Ougherard sights on provincial crown

Having easily dispatched Roscommon side Tulsk Lord Edwards in the Connacht Intermediate semi-final, Oughterard will now face Mayo side The Neale in the final on Saturday evening.

This meeting is poised to be one of the most closely fought local derbies, even if the clubs are located in different counties.

The Neale followed up their historic first Mayo intermediate title with a 4-13 to 1-11 win over Sligo champions Geevagh in the Yeats County on Saturday night. Tommy Conroy was their hero coming out of that game finishing up with 2-4 to his name at the full time whistle. The south Mayo men were well tested in the first half going in at the break leading by just a single point on a score of 1-5 to 0-7, but in the second half they showed their true class outscoring their hosts 3-8 to 1-4.

Conroy was ably assisted in the scoring stakes by the ever reliable Sean Cosgrove, who kicked four points over the hour with Fergal Sweeney bagging 1-1, and Darragh Moran the fourth goal for Eoin Hughes team. The Neale have overcome plenty of obstacles to get to where they are this year and it will take another big performance if they are to claim a Connacht title and put them within one game of a potential All Ireland final spot.

The Galway champions claimed their county title in dramatic fashion winning on penalties 5-4 after a replay against Micheal Breathnach's with the second game finishing all square at 0-19 to 1-16 after extra time the second day.

Tommy Finnerty's men followed that up with a 2-16 to 1-8 win over Tulsk Lord Edwards in the Connacht semi-final last weekend, while they won by 11 points at the end - the game was much closer for long periods until the Galway champions powered home in the final third of the game.

Winning on a final score of 2-16 to 1-08, Oughterard led for the entire game, and reeled off 1-7 without reply in the final 20 minutes for a convincing result.

Wingback Cian Monaghan was outstanding - his marauding runs and fine shooting saw him finish with a personal tally of 1-3, as well as the man of the match accolade.

Despite never trailing, Oughterard looked like they could be in trouble within 10 minutes of the second half.

Playing against a strong breeze, they led by a single point before the brilliant Monaghan, along with the two Tierneys, kicked into gear and saw their side home by double scores in the end.

At half-time Oughterard only led by three, despite playing with the advantage of a strong breeze. After a scrappy opening 15 minutes, Ronan Molloy made huge ground up the left wing, beating several defenders before delivering the ball to Cian Monaghan, who smashed the ball into the top corner.

With Oughterard threatening to pull away, a goal was needed for the home side and it came courtesy of Callum Fahy just before half-time. Having skinned his marker, he blasted past Jordan Waller to leave just three points between the sides going into the second half.

After the restart Fahy and O’Rourke kicked the first two scores for Tulsk to leave just the minimum between the sides. However, an Enda Tierney free into the breeze steadied the ship for Oughterard, while Niall Lee kicked one of his four scores in a fine display. Two more points from Lord Edwards left just the one in it again at the 40-minute mark. That, however, was to be the Roscommon side's final score of the game.

Oughterard showed their superior fitness and ability to settle this game as a contest. Scores from Matthew Tierney, Monaghan, and an opportunistic goal from Patrick Walsh decided this game after 23 minutes of the second half.

Oughterard finished as impressive 11-point winners to progress to Saturday's final in McHale Park, Castlebar, and all signs suggest this will be a tough and tight game when these two meet and the narrowest of margins will probably separate them come the full time whistle.


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