Champions Moycullen were made to work hard to ensure a positive start in defence of their senior crown on the opening weekend of senior football championship action.
This group three fixture was the game of the weekend on Saturday evening where Moycullen eventually overcame a spirited Claregalway side 2-13 to 1-15.
Goals from county stars Peter Cooke and Dessie Conneely gave Moycullen a 2-06 to 1-07 half-time lead, but Claregalway did not back an inch. The diminutive Barry Goldrick led the charge for the underdogs who just fell short in the end, losing by the minimum.
In the other group three fixture Annaghdown made light work of An Cheathru Rua, winning by a 14-point margin, 1-20 to 1-06, on Sunday afternoon. Unsurprisingly, the best player on show was Damien Comer who put on a shooting exhibition off either side.
The opening group one fixtures in Kenny Park on Sunday afternoon pitted Killanin against Cortoon Shamrocks on their return to the senior grade, and Tuam Stars faced St James’.
Killanin and Cortoon were nip and tuck in the opening half hour as the sides entered the half-time interval at four points apiece. However, Killanin were by far the better side in the second half, limiting their opponents to only one second half point through substitute Joseph Donnellan as the game finished Killanin 1-12 Cortoon Shamrocks 0-05. Niall Walsh grabbed the Killanin goal which put the final nail in the Cortoon Shamrocks coffin and effectively ended the game as contest.
The second game in Kenny Park was a thriller as last year's semi finalists Tuam Stars drew with St James’ 1-13 apiece. The Jimmies were leading by a point at half-time, thanks to a green flag raised by full forward Aaron Connolly who caused mayhem to the Tuam defence.
A brilliant second-half showing by Brian Mannion, who notched 1-3 for Tuam Stars, had Tommy Carton’s side in the driving seat heading for the home straight as they led 1-13 to 1-08 with 10 minutes remaining.. It was not to be for Tuam as Paul Conroy led a St James’ fightback to claim a point for the Mervue-based side.
Group two's first fixtures paired An Spideál versus Milltown ,while Mountbellew-Moylough were up against St Michael’s with both games played on Sunday afternoon in Pearse Stadium.
Milltown will be devastated to come out on the wrong side of the result in a match of which they had commanded in the opening half. An Spideál fought back from being 0-10 to 0-04 down to clinch the win with a last minute score from Galway player Finnian O’Laoi, 0-14 to 0-13.
In the other game of the group, Mountbellew-Moylough were comfortable winners over St Michael’s. Val Daly’s side never really looked in any danger of losing the game as both his sons, Michael and John, starred for last season’s beaten finalists. The brothers grabbed a goal apiece as Mountbellew-Moylough overcame St Michael’s 2-10 to 0-09.
The other fixtures played over the weekend saw the teams in group four play those in group 5, with the Caherlistrane v Salthill-Knocknacarra game postponed due to a bereavement.
On Saturday evening in Tuam Stadium, Barna faced the dethroned Corofin. Kevin O’Brien’s team never really looked under any pressure as they coasted to a 1-12 to 0-07 victory. The final fixture saw Oughterard face Monivea-Abbey with both teams missing their star players, Matthew Tierney and Cillian McDaid respectively. Oughterard came out on top for the second year in succession, finishing 2-10 to 0-13 winners as Dan Kenny and Niall Lee hit the back of the net. Paddy Mullins kept Monivea-Abbey in the game from placed balls, but they just did not have enough in the tank to fully pull it back.
Intermediate Football Championship Results
Group A: Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir 1-17 St Gabriel’s 2-06, Micheál Breathnach 2-13 Headford 2-10
Group B: Glenamaddy 2-07 Kilkerrin-Clonberne 1-09, Kilconly 2-11 Oileáin Árann 1-11
Group C: Corofin 1-11 Dunmore 0-11, Oranmore-Maree 1-13 Williamstown 0-14
Group D: St Brendan’s 2-12 Caltra 0-10, Killererin 0-17 Menlough 2-09