Monivea-Abbey through to decider in swan song for stadium landmark

Monivea-Abbey won through to the Connacht Intermediate final after a hard fought 1-08 to 0-10 victory over Mayo champions Kilmeena in Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon. This contest was due to bring the curtain down on the famous hayshed which has stood the test of time over the stand in Tuam. Redevelopment on the old stand now has been delayed for a week to allow the intermediate Connacht final to be played.

Monivea-Abbey manager Francis Roche made his feelings about Sunday’s opposition very clear during last week in an interview conducted by Galway Bay FM where he branded Kilmeena a ‘cocky shower’. His entertaining tirade certainly magnified focus on this encounter as the clip from the interview did the rounds on social media.

Roche’s words however seemed to work and must have stirred up his own side as they produced a very strong first half performance playing against the breeze. Unsurprisingly Fionnan Garvey was assigned man marking duties on Kilmeena’s main scoring threat Caolach Halligan while Trevor Mullins and Jack Carney went head to head in the middle of the park.

It was a cagey opening ten minutes or so with both teams keen not to give the ball away in the somewhat difficult November conditions. When the deadlock was broken it was no surprise that it came from a placed ball as Kilmeena’s John McGlynn opened his account for the day.

Glen Kelly, Monivea-Abbey’s star man fresh from his match winning performance in the county final, soon responded for his side as the game began to settle down. Kilmeena danger man Caolach Halligan got his team’s first point from play before Monivea-Abbey took over. Glen Kelly converted two more placed balls before the crucial score of the game arrived.

Paddy Mullins, rewarded with a start following a strong showing from the bench in the county final, showed serious endeavor in along the endline before his goal effort was inadvertently deflected into his own net by Jack Mulchrone to give Monivea-Abbey a 1-03 to 0-02 lead with eighteen minutes on the clock. Halligan reduced arrears to just the goal before half time as the sides entered the dressing rooms with the score at 1-03 to 0-03 in favour of the Galway champions.

Kilmeena corner forward Darragh Keaveney got the opening score of the second half from a free as his team looked to claw back the three point deficit. However, the redeployed Trevor Mullins at full forward had different things on his mind.

Monivea-Abbey made full use of the breeze at their backs as Mullins notched three points on the spins to extend their lead to five. Kilmeena however were not going to go down without a fight as Halligan and Keaveney lead the fightback to reduce the deficit to one point with just five minutes plus stoppage time remaining. Trevor Mullins fisted over another point to restore a two point lead for Monivea-Abbey in what was their final score of the day.

Keaveney tapped over another free for Kilmeena to cut the lead to one before the major drama unfolded. Monivea-Abbey goalkeeper Dennis Farragher was adjudged to have fouled Kilmeena centre forward Sean Ryder as he was bearing down on goal and a penalty was awarded to the Mayo outfit. With the option of tapping the ball over to go to extra time or go for goal to win it, Darragh Keaveney chose the latter option but was denied by Farragher who redeemed his foul with a heroic save.

Bunt’s Babes march on to the Connacht Final this Saturday at 1.30pm where they will face Castlerea St. Kevins for one final game in the hayshed at Tuam Stadium.


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