Lee Lifts Mellows to Upset Victory

November 8, 2018

Liam Mellows … 1-13 
Craughwell ……. 0-12

Report by Tom Ward

A STRONG third quarter, which produced the game’s only goal, proved crucial in Liam Mellows victory over Craughwell in the Shannon Oaks SHC at Athenry on Saturday. This was an even match up until half time when Craughwell led by 0-7 to 0-6. However the city side played with much greater conviction on the resumption and a Ciaran Hynes goal 11 minutes into the half proved the decisive score of the game.

After the initial sparring Aonghus Callanan opened the scoring when he pointed from play. Craughwell hit back almost immediately when following a foul on Adrian Cullinane, Niall Healy pointed the resulting free. Mellows, though, were winning the physical exchanges and the excellent John Lee used his strength to mop up broken play and drive Mellows forward with some raking clearances. Ciaran Hynes and Fergal Healy subsequently traded points before Aon9hus Callanan tied the match with a fine point from play.

The point illustrated Callanan’s ability to score without breaking stride. Unfortunately, the same player had to retire with a head injury moments later and his loss took some of the cutting edge from the Melllows attack. Crawghwell started to gain momentum and points from Niall Healy and a huge free courtesy of goalkeeper Aidan Ryan pushed them into a two point lead. Playing with wind advantage, Craughwell certainly needed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

However, Geoff Lynskey closed the gap with a crucial point. Later Fergal Healy snapped a point from play before David Collins scored the point of the match. After winning possession the Mellows man went on a daring run before pointing an inspirational score. Craughwell responded with a Fergal Healy point after a good take from full forward Michael Coughlan. It was the type of score one would have expected with the big man winning possession before releasing it to a scoring forward. Unfortunately for Craughwell, this happened too rarely. The dominant reason was the fine marking by the Mellows defence, particularly central players Seanie O’Brien and John Lee. Moreover, Lee finished the first half scoring with a cracking point leaving just a point between the sides at the interval.

Mellows played their best hurling in the opening quarter following the resumption and Ciaran Hynes tied the game on six minutes with a point from play. Mellows subsequently brought Geoff Lynskey outfield and the move paid immediate benefit when he pointed from play. Crawghwell had some scoring opportunities during this time but because of a strengthening breeze the ball dropped short on a number of occasions. Furthermore, Mellows goalkeeper, Paddy Gannon, was alert and brave and he cleared his lines on more than one occasion. Indeed Gannon emulated Aidan Ryan’s first half effort when he pointed a huge free.

The game’s defining moment occurred 11 minutes into the half when Ciaran Hynes found himself unmarked behind the Craughwell cover and he shot with conviction for a Mellows goal. The goal gave Mellows the necessary cushion for victory and despite a commendable late rally from Craughwell, they failed to claw back the lead. However Craughwell, upped their intensity in the final quarter and points from Michael Coughlan, following a fine Paddy Gannon save, and two Niall Healy points, one from play and one from a free, closed the gap.

Substitute Thomas Ryan kept the pressure on Mellows when he struck over two sidelines cuts from different sides of the field. Craw9hwell, though, failed to add to their scores and it was Mellows who turned up the heat in the final minutes with points from Ciaran Hynes, Geoff Lynskey and Niall Mclnerney. Mellows will be delighted with their victory. They gave a workmanlike performance throughout and their strength in the tackle was also a significant factor to the outcome.

Paddy Gannon excelled in goal while the defence, with Seanie O’Brien, Shane Hynes, Eoin Ryan and John Lee to the fore, performed well throughout. Others to impress included David Collins, Aonghus Callanan, before retiring through injury, Ciaran Hynes, and Geoff Lynskey. Craughwell will surely be disappointed at this outcome for this was a game they would have targeted for victory. On the day they played too much ball down the centre, when their greatest strength is sharp fleet footed forwards.

Still they battled gamely throughout and had good performances from Aidan Ryan, Charlie Donnellan, Ian Daniels, and Niall Callanan in defence. Fergal and Niall     Healy impressed with some fine point scoring while substitute Thomas Ryan showed some delightful skill following his introduction.

Liam Mellows: P. Gannon, 0-1 free, M. Grealish, S.0’Brien, S. Hynes, E. Keville, J. Lee, 0-1, E. Ryan, J. Hughes, 0-1 free, D. Collins, 0-1, K. Walsh, N. Mclnerney, 0-1, A. Callanan, 0-2, B. Keville, G. Lynskey, 0-3 0-1 free, Ciaran Hynes, 1-3, 0-2 frees. Subs: D. Fahy for A. Callanan , Conor Hynes for K. Walsh, D. Kelly for B. Keville.

Craughwell: A. Ryan, 0-1 free, C. Donnellan, I. Daniels, D. Ryan, N. Callanan, H. Whiriskey, K. Callanan. C. Whiriskey, D. Rooney, F. Healy, 0-4, 0-1 free, P Fahy, N. Healy, 0-4, and 0-3 frees, W. Donnellan, M. Coughlan, 0-1, A Cullinane. Subs: T. Ryan, 0-2, sidelines, for C. Whiriskey, D. Gibbons for P. Fahy, J. Cheevers for K. Callanan, D. Gilligan for D. Rooney.

Referee: M. Dolan.