Connemara Gaels 3-15 Kerry 2-10
Connemara Gaels ended Kerry’s unbeaten streak with a convincing win on a blustery Saturday afternoon. The game was of huge importance for each club and the Gaels took control right from the throw in and looked good for the points throughout. Fine performances from wing backs Sean Conneely and Padraig Cunningham along with a dominant midfield proved to be the keys to the Gaels victory.
|The Gaels Michael Rogers and Kerry's Mike Godley.|
The stiff breeze favoured the Gaels in the first half and the westerners took full advantage. There were a handful of new faces lined out for the Gaels, but it was Padraig Cunningham who stood out. Sean Conneely had a fine first 30 minutes at wing back, working hard when the Kerry had the ball and the man from Ros na Muice was always willing to help out the attack. That said, the Gaels defence worked hard as a unit and on the rare occasion when Kerry were in attack closed down the spaces and blocked several attempts at scores. Midfielders, Joe Greaney and Sean Moran were very much on top and two early goals set the tone for the half. Conneely won the ball deep in the Gaels back line and it made it’s way to Cunningham and the Ballinasloe native slotted home from close range. Shortly afterwards Graham found the net and the Gaels played with a spring in their step. Points came from Daryl Hayden, Eric Monahan, Conneely, and Joe Greaney. Kerry’s had little to show for their efforts, Shane O’Neill at corner forward found himself with little room to operate, though the ball rarely found it’s way at his end of the field.
|Eric Monaghan shoots for the Gaels.|
Even with the advantage of the breeze for the second half, the twelve point difference looked like it would prove to be too high a mountain for Kerry, and got a little higher after the first two points of the second half went to the Gaels. Ciaran O’Donnell made his way from corner back to slot the first over, and Sean Moran the second. Kerry improved their showing in the second half, but the task for the Gaels at that point was to keep their noses in front. Shane O’Neill hit with a goal for Kerry, but the Gaels answered soon afterwards with their third of the game. Dylan Hayden played a lovely ball over the top to Monaghan who finished from close range to the delight of the Gaels support in the crowd. Kerry continued to put some pressure on the Gaels, but lacked the final touch. Ian Whelan, Mark Schute, and Kieran O’Connor pointed and a second goal came from Schutte to improve the look of the scoreboard. The Gaels emptied the bench to give a run to the subs. Satisfaction with the win for the Gaels, and Kerry brought down to earth following a great start to their campaign.
Gaels: J. O’Donnell, D. Doolan, C. O’Donnell, S. Conneely, B. Joyce, P. Cunningham, J. Greaney, S. Moran, G. Delaney, D. Hayden, N. Graham, M. Rogers, E. Monahan. Kerry: S. O’Leary, M. Godley, J. O’Mahoney, L. Mulligan, K. O’Conner, J. Coffey, I. Whelan, I. Somers, M. Schutte, P. O’Neill,, D. Fenton, S. O’Neill, C. O’Brien.
By Rory O'Donnell