Liam Mellows 3-12
IF ever there was a template on how to win a county final after a prolonged period – in Liam Mellows case 47 years – then this remarkable victory for the City outfit over favourites Gort in an absorbing, action-packed and colourful County SHC Final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday was it.
In a memorable, entertaining and exhilarating championship showdown, Liam Mellows came with all the attributes it takes to become champions – style, substance, spirit and no little amount of gumption. When questions were asked, they answered them.
In contrast, Gort – for the second year running – were weighed down by the favourites tag. The 2011 & ’14 winners have built successful runs in the knockout stages in recent years by controlling games but, on Sunday, Liam Mellows were a firecracker they just couldn’t contain. Every time they squeezed, the City side simply exploded.
A case in point was midway through the second half. Mellows had entered the break five to the good but by the 39th minute a gutsy Gort had reduced the gap to a single point following a string of frees from Aiden Helebert (4) and Greg Lally, along with a rousing effort from the lively Kaelen Higgins. Mellows’ title bid looked in trouble.
However, just as they did in the first half, they lit the taper and within minutes they bolted five clear again. First, Adrian Morrissey, who would finish with a tally of eight points, seven from placed balls, converted a free to disrupt Gort’s momentum before Conor Kavanagh struck for what would turn out to be the match-winning goal.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.