A seven point win reflects a good evening’s work for St Mary’s Kiltoghert who recorded their second win of the Connacht Gold Senior Championship in Ballinamore on Saturday last but they will be well aware that although they were deserving winners, had goalkeeper Anthony Conway not been in top form the result could have been very different.
Over the course of the game Conway made three excellent saves to deny what seemed certain goals but had Kiltubrid been able to snatch anything from the game all present in Ballinamore would surely agree it would not have been an accurate reflection on how the game transpired.
One of the keys to St Mary’s was the variety in their forward ranks. Ray Mulvey, Joseph O’Rourke and Niall Comerton were all accurate in front of goal while the work rate of James Glancy and the McWeeney’s, Nicholas and Michael, gave the Carrick-on-Shannon side the platform on which their victory was based.
From a Kiltubrid point of view they will take comfort from the fact that they created three gilt edged chances for goals but will be ruing the fact that all three were missed. For much of the game Kiltubrid held their own in midfield but they struggled to put real pressure on the St Mary’s defence for long periods.
With Daniel Lowe coming in to the St Mary’s midfield in place of his brother Robbie there was a physical presence to the St Mary’s midfield as Lowe took his place alongside Jimmy Guckian. However, to say they had it all their own way would be unfair on Karl Scollan and Patrick Moolick who ensured the middle sector of the field was very competitive.
The game began with St Mary’s taking the fight to Kiltubrid and they opened the scoring through a Niall Comerton free. St Mary’s bright start should have been rewarded with a goal inside the opening five minutes but Nicholas McWeeney shot straight at Noel Gill.
St Mary’s looked as though they would rue that miss minutes later when Dara McKiernan found himself clear of the defence but he was denied by the feet of Anthony Conway who spread himself excellently to deny a certain goal.
Having been let off the hook St Mary’s extended their lead with points from Ray Mulvey and Joseph O’Rourke. Kiltubrid registered their first score of the game in the 13th minute when James Gill converted a free but that was soon cancelled out by an excellent Ray Mulvey point to give St Mary’s a deserved three point.
With less than 10 minutes of the half remaining there was still three points between the sides after Patrick Mollick and Dermot Reynolds exchanged points before Anthony Conway came to the rescue again for St Mary’s with another excellent save.
Dara McKiernan, James Gill and Michael Earley combined to carve open the St Mary’s defence but Earley was denied by an excellent when he seemed certain to find the goal.
Enjoying their best period of the game Kiltubrid reduced the deficit to a point after Michael Earley and Niall Foley pointed in quick succession.
However, instead of those scores bringing greater intensity into the Kiltubrid play they served to only spur the St Mary’s players on to finish the half strongly and that is exactly what they did with Niall Comerton registering three points (two from frees) in the space of two minutes to give his side a commanding 0-8 to 0-4 lead.
Trailing by three points at the interval Kiltubrid would have hoped for a quick start to the second half but that didn’t materialise and three points in the opening three minutes of the second half (two Ray Mulvey points and one from Niall Comerton) went a long way towards ending the game as a contest.
A seemingly rattled Kiltubrid attempted to bring the fight to St Mary’s but points from Michael Earley and a James Gill free were cancelled out by a Niall Comerton free and a fine score from Joseph O’Rourke who used his power and pace to beat his marker before fisting the ball over the bar.
One man who was determined to bring the fight to St Mary’s was corner back David McCormack and for the second week in a row he saw a lung bursting run up the pitch rewarded with an excellent point but Kiltubrid struggled to gain any momentum and that score was soon cancelled out by a Niall Comerton point.
The final quarter of the contest saw the game limp towards its inevitable conclusion as St Mary’s looked composed in defence while still presented a threat up front. Both sides registered two points apiece in the closing stages with James Gill pointing twice for Kiltubrid and Ray Mulvey and Niall Comerton on target for St Mary’s.
The final attack of note saw Kiltubrid once again expose the St Mary’s defence but for the third time Anthony Conway was on hand to make an excellent save, this time denying Dara McKiernan.
Two wins from two games is encouraging from a St Mary’s point of view but if they are to be considered serious championship contenders they will know there is still room for plenty of improvement.
St Mary’s Kiltoghert
Anthony Conway, Jonathan Cassidy, Vincent McDermott, Conor Farrell, Clement Cunniffe, Dermot Reynolds (0-1), Daniel Lowe, Jimmy Guckian, Michael McWeeney, James Glancy, Ray Mulvey (0-5), Nicholas McWeeney, Niall Comerton (0-8), Joseph O’Rourke (0-2). Subs: Michael Corrigan for M. McWeeney (30 mins), M. McWeeney for Corrigan (HT), Ronan Kennedy for Guckian (60 mins), Brendan Flynn for Reynolds (60 mins), Colin McWeeney for Flynn (60 mins).
Noel Gill, David McCormack, Emmett Lee, Aidan Bohan, Fergal Meehan, John McGovern, Niall Foley (0-1), Karl Scollan, Patrick Moolick (0-1), Stephen McKeon, James Gill (0-4), Michael Earley (0-2), Paddy Whitlow, Dara McKiernan, Dermot McKeon. Subs: Conor Judge for Whitlow (45 mins), Conor Doherty for S. McKeon (53 mins), Stephen Guckian for McCormack (55 mins)
Referee: Ray McBrien.