County champions cut loose in routing hapless An Spidéal

Maigh Cuilinn 1-19

An Spidéal 0-6

By Eanna O’Reilly at Pearse Stadium

DEFENDING champions Maigh Cuilinn opened their 2023 campaign in highly impressive fashion on Friday evening as they ran out comprehensive 16-point winners over An Spidéal at Pearse Stadium. Don Connellan’s charges were without the likes of Seán Kelly, Peter Cooke, and Ger Davoran, but still had far too much quality for an outclassed Connemara outfit.

Playing with the wind in the opening half, the Frank Fox Cup holders were razor sharp from the outset, and had a point on the board straight from the throw in. James McLaughlin and Eoghan Kelly transferred possession to Paul Kelly, who raised their first white flag.

A second came straight from the kick out, when Eoghan Kelly won possession before firing over. Full forward Niall Walsh soon kicked their third, and it was already shaping up to be a difficult evening for An Spidéal.

Dessie Conneely soon showed his class with an excellent score from the left wing, before tallying his first pointed free three minutes later. An Spidéal opened their account in the 11th minute when ‘keeper Maghnus Breathnach impressively pointed a free against the wind.

The title holders were well in control, however. Maigh Cuilinn accelerated again to score 1-5 without reply during the next ten minutes. Walsh and Owen Gallagher sent over two impressive points, before Gallagher scored a brilliant goal, beating three defenders in the process and shooting past Breathnach.

Three consecutive Maigh Cuilinn points followed Gallagher’s goal. Scores from Walsh, Johnny Moloney, and Aidan Claffey pushed them 12 points ahead, and ended any chance of this game being a contest. With the scoreboard reading 1-10 to 0-1, An Spidéal faced a huge uphill battle.

Pictured: Maigh Cuilinn’s Paul Kelly gets to the ball ahead of An Spidéal’s Dara Mac an Rí (left) and Micheál Ó Curraoin during Friday’s Senior Football Championship Group 1 clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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