Tuam Stars 0-15
FOUR second half points by Jamie Murphy provided the inspiration for Tuam Stars to keep their nerves in the closing minutes as Ja Fallon’s side eventually saw off Killannin in Sunday’s senior football championship encounter at Pearse Stadium.
Their ability to make productive use of the wind in the second half was a telling factor as Tuam’s ten point contribution in the final 30 minutes saw them double their opponents’ tally and leave them with a little to spare in the end.
Mind you, they needed two points in additional time to open up a three-point margin and in a really dramatic finale, it took a goal-line clearance by Rory O’Connor to keep out a David Walsh effort in a goalmouth scramble.
Killannin certainly made the better start, but their inability to turn a lot of possession in a wind assisted opening half into scores was to turn out to be their downfall. In fact, almost all their scores were taken in two productive spells and just one score in the closing ten minutes of the half left them with just a slender two point lead at the interval.
That advantage was quickly turned over by Tuam and while the sides traded point for point for a spell, a three score burst midway through the half was enough to give the Stars a lead that a committed Killannin could not peg back.
Aided by the elements it was the West Galway team who made the brighter start and after Johnny Heaney stroked over a 45, Niall Walsh drilled over a smashing effort with the outside of the boot from near the right sideline. Their early dominance continued as Cathal Sweeney soloed through the middle and made it three points to no score on 10 minutes.
Tuam Stars got off the mark a minute later and it was Gary O’Donnell who popped over the opener and the midfielder repeated the feat quickly afterwards to add a second, with Darren Kelly deeply involved in the build up to both. Kelly then had an opportunity to go for goal, but elected for the safer option when he fired over the equaliser on 13 minutes.
Referee Shane Hehir was the centre of attention for two contrasting decisions in quick succession, at opposite ends of the park. Firstly, he failed to award a free to Killannin’s Patrick Sweeney when he had the legs taken from under him by Darragh O’Rourke in front of goal, while at the other end he observed David Walsh holding Jamie Murphy off the ball as the full forward awaited a delivery from midfield. Gavan Connell knocked over the resulting free to put Tuam Stars 0-4 to 0-3 ahead on 15 minutes.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune