Hansberry goal helps fire Menlough into last four

Menlough 1-13

St Michael’s 0-10

Menlough’s experience from campaigns past proved the difference last Saturday as the North Galway outfit controlled this contest to set up a Connacht Junior Football semi-final showdown with Mayo’s Laherdane MacHales this Sunday (1pm MacHale Park, Castlebar).

Seán Hansberry’s goal was the decisive score, but it was Menlough’s ability to cut out the threat from the Roscommon champions, who’d registered 8-35 in their previous three outings, which ensured the Galway club’s success.

It was 10 years since Menlough last appeared on the provincial stage, but they still boasted many faces from the county intermediate winners from 2006 and 2013.

St Michael’s won domestic silverware for the first time in 30 years a fortnight ago, but were always going to be up against it when news emerged their main talisman Fiachra Henry, who hit 2-12 the last day against Clann na nGael, was carrying an injury.

Henry headed towards the corner before the throw-in and Menlough captain Kieran Dowd didn’t waste time joining him. Dowd, Barry Laheen and Padraig Glynn only dropped three points over the hour, but regularly cut out threats that led to counter attacks.

Dressed in all white due to a colour clash, Menlough opened the scoring on two minutes as Kevin Reilly and Hugh Keeley played provider for Niall Carty’s point. Former Roscommon All-Ireland winning minor Alan O’Hara hit back within 60 seconds to level affairs.

Menlough had four survivors from the class of 2006 (Laheen, Keeley, Jason O’Neill, and Rob Hughes) and sensing that their opponents were defending deep, Laheen moved into attack to take Brian Monaghan’s pass on four minutes, making it 0-2 to 0-1.

While St Michael’s provided space on the back foot, they were assertive in possession. In contrast, Menlough were holding the ball more but were often methodical in trying to carve out chances.

Pictured: Menlough goalscorer Seán Hansberry breaks through the tackles of the St Michael’s duo of Seán Farrell and Niall Sheerin. Photo: David Cunniffe.


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