Salthill footballers advance to minor final

Salthill Knocknacarra captain David Connaughton and teammates celebrate their victory ovr Bearna in the Galway Minor Football final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. 				Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Salthill Knocknacarra captain David Connaughton and teammates celebrate their victory ovr Bearna in the Galway Minor Football final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

The Salthill/Knocknacarra minor footballers, under the guidance of team manager Anthony Finnerty and selectors Seán Murphy and Brendan Keane, proved too strong for Barna when they won the West Board minor title easily on a score-line of 4-14 to 3-11 in Pearse Stadium on Saturday.

The Salthill youngsters will now face Claregalway in the county final on Sunday week as the curtain-raiser ahead of the senior final.

This Salthill team has many youngsters in the ranks - seven of their starting 15 last Saturday are U16 this season which augurs well for the club at underage level.

They led by 4-07 to 1-05 at half-time, and the game looked done and dusted with full forward Calym Crowe doing most of the damage with two well-taken goals.

Both his full-forward colleagues Ultan Sheerin and Eoin Tinney also raised green flags in the first period.

Tinney looks like a talented youngster with lovely balance, two good feet, and a good eye for goal. His constant movement and link play caused a lot of damage in the Barna full-back line.

County minor Evan Murphy lined out at centre-forward and his power, passing ability and long range free-taking is a big plus for the Salthill side.

Defensively they had good displays from the multi-talented Niall Hanahoe, Eoin McFadden, John Quinn, and the entire half-back line of Tommy Kilduff, Tom Considine and Cathal Sweeney, who also sallied forward for a fine point in the second half.

Their midfielders David Connaughton and Keith Gleeson also did some good things and caught a few "marks" over the hour.

Barna will be disappointed with their display, particularly the concession of some Salthill goals from defensive errors.

They rallied at the start of the second half with two quick-fire goals from Cillian Cleary and Jack Grealish, but overall they will feel they underperformed.

Team manager Ger Butler and his backroom team had put a lot of work into their season over the past few months and they will believe that on another day they could have produced a more impressive performance.

Full-back Sean Fitzgerald, Aodh Bohan, Marcus Boyle, Liam Rooney, Jack Keady, who got their first half goal, Niall Rooney, Conor Keenan, who caught a few good kick-outs, and freetaker Seán Mac Uidhlín, tried hard in what was tough going against a superior team.

Claregalway now favourites

Salthill manager Anthony Finnerty knows his side will face a much tougher challenge in the county final against a highly-rated Claregalway, who were far too strong for all challengers in the North Board competition. They defeated Monivea-Abbey easily in the North Board county final.

"We know from last year how lucky we were to beat Claregalway in the county final. We have lost a lot of our team since then, and I think they still have around 13 of that side, so we are under no illusion about how tough the final will be for us.

"They were All-Ireland Féile champions from four years ago, so they are rightly favourites going into the final. However, we are going to have a go at them in the final and, if we play to our best, who knows what could happen. We are delighted to be back in the final and we are looking forward to doing our best to try to win it."

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