Menlough pay the penalty to suffer semi-final heartbreak

Lahardane MacHales 0-12

Menlough 1-9

AET (Lahardane win 5-3 on penalties)

Darren Kelly at MacHale Park

Menlough’s season came to an end last Sunday as after 80 minutes of jousting with Lahardane MacHales in the Connacht junior Gaelic football semi-final, it was the Mayo champions who prevailed on penalties.

James and Matthew Maughan, Chris Rowland, Shane Finnerty and Mickey Murphy all found the net with their penalties, and while Donal Loftus, Niall Carty and Barry Laheen all stuck their efforts into the net, Rob Hughes saw his shave the top of the crossbar.

It was a blow for the midfielder, who top-scored for the Galway champions with six points in a game in which Lahardane looked fresher as the contest developed, although Menlough left major opportunities behind them that ultimately proved costly.

The north Galway outfit took to the field for the fourth consecutive week, but started sharper with Loftus providing Hughes for a point from the right on three minutes. A difficult crosswind was against them in the first-half, and they also had to battle occasional sheets of rain.

But it didn’t matter to Menlough who turned over possession around their half-back line before attacking again, and after a Hughes effort was deflected out for a ’45 by opposition ’keeper Joe Queenan, the resulting ’45 led to their breakthrough.

Loftus’ dead ball towards the square was taken by Keeley. He found the advancing Kevin Reilly who took possession in range and finished to the net for a 1-1 to 0-0 lead on eight minutes.

Menlough stretched their advantage when Brian Monaghan’s pass was fisted just over by Tom Mannion on 13 minutes, and it would be another six before Lahardane opened from a James Maughan free. He added another before a Shane Loftus effort left them just 1-2 to 0-3 down on 27 minutes.

Pictured: Tomás Mannion, seen here in action in the quarter-final against St Michael’s of Roscommon, fisted over a first-half point for Menlough on Sunday. Photos: David Cunniffe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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