Melvin Gaels’ dreams of reaching a Connacht Final next weekend were dashed on Sunday last in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada after a hugely entertaining and absorbing contest with Mayo Intermediate champions, Davitts but the Kinlough men will be looking back on this game with plenty of regret.
Melvin Gaels 0-12
Although they opened the scoring through David McSharry, Melvin Gaels were not up to speed in the opening half and trailed by seven points at the interval. Despite that deficit they re-emerged for the second half with a renewed focus and they dominated the remainder of the game. The Mayo men were unable to get near the ball in midfield as Melvin Gaels began to force their way back into contention. After moving from full-forward to midfield, brendan Brennan had a significant impact on proceedings while Peter McGowan and David McSharry were also causing all manner of problems for their opponents.
Melvin Gaels created numerous opportunities as they were practically camped in the Davitts half for the second but they were let down a combination of poor shooting, rash decision making and an outstanding block form Kevin Gallager to deny McSharry what seemed a certain goal.
At the other end the Davitts full-forward line were always dangerous whenever they were on the attack and the fact that all but one of their points came from that department gives an indication of their strength. The corner forwards, Aiden McTigue and in particular Michael Conroy were both good on the ball, very fast and deadly accurate in front of goal while full-forward Fergal McGrath, who was crowned man of the match was full of running. While his contribution in the second half may not have been as immediately evident, the manner in which he made life difficult for the Melvin Gaels’ defenders meant building from the back was a difficult task.
After David McSharry opened the scoring for Melvin Gaels it seemed as though the vocal home support may well be in for another special day but Davitts replied emphatically. Two aiden McTigue points gave the Mayo champions a fifth minutes lead before they struck decisively for what would prove to be the game’s only goal. Fergal McGrath and Keith Prendergast combined well to release Michael Conroy who finished confidently past Jess McGuinness.
That goal seemed to really deflate the Melvin Gaels players who now looked to be playing without the confidence that saw them dispatch Coolaney Mullinabreena in such emphatic style in the previous round. They did keep in touch with an Emlyn Mulligan free but at this stage of the game Melvin Gaels looked rattled and appeared guilty of showing their opponents too much respect.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.