On Sunday evening in Tuam Stadium a Cathal Kenny inspired Mountbellew team defeated an average Killererin side which will now face NUIG in the qualifiers on Sunday week.
This result was no major surprise. Killererin were without some important players, Daniel Mannion, Shane Hughes and Michéal Boyle, and they are a long way from the side that annexed a county title in 2007.
Former Galway panellist Kenny shot 0-5 (1f ) for his side and provided a real focal point for the black and amber men. Colin Forde worked hard at full-back, but Kenny was elusive, efficient, and accurate when in possession. His four points from play were all good scores and the watching Tom Naughton must have been reasonably impressed by his efforts.
Mark Gerathy, who started at fullback, moved out to centre back in the second half to follow Padraic Joyce and he sallied up the field for two crucial scores.
Former All Ireland winner Tommie Joyce is player manager for Killererin this year and he lined out at centre back beside Tomás Fahy and James Mannion.
His side’s over reliance on Nicky and Padraic Joyce for scores was obvious all though the contest and, with Patrick Gardiner, Joss Moore and Iomar Barrett doing a lot of good work in defence, there were few chances for that duo.
Nicky has had better days and he will be disappointed with his wide tally of four while only scoring one.
Cyril Ryan will be pleased to have overcome this hurdle, but if his side are to build on last year’s achievement of advancing to a county final, he will need much more penetration and ruthlessness up front.
Joe Meehan did well at wing forward and popped a few frees with his usual sangfroid, but he needs to increase his scoring contribution from play.
One Killererin man who really caught the eye was Alan Keane who gave a very fine display in goal for the vanquished. He was superb under the high ball and also made two or three top class one on one saves.
Others who did their bit were the dogged Declan Kelly who gave everything to the cause and Jonathan Keane at midfield who kept Joe Bergin’s influence to the minimum.
Referee Muiris MacGearait could have been stricter too and at least two Killererin players should have had an early shower. It is important players know there are boundaries and an early yellow card or two can do the job in laying down the law.