Six-goal thriller, but Ben points way for Athleague in derby showdown

Kepak Roscommon SHC quarter-final

Athleague 3-13 Tremane 3-9

Ben McGahon…man of the match for Athleague on Sunday, scoring 0-11 against Tremane. Photo: Bernie O’Farrell

There may have been six goals in this hurling quarter-final, but it was arguably Ben McGahon’s eleven points that were decisive.

Displaying a more potent array of attacking options, Athleague deservedly saw off Tremane in this county final repeat played in perfect weather conditions last Sunday in Athleague.

This was a much better match than the first quarter-final and there was plenty of action (especially in the opening half) to keep the fans entertained. There were five goals and some excellent scores on both sides in the opening 30 minutes alone.

Athleague always looked the sharper side, but they shot a lot of bad wides (15 in all) and that kept Tremane in the match. Athleague led by 0-3 to 0-2 when Jack Naughton blasted a great shot past Athleague ‘keeper David Connell for the first goal of the game. But it wasn’t long before Athleague were back on terms when the excellent Eoin Ward set up Aengus Lyons to shoot home.

The goals kept on coming too. In the 17th minute Niall Kilroy was fouled in the large square and the same player netted the resultant penalty. Then two minutes later Athleague were level at 2-3 apiece when Eoin Ward converted well after a long ball into the danger area from Ben McGahon. Next, McGahon and Kilroy frees were followed by Athleague’s third goal, very well finished by Gary Fallon. By half-time Athleague led narrowly, by 3-5 to 2-6.

Two points from placed balls from Niall Kilroy on the resumption levelled the scores by the 36th minute, but Tremane were not to score again for 24 minutes as Athleague – and Ben McGahon particularly – took over. The Athleague midfielder was outstanding, scoring seven points on the bounce (four frees) to put his side in control at 3-12 to 2-8. Peter Kellehan drilled home a great goal from Tremane in the first minute of injury-time but it was of consolation value only for his side.

Niall Connolly, Eoghan Coyle, Eoin Ward and Ben McGahon were the aces in the pack for Athleague on the day, but they will not need me to tell them that they will have to show a vast improvement (especially up front) if they are to trouble Four Roads in the semi-final. For Tremane, Joe Brennan, Sean Melia and Noel Gately were prominent, but once again they were too reliant on Niall Kilroy for their scores.

Athleague: David Connell; Niall Connolly, Mark Ward, Darragh Mullen; David Delaney, Eoghan Coyle, Aengus Lyons (1-1); Darragh Heavey, Ben McGahon (0-11, 7 frees); Cormac Kelly, Cian Murray, Eoin Ward (1-0); Tadhg Lyons, Gary Fallon (1-0), Stephen Kilcommins (0-1). Subs: David Flaherty for G Fallon (44), Aaron Lyons for Kilcommins (52), Thomas Clayton for Kelly (60), JP Murray for Delaney (62).

Tremane: Kevin Kellehan; Thomas Tiernan, Sean Melia, John Brennan (0-1); Pauric Brennan, Warren Boyle, Kevin Brennan; Joe Brennan (0-1), Peter Kellehan (1-0); Cathal Brennan, Jack Naughton (1-0), Sean Mahony (0-1); Michael Brennan, Niall Kilroy (1-4, 1-0 pen, 2 frees, ’65), Noel Gately (0-2). Subs: David Mullen for M Brennan (45).

Referee: Aaron Clogher.

 

Man of the Match: Ben McGahon (Athleague)