A last minute score from Annaduff substitute Michael Rowley saw his side claim a point against St Mary’s/Kiltoghert in a low scoring affair at Pairc Sean Ui hEslin in Ballinamore on Saturday.
Rowley’s equaliser, one minute into injury time was enough to level the game at six points each, while Ray Mulvey provided each of St Mary’s six scores. Progression through to the quarter finals had already been assured for the Carrick side with group stage wins over Ballinamore and Kiltubrid. Annaduff, who had drawn their two previous pool games needed Kiltubrid carve out a result against Ballinamore Sean O’ Heslin’s in Cloone to guarantee qualification from Group 2 of the Connacht Gold Leitrim Senior Football Championship.
The opening minutes saw both side guilty of missed opportunities in this South Leitrim derby. Half forwards Conor Reynolds and Sean McNabola combined to provide the game with its first chance. Reynolds kicked pass found McNabola in space 30 metres out, but the latter failed to put the power behind his kick as Annaduff goalkeeper Jim McCormack comfortably claimed possession inside his own square. Mary’s went close seconds later through Jimmy Guckian before Dillon Keane sent his shot wide from distance, Annaduff’s first of four wides in the opening half.
The game’s first score came with five minutes played. Mary’s Ronan Kennedy jockeyed and hassled McNabola but failed in his attempt to block down the half forward’s shot, Annaduff earning a one point lead.
Last year’s Senior Championship runners-up didn’t have to wait long for a reply however as the game was levelled just a minute later.
Michael McWeeney was upended by Annaduff half back Jimmy Cox and Mulvey made no mistake in sending the ball between the posts to tie the game. Both teams shared wides through Mary’s Jimmy Guckian and Annaduff’s Joe Cox before McNabola recaptured the lead for Annaduff.
The physical presence of Daniel Lowe was causing Annaduff plenty of headaches in the opening exchanges and he started the move which levelled the game once more.
James Glancy supplied Joseph O’Rourke who’s pace forced Annaduff corner back Gary Bohan to conceded a free 25 metres from his own goal. Mulvey slotted over for his and his side’s second score of the afternoon.
Both teams hit another wide each courtesy of Annaduff’s McNobala and Carrick’s Niall Comerton. Although Mulvey was accurate yet again on 21 minutes when he saw his point from play sail between the posts. Mary’s now led by three points to two.
The game had to wait another ten minutes before the next score came along and it was an equalising point from Annaduff’s McNabola that did the trick. But for a wicked spin, a ferocious shot from the outside of McNabola’s right boot looked as if it was going wide. But to his delight, the ball changed path and sneaked the right side of the Mary’s posts at the scoreboard end to level the game at the break at three points each.
Both teams seemed nervous and disjointed at the beginning of the second period as misplaced passes became a feature of the game. A combination of Mulvey and Nicholas McWeeney made the most of a stray David Duignan pass on 33 minutes as Mulvey sent over his fourth point of the game, Mary’s now leading by four points to three.
A Mulvey wide in the next phase of play was closely followed by the equalising point from corner forward Ray Cox. Mulvey and Joe Cox shared a score each from frees over the following four minutes to keep the game neck and neck, while a magnificent block from Annaduff’s Gary Bohan on the 14 metre line prevented O’Rourke from opening up a Carrick lead.
Mary’s introduced Alan Doherty to the game in place of Michael McWeeney with 13 minutes remaining and he almost made an immediate impact but was unfortunate to see his effort breeze the wrong side of the Annaduff post.
Mulvey then completed his second hat-trick of points on 59 minutes when substitute Daniel Lowe’s fist pass at the end line picked out the half forward in space in front of goal. Mulvey gauged the position of the posts and kicked over for Mary’s final score of the game.
A point down and unaware of events in Cloone, the Annaduff management made three changes in the final ten minutes introducing Chris Farrell, Colm Cox and Michael Rowley to proceedings in an effort to turn the tide.
This move came good a minute into injury time when Mary’s went on the attack via Jimmy Guckian who found himself in a shooting position in front of goal. Unselfishly, but naively he instead chose a fist pass to a teammate which was cut out by an Annaduff defender.
The resulting counter-attack produced a soft foul on substitute Rowley and just 20 metres from goal at the sideline, he converted his own free to level the game at six points each. Neither side could produce the energy to find a winner over the final seconds of the game as Rowley’s point proved enough to send both sides through to the quarter-finals of this year’s Championship.
St Mary’s Kiltoghert
Anthony Conway; Ronan Kennedy, James Flynn, Vincent McDermott; Conor Farrell, Clement Cunniffe, Dermot Reynolds; Daniel Lowe, Jimmy Guickan; Michael McWeeney, James Glancy, Ray Mulvey (0-6); Nicholas McWeeney, Niall Comerton, Joseph O’Rourke. Subs: Robert Lowe for for N McWeeney (40 mins), Alan Doherty for M McWeeney (47 mins).
Jim McCormack; Gary Bohan, Conor McLoughlin, Nigel Cox; Jimmy Cox, David Duignan, Matty Cox; Ronan McCormack, Brendan Guckian; Conor Reynolds, Sean McNabola (0-3), Dillon Keane; Ray Cox (0-1), Joe Cox (0-1), Cathal Cox. Subs: Aaron Duignan for McCormack (9 mins), Chris Farrell for Jimmy Cox (52 mins), Colm Cox for Joe Cox (54 mins), Michael Rowley (0-1) for N. Cox (57 mins).
Referee: Ray McBrien.