It was a good day for Galway club football last Sunday at Hyde Park with both Galway intermediate and junior champions, Maigh Cuilinn and Clifden, qualifying for their respective Connacht finals.
In the intermediate game Maigh Cuilinn were comprehensive victors over Michael Glavey’s by 2-16 to 2-7.
Michael Donnellan’s charges led by 2-8 to 1-3 at half time, with goals from centre-forward Brian Faherty, and impressive county minor Seán Kelly, who hit 1-2 from play in the first 30 minutes.
Other key scorers were Philip Lydon with 0-6 (5fs ), Conor Bohan, Dessie Connelly, and Peter Cooke with two points each.
Cooke was named man of the match - his accurate and long distance free-taking one of the highlights of the team’s performance.
Team captain injured
Team captain Mark Lydon was unable to line out due to an injury he sustained in the county intermediate hurling final on Saturday, which the club lost to Abbeyknockmoy. The management team will be keen to try to have him back for the Connacht final against Hollymount on Sunday week in Pearse Stadium (November 15 ).
His midfield berth went to the powerfully built Seosamh Ó Fathartha who played a fine game in the middle third, including a super point in the final quarter of the game.
Others to catch the eye for the Galway champions were Seamus Friel in goal, David Wynne, who is a very fine defender with great pace and who also kicked a stunning point off his left leg from a free, centre-back Eoin Walsh, who is a key player for the club, and Aiden Claffey at wing-back.
County player Gareth Bradshaw was re-positioned to wing-forward for the day where he linked play and seemed to enjoy his roving role, and that is where he will probably line out in the provincial final.
The experienced Tomás Higgins came on early in the first half after Philip Ezergallis had been black-carded by Mayo referee Jerome Henry and he did reasonably well playing in a sweeper role.
There is a nice balance in the Maigh Cuilinn team and, if former county footballer and hurler Mark Lydon was back from injury for the next game, it would give the management team a nice selection headache for the final.
Their opponents Hollymount took 80 minutes to see off Leitrim champions Melvin Gaels in McHale Park by 2-13 to 1-14. Their key forward Darren Coen notched 1-6 (6fs and pen ).
The final will be a significant step up in standard from last weekend, but Maigh Cuilinn have improved as the season has progressed. They have past form in this championship, having won the All-Ireland Intermediate title in the late nineties.
They will travel to Pearse Stadium on Sunday week with a lot of belief and momentum and a large support.
Gibbon’s class muscles Clifden into junior final
In the junior semi-final Clifden were too strong for Shannon Gaels (Roscommon ) and won by 2-9 to 0-9.
The best forward on view was Clifden’s No 15 Gerard Gibbons, who hit 1-4 (0-3fs ), and he took his goal with real class in the first half when the game was in the balance.
He was impressive all through the contest and showed some lovely touches and good peripheral vision when laying off ball to team-mates.
Their other goal was scored by right corner forward Feichin Mitchell, who has a tasty left peg and hit two sweet points from play over the hour.
Team captain Damien Joyce did well too, as did wing-back Henry O’Toole, forwards Emmet Moran, midfielders Chris Holmes and Cathal Joyce and goalkeeper Niall Black.
They will face the highly rated Mayo champions Ardnaree in the Connacht Junior Football Club Final in McHale Park, Castlebar on Sunday week, November 15.