With six minutes to go in Elverys MacHale Park on Saturday evening, Burrishoole’s number three Paddy Mulchrone got on the end of a move started by Liam O’Malley to palm the ball to the back of the net and put his side just one point down in this game and in a great position heading down the home stretch. But The Neale held their nerve and outscored the West Mayo men by 0-4 to 0-1 over the closing six minutes to book their place in this years intermediate championship’s final four.
At the end of the day it was the right result, as The Neale were the better side over the course of the contest and were deserving winners. At the break they lead by 0-9 to 0-3, with only one Burrishoole player managing to score over the opening 30 minutes and not one of those scores came from play.
The Neale’s Simon Ryan opened the scoring four minutes in with a nicely taken point, that was cancelled out five minutes later by a Jason Doherty pointed free. Ryan was the man on point again three minutes later when he swept over a fine point to put his side back into the lead and five minutes later Aidan O’Sullivan put his side two points to the good. Doherty cut the gap back to a single point just before the 20 minute mark, but over the next ten minutes The Neale would outscore their opponents 0-6 to 0-1 with Killian McHugh, Ryan (3 ), O’Sullivan and Paddy Hopkins all putting the size five between the posts, with only another Doherty point from a free in reply leaving The Neale six points to the good at the break.
The second half saw Burrishoole introduce former senior inter-county man Liam O’Malley to shore up their defence and they hit two quick points inside the opening minute through Doherty to cut the gap back to four points. But they couldn’t keep up the pressure on the scoreboard and reeled off a number of bad wides which they’d regret later on. The Neale shored things up and reeled off three points of their own on the bounce through sub Sean Cosgove (2 ) and a Steven Conroy pointed free.
The scoring action swung back in Burrishoole’s direction with two more Doherty frees and a Padraig Holmes point leaving the score at 0-12 to 0-8 with 15 minutes left on the clock. Cosgrove pushed the gap back out to five points with a pointed free eight minutes from time. But Burrishoole were about to strike right back at them with another scoring burst. Padraig McManamon drove the ball over the bar from well out the park. Less than a minute later they had the ball in the back of the net. O’Malley picked out John Sammon with a great ball out in front of the stand. Sammon moved the ball towards the goal and picked out Padraig Holmes in front of the target, Holmes had goalkeeper Keith Hennelly advancing towards him and instead of forcing the shot he shifted the ball to Paddy Mulchrone who palmed the ball to the empty net from close range. Game on!
But rather than spur on Burrishoole it was the South Mayo men who powered through the gears. Cosgrove missed a chance from a free, then Robert Holian put one over the bar from play, followed by a Padraic Walsh score and one from Paddy Hopkins to put The Neale into a four point lead. Enda McManamon did land one more point for Burrishoole to leave just a goal between the sides, but in the closing few minutes of injury time they weren’t able to create the goal chance they needed and The Neale held on for the win.
The Neale: S Ryan (0-5, 1f ), S Cosgrove (0-3, 2f ), A O’Sullivan (0-2 ), P Hopkins (0-2 ), K McHugh (0-1 ), R Holian (0-1 ), S Conroy (0-1, 1f ), P Walsh (0-1 )
Burrishoole: J Doherty (0-7,5f ), P Mulchrone (1-0 ), P McManamon (0-1 ), P Holmes (0-1 ), E McManamon (0-1 )
The Neale: K Hennelly; D Morrin, D McGrath, S Morrin; P Casey, K McHugh, J Duffy; P Casey, K McHugh, J Duffy; D Moran, J Biggins; P Walsh, S Ryan, S Conroy; P Hopkins, J O’Donnell, A O’Sullivan. Subs: A Varley for S Morrin (BC ), S Cosgrove for S Ryan, R Holian for J O’Donnell.
Burrishoole: M O’Malley; P Cannon, P Mulchrone, D Nevin; A McDermott, C Burke, P McManamon; M Joyce, P Holmes; P Mulchrone, A Ryder, D Keane; E McManamon, J Doherty, C McManamon. Subs: D Hanley for P Mulchrone (BC ), L O’Malley for D Keane, J Sammon for C McManamon.
Ref: C Collins (Lacken )