Annaghdown made no mistake at the second attempt when they convincingly won this replayed County Minor ‘B’ Football Championship final at Baile Dóite, Moycullen last Sunday against a gallant Oughterard side that played very well at times before fading in the final stages.
The winners seemed to have the title wrapped up at the break after going in with a 2-5 to 0-2 lead but a great fight-back by Oughterard, combined possibly with an assumption by the leaders that they could not be caught, contributed to a stirring rally by the youthful Os.
They went from that nine-point deficit at the beginning of the second half to a position where with 10 minutes remaining they were only two points adrift, 2-6 to 1-7, and back in contention in a big way. However they could not maintain that momentum and Annaghdown reasserted themselves to seal the title.
Apart from their uncertain period at the start of the second-half, the winners were the better side overall but the final scoreline does not do justice to a very spirited and hard working Oughterard team that was impressive at times but with inconsistent spells also.
It was a big test of character for Annaghdown when they saw their big lead dwindling as the second half wore on but they regained their composure at that stage and held their opponents scoreless for the rest of the game while they themselves reeled off five points to settle the issue.
Oughterard who had to line out without midfielder Jack Geoghegan who had been red-carded in the drawn match were good at times but were blowing hot and cold all through. They got two points in the opening six minutes of the match but failed to raise a flag for the rest of the half while they managed 1-5 in the 20 minutes after the break but were unable to score again.
In fairness to them they never stopped trying from start to finish, showing plenty of endeavour and no little skill. They were unlucky also to be meeting a very mobile, well organised Annaghdown outfit.
Oughterard did well in the early stages and grabbed a 0-2 to 0-1 lead through scores by Eric Lee and James McMahon whose points sandwiched a neat effort by Annaghdown’s Peter Lynch but they were prevented from building a bigger lead by the fiercely determined Corrib-side defence where Mike Naughton and the outstanding Pierce Glynn were particularly effective.
Annaghdown gradually took over with team captain Michael Devanney and Enda Callanan breaking even with opposite numbers James McMahon and Fred Kenny at midfield. The real nightmare from an Oughterard point of view was the running from deep of speedy centre-forward Ryan Forde who split the Oughterard defence time and again earning several frees for his team and a number of yellow cards for his opponents.
It was by no means a one-man forward line and all six starting attackers scored for the winners. Peter Lynch, Adam Quirke especially and Conor Maloney constantly threatened danger in the half line as did corner men Darragh Fahy and Eoin Curry although Eoin’s free-taking was, by his high standards, erratic but it was he who killed off the Os challenge late on by driving over two crucial 45s.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.