonathan Conway, Brendan McGrath.

St Pat’s scorers: Padraic Clarke (0-6, 0-4f), Donal Brady (1-0), Jim Davis (0-2, 0-1 ’45), Pierce Kearins, Canice Mulligan, Ciaran Giblin, Tomás McMunn, Conor Kevany (0-1 each).

St Pat’s team: Cormac Boland; Jonathan Higgins, Connell Kearins, Conor Kevany; Daragh Williams, Joe McMunn, David Giblin; James Clarke, Cathal Finneran; Donal Brady, Tomás McMunn, Canice Mulligan; Jim Davis, Padraic Clarke, Pierce Kearins.

Subs used: Ciaran Giblin, Oisin Kevany, Niall Connolly, Martin Clarke, Ciaran Brady.

Referee: Gus Chapman.