A tremendous second half performance from Melvin Gaels carried them to a comprehensive victory over an under-strength Annaduff in the Minor Championship 13-a-side Final in Pairc Sheain Ui Eslin, Ballinamore last Sunday.
The scores may have flowed in the second half but the seeds of success were sown in the first as the Kinlough men kept Annaduff to a point at the halftime break despite facing a very strong wind that was quite testing to play at.
But what was most in the Gaels favour was their strength in depth in attack where David McGowan, Damien Hughes & Colm McGurran all repeatedly tore holes in the Annaduff rear-guard that eventually cracked during the second half.
In defence, Liam Ryan gave a master class as he held together the team from centre-back and often acted as the play-maker in attack while Kyle Warnock did a good job in eventually subduing the dangerous Francis McNabola.
McNabola was the heart of what Annaduff did well in the first half while the likes of Kenny Cox, Aaron Duignan & Conor Reynolds worked their socks off but in the end, they couldn’t match the superior team-work and movement of a well drilled Melvin Gaels.
The early action saw Damien Hughes for Melvin Gaels and Francis McNabola for Annaduff swap points before McNabola took over, scoring 1-1 in the next ten minutes, his goal somewhat fortunate as a combination of the sun and wind resulted n the keeper dropping the ball into his net.
Melvin Gaels had a goal chance too but Annaduff keeper Tom Cronin blocked Colm McGurran’s shot but after wides from Annaduff, the Kinlough lads got back into the game with points from David McGowan, McGurran and Hughes to leave a point in it.
Sean Duignan (free) and Christopher Connolly swapped points as did Aaron Duignan and David McGowan and both sides missed goal chances, Michael Neil Gallagher making a particularly good block on Aaron Duignan when put clean through, leaving the halftime score at 1-4 to 0-6.
The second half opened with both sides missing good chances before Colm McGurran levelled the scores from 30 yards. Annaduff almost hit back with a goal but Francis McNabola struck the base of the post after a good move, Sean Duignan putting over a free.
Melvin Gaels took control with four unanswered points, three from Damien Hughes and one from Joe Connolly before Gaels took complete control when David McGowan spun and turned to fire home a good goal, just seconds after Annaduff had cleared a shot off the line.
Despite Eoin Gill’s reply, Melvin Gaels took complete control of the game with Colm McGurran (2), Kevin Sweeney, McGowan and Liam Ryan all pointing before Joe Connolly finished off a good move with a well taken goal.
Sub William Curneen and Annaduff’s Eoin Gill swapped points before the finish as the Gaels won at their ease.
Michael Neil Gallagher, Kevin McGloin, Kyle Warnock, Kevin Sweeney, Liam Ryan, Paddy Flanagan, Joe Morris, Joe Connolly, Colm McGurran (), Damien Hughes (), David McGowan, Christopher Connolly, Taylor Simpson. Subs: Sean Gallagher for C. Connolly (36 mins), Jason Ronayne & William Curneen (0-1) for Simpson & J. Connolly (60 mins), Dara Sweeney for Flanagan (64 mins).
Tom Cronin, Keith Duignan, Cian Gaffney, Kenton McCormack, Kenny Cox, Owen Reynolds, Aaron Duignan, Conor Reynolds, Eoin Gill, Ronan Egan, Sean Duignan, Francis McNabola, Ronan Guckian. Subs: Shane Morrison for Guckian (52 mins).
Referee: Brendan Sammon.