Many GAA people in the county were not pleased with Mountbellew/Moylough’s decision to engage in a lengthy appeal process after their defeat to Micheal Breathnach’s. They had been defeated twice, and the feeling was that they could have accepted their lot and moved on.
However they obviously felt right was on their side. They circled the wagons, closed their ears to the criticism, and battled on, and they now have a tremendous desire to go all the way in this year’s championship.
That never-say-die attitude was on full display onSunday in Tuam Stadium when they were again brought to extra-time by a gallant Cortoon Shamrocks who finally bowed out by 2-10 to 0-13.
Mountbellew roared out of the blocks with a well-taken goal by the impressive Paul Donnellan. Team captain Mickey Costello got his side off the mark after 10 minutes and county minor Cathal Mulryan scored a superb point to bring Tommie Joe Gilmore’s men into the game.
Cortoon, with the wind at their backs, enjoyed plenty of possession, but their shooting was wayward and they lacked composure in front of goal, with six wides in the first half. Despite being hampered by a leg injury, former Galway All-Star Derek Savage was introduced after only 15 minutes to add guile and class up front. His arrival galvanised his teammates and Shane Gilmore hit a terrific score to level the tie.
However a few incomprehensible frees gave Shamrocks a0-7 to 1-1 at the break.
Mountbellew needed inspiration and it came from Joe Bergin, who shot three outstanding points. With 12 minutes to go, a point up, and the wind at their backs, everyone expected the black and amber men to push on and close out the game. Instead, it was Cortoon who played a possession game into the wind, and shot two good scores from Shane Gilmore and Fergal Heverin. Paul Donnellan equalised late for the 2009 county finalists as the teams faced extra-time for the second time in nine days.
The game was still in the balance with Cortoon leading by 0-11 to 1-6 when Joe Bergin powered through the Cortoon defence to score a fantastic three-pointer that gave impressive young keeper Darragh Glynn no chance. There was no way back for Cortoon.
Best for Mountbellew were Aaron McHugh, Cathal Duffy, Garry Sweeney, Paul Donnellan, David Hogan (first half ), Cathal Kenny and Joe Bergin, who was the most influential player on the field