The benefit of the addition of former Kildare star James Kavanagh to Milltown’s senior football championship challenge was clear to see last Saturday evening at Pearse Stadium, as John Concannon’s side gave Cárna-Caiseal a good trimming, on a score-line of 3-14 to 0-5. Kavanagh kicked one terrific point in the first half and also notched a few frees in the second, but it was his work-rate, link-play and overall contribution to the cause that caught the eye. Experienced scoring forwards are hard to come by at the moment, and Kavanagh can be a really key player for the “Scans” as their season progresses.
They are an improving entity and Milltown are now one of the favourites to win the competition outright, and rightly so.
They have a very impressive and potent forward division, with Kavanagh alongside two Galway county players, Mark Hehir and Michael Martin in their ranks. Martin who has improved a lot this season, kicked some lovely scores off his left foot and looked confident and assured throughout the tie, while Hehir hit a few high quality scores when needed.
They also have Fergal Nicholson who scored two goals and Sean Hehir is also a very lively and tricky player.
If they can get sufficient supply in there, from the likes of the impressive Damien Brennan at midfield, they will be a real handful for any defence.
At the back, team captain Darren Mullahy lined out at full-back and he had good support from the likes of Dermot Forde, Brendan Molloy and Diamuid Blake and John Martin in the half-back line.
The game was very close for the first quarter, however a most unfortunate handling error by Dónal Ó Dubhda in the Cárna-Caiseal goal gifted Milltown a soft goal and they never looked back from there and raced into a 1-7 to 0-3 lead at half-time.
Cárna-Caiseal never gave up the fight, however despite their best efforts, they were overrun and the second half became a procession for the North board men. Milltown will know that they will face a very different test in the quarter-finals where they will face local rivals Cortoon Shamrocks, who had a solid 1-9 to 0-8 win over Kilconly at Tuam Stadium.
Fergal Heverin scored the goal for Cortoon in the second half after following up on a rebound from a David Finnegan effort. Brian and Shane Gilmore also got on the score-board and considering that Tommy Newell’s charges had to line out without Galway U-21 star Adrian Varley, it was a good result.
Eslewhere St. James were too strong for Kilkerrin/Clonberne at Tuam Stadium and they will face St. Michaels in the quarter-finals.
County star Paul Conroy who is in a rich vein of form was to the fore again for the James men and a well struck penalty by Tommy Walsh helped them to a 1-12 to 0-8 win. Both Eoin Concannon and centre-back Johnny Duane were also on the score-board in the first half and they look like a team well capable of reaching the last four and could be dark horses to go all the way.
The draw for the quarter-finals also saw Corofin drawn to face Leitir Mór and current county champions Salthill-Knocknacarra due to face Caltra in the quarter-finals.
Those four quarter-finals are scheduled to be played on the weekend of August 31 and September 1