Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir 2- 7
HAVING weathered an early storm, Oranmore-Maree recovered well and long before the finish were heading for a comfortable win in this cracking County Minor B Football Championship Final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.
Goals either side of half time were the crucial scores for the winners who had a convincing 2-9 to 1-5 interval advantage. When Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir restarted the second half in lively fashion and threatened a comeback, they were rocked by another goal that stretched the Oranmore-Maree advantage to nine points.
Both of the goals were clinically finished by Luke Smyth as the corner forward and Man of the Match contributed 2-6 of his side’s tally in a tremendous display.
While Smyth might have taken most of the scoring plaudits, around him the winners had an overall strength that the Connemara side could not match.
In fairness, both teams had some talented forwards, but it was the quality and marking of the Oranmore-Maree backline which helped to win the day for their side. It certainly took Oranmore-Maree some time to impose themselves on the game, after getting a runaround in the opening minutes, but once they settled, the Leitir Móir forwards got less of a chance to impress as they just got 1-3 from play over the course of the hour.
However, the game could have turned out so differently if the West Board champions had their shooting boots on from the early stages. From the moment Maitias Bairead collected the throw in, they pinned the North Board side in their own half for over three minutes as they made a dream start when Mickey MacDonnacha set up Joe Ó Gubbins for an opening minute goal.
They should have added another moments later when Chris Seoige set up Dylan Seoige, but his goalbound effort was brilliantly turned away by Damien Sharry for a 45, which was driven over by Chris Seoige to give them an early four point advantage.
While Oranmore-Maree were slow to get into the contest, once they got a foothold they pinned Leitir Móir back for long spells. Nathan Lynskey got them off the mark, before James Cahalane settled for a second point when a goal at close range looked on.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.