After extra time
A curious kind of encounter laced with contradictions as both sides had the chances to book a place in the senior football championship semi-finals – in the end a draw was probably the right result between two evenly matched teams.
There was more than a touch of the Winter squall at Tuam Stadium on Sunday for this quarter-final and when Salthill/Knockncarra went in at half-time scoreless – after playing with the gale – their cause looked all but doomed.
Notetaking in the first-half was not an onerous task for the members of the Fourth Estate present at the old stadium as Milltown provided the only three scores of the opening 30 minutes with Eoin Mannion from play and Mark Hehir (two frees) raising white flags.
Salthill/Knocknacarra were really in desperate trouble as regards chance creation, and 11 minutes from full-time as they played into the wind trailing by 0-7 to 0-2, their 2018 championship season looked set for an inglorious final curtain.
To their credit through, the Seasiders kept on trying to get the little break that could open up an escape route for them, and sure enough, it arrived after 55 minutes of play albeit in somewhat unexpected fashion.
A promising Salthill attack looked set to throw up a point opportunity for wing forward Robert Butler but his looping shot for a point dipped into the wind catching Milltown keeper, Conor Nolan just a couple of paces off his line, and dropped into the back of the net.
Now, a team that hadn’t scored for the first 47 minutes of the match, found themselves just one behind at 0-7 to 1-3 as the game entered its closing moments. What’s more, they had momentum with them.
With three minutes remaining of normal time, a Seán Armstrong free levelled the match and although Michael Martin edged Milltown ahead again in injury-time, there was time for Salthill to level the game (1-5 to 0-8) when Andrew Butler punched over the bar from close range.
After the first-half of extra-time there was to be no separating the sides with Mark Hehir and Michael Martin on target for Milltown, while Rob Finnerty (free) and Evan Murphy raised white flags for Salthill.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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