A magnificent Gary Loughlin save in the fourth minute of injury time helped secure Glencar Manor a victory over Mohill in Drumkeerin last Saturday and guaranteed them a place in the Quarter Finals of this years Connacht Gold Senior Football Championship.
With the reigning champions leading by two points deep in injury time, Mohill’s Gavin Kelly cut in from the wing, and even from an acute angle, hit a blistering shot which seemed destined for the net, only for Loughlin to smother his shot and clear his lines.
Thirty minutes earlier, it was hard to see how Mohill could end up being so close to snatching victory, when they found themselves losing by nine points 1-10 to 0-4. But for the remainder of the half, they outscored the champions 1-6 to 0-2 and came so close to taking the direct route to the quarter finals.
Colm Beirne opened the scoring for Mohill with a pointed free but points from play by Gerry Hickey, Colin Ryan and Adrian Croal put the northern side into a two point lead. Mohill kept in touch with another Beirne point (free) but a good Croal point and an Aaron Hickey free from close to the sideline extended Manors lead to three points.
Beirne again reduced the arrears with a good point but the champions stepped up a gear and hit three points without reply. Adrian Croal, who was having a magnificent game, chalked up two, one a great goal chance which he blazed over the bar, with the other coming from Colin Ryan to leave five points between the teams.
Mohill brought on Ronan Kennedy and his first involvement was to kick a fine point to reduce the arrears again. But Croal had the final say when he hit over his fifth point of the half to maintain his sides five point advantage at the break.
The winners extended their lead early in the second half when Darren Sweeney kicked over a free to be followed a minute later by a Colin Ryan goal to leave nine points between the teams.
Glencar/Manor seemed to be coasting to victory, but Mohill had other ideas. Points from Shane Canning and Eanna Madden was followed by a goal and a point from Ronan Kennedy and suddenly only a goal separated the sides.
Another Canning point reduced the arrears even further, but just when it looked like Mohill would go on to claim victory, up stepped Darren Sweeney with two frees to ease the pressure.
But Mohill kept piling on the pressure with Ronan Kennedy hitting over a free and John McGuinness, who had returned to the fray after being substituted earlier, fired over a fine point to leave two points between the sides.
It was in the fourth minute of injury time that Mohill created that final chance to win the game, but as mentioned earlier, Gavin Kellys attempt was brilliantly saved by Manor’s Gary Loughlin.
The winners will be happy to have remained unbeaten in their group, but will the first to admit they will need to improve in order to capture a fifth Championship in a row. They were without James Glancy with Brian McDonald joining the action in the second half.
To let a nine points lead almost slip away, and to go twenty minutes in the second half without scoring will be a worry to Manor’s management.
Mohill now go into a play off to decide the last remaining Quarter Final spot where they will meet Kiltubrid. If they can repeat their performance of the last 25 minutes, and maintain it for a full hour, they should be good enough to take the last spot.
Gary Loughlin; Thomas McDonald, Pat Gilmartin, James O’Brien; Shane Loughlin, Paddy Maguire, Mark McGourty; Fintan McGourty, Darren Sweeney (0-3) Domonick Kelly, Colin Ryan,(1-2), Gerry Hickey (0-1), Adrian Croal (0-5), Aaron Hickey (0-1), Anthony McDonald. Subs: Adrian O’Flynn for Loughlin; Brian McDonald for Kelly:
Alan Armstrong; Paul Bannon, Michael McGuinness, Daniel Beck; Johnny Mulligan, Paul Earley, Ciaran Kennedy; Shane Quinn, Stephen Conaty; Colm Beirne (0-3), Barry Lupton, Padraig Tighe; Alan McLoughlin, Shane Canning (0-2), John McGuinness (0-1). Subs: Ronan Kennedy (1-3) for J. McGuinness; Gavin Kelly for Tighe;Cian McGuinness for Lupton; Eanna Madden (0-1) for Earley; John McGuinness for Conaty;