Monivea/Abbey shoot Stars down to reach semi-final

Outsiders Monivea/Abbey pulled off what must be the shock of the football championship so far when knocking out Tuam Stars at the quarter-final stage by 3-09 to 1-10 in Corofin on Saturday.

Last year's intermediate champions are now just one game away from being in this year's senior final in two weeks' time when they will face Mountbellew/Moylough, who hammered St James by 21 points.

Monivea were fully deserving winners on a day when poor weather and a wet, heavy pitch were significant factors.

The victors were better equipped to deal with the conditions, showing this from an early stage with their physical prowess.

An early goal from county hurler Paul Flaherty put them in front and they did not go behind at any stage in the contest.

A fine strike from wing back Paddy Mullins, along with two spectacular frees from the same player, kept the scores tight after a Joseph Lowry goal for the Stars.

Some fine work from Tuam players Cormac McWalter and Jamie Murphy kept the sides close, but Monivea went in at the break three up thanks to points from Rory O'Connor and Stephen Walsh.

With the pitch digging up and heavy underfoot, which played into Monivea's hands, many were starting to believe they would win. However, Tuam came out for the second half with real purpose as Jamie Murphy, Seamus Kelly and Alan O'Connell became much more prominent.

O'Connell scored a fine point and followed up with a massive hit on the relatively quiet Killian McDaid before scoring a second point soon after to level with seven minutes remaining.

With the underdogs beginning to struggle and Tuam's superior fitness starting to show, an error from Tuam’s goalkeeper Johnny Trayers who lost possession led to a crucial goal for Monivea.

After that defensive mistake, Tuam needed a goal to survive, and while they did raise a white flag, their misery was compounded in the final moments by conceding another goal to bow out of the 2017 championship in disappointing fashion.

Comfortable win for Annaghdown

In gale force winds at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, the North board side struck early to put themselves in control against Leitir Móir.

Playing against the wind, Annaghdown's Conor Moloney struck a goal after just 35 seconds - a massive score which rocked the Connemara men.

To their credit Leitir Móir did not fade away and ran at Annaghdown, who fouled consistently at the back, and Íarla O Currain was more than happy to put the frees over the bar to keep his side in the game.

However, points from Frankie Burke, Conor Moloney and a fine strike from the otherwise well-marshalled Damien Comer gave Annaghdown a four-point cushion at half-time.

Annaghdown started the second half like a steam train and effectively ended this game as a contest after 10 minutes, thanks to a goal and a point from Frankie Burke and a point from Jonathan Creaven.

Leitir Mor showed their never-say-die-attitude and fought bravely, but were just unable to deal with Burke, who finished with a personal tally of 2-6.

He will be a handful for whomever has to mark him in the semi-finals where the Annaghdown men will face Corofin.

Burke's second goal was the icing on the cake of a fine team performance where Annaghdown finished with 12 points to spare 3-13 to 0-10.

Corofin cruise

Corofin sauntered into the last four after the current county champions brushed aside a weakened Moycullen who had lost Gareth Bradshaw to injury before the match.

Paul Clancy's team managed to keep it tight for the first half, but in the end, like many other teams already this season, they could not deal with the pace and movement of county player Ian Burke who finished with man of the match and 2-3 from play.

Moycullen showed they are a team for the future with some superb efforts from Peter Cooke, a great goal from Sean Kelly, and an endless workrate from Dessie Conneely.

In a nervy and mistake-laden first half, Corofin was the better side, but struggled to score due to the strong wind. They led by a single point at half-time, 0-5 to 0-4.

However in the second half they outscored their opponents, 4-8 to 2-4, with both Burke and Michael Farragher scoring two goals each.

It is Corofin’s 10th county semi-final in a row, but they need to improve if they want to complete their dream of a fifth county title in a row. A massively improving Annaghdown side will fancy their chances of creating an upset the weekend after next.


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