AIB Connacht Club Intermediate FC Final
An Spidéal (Galway) 1-14
We have seen some great displays from Roscommon teams in the Connacht club championships over the years but seldom have we seen as gutsy a display as we witnessed from Fuerty in the second half last Sunday in Tuam Stadium.
The Roscommon champions looked like they were in an impossible position at half-time. They were five points down and were looking at the prospect of playing the second half with only 14 players after midfielder Philip Neilan was red-carded in the 29th minute. It looked a very harsh award from referee Barry Judge and no one would have blamed Fuerty if they had thrown in the towel at that stage.
But they dusted themselves down at half-time and they tore into the Galway champions after the break. On three occasions they levelled the scores but agonisingly they could never get their noses in front. The previously impressive looking An Spidéal outfit were now struggling and they just about won the game with two late scores. Even then there was time for more drama as Niall Kilroy reduced the gap to just one in the sixth minute of injury-time and then Gearoid Ennis shot from a very difficult angle out near the left touchline but the ball drifted wide and the Connemara side had survived.
Two red cards, three black cards (all to Fuerty) and seven yellows would suggest a bad-tempered affair but nothing could be further from the truth as this was a tremendous game of football that kept the good sized crowd on the edge of their seats all through. Referee Barry Judge was over fussy throughout and he had a poor game overall. Fuerty felt that he was very harsh on them as they were in receipt of a very dubious looking straight red, three blacks, and three yellows.
But when they look back on the game in general, Fuerty will rue a poor start which saw the Galway champions lead by 1-3 to 0-1 after twelve minutes. Finnian Ó Laoi was given the freedom of Tuam Stadium to run in the only goal of the game in the second minute which was very disappointing. But once Fuerty got going they were back in business for the rest of the game. The Bannons – Tom and Eamonn – led from the front, Aengus Lyons, Niall Keenan, and the twin terrors up front, Niall Kilroy and Gearoid Ennis, were front and centre as the Roscommon champions came back from the dead.
Kilroy was immense with his ability to win the ball and Ennis was the arch finisher as Fuerty clawed their way back into contention. The Roscommon side received three black cards (Niall Keenan, Aengus Lyons and Mark Ward) in the final 20 minutes but it didn’t seem to disrupt them as they kept coming back for more. However when they sit down to analyse this game over the winter months they will wonder just what might have happened if Philip Neilan, Niall Keenan and Aengus Lyons were on the field for the entire game.
An Spidéal looked very dangerous at times but once Fuerty got amongst them they rattled them, and they will be mightily relieved to have got out of this decider by a point in the end. It was a very disappointing day for Fuerty but they can all hold their heads up high. They died with their boots on and can be very proud of their efforts. They still have a memorable 2018 to look back on and the prospect of senior football club championship to play in 2019.
Teams and scorers
An Spidéal: Magnus Breathnach (0-2, 2 frees); Eoin Ó Droighnain, Eamon Ó Conlain, Liam Ó Ceallaigh; Ciaran Ó Laoi (0-1), Michael Ó Currain, Seamus Ó Droighneain (0-1); Dara Mc An Rí (0-1), Padraig Eoin Ó Currain (0-1); Sean Ó Currain (0-2), Antaine Ó Laoi (0-4, 1 free), Finnian Ó Laoi (1-0); Brian Ó Congaile (0-1), Cormac Ó Laoi (0-1), Conaill Ó Caoimh.
Subs: Liam Ó Congaile for S Ó Droighneain (49), Aodan Ó Corrain for S Ó Corrain (52), Ciaran Ó Droighneain for Ciaran Ó Laoi (62).
Fuerty: Luke Byrne; Adam Whyte, Tom Bannon, Mark Ward; Ben McGahon (0-1), John Brennan, Peter Kellehan; Philip Neilan, Niall Keenan; Oisin Lyons, Eamon Bannon, Cian Murray; Aengus Lyons, Niall Kilroy (0-6, 5 frees), Gearoid Ennis (0-9, 7 frees, a ’45).
Subs: Darragh Heavey for McGahon (h/t), Robbie Fallon for Murray (35), Christy Leahy for Keenan (42 b/c), Cian Murray for A Lyons (57, b/c), Ben McGahon for Ward (62, b/c).