Mellows hang on to reach first county final since 1970

Liam Mellows Jack Forde making a break against Cappataggle’s Michael Broderick and Paul Claffey during Sunday's senior hurling semi-final at Kenny Park.

Liam Mellows 0-13

Cappataggle 1-9

THEY’VE waited 47 years but for the first time since 1970, Liam Mellows have qualified for the final of the SHC at the expense of first-time semi-finalists Cappataggle.

Mellows survived a late Jarlath Mannion inspired onslaught from Cappataggle as Tony Nevin’s side threw everything they had at the city outfit in search of the equaliser that, in truth, their efforts deserved.

At the death, they were afforded the opportunity at that equaliser but centre-back and joint captain Paul Claffey, who performed magnificently throughout, was off target with a 65’ as Mellows players and fans alike went in to a wild state of delirium.

With the four added minutes played, Mellows supporters pleaded with referee Eoin Shaughnessy to call a halt to proceedings. On the field, midfielder Kevin Lee bounded up and down with his hands on his head in anticipation of the full-time whistle as goalkeeper Kenneth Walsh prepared to launch the puckout and much to their ecstasy, it proved to be the last action of the game.

As Louis Mulqueen’s side rejoiced, Cappataggle players and mentors fell to their knees in devastation. You couldn’t but feel for them after losing in such a manner. Thirteen wides and four shots which landed in to the hand of Walsh tells its own story. The game was there to be won but they just couldn’t do it.

That in the end proved the difference between two very evenly matched sides. Mellows were clinical in front of goals and although Cappataggle were the better team in the second half, invariably, their accuracy let them down.

Both sides were understandably nervous in the early going, the effects of which were clear to see but Mellows found a couple of early scores to help settle themselves into the game.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune