Mellows advance to final after a long, long wait

Forty-seven years is a long time, and it is far too long for a progressive hurling club such as Liam Mellows not to have played in a Galway county senior hurling final.

However, that wait ended on Sunday in Kenny Park when the city side booked their place in the 2017 final against either Craughwell or Gort after a narrow one-point win over Cappataggle, 0-13 to 1-9.

Cappy will be disappointed they lacked the composure necessary to make their first senior final. They took too long to settle into the game, looked nervous for the first quarter, and shot far too many wides over the hour in what was a dogged affair. Better shot selection and more accuracy might have sealed the deal for them.

Mellows led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the small whistle with the elements at their backs. However, encouraged by a goal from Jarlath Mannion, Cappy did battle back, but were just short.

Louis Mulqueen's Mellows will be serious underdogs in the final. However they are a resilient bunch, and considering the list of injuries over the season, they have battled determinedly to get to the last two.

They had some good displays last weekend by goalkeeper Kenneth Walsh, full-back Sean Morrissey and former Galway star David Collins, who had a good tussle with Damien Joyce on the 40.

Up front Tadhg Haran did well and was top scorer with five points (0-4fs ), and he was well assisted in the scoring stakes by Galway U21 Ronan Elwood who hit 0-2. Haran has hit 0-23 to date (0-8fs ) in the campaign and has become a crucial player for his team, even more so last weekend when regular free-taker Adrian Morrissey was withdrawn late in the first half.

Joint captain Aonghus Callanan also tried hard, although still hampered by injury, and he will be hoping to be in better fettle for the final.

Cappataggle tried to the last puck of the game, and they were unfortunate not to have made a draw of it when a last minute effort by one of their most impressive performers on the day, Paul Claffey, drifted narrowly wide.

Cappy have had a fine year. When they regroup and reflect, they will know serious progress has been made in 2017.

With a rub of the green they could be one of the teams in the final on December 3 in Pearse Stadium, Instead it is the east side of Galway city that is now anticipating a hurling county final.

Mellows' last senior titles were in 1968 and 1970, and they would dearly love to add another to the eight they have garnered heretofore.

Liam Mellows: K Walsh; M Hughes (0-2, 0-1 free ), S Morrissey, C Reilly; M Conneely, D Collins, S Barrett; K Lee (0-1 ), J Hastings; R Elwood (0-2 ), T Haran (0-5, 0-4 frees ), C Hynes (0-1 ); A Morrissey (0-1, free ), A Callanan (0-1 ), C Kavanagh. Subs: J Forde for A Morrissey 26; S Killeen for Callanan 60.

Cappataggle: J Skehill; D Cronin, J Garvey, M Broderick; A Loughnane, P Claffey, K Kelly; D Nevin, E Garvey; R Garvey, D Joyce (0-1 ), D Dolan (0-1 ); J Egan (0-1 ), S Creaven (0-1, free ), J Mannion (1-2 ). Subs: D Mannion (0-2, both frees ) for Creaven, 29; A Dolan (0-1 ) for Egan, 49; P Egan for Loughnane 55.


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