Glory delayed but not denied for Coolaney / Mullinabreena

Back 07/06/2021 @ 17:13 | mainnews | Glory delayed but not denied for Coolaney / Mullinabreena

 It may be a 2020 title but the first victory of 2021 in Sligo fell to Coolaney / Mullinabreena who emerged victorious from the long- awaited replay of the 2020 Connacht Gold Sligo Junior B Championship Final at Markievicz Park on Monday afternoon.

The sides renewed rivalries some 36 weeks after their thrilling drawn encounter of September last when a spirited Coolaney/Mullinabreena comeback had overcome an eleven-point first half deficit to finish 1-14 apiece

This time around, after an opening Mattie Conlon free for the winners in the 2nd minute, both sides showed signs of the long lay-off with a number of early wides.

Conlon added a point from play before top scorer Shane Feeney opened the St Farnan’s account with two points from play.  The winners went in to the water break one point ahead following a fine point on the run from full forward Cathal Davey.

The pace picked notably after the refreshment with St Farnan’s midfielder Keith Lang notching an excellent point from play to level matters after 22 minutes.

Coolaney /Mullinabreena had the better of the remaining minutes of the first half with the surging runs of centre forward Paul Connolly very much to the fore.  His side took the lead from another Conlon free and he then set up captain Alan Duggan for a neatly taken point from an acute angle to put his side two up on the stroke of half time, 0-5 to 0-3.

The second half burst into life straight from the throw in with a rapid exchange of passes by St Farnan’s from defence into attack putting centre forward David Culkin through on goal only to be denied by an excellent Cian O’Dowd challenge, conceding a ’45.

The sides then swapped scores with Cathal Davey cancelling points from Shane Feeney and a Keith Lang free before Lang reduced the margin to the minimum again with a fine point from play at the end of a sweeping move.  

The introduction of the experienced Barry Kivlehan from the bench sparked a spell of Coolaney / Mullinabreena dominance around the middle of the park that eventually produced the first goal of the game.

The move started with an interception inside his own 45 by corner back Keith Kirrane which led to a quick catch and lay off from Cathal Davey to Mattie Conlon who put Connolly through to find the net.

The West Sligo side wasted no time in responding, working the ball patiently up field before finding Declan Cawley who somehow squeezed the ball into the net through a crowded defence to bring the margin back to a point just before the second half water break.

It was all to play for in the last quarter as play swung from end to end. Connolly and Shane Feeney swapped points and the prospect of a second draw loomed large when Feeney levelled things up with his fifth point of the day and only four minutes left on the clock.

Coolaney/Mullinabreena however took control from then on and two well worked long range points by wing forward Brian Marren and midfielder Conor Feely left St Farnan’s needing a goal as the game entered its final minute.

The Coolaney/Mullinabreena defence stood firm however and when O’Dowd broke down a final attack on goal, the resultant move upfield ended in a free kick at the other end which Conlon converted with the last kick of the game to leave the margin at three.

Coolaney / Mullinabreena:

Lorcan Callaghan; Keith Kirrane, Shane Marren, Cian O'Dowd; Sean Walsh, Pearse Gorman, Eamon; Sean Doyle, Conor Feely (0-1); Shane Kivlehan, Paul Connolly (1-1), Brian Marron (0-1); M. Conlon (0-4, 2f) Cathal Davey (0-3), Alan Duggan (0-1)

Subs: Michael O’Dowd for Sean Walsh (35), Barry Kivlehan for Shane Kivlehan (40) Danial Davey for Shane Marren

St Farnan’s:

Simon Mullarkey; Mark Culkin, Padraic Culkin, Oisin Connolly; Declan Cawley (1-0), Niall Hunt, Stephen Feeney; Kieran Kilgannon, Keith Lang (0-3, 0-1 f); Evan Kilrehil, David Culkin, Shane Neary; Shane Feeney (0-5), Andrew McMunn, Karl Hannon

Subs: Daragh Gillen For Karl Hannon (16 inj), Gary Hannon for Evan Kilrehil (47),  Niall Creann for Oisin Connolly (57)