St Muredach’s College interest in this year’s Connacht Colleges Senior A Championship came to a crashing end in Cloonacool on Wednesday afternoon. The Ballina men looked to be well on their way to defeat at the break when they trailed by 1-8 to 1-2 after being thoroughly outplayed for the first 30 minutes. However a spirited fightback saw them get within four points of the Sligo men with 10 minutes left. However when sub Stephen Kearns drove the ball to the back of the net from close range for Summerhill’s second goal, the Ballina rebellion was quenched.
On a great day for football it was the Sligo men who raced out of the blocks with centre half forward Cian Breheny the chief orchestrator of their play. By the quarter hour mark they were already leading by 1-4 to 0-0, with Muredach’s having to thank goalkeeper Daniel Devine for keeping the score down after he pulled off two top class saves, and was called upon before the break to make another top drawer stop. The first Summerhill goal was the result of a barrelling run from Martin Geraghty who played in Sean Payton close to goal. The full forward then shot from close range which was well blocked by Devine, before the rebound fell to Seamus Cawley who had the easy task of finishing to an empty net. There was 18 minutes on the clock before the Ballina school got their act together and managed to get a score on the board, but when it came it was one to remember. The Summerhill defence harried and hassled the Muredach’s full forward line away from goal forcing them to pass it backwards. The ball came to wing forward Keith Tighe who unleashed an unstoppable quickfire shot to the back of the net to give life to his side’s chances. Tighe and Seán Regan added on points before the break, with Breheny kicking two pointed frees before the change around to leave six points between the sides.
Whatever was said at the break in the Muredach’s dressing room at half time seemed to work right from the off. Regan became the main man directing things for his side in attack; he kicked two quick points along with one from David Walsh, to eat into the Summerhill lead with a Conor Kearns point coming in reply. The Ballina boys had Summerhill rattled, but they managed to pull four very scorable chances wide of the post in among their flutter of early scores, and when Kearns rattled home his side’s second goal it swung the direction of the contest back in his side’s favour and they cantered over the finishing line towards the next round.
St Muredach’s, Ballina: D Devine; R Upton, C Langan, B Walkin; M Ruttledge, C Burke, P Judge; J Moylette, D Burke; R King, S Regan, K Tighe; D Walsh, D Durkan, R Leonard. Sub: M Colleran.
Summerhill College, Sligo: K Kelly; J McGoldrick, C McDonnagh, E Flanagan; J O’Hara, B McGarry, D Long; B Smith, E Connell; C Kearns, C Breheny, C Blake; M Geraghty, S Payton, S Cawley. Subs: S Kearns, J Collern.