For several minutes after last Saturday evening’s Connacht Gold Senior Championship clash in Pairc Sean MacDiramada the Allen Gael’s players were left wondering whether or not they had done enough to secure their place in the quarter finals.
When the results of the other games were relayed to them the relief and joy was evident for all to see. Nobody could have argued that Allen Gael’s weren’t worthy of a draw and in fact as the game edged closer to full time it seemed that if there was going to be a winner it would be the Drumshanbo men.
After a slow and low scoring start that saw neither side assert themselves fully, Bornacoola struck at the end of the half with two points in quick succession to give them a two point interval lead.
That lead was doubled in the opening stages of the second half and it appeared as though Allen Gaels would have little more than relegation play-offs to look forward to but with Alan Wynne influential in midfield and Brian Mulvey, Nicholas Moore and Declan Gilhooly effective up front, Allen Gaels earned a deserved draw when Gilhooly converted a free two minutes into injury time at the end of the game.
The exciting finale was in contrast to the manner in which the game got underway as there was nothing to separate the sides after 15 minutes with points from Declan Gilhooly’s free opening the scoring before Bornacoola replied with a Michael Duignan free and a Philip Howard point. Parity was restored in the 13th minute when Martin Beirne pointed.
However, moments before that score there was reason for the Allen Gaels supporters to feel aggrieved as they were denied what seemed a certain penalty for a foul on Nicholas Moore immediately after Martin Beirne saw his effort come back off the crossbar.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining Allen Gaels retook the lead through Declan Gilhooly but Bornacoola replied with their first point in 13 minutes through Damien Moran.
As the game edged towards half time, two converted frees from Declan Gilhooly restored Allen Gaels’ advantage but they were almost immediately cancelled out by points from two Michael Duignan frees, Paul Hackett and Oliver Vaughan to give the Bors a 0-7 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Bornacoola brought that momentum with them to the start of the second half with further points coming from yet another Duignan free and Paul Hackett.
Trailing by four points it was beginning to look as though Allen Gael’s championship interest may be nearing an end but they showed plenty of character and dug deep to get back in contention.
Two frees were converted by Declan Gilhooly but just when it looked like Allen Gaels were right back in contention they had a real let off. Mark McCloskey intercepted a short kickout but his powerful shot grazed the crossbar and went over.
With just 12 minutes remaining Allen Gaels came incredibly close to scoring a goal but Sean Mulvey’s shot hit the crossbar before going over and that was immediately followed by a fine James Flynn score.
The final 10 minutes proved to be very tense but after Bornacoola re-established a two point courtesy of Oliver Vaughan, it was Allen Gaels who rallied and looked the stronger while Bornacoola sat deep and invited their opponents to attack.
A fine individual point from Nicholas Moore reduced the deficit and in the second minute of injury time Gilhooly converted a free that levelled matters.
There was still time for a winning score but a fine tackle from Gary McCloskey on James Flynn made sure there was no addition to the Allen Gaels score and a share of the spoils was a fair result.
Fergal McGill, Damien McGuinness, Morgan Shanley, Jason Conroy, Niall O’Connor, Paul Hackett (0-2), John McGuinness, Gary McCloskey, David McKeon, Oliver Vaughan (0-1), Michael Duignan (0-4), Philip Howard (0-1), Damien Moran (0-1), Brian Conroy, Trevor Howard (0-1). Subs: Bobby Shanley for McGill (17 mins), Mark McCloskey (0-1) for O’Connor (HT), Kevin Shanley for Trevor Howard (52 mins), Declan Shanley for D. McGuinness (52 mins).
Kevin Nolan, Ciaran Matthynssens, Alan Wynne, Mark Gunning, Thomas Mulvey, Colm McGovern, Martin Raftery, Martin Beirne (0-1), Michael McManus, James Flynn (0-1), Declan Gilhooly (0-7), Adrian Sorohan, Nicholas Moore (0-1), Emmet Burke, Brian Mulvey. Subs: Sean Mulvey (0-1) for Raftery (45 mins), Alan McKeon for B. Mulvey (49 mins), Danny Egan for Beirne (57 mins), Brian Mulvey for McManus (58 mins).