Pádraic Ó Ciardha At Kenny Park
24th October 2015
WITH a personal tally of 1-9, full-forward Niall Mannion was the star for Moycullen as they booked their place in this year’s Intermediate county final with a well-deserved win against Ahascragh-Fohenagh last Saturday.
While much of the pre-game attention might have focused on his namesakes for the opposition, inter-county players Cathal and Padraic, it was Moycullen’s Mannion who impressed the most, getting the scores to build his side’s early lead and then tagging on points any time Ahascragh-Fohenagh looked like clawing their way back into the match.
Moycullen were not solely reliant on their full-forward, however, with the spine of their team in particular producing commanding displays. Mark Lydon and Matthew Donoghue solidified the defence while Eanna Noone added industry and skill at midfield, chipping in with 0-3, including two superb sideline cuts. Special mention must also go to goalkeeper Eric Fox, whose crucial intervention ten minutes from time put paid to an Ahascragh-Fohenagh comeback.
The east Galway side had brought the deficit back to three points, 1-8 to 1-11, at that stage thanks to a fortuitous goal, when Padraic Mannion was sent through one-on-one with Fox. The goalkeeper rushed off his line, forcing Mannion, who was probably his side’s most consistent threat from play, to shoot sooner than he wanted to and the Moycullen netminder managed to get his body in the way of the shot.
Though Kevin Gavin did put the rebound over the bar, it proved to be a decisive moment as Moycullen soon tagged on another few scores to cement their lead once again.
Much of the groundwork for their victory had been laid in the opening ten minutes, after which Moycullen found themselves 1-5 to 0-2 ahead. Eanna Noone opened the scoring with a sideline cut from the left-wing and while Padraic Mannion quickly replied, Moycullen soon went on a scoring burst that would provide them with a cushion for most of the game.
Philip Lydon put them ahead before Niall Mannion grabbed a crucial goal in the fourth minute after a strong run down the right-hand side. Seamus Conneely and Mannion again pointed to extend the lead further and Moycullen’s dominance was capped by another superb sideline cut from Eanna Noone, from a narrow angle on the left-hand touchline.
Ahascragh-Fohenagh’s sole response during this period was a Cathal Mannion free but they did settle more into the contest after their poor start. Two quick points from Mannion and Mark Kelly brought Ahascragh-Fohenagh back into contention, but Moycullen always seemed to be able to put scores on the board when they needed to.
This ability proved to be the difference between the sides. While the likes of Padraic Mannion, Mark Kelly and Stephen Smyth all put in solid shifts, scores never came easily to Ahascragh-Fohenagh, evidenced by the fact Cathal Mannion failed to score from play and rarely even got the opportunity to shoot from his deep midfield role.
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