There were 10 championship games in the county football championship last weekend with all 20 senior clubs in action. Unusually with that many games down for decision, there were no draws and the winning teams now advance to round three.
The losers must play in the round two qualifiers to see if they can stay in the 2011 championship or get sucked into a battle to avoid relegation.
Coleman and Burke power Annaghdown to victory
Usually when Annaghdown and Mountbellew clash in the championship there is very little between the sides, and that is how it ended last Sunday evening in Tuam stadium with the Annaghdown men coming home on a score-line of 3-4 to 0-11.
Former Galway midfielder Niall Coleman gave a man-of-the-match display around the middle for the winners, and his ball winning and physical power were crucial to his team’s success. Two goals from Frankie Burke were also crucial to the win. They had a strong support cast in Damien Burke, Pa Joe Fahy and Niall Farragher, who scored his side’s second goal.
Mountbellew, under a new management team this season, will be disappointed to find themselves in the qualifiers where they will face Michéal Breathnachs on Sunday week. However they shot too many wides and were overly dependent on Joe Meehan and Cathal Kenny for scores. Goalkeeper Brian Donnellan also got on the score board with a 45.
Also in action in Tuam last Sunday evening were county champions Killererin, who were fortunate to advance against a game St Michael’s outfit.
It took the introduction of Nicky Joyce to turn the game in favour of Stephen Flaherty’s men, and he registered 1-2 when called off the bench with his punched goal coming very late in the game.
The champions won by a single point, 1-11 to 2-07. County u-21 star Tomás Fahy continued his good form with a fine display and it was good to see Padraig Joyce back in action. He popped over his 0-6 contribution with his usual sang-froid.
St Michael’s will take encouragement from their display and will feel they have a chance to advance when they face city rivals St James in the qualifiers. To defeat Seamus Burke’s men, they will need big displays from Conor Hoctor, Robbie Hannon, James Ruane and David Tierney.
Moycullen, Corofin and Milltown advance
There were three games down for decision in Pearse Stadium on Sunday and the day started with Moycullen pipping last year’s semi-finalists Bearna by a single point, 0-9 to 0-8.
Phillip Lydon kicked a late free for Padraic Oates’ charges to advance. However, they were very fortunate to win as Bearna kicked some terrible wides over the hour. Moycullen welcomed back Tomás Higgins at centre-forward and he did very well. County player Gareth Bradshaw lined out at wing-back.
Bearna manager Mike Lydon will be disgusted with the number of wides his side registered and they will need to improve hugely in that department if they are to see off Leitir Mór in the qualifiers.
In the second game, Corofin overcame Michael Breathnachs by eight points, 2-11 to 1-06. However the final scoreline does not do justice to Tadhg Mór O’Curraoin’s charges who were only two points behind going into the last quarter.
Then former county defender Damien Burke, who was terrific at centre-forward for the North Board men, broke through to rifle home his second goal and that gave the impetus to last year’s beaten finalists to run out convincing winners in the end.
Gary Sice was tremendous at wing-forward and kicked some fabulous points from play for the winners. Others who caught the eye were Michael Comer, Padraig Kelly and Kieran Comer at full-forward.
For Michael Breathnach’s, Sean Denvir, Eanna O’Conghaile and Peadar O’Griofa on his introduction did well. Seosamh O’Connaire took his goal very well too.
In the final game of the Pearse Stadium trilogy, Milltown advanced at the expense of Leitir Mór on a score-line of 2-9 to 0-11. Sub John Devane scored their second goal in injury time to ease Cathal Sheridan’s charges into the next round. Mark Hehir impressed at centre-forward and looked the most accomplished player on view. Former All-Ireland minor winner and Cortoon Shamrock’s player Michael Martin was also on the scoresheet for the winners.
Best for Naomh Anna were Daithi MacDonnchadha, Fiachra and Ferdia Breathnach and Cormac O’Conghaile.
Crowe inspires Salthill
In the other games last weekend, Salthill/Knocknacarra were inspired by three Seamie Crowe points to see off Cortoon Shamrocks by 1-12 to 0-13. Young goalkeeper Darragh Glynn did very well for the Shamrocks.
Claregalway had an impressive 1-17 to 1-9 win over St James with Barry Cullinane at midfield and Danny Cummins to the fore. Cummins is in a very rich vein of form, which if it continues, could see him in line for a championship start against Mayo. He hit six points from play.
Rory Gaffney hit two late goals for Tuam as they beat a Shane Walsh-inspired Kilkerrin/Clonberne by 3-14 to 1-8. Conor Doherty scored Tuam’s other major. Shane Curtin, John Ross Bodkin, John Lawless, David Connern were all on the scoresheet too and 10 different Tuam players scored. Donal Marley impressed at full-forward.
An Cheathra Rua defeated Killanin 1-17 to 5-2 on Saturday evening with Cillian and Ciarán De Paor doing well for the victors. Killanin’s five goals were scored by Patrick Sweeney (2 ), Damien Carter, Niall Walsh and Stephen Kavanagh.
County star Cormac Bane and goal-keeper Phillip Skelly did most to ensure that Caherlistrane advanced by 0-15 to 0-12 over Caltra. The 2004 All-Ireland champions had goal chances, but with Michael Meehan injured and Skelly in sublime form, it is Neil McHugh’s charges who advanced and Barry Downey’s team will face his former team Cortoon Shamrocks in the qualifiers.