Skelly’s penalty save crucial for Caherlistrane

Caherlistrane progressed to the last 16 in the Claregalway Hotel County Football Championship in Pearse Stadium on Sunday, defeating Carraroe by three points, 0-13 to 1-07.

Caherlistrane deserved their victory as they had the class and conviction to power home with three late points from play from Eric Monahan and two marvellous efforts from Cormac Bane when the game was there to be won or lost.

Bane, who will be hopeful of breaking into Joe Kernan’s starting XV for the Connacht semi-final in three weeks’ time, had a fine game for Pete Warren’s men from centre-forward.

He hit four impressive frees in the first half and also struck 0-3 (1f ) in the second. Galway selector Seán Ó Domhnaill will have noted his ability to shoot accurately when space was at a premium and his last two scores in particular were top quality.

Another man who really caught the eye for Caherlistrane was full-forward JJ Greaney who had a terrific first half and hit a tremendous point in the second.

Crucially Caheristrane were to the fore at the beginning and end of the contest.

They burst out of the traps and had four points on the board from Shane Bohan, Shane O’Brien, Greaney and Bane before Carraroe found the target from Cillín De Paor.

Then a poorly taken Caherlistrane side-line allowed Ciarán De Paor to set up his brother Cillín for a tonic goal. It was much more than an inept first half performance merited, but the men from the west were only two behind at half-time, 1-02 to 0-7.

Turning point

There was little between the sides in the second half and, with the two De Paors finding the target regularly, it looked like Carraroe would emerge victorious in the third quarter.

The reality is that the game turned on a penalty. Philip Skelly stood up to face Shane Ó Súilleabháin’s kick. He picked the right side and kept out the poorly hit kick. It was a key moment in the tie.

A minute late another goal chance for Ciarán Ó Cualáin was repelled and the momentum swung Caherlistrane’s way.

The question I found myself asking in the stand was, why did Ciarán De Paor, who was taking the frees for the red and black men, not have a cut off the penalty too?

Ó Súilleabháin paid a high price for his miss, and he was promptly substituted by the Carraroe management team.

The sides were level going into the home stretch when Eric Monahan and Cormac Bane hit three on the bounce to propel their side into the draw next Tuesday.

Carraroe can have no complaints as they played poorly for large periods of time. Their forward unit was pretty toothless apart from the two De Paors.

Cillín hit 1-03 and Ciarán scored 0-4 (3fs ), but they also hit seven or eight wides between them, and they were not as proficient and ruthless as required in front of the sticks.

Caherlistrane were well served by Skelly in goal, Eanna Glynn and Steven Walsh in the full-back line, and team captain Rory Glynn at centre-back. The pick of the forwards were Cormac Bane and JJ Greaney, and Brendan Murphy added some power and physicality when introduced.

They will be pleased to have taken another step forward, but their management team of Peter Warren, Seamus Glynn, Neil McHugh, Gerry Donnellan and Ger O’Connor will know they must improve if they are to defeat any of the stronger teams in the next round.

At least they have something to train for in June, while An Cheathrú Rua will have to wait until 2011 before they can even attempt to recapture the glory days of 1996.

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