Christopher's late playoff run gathered momentum following an entertaining battle against galway. A couple of well taken Shane Leahy goals delivered a double blow to Galway in the second half. It looked as though the game could go either way for most of the game, but in the second half Christopher's pulled away after Galway lost Danny Reddin to a sending off.
It was an evenly contested half of football. Eoin Cummins got Galway off to a great start with an early goal, but Christopher's answered with points from Kevin McAllister, Paddy Dalton, and David Culhane. Kevin Cummins, back in the Galway lineup, put two fantastic points over in quick succession as the game ebbed and flowed. Christopher's had Brian Shanahan to thank for two fantastic points to open up a three point lead coming up to the break. Gary Kelly reduced the gap to one point just before the break with a converted free followed by a glorious left footer.
The second half saw Christopher's strike with two goals in quick succession to deliver a blow to Galway's hopes. Kelly had just given Galway a one point lead with two well taken points. After Mark Delaney and Shanahan reciprocated for Christopher's opened up the Galway defence but made one pass too many and the opening that was created quickly closed. It was a harbinger of what was to come, however. Shane Leahy, who made that extra pass, took the next two chances himself and rattled the net twice. John Spillane converted the next critical score, and it looked as though Christopher's were on their way. Paddy Dalton then worked hard to force a turnover as Galway tried to play the ball out of defence, and the result was a third goal for Christopher's, finished by Shanahan.
Galway kept up the work rate. The tribesmen accounted for the next 4 points, although Danny Reddin was shown the line. With a few minutes left Christopher's made it a three score game with points from McAllister and Shanahan and are pushing the Wolfe Tones and Kerry for that final playoff spot.
Galway: M. O'Connor, D. Redmond, J. Gallagher, G. Patterson, P. Cummins, D. Judge, E. Cummins, C. Fitzmaurice, D. Reddin, G. Kelly, D. Hickey, P. Breen, K. Cummins. Christopher's: P. Kenneally, E. O'Mahoney, J. McGuire, J. Spillane, C. Murphy, D. Culhane, B. Coughlan, D. Kenneally, P. Dalton, K. McAllister, A. Matassa, B. Shanahan, S. Leahy.
Shannon Blues provided Kerry with a golden opportunity to pull off a big win, but the Kingdom failed to take it. With the scores tied early in the second half, Blues center back, Dennis McElligott, was tagged with a second yellow card. As the game wore on however, it was the Kerrymen who seemed to tire, while the Blues used the ball well to make the most of their opportunities and outscore their arch rivals by 4 points to win the game.
Kerry put it up to their opponents in the opening period. The Blues introduced a face from last year, Darragh Treacy lined out in the middle of the field alongside James Walsh, forming a formidable midfield partnership. The Blues got on the board first with a couple of points, but Kerry got a lift with a well taken Graham Glenn goal. The Clareman fisted into the right spot from just outside the small square. Croft popped over a couple of dead balls and Kerry were looking good. A goal was on the cards for the Blues however. The Kerry defence was opened up on a couple of occasions, and eventually a foul in the penalty area drew the signal. Paul O'Connor fired home low to Lee Stacey's left. It was O'Connor for the Blues and Croft for Kerry matching each other for scores up the final whistle. It was a 1-6 each game at the break.
The second half saw the Blues go down a man, and Kerry fail to capitalize. There was a golden opportunity for a goal that fell to Croft after the ball was poked across the face of goal. The Dubliner man tried to place it, but mishit the shot and the chance went a begging. Kerry had a decent handful of chances to score, but it looked as though a bit of anxiety crept in and they were fluffed. The Blues on the other hand made good use of the ball, and also almost had the ball in the net but the post denied Niall Murphy. One score exemplified the precision with which the Blues were playing. With Kerry having the extra man in the full back line, Sean O'Connor played a beautiful ball into Paul O'Connor, who put it over the bar. As time went on Kerry were the side that looked to tire more quickly. The O'Connor point put the Blues 3 up, and Kerry pulled within one following two Croft free kicks with minutes left. The Blues, however, finished the stronger side with three unanswered points to go top of the table. Kerry still in the playoff picture, but this was one that will leave the Kingdom wondering what they need to do to come out on the right side of the result.
Kerry: L. Stacey, M. Godley, A. Fitzgerald, P. Devane, S. Briggs, C. Moriarty, D. Foley, M. Condron, O. McGreevey, G. Glynn, J. Fitzpatrick, R. Croft, N. Sheehy. Blues: C. Wallace, S. Kelly, C. Long, T. Wallace, D. McElligott, S. Moriarty, J. Walsh, D. Treacy, M. Brosnan, D. Clifford, S. O'Connor, P. O'Connor, N. Murphy.
Aidan McAnespies pulled out a rousing four point win over Connemara Gaels to finish the day's action. The Gaels finished the first half strong to go into the beak with a lead, but in the second half McAnespies moved ahead and this time around the Gaels could not recover. With the game tied in the final 5 minutes McAnespies delivered the goods to now find themselves challenging for one of the two top spots in the table.
After a rocky start the Connemara Gaels eventually settled and started to play good running football. Noel Graham opened the Gaels account with a well taken point, and the response came in the form of a Daniel McKinless goal. Ger Leech leveled matters with two points before McAnespies went ahead again through a well taken Caolean O'Boyle penalty that sent Eoin Connolly the wrong way. McKinless again was involved having been pulled down in the penalty area to win the kick. McAnespies now had the edge, and held a five point lead. The Gaels worked their way back into the game. Ruairí Corrigan started to motor at wing forward and the Fermanagh man's run resulted in Ian Burke plaming home a goal into the far corner. With that the Gaels started to motor and points came from Graham, Corrigan, and John Egan. McAnespies stayed in touch with O'Boyle and Boland points. At the break it was a 1-10 to 2-5 Gaels lead.
Just like the first half, McAnespies netted from the get go, and McKinless was once again involved. Collie Donnelly just had the tidy up to do to put the ball into the empty net after the ball was played across the goal. McKinless and Colin Campion followed up with points and McAnespies were in a three point lead. McAnespies defended well and forced turnovers with the Gaels trying to play the ball out of defence. Calum McCormack was presented with a golden chance for a goal after intercepting a cross field pass, but with just the keeper to beat bundled his shot wide. Paddy Coakley denied McCormack shortly afterwards with a point blank save, and the ball ended up coming off the crossbar. McCormack was in again a third time, and the Westmeath man's placed effort went wide of the far post. Eventually a goal did come for the Gaels from Ruairi McCormack who made no mistake when through and the score tied the game with less than ten minutes to go. The game was now up for grabs.
It was McAnespies who grabbed the bull by the horns with the game on the line. Boland pointed a free following a turnover coming of defence, Peter Mallon followed with a second, and a third came from McKinless soon afterwards made it a three point difference, forcing the Gaels to go for goal with minutes left. After a couple of unsuccessful forays forward, Caolan O'Boyle made it a four point difference with the final kick of the game to move McAnespies to third in the standings.
Macs: P. Coakley, N. Gallen, C. McPartland, M. Bogue, D. Lally, D. Wrynn, C. Donnelly, C. O'Boyle, M. Quinn, G. O'Neill, M. Campion, D. McKinless, L. Boland. Gaels: E. Connolly, J. Donaghue, C. Daly, J. Egan, M. Shanahan, S. Connolly, J. Barrett, C. Jones, G. Leech, N. Graham, R. Corrigan, I. Burke, C. McCormack.
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