After an uninspiring encounter it was Mohill who secured the last available place in this year’s Connacht Gold Senior Championship as they proved too good for Kiltubrid in Ballinamore on Saturday last in a match that won’t live long in the memory.
With Kiltubrid having lost a number of players as a result of emigration and injury, it is understandable that they may not be as competitive as their supporters would wish for but it is also worth pointing out that Mohill lined out without two of their most influential players in Daniel Beck and John McGuinness.
Mohill’s team contains a number of young players such as Shane Quinn, Donal Flynn, Eanna Madden and in particular John Mulligan who seem to be getting better with every senior championship match they play.
The opening 10 minutes of the game were competitive but from that point on Mohill assumed complete control to such an extent that is difficult to know how much, if anything, the Mohill management will have learned about their own team ahead of next weekend’s quarter final encounter with St Mary’s.
Mohill took a deserved lead through Ronan Kennedy in the second minute of the game and over the course of the next 60 minutes of football it was a lead threat never really looked in danger.
Kiltubrid did have an early goal chance when James Gill was found in space but he was denied by Alan Armstrong who spread himself to ensure his goal was not breached.
The intensity that Kiltubrid brought to the game during the opening 10 minutes was something they were unable to sustain and as the game progressed Mohill asserted their dominance. Alan McLoughlin’s point after good play from Gavin Kelly as followed by a Ronan Kennedy pointed free and in the 11th minute McLoughlin was on the end of a fine passing move to put four points between the sides.
It went from bad to worse from a Kiltubrid point of view midway through the half when Mohill struck for the game’s opening goal. Colm Beirne delivered a searching ball towards the Kiltubrid goal and quickest to react was Mohill full-forward Shane Canning who out-jumped both Emmett Lee and Noel Gill and with an outstretched fist he diverted the ball to the corner of the goal.
A demoralised Kiltubrid fell further behind when Alan McLoughlin registered an excellent point and the game was 20 minutes old before Kiltubrid struck for their opening score when Dermot McKeon pointed.
Trailing by eight points there was still plenty of time for Kiltubrid to resurrect their interest in the Senior Championship but that never looked like being the case and Ciaran Kennedy’s point perfectly illustrated the gulf between the sides. Gavin Kelly and John Farrell exchanged passes on the 45 metre line but they seemed to be making little impact on penetrating the Kiltubrid half back line. Just when it seemed as though Kiltubrid were containing the Mohill forwards, Ciaran Kennedy made an excellent run out of defence that was not matched by anyone from Kiltubrid. A short, quick pass was played into the path of the onrushing Kennedy and that one pass left the entire defence exposed. Kennedy was able to continue his run forward before finishing with a well taken point.
James Gill did reply with a pointed free for Kiltubrid but it was Mohill who finished the half on a high with further points coming from Colm Beirne and Paul Early to give Mohill a commanding 1-9 to 0-2 lead at half-time.
With the game all but over as a contest at half-time it wasn’t a huge surprise that the second half failed to spark into life at any stage as Mohill seemed happy in the knowledge that they were all but guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals while Kiltubrid had the look of a team who knew they had no realistic chance of turning the game around.
Colm Beirne’s pointed free, four minutes into the second half was cancelled out by Michael Earley’s point for Kiltubrid. Ronan Kennedy re-established Mohill’s commanding 11 point lead four minutes into the second half when he converted a free but as the intensity dropped completely from the game a further 10 minutes passed without any change to the scoreline.
When the scoring resumed it was Mohill who continued to bring the fight to their opponents with points from Padraig Tighe and Ronan Kennedy further extending the lead. James Gill’s converted free six minutes from the end briefly gave the Kiltubrid faithful reason to cheer, but such was the gap between the sides on the scoreboard there was little for those supporters to get overly excited about.
In the closing stages a Ronan Kennedy free was followed by a Padraig Tighe point before the evening’s scoring was completed by James Gill.
Mohill may have lost two of their group games but it is worth remembering that they were very competitive in the game’s against Glencar/Manorhamilton and Melvin Gaels, two of the favourites for the senior championship and this weekend’s clash with St Mary’s Kiltoghert is set to be an absorbing encounter.
Alan Armstrong, Paul Bannon, Michael McGuinness, Shane Kilrane, Johnny Mulligan, Eanna Madden, Ciaran Kennedy (0-1), Shane Quinn (0-1), Paul Earley (0-1), Ronan Kennedy (0-5), Barry Lupton, Colm Beirne (0-2), Alan McLoughlin (0-3), Shane Canning (1-0), Gavin Kelly. Subs: Padraig Tighe (0-2) for Beirne (40 mins), Aidan McKiernan for Earley (45 mins), Darragh Gordon for McLoughlin (55 mins), Caillin Canning for R. Kennedy (55 mins), Colin Murphy for Quinn (57 mins), Cian McGuinness for S. Canning (57 mins).
Noel Gill, David McCormack, Emmet Lee, John McGovern, Dermot McKeon (0-1), Aidan Bohan, Fergal Meehan, Karl Scollan, Patrick Moolick, Eamon Geoghegan, Niall Foley, Michael Earley (0-1), James Gill (0-3), Dara McKiernan, Paddy Whitlow. Subs: Christopher McKeon for Whitlow (23 mins), Stephen Guckian for Geoghegan (40 mins), Conor Doherty for McKiernan (57 mins).
Referee: Eamonn O’Grady