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Intermediate Championship Semifinal in prospect

posted 6 Oct 2014, 10:56 by Kenneth Fox

Mágh Cuilinn's season hung the balance several times last Saturday as the game in progress in Clarinbridge ebbed and flowed and news filtered from other grounds on radio, mobile, text and Twitter. By early in the second half it was clear that with Oranmore/Maree powering ahead in Athenry a minimum of a draw would be required. Hopes rose when Seamus Conneely's well worked goal put us ahead but Cappy outscored Mágh Cuilinn 5 points to 1 to restore a two point lead as Mágh Cuilinn lost composure in front of goal.
Seamus Conneely's was positive when restoring a one point gap from distance before James Skehill was centre stage again. The Cappy keeper collected an overlong/underhit Mágh Cuilinn delivery for at least the tenth time and this time advanced into the open space driving an accurate low pass to his wing forward on the Magh Cuilinn 45m. But loose handling saw a defender knock the ball away to where Conor Noone lost no time in launching a missile toward goal from inside his own 65m. The valiant effort would have been more meat and drink to the giant goalkeeper but the lure of the wide open spaces on the right wing proved a bridge too far and the scrambling keeper was unable to prevent the ball dropping under the bar to leave the score as displayed above and four minutes of normal time remaining. Stout defending prevented a Cappy response before Niall Mannion secured his first at the last to secure survival in the Championship, even if Cappy secured an equalising goal. A foul on the edge of the D set up their last chance
. Skehill advanced to take on the task but the hastily calculating mathematicians intervened and Darragh Dolan took the simple point on offer with last puck of the game.
It seems there was some miscalculation, as the 2-10 to 0-14 two point win saw the teams level on points, level on scoring difference, level on points scored but Mágh Cuilinn group winners by virtue of the head to head result. Two of the three group winners would be drawn directly into the semifinals later that evening and fortune favoured Mágh Cuilinn as one of those along with Abbeyknockmoy. Rahoon Newcastle's reward for their group win was a tough quarter final against Cappataggle, while Killimor and Ahascragh/Fohenagh will contest the other quarter final.
So despite the blip of the narrow defeat to Kilconieron, Mágh Cuilinn have taken the most direct route through the Championship and arrive at the business end with a great gutsy performance but with clear potential to improve
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