DESPITE the odd flash here and there, last Saturday’s U21 A West Board football final is unlikely to last too long in anyone’s memory. A heavy pitch meant that, despite the best efforts of the players, both Salthill/Knocknacarra and Moycullen struggled to hit top gear. When it was needed most though, it was Anthony Finnerty’s side who were best able to conjure scores.
After making a good start to the contest, leading 0-5 to 0-1 after 15 minutes, Salthill/Knocknacarra slowly let their opponents back into the game and when Peter Cooke smashed in a superb goal with just over a quarter of an hour remaining, Moycullen were in the lead for the first time.
Salthill/Knocknacarra deserve great praise, however, for how they responded. Despite hitting just two points in the previous 30 minutes, they reeled off six scores in the final quarter to retake the lead and give them a decisive cushion.
It was the home side who were much quicker out of the blocks and they dominated possession for much of the opening ten minutes. The game’s first score came through Davy Knight after Robert Finnerty forced a turnover on the Moycullen endline. Evan Murphy then doubled his side’s lead, converting a free after Finnerty was fouled.
Moycullen were struggling to impose themselves on the match and Seán Kelly was their sole bright spark, making a couple of darting runs from midfield. One of these saw him brought down, allowing Peter Cooke to open their account.
There wasn’t much respite for the trailing side, however. When Evan Murphy’s blocked shot dropped into the hands of Colm Hughes, the wing-forward to full advantage to extend Salthill/Knocknacarra’s lead but, if that score was down to luck, Hughes second point of the game showed his side at their best.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.