Aidan McAnespie’s 2-12 Shannon Blues 2-6

Aidan McAnespie’s maintained their push for the Junior A Football Championship play-offs with a hard-fought win over Shannon Blues in the opening act at Canton on Sunday.

There had been some torrential downpours in the hour leading up to the game, which made for extremely slippy underfoot conditions on the main pitch.

Macs were quicker to get to the pitch of the game, and they opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Ryan McCrystal floated a fine point over the bar.

The men in red and white added a goal to their tally four minutes later when Aaron McKenna met a Stephen Magill ’45 and punched clinically to the net. Magill was provider again soon after when he slipped in Enda Hamill for a tidy point.

Blues eventually played themselves into the game, and a couple of converted frees by Vinny Cadden brought the score to 1-2 to 0-2 by the midway point of the first half.

Macs were guilty of some wayward shooting but they added a point in the 24th minute when Gareth McAlinden capitalised on a loose handpass in the Shannon rearguard to find the target.

Cadden tapped over a free for Blues and Hamill replied with a point on the stroke of half time to leave the score at the break 1-4 to 0-3 in Macs’ favour.

The Macs were a reinvigorated force after the interval and points from McKenna, Hamill and McAlinden (2) eased them into a 1-8 to 0-3 lead.

Blues were struggling to get a foothold in the game and their task became even more difficult in the 42nd minute when McAlinden rifled a shot to the bottom corner of the net.

But Shannon finally made a breakthrough with a quarter of an hour left when some sloppy defending by Macs afforded John Walsh the chance to crash a shot to the net. And when Pat Murray followed that up with another goal inside a minute there was just five points between the sides, 2-9 to 2-4.

Almost ten minutes elapsed before the next score, with Neil Donaghy settling Macs’ nerves with a point from distance. And the result was put beyond doubt when Shane Lynn curled over a beautiful point moments later.

Aidan McAnespie’s: N Duffy, B Smyth, M Bogue, R McCrystal, P Daly, L Brogan, S Lynn, N Donaghy, O McNulty, G McAlinden, E Hamill, S Magill, A McKenna

Shannon Blues: M Moriarty, D O’Brien, M Keegan, S Sinnott, J Craig, B Bannon, V Cadden, P Murray, C Moriarty, J Walsh, J Moriarty, T Hernon, K Flattery.