Salthill/Knocknacarra seal county semi-final with late rally

Salthill Knocknacarra's Ruaidhrí McTiernan and Catherlsitrane's Colm Monahan in action from the senior championship game at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.  		Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Salthill Knocknacarra's Ruaidhrí McTiernan and Catherlsitrane's Colm Monahan in action from the senior championship game at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who defeated Caherlistrane last weekend by 2-7 to 1-5, will take on Cortoon Shamrocks in the last four following last Sunday's draw in Tuam Stdium.

The other semi-final will see Corofin, who are going for a four-in-a-row of county senior successes, facing Mountbellew/Moylough, who were far too strong for Milltown in their replayed quarter-final.

These two semi-finals are due to be played on Sunday week (October 9 ).

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who are again managed by former Galway All-Star Val Daly, with a backroom team of Tom Kelly, Sean O’Dowd and trainer Declan Burke, were good value in the end for their five-point win over Neil McHugh’s Caherlistrane.

The city side was slow to get into the game and only scored from play once in the entire first half, but it was a crucial one with mobile midfielder Robert Butler getting on the end of good link play by county minor Robert Finnerty to palm the ball to the back of the net.

That left the score at half-time, S/K 1-2 to Caherlistrane 0-4.

The other scores in that half for the 2012 county champions were Shane Kelly from a free and an impressive 45 from goal-keeper Evan Duffy.

Caherlistrane looked to have put themselves into a match-winning position with 10 minutes to go when team captain Oisin O’Brien goaled from a long ball in by Cormac Bane, and then Bane added another dubious free that looked well wide to make it 1-5 to 1-3 for the North Board men.

Salthill rally

However, S/K rallied well and two points in quick succession, one from play by Sean Armstrong steadied them.

Those two white flags were followed quickly by a long-range effort by Robert Butler that bounced over the bar, and a superbly taken goal by the pacey Marcus MacDonnacha, who raced through to give Caherlistrane keeper Eanna Bane no chance from close range.

It was a top-class finish from the former Jes student and one that fully deserved to win the tie. Shane Kelly put the icing on the cake for S/K, with a late point to rubber stamp their superiority in the last few crucial minutes.

While S/K will be delighted with their strong finish, Caherlistrane will be disgusted with their capitulation when the game was in the balance. They completely faded out in the last six or seven minutes and they could not get their hands on the ball when they needed to most.

They were overly dependent on county minor Cein D’Arcy around the middle and, when he ran out of steam a bit at the end, the seasiders took over and ran riot with substitutes Gary Cox and Barry Kelly coming on to good effect.

Salthill captain Conor Halloran made some lung-busting runs in that final quarter too and he was a key man in turning the tide for his side.

Salthill will need to produce a more consistent and higher intensity performance if they are to beat Cortoon Shamrocks on Sunday week.

Best on the day for Salthill were the full-back line of William Finnerty, Gavin Duffy and Finian Hanley, centre-back Ruaidhrí McTiernan, Conor Healy, and John Maher in spots, Robert Butler, Marcus MacDonnacha and team captain Conor Halloran who showed real leadership and verve when it was needed most in the last 10 minutes.

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