With Halloween still fresh in everybodys mind, Aughavas dreams of Connacht glory turned into a nightmare in Salthill on Sunday last as they were comprehensively beaten by An Spidéal in the AIB Connacht Club Junior Championship semi-final.
AIB CONNACHT CLUB JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
AN SPIDEAL 0-12
Having been thoroughly outplayed by An Spideal, Aughavas Manager Kenneth Smith inisisted his team are better than the scoreline suggests and simply did not do themselves justice on the day.
WIth Aughavas second to practically every ball for three quarters of the game coupled with the fact that An Spidéal were playing like a team who would be far more suited to a higher grade, it was looking ominous for the Leitrim junior champions from early on.
An Spidéal signalled their intent straight from the throw-in, but the man who went on to deservedly be crowned man of the match, Breandan Og O Callarain was off target with his effort inside 15 seconds.
Aughavas struggled to get out of their own half in the opening minutes but when they did they made it count with Peter McBrien and Aidan Maguire releasing Colm Maguire whose powerful run ultimately resulted in David Charles Scóring the games opening point.
Having had virtually all the possesion it was no surprise when An Spidéal drew level through Toms O Conghaile although it was slightly controversial as referee Ollie Kelly had appeared to blow for a free for the Galway side before then allowing the point to stand.
An Spidéal took the lead for the first time in the tie when Breandan Og O Callarain converted an eight minute free and Einne O Domhnaill then further extended the lead when he held off the attention of two would be challengers to score a fine point in style.
Although they were creating little as an attacking force Aughavas were making the most of their chances and Colm Maguire who had been so influential in the county final against Eslin reduced the deficit to solitary point with a good score.
With eleven minutes of play gone, Aughavas would have been happy with the fact that they were only trailing by a point but that was the only encouraging aspect for Kenneth Smith and his management team as An Spidéal were dominant in all areas of the pitch and were first to practically every ball.
An Spidéal re-established their two point lead when Breandan Og O Callarain converted another free before Ciaran O Droighneain further extended that lead and the feeling was that Aughavas were beginning to look in real danger.
Unfortunately that proved to be the case for the Leitrim men as An Spidéal struck for two goals in the space of seven minutes to open up a nine point and although there was still a long way to go in the game, it effectively ended the game as a contest.
The first goal was brilliantly worked with Ciaran O Droighneain picking out full-forward Tomas O Fatharta who in turn released Aodan O Curraoin. O Curraoins powerful shot flew low and hard across Philip Charles goal and into the bottom corner of the net.
The second goal was every bit as good with Ciaran O Droighneains moment of quick thinking, as he played a volleball style pass over his head, leaving the Aughavas defence flat footed. Breandan Og O Callarain was on hand to take full advantage of the perfectly placed pass and shot beyond Charles for his sides second goal.
With the Aughavas game plan evidently not working subsitutions were called for earlier than would otherwise have been anticipated and one of those subsitutions, Padraig McLoughlin made his presence felt within two minutes of his introduction as he registered Aughavas third point.
The Scóring for the opening half was completed by Breandan Og O Callarain who despite playing junior football could well force himself into the reckoning for the Galway senior side next year if last Sundays performance is anything to go by.
if Aughavas were to have any hope of getting back into the game, they needed an early goal at the beginning of the second half as they trailed by 2-7 to 0-3. However, it was An Spidéal who almost did just that but Ciaran O Droighneains goal was disallowed for square ball.
Despite that let-off, Aughavas were still struggling to impose themselves on the game and fell further behind as Breandan Og O Callarain converted another free.
That lead grew further when Tomas O Fatharta outpaced Adrian Charles on the outside before delivering a composed finish between the uprights to leave 12 points between the sides.
Another Breandan Og O Callarain point heaped further misery on the Aughavas players, management and supporters, but if there is one positive they can take from last Sundays performance it is that the players did not throw in the towel.
WIth the game all but over as a contest, Aughavas enjoyed their best period of the game. David Charles was only denied a goal by a fine save from Padriag O Maolallaigh, while four further Aughavas attacks yielded only four wides.
With nine minutes of the game remaining, Aughavas registered their first score of the half as Kevin Keegan converted a free after David Charles was fouled. Two minutes later the same player was fouled again and this time Colm Magurie pointed with Aughavas looking like they were determined to finish the game on a high.
Padraig McLoughlin struck for his second point of the game and from an Aughavas point of view it was one of the few moments in the game to get particularly excited. Colin McKiernan and Colm Maguire combined well before releasing McLoughlin who showed that class is permanent by striking with the outside of his boot right between the posts.
Kieran Moran added a further point for Aughavas and the feeling was that if they could find a goal before the end of the game, they would at least have succeeded in putting some respectability on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for Aughavas, An Spidéal had other ideas as it was they who finished the stronger with two unanswered points from man of the match Breandan Og O Callarain, one of which was from a free.
The final scoreline doesnt make for nice reading for anyone from Aughavas or indeed for anyone with an interest in Leitrim football but it is worth echoing the sentiments of Kenneth Smith who stated that while the better side won, Aughavas didnt play to their potential and that is probably what will hurt them the most.
Philip Charles, Niall Maguire, Adrian Charles, Eoin Brennan, Derek Maguire, Trevor Farrelly, Niall Gallogly, Aidan Maguire (0-1), Kieran Moran, David Charles (0-1), Fintan McBrien, Peter McBrien, Kevin Keegan (0-1), Colm Maguire (0-2), Conor Bohan. Subs: Dan OBrien for P McBrien, Padraig McLoughlin (0-2) for F. McBrien (28 mins), Eamonn Heslin for Bohan (39 mins), Colin McKiernan for Keegan (53 mins),
Padraig O Maolallaigh, Diarmuid O Droighneain, Aodan Breathnach, Liam O Conghaile, Maghnus Breathnach, Dara Mac an Riogh, Einne O Domhnaill (0-1), Lorcan O Callarain, Micheal O Callarain, Donal O Maolallaigh, Aodan O Curraoin (1-0), Tomas O Conghaile (0-1), Breandan Og O Callarain (1-8), Tomas O Fatharta (0-1), Ciaran O Droighneain (0-1). Subs: Donal De Barra for C. O Droighneain (35 mins), Mairtin O Droighneain for T. O Conghaile (44 mins), Fearghus Tuathail for A. Breathnach (54 mins), Fiachra O Dubhghaill for L. O Callarain (56 mins), Eoin O Droighneain for M. Breathnach (60 mins).
Referee: Ollie Kelly (Roscommon)
05-Nov-09 by Philip Rooney – LeitrimObserver.ie