Melvin Gaels made an impressive start to life in the Fox Monumentals Leitrim Intermediate Championship as they recorded a straightforward 10 point win over Glencar/Manorhamilton on Saturday evening last.
Fox’s Monumentals Intermediate Championship
On a wet and miserable evening conditions were far from ideal for both sets of players but it was the Kinlough men who made light work of the elements as they brought the game to their opponents from the start and emerged comfortable winners.
During Glencar/Manor’s period as four in a row senior champions it was the strength of their intermediate team that drove the senior team on but on Saturday’s evidence the first 15 won’t have the same pressure applied to the them as they did in other years.
The strength of the Glencar/Manor team was not something that was of particular concern to the Melvin Gaels players and they took the game to their opponents straight from the throw-in.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the teams was that Melvin Gaels seemed ready to start the game at Championship intensity.
The opening score illustrated that perfectly as David McSharry played a short free to a team mate and after a series of quick passes the ball was worked back to the unmarked McSharry who struck to give Melvin Gaels a second minute lead.
The lead was doubled two minutes later when Fabian McMorrow burst forward from his centre-back position and released Peter McGowan who made no mistake with his shot and the lead was further extended when Jonathan Connolly dissected the uprights from a wide right position.
The one sided nature of the contest showed no sign of relenting as Glencar/Manor were time after time guilty of over playing the ball in crowded areas and despite having plenty of men behind the ball when defending, they struggled to get close enough to halt the progress of Melvin Gaels attack minded players.
The Kinlough men came close to a 10th minute goal when Peter McGowan and Liam Ryan combined but Brendan Byrne was on hand to avert the danger.
Glencar/Manor opened their account a minute later with a passing sequence that involved Anthony McDonald and Evan Sweeney and when the ball fell to Karl McDemott, he applied the finish the patient move deserved. Up until that point every Glencar/Manor attack had been let down by a wayward final pass.
Despite being outplayed for the opening quarter the deficit was reduced to just a point when Anthony McDonald pointed after good approach play involving Thomas Coyle and Gerry Hickey.
However, that would prove to be Glencar/Manor’s final score of the half as Melvin Gaels dominated the remainder of the opening 30 minutes.
Two points from David McSharry re-established a three point advantage from a free. The first of those scores came from a free while the second arose from Glencar/Manor’s short passing game resulting in a turnover once more.
With nine minutes remaining the lead was further increased with a score that would have brought mixed reactions from the respective dugouts. From a Melvin Gaels point of view it was hard to fault Peter McGowan’s deadly accurate strike from distance but with 14 men behind the ball Manor will feel they should have been able to apply more pressure before McGowan was able to take his shot.
Darragh Rooney came agonisingly close to scoring a goal that could conceivably have made sure of victory before half-time but he was denied when Luke Sheridan, diving at full stretch, managed to get a hand to the ball and deflect the shot onto the crossbar.
That missed opportunity was soon forgotten as Melvin Gaels finished the half with scores from Jonathan Connolly and Kevin Sweeney to give their side a commanding 0-9 to 0-2 lead at the interval.
The half-time break offered Glencar/Manor an opportunity to regroup and address where it was going wrong for them.
Within a minute of the restart they had further extended their lead. Michael Ferguson’s delivery was expertly fielded by Darragh Rooney who quickly turned and shot between the uprights to put eight between the sides.
A David McSharry free further extended the Melvin Gaels lead and they had chances to open an even greater advantage but Luke Sheridan showed a safe pair of hands on several occasions as shots dropped dangerously close to his goal.
The Manor players were beginning to show signs of frustration - Evan Sweeney worked tirelessly to chase down a lost cause and win back possession only to see his hard foiled by the hard working Melvin Gaels defence.
Two David McSharry frees put the game further beyond Glencar/Manor and when Gerry Hickey was brandished with a black card, it was a further sign that Melvin Gaels were on course for victory.
Anthony McDonald hit back with an outstanding individual point and that was followed by an Evan Sweeney point but it was far too little, much too late and Melvin Gaels completed the scoring with another David McSharry point.
Melvin Gaels: Gareth Phelan, Liam Ryan, Michael Ferguson, Shane Ryan, Jonathan Connolly (0-2), Fabian McMorrow, Donal Clancy, Jesse McGuinness, Peter McGowan (0-2), John Langan, Darragh Rooney (0-2), Paddy McGowan, Stephen Clancy, David McSharry (0-7), Kevin Sweeney (0-1). Subs: Colin Regan for Peter McGowan (43), Philip McGowan for Sweeney (43), Paul Simpson for Clancy (54).
Glencar/Manor: Luke Sheridan, Daniel Maguire, Brendan Byrne, Fearghal Rooney, Micheal Loughlin, Mark McGourty, Paddy Loughlin, Thomas Coyle, Gerry Hickey, Declan Byrne, Karl McDermott, Anthony McDonald, Evan Sweeney, Padhraic Corrigan, Kieran Brick. Subs: Alan McSharry for Hickey (BC, 49).
Referee: Ray McBrien