Title holders Maigh Cuilinn survive a stiff examination

Maigh Cuilinn 0-11

Mountbellew/ Moylough 0-9

Pádraic Ó Ciardha at Pearse Stadium

MAIGH Cuilinn were forced to dig deep once again but the 2022 champions have made it through to a third county final in four years as they did enough to edge past Mountbellew-Moylough in a captivating contest.

Having pulled away from the same opposition in last year’s semi-final, Don Connellan’s side were made to work harder in this one as Mountbellew-Moylough recovered from a slow start to make sure the final result was always in the balance. There was only a point between the sides heading into the final few minutes of normal time but late scores from Peter Cooke and Johnny Moloney got Maigh Cuilinn over the line.

There’s still a sense that the county champions have yet to hit top gear in this campaign but, that being said, Maigh Cuilinn never trailed at any point at Pearse Stadium on Saturday and with their talent and experience, they always looked the more likely to come out ahead in a photo finish.

The most entertaining football in this semi-final came in the first half when Dessie Conneely and Eoin Finnerty treated us to an exhibition of inside-forward play and showcased once again why they have probably been the two most consistent club forwards in the county over the last few years.

Conneely kicked five points from five shots in that opening half – two from play, one from a mark and two from frees, one of which he won himself – and was the focal point for nearly all of his side’s attacks. Finnerty came out a little bit deeper to make his impact but his contribution was no less impressive, kicking four points from five shots in that first half and at stages when Mountbellew-Moylough really needed scores.

Pictured: Mountbellew-Moylough’s Patrick Kelly is chased by Tom Clarke of Maigh Cuilinn during Saturday’s County Senior Football Semi-Final at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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