Gavin Sammon points for Aughnasheelin against Carrigallen. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Aughnasheelin blitzed their way to this year's Fox Monumentals Intermediate Championship Final when they hit a stunned Carrigallen for 1-5 in the opening quarter.
Carrigallen were just hanging on as a fast paced Aughnasheelin attack were causing them huge problems but when Fergal Earley forced the ball over the goal-line after 15 minutes, the game was as good as over.
Aughnasheelin dealt easily with all that was thrown at them with ease, their defence completely shutting down Eoin Ward and Ciaran Flynn as they looked the real deal during a dominant first half.
Carrigallen ratcheted up the aggression and workrate in the second half, got in the faces of the Aughnasheelin men and while it halted their gallop and induced a dose of the yips when it came to shooting accuracy, the winners were never truly troubled.
For Carrigallen, it was a strangely disappointing end to the campaign as they just didn't show what they are capable of in the first 20 minutes - how much of that was down to themselves and how much to Aughnasheelin is hard to tell but it left Carrigallen in a hole they couldn't climb out of.
Certainly Aughnasheelin looked a clear step above Carrigallen for most of this semi-final and they will go into the County Final against Leitrim Gaels on Sunday week confident that they can regain the Intermediate title once more.
Aughnasheelin were quickly in their stride, Brendan Mulvey finishing off a good move with a first minute point and while they had three wides in the first ten minutes, they also saw Barry McWeeney fire over after Fergal Earley had a shot blocked by the keeper.
Niall Mulvanerty twice converted in style to leave Aughnasheelin four clear before Thiernan O’Rourke’s high point opened Carrigallen’s account on 10 minutes, followed quickly by an Eoin Ward free after a foul on Ciaran Flynn.
Aughnasheelin’s response was devastating - Conor Cullen surged forward to fire over from 30 yards before a pin-point Mulvanerty attempt for a goal hit the crossbar, the ball falling nicely for Fergal Earley to tap home on 15 minutes.
Fintan Fitzpatrick and Ward swapped points but Aughnasheelin were on a roll and two further Mulvanerty points, dancing away from defenders and in loads of space, and one from a Fitzpatrick free, somewhat soft for a foul on a Fergal Earley, left Aughnasheelin with a commanding 1-9 to 0-3 halftime lead.
Aughnasheelin wanted to avoid a repeat of their quarter-final second half struggles against Mohill but that it what they got as Eoin Ward put over a free after a foul on Flynn and they then hit three wides in as many minutes before Fitzpatrick converted a free on five minutes.
A minute later, Mulvanerty hit another brilliant point but the game entered lulls with yellow cards becoming more frequent that scoring attempts but there was an amazing escape when Daniel Lyons cleared Mulvanerty’s shot from entering the net after the Aughnasheelin man had beaten the keeper.
The evergreen Andrew McManus, brought on at halftime, was making an impact with a point while Thiernan O’Rourke popped over a free but the scores weren’t coming quickly enough or with enough threat for Carrigallen to threaten a comeback.
And the introduction of Gavin Sammon, absent for most of the campaign through injury, ended the contest as he fired over two points in the space of 60 seconds.
Carrigallen came with a late surge of their own as they hit three points in a row in a two minute spell from Flynn, O’Rourke and Ward but Aughnasheelin hit three of the last four scores to seal the win, Thiernan O’Rourke on target for the losers while Sammon (2) and Ben McGirl scored for the winners.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Main Man: Niall Mulvanerty stood-out with five excellent points from play but an even greater influence from open play. The McWeeney brothers, Conor Cullen, Paddy McManus, Wayne Gilgunn and sub Gavin Sammon stood out while Thiernan O'Rourke, the evergreen Andrew McManus, Barry Nash and Ciaran Flynn impressed for Carrigallen.
Talking Point: Aughnasheelin looked unstoppable at times but then went through periods where they lost their shooting boots - they will need a full 60 minute performance in the Final.
Turning Point: Fergal Earley's goal finally reflected Aughnasheelin's dominance on the scoreboard as Carrigallen were just three points behind at the time.
Ref Watch: A solid outing for Seamus Mulhern in a game where there were more than a few off-the-ball niggling incidents. Kept control and kept the game moving.
Highlight: Aughnasheelin's pace and movement in the first half was a joy to behold and Carrigallen simply couldn't cope with it.
Lowlight: Aughnasheelin will be concerned by a lacklustre second half display while Carrigallen must wonder what happened in the first half as they never got going at all.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Niall Mulvanerty 0-5; Gavin Sammon 0-4; Fintan Fitzpatrick 0-3, 3f; Fergal Earley 1-0; Barry McWeeney, Conor Cullen, Ben McGirl and Brendan Mulvey 0-1 each
Team: Martin McHugh, Paddy McManus, Wayne Gilgunn, Paul Earley, Philip Dolan, Sean McWeeney, Christopher McNulty, Barry McWeeney, Conor Cullen, Brendan Mulvey, Fintan Fitzpatrick, Niall Mulvanerty, Keith Sammon, Fergal Earley, Ben McGirl. Subs: Gavin Sammon for F. Earley (44), Cormac Sammon for McNulty (49), Conor Flynn for Gilgunn (52), Michael Domican for Cullen (61)
Scorers: Eoin Ward 0-4, 3f; Thiernan O'Rourke 0-3; Gerard McDermott, Ciaran Flynn & Andrew McManus 0-1 each
Team: Darren Kenny, Anthony Kenny, Barry Nash, Barry Reilly, Daniel Lyons, Barry Dolan, David Reilly, Eoin Ward, Darren Reilly, Gerard McDermott (0-1), Thiernan O'Rourke, Ciaran Kenny, Marc Dolan, Ciaran Flynn (0-1) & Colm Kiernan. Subs: Andrew McManus & Brian O’Rourke for B. Dolan & C. Kenny (HT), Derek Reilly for Lyons 40), Ciaran Reilly for Kiernan (45), Sean McCabe for M. Dolan (56)
Referee: Seamus Mulhern