Darragh Keaveney was top scorer for Kilmeena against Monivea-Abbey but it was the Galway champions who emerged victorious in their AIB Connacht intermediate club football semi-final encounter. Photo: Sportsfile

Heartbreak for Mayo champions Kilmeena in Tuam showdown

Kilmeena's bid for Connacht intermediate football glory came to an end in Tuam Stadium today when they came out on the wrong side of a 1-8 to 0-10 scoreline against Galway champions Monivea-Abbey, writes Aiden Henry.

It was a tough defeat for Kilmeena to take. Following an indifferent opening half, they came good in the second period, especially the final quarter, when they clawed themselves back into the game.

After finding themselves five points down, they fought back brilliantly. But Lady Luck was not on their side on this occasion. Team captain Sean Ryder saw a shot that looked destined for the top of the net come back off the crossbar, Darragh Keaveney was pulled back in the big square and although the match official pointed to the spot, the umpires decided the pull back was outside the square and a free was given instead, and to make things worse still, the Monivea 'keeper brought off a magnificent save to deny Keaveney a goal from the penalty spot in the second minute of injury time after Sean Ryder was pulled down in the big square. It just wasn’t Kilmeena’s day.

However, this team can hold their heads high. They gave it everything and left nothing on the field of play.

Team manager John Reilly had nothing but praise for his troops afterwards. “I couldn’t fault the lads out there. They gave it everything and I am so proud of each and every one of them. It just wasn’t our day,” said Reilly.

On the question of the penalty kick deep into stoppage time, Reilly said Keaveney was 100% right to go for the goal instead of kicking it over the bar and levelling the game. “Darragh made the right decision to go for the goal to win the game. He did everything right and was denied by a brilliant save by their goalkeeper. That is football. But while I am disappointed not to win, I couldn’t the team in anyway,” concluded Reilly.

The crucial score of the half came in the 17th minute when Monivea-Abbey’s Paddy Mullins won the ball on the stand side of the pitch and cut inside the Kimeena defence before drilling a low shot to the corner of the net. This not alone gave the Galway side a four-point lead, but was a real confidence booster to his team.

Kilmeena trailed by three at the break, 0-3 to 1-3, but going into the final quarter they were five points in arrears.

The Mayo champions kept driving forward, however, and had closed to within a point of their opponents with six minutes of normal time still remaining.

After Monivea-Abbey's Trevor Mullins and Kilmeena's Darragh Keaveney traded points, there was still plenty of time for the Mayo representatives with the fourth official indicating four minutes of injury time.

Their big chance came two minutes into added time when they were awarded a penalty after Sean Ryder had been pulled back by the Monivea 'keeper, Denis Farragher, in the big square. However, Keaveney’s well struck penalty was brilliantly saved by Farragher and although Keaveney got a boot to the rebound, the ball just went the wrong side of the post.

Kilmeena still had one final chance of getting the equaliser, but the Monivea defence kept them out and held on for their one-point victory.

Kilmeena: P. Grogan; C. McGlynn, J. Keane, J. Ryan; N. Feehan, C. Kilcoyne, J. Mulchrone; J. Carney, K. Ryder; K. Joyce, S. Ryder (0-1), J. Smyth; C. Halligan (0-4), J. McGlynn (0-1), D. Keaveney (0-5).

Subs used: L. Moore, C. Hastings, R. O’Donnell, D. Slattery.

Monivea-Abbey: D. Farragher; F. Garvey, D. Burke, P. Mullins (1-0); C. Mulry, C. Cooley, K. O’Reilly; P. Flaherty, L. Kenny; C. Dolan, G. Kelly (0-4), P. Muldowney; N. Mannion, T. Mullins (0-4), B. Moran.

Subs used: D. King, J. Mannion, B. Flaherty.

Referee: M. McGirl (Leitrim).