GAA Connacht Gold SFC round-up

Drama galore as Fenagh miss out, Drumreilly hang on and Dromahair & Allen Gaels almost scupper big guns

John Connolly


John Connolly


Drama galore as Fenagh miss out, Drumreilly hang on and Dromahair & Allen Gaels almost scupper big guns

Going into the final round of games of the Connacht Gold SFC group stages, it felt like an anti-climax but instead we got twists and thrills aplenty with heartbreak and joy in equal measure.

With Group 2 all done and dusted, it seemed that all the drama was going to be in Group 1 and it didn't disapoint as last year's Intermediate champions saw them place in the quarter-finals snatched from their grasp by a Gortletteragh team taking their first win to leapfrog Fenagh in the standings.

Fenagh needed a win and preferably a Melvin Gaels win and a Drumreilly loss to reach the knockout stages and it was going their way as Mohill turned on the style in the second half against Drumreilly to overturn a four point gap and run out 2-20 to 3-12 winners, Drumreilly's third goal from a penalty coming deep into injury time.

Fenagh led 1-7 to 1-6 but stretched that lead to 2-11 to 1-9 ten minutes into the second half. Incredibly, Gortletteragh were level ten minutes later at 3-11 apiece in a crazy high scoring game and as the game reached final time, Gortletteragh struck for a fourth goal to give them a one point victory.

It meant that Drumreilly's helter-skelter five point loss to Mohill didn't matter while Darragh Rooney's two goal blast for Melvin Gaels against Glencar/Manorhamilton didn't help Fenagh either. The Kinlough men led by three points at the break, 1-5 to 1-2, and added a second goal early in the half to seemingly be on their way to an easy win.

But a few tactical switches, from both sides, saw the game swing back in Glencar/Manorhamilton's favour and they reeled off a succession of points to close the gap to two points in added time. Niall Brady had a late goal chance but the ball just eluded his grasp as the Gaels hung on for their vital victory.

The results in Group 1 means Glenar/Manorhamilton, Mohill, Melvin Gaels and Drumreilly march into the quarter-finals with Gortletteragh and Fenagh St Caillin's contesting the relegation series.

In Group 2, the drama came between Aughawillan and St Mary's battling for second spot. It might seem like a small prize but the winners would avoid Mohill next Sunday in the Quarter-Finals - Aughawillan held the advantage barely, having the same scoring difference at the Carrick men but having scored one point more.

Both teams started slowly with Aughawillan without Noel Plunkett, Morgan Quinn, Fergal McTague and Ciaran Gilheany but a Sean Flanagan goal just before halftime gave the champions a four point lead, 2-7 to 0-9. Crucially St Mary's were winning by five points at the break, 1-6 to 0-4 so they held a one point advantage on Aughawillan.

Aughawillan started to pull away in the second half but St Mary's were pulling further ahead of Dromahair. By the time Aughawillan were seven points clear midway through the half, the Carrick men were 11 ahead with ten minutes to go. Another Flanagan rocket suddenly had Aughawillan 11 clear but Carrick went 13 and 14 points up and seemingly safe.

The drama was only getting goal - Dromahair struck for a goal, St Mary's hit right back but just before the final whistle, a second Dromahair goal cut their final margin of victory to ten points. At that exact moment, Aughawillan and Allen Gaels were heading into added time with the champions nine points ahead - one more point would give them second place.

But Allen Gaels wouldn't lie down and James Flynn produced a wonderful finish to find the net in added time that meant Aughawillan's final winning margin was just seven points, three behind St Mary's and heading into a quarter-final meeting with Mohill next Sunday.