Valeo bow out in Connacht semi final

Valeo from Tuam went under to a well-balanced AbbVie side from Sligo in the Connacht Interfirms Junior semi-final by 4-10 to 1-11.

Played in the Connacht Centre of Excellence, Valeo were second best, but to their credit they kept battling away on an evening when very little went their way.

After an early Mark McDonagh point, AbbVie dominated the remainder of the first half. An early Dwayne Kelly goal set the winners on the way, while Martin Newell scored a fine point to keep Valeo in touch.

Points from Darragh Gallagher and TJ Byrne had the Sligo side four clear towards the end of the opening quarter, but points from John Cleary and Michael Mannion reduced the arrears to two early in the second quarterr - and it could have been worst for Valeo but for a fine save from custodian Brendan Ryan.

An excellent Michael Mannion effort left Valeo trailing by four at the interval, 1-7 to 0-6, and he was on target immediately after the resumption. However AbbVie scored 1-2 without reply to open up a commanding eight-point lead, Eoin McCormack scoring the goal from close range.

Valeo hit back and the gap was back to three with 12 minutes remaining. Points in quick succession from Evan Flynn and a fine effort from Michael Mannion gave Valeo hope. Then came the score they were looking for. Martin Newell rifled home a cracking goal to leave three between the sides.

But in the six minutes remaining they were dealt a sucker blow when Eoin McCormack slipped the Valeo rearguard to fire home his side’s third goal.

Valeo were not finished. Martin Newell floated a free into the square, and referee John Glavey spotted an infringement and awarded Valeo a penalty. However Michael Mannion saw his spot kick come back off the bar.

Justin Ryan pulled another point back for Valeo before Darragh Gallagher struck a fourth goal for AbbVie, who now qualify for a Connacht decider against either Hollister from Mayo or Vistamid from Leitrim.

Valeo: B Ryan, G Flynn, D O’Dea, D Reilly, N Glesson, M Towey, C Corcoran, M Newell (1-1 ), E Flynn (0-2 ), J Ryan (0-1 ), M McDonagh (0-1 ), J Cleary (0-1 ), D Kelly (0-1 f ), C Feeney, M Mannion (0-4 1f ).

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