Elwood the hero as Mellows edge through in extra time

Liam Mellows defender Mark Hughes who picked off an invaluable point in their narrow 2017 County U21 A hurling semi-final replay win over Loughrea in Ballinderreen on Sunday.
Liam Mellows defender Mark Hughes who picked off an invaluable point in their narrow 2017 County U21 A hurling semi-final replay win over Loughrea in Ballinderreen on Sunday.

Liam Mellows  0-16

Loughrea 0-15

Patrick Flaherty in Ballinderreen

(After extra time)

AFTER 160 minutes of action over two weekends in weather ranging from calm and bright to dark and stormy, it was just a point that separated the sides in the end, a strong start to extra time when they hit five points in-a-row sealing Liam Mellows’ spot in the heavily delayed 2017 U21 A hurling final.

The city side trailed for almost the entire second half but battled back with three late scores to level proceedings and send the semi-final to extra time. However, Loughrea will rue their missed opportunities as nine first half wides came back to haunt them.

As the teams entered the field of play they were met with a downpour which persisted throughout the first half, but despite the conditions both Loughrea and Mellows showed impressive skills in an entertaining clash played in the right spirit.

Loughrea were quicker out of the blocks with the strong wind behind them, but their midfield pairing of Dylan Shaughnessy and Enda Keary were both off target from long range.

Mellows would create a lot less chances then their opponents early on but throughout they were a lot more clinical, hitting just two wides in the first half and just six in 80 minutes of action, with Ronan Elwood getting their first point from a free on seven minutes.

The men in blue and gold responded quickly with two scores in two minutes to take the lead, Kaygan Cooney intercepting a poorly taken sideline cut to tee up Martin McManus before a long puck out set up Anthony Byrnes for his first of the day.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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