Mountbellew-Moylough manager Val Daly.
Mountbellew-Moylough manager Val Daly.

AIB Connacht Club SFC: Mountbellew-Moylough survive tricky test

AIB Connacht Club SFC Quarter-Final

Mountbellew-Moylough 0-16 Ballinamore Sean O'Heslins 2-8

By Billy Coss at Avant Money Páirc Sean MacDiarmada

Galway champions Mountbellew-Moylough survived a major scare from Ballinamore Seán O'Heslins before emerging narrow victors in a thrilling Connacht quarter-final played at Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.

Goals from their Niall McGovern and Tom Prior, allied to two points from Shane Moran, helped forge a deserved 2-5 to 0-5 interval lead for Dominic Corrigan's charges.

Mountbellew-Moylough struggled to break down Ballinamore's organised defence in the opening 30 minutes, relying on Barry McHugh's dead ball accuracy to remain in touch.

They were a side transformed after the break, however, gaining a stranglehold at midfield and hitting a rich vein of form during the third quarter.

Michael Daly was terrific for the winners and floated over three points from distance as Mountbellew-Moylough scored seven without reply between the resumption and the 42nd minute.

Leo Donnellan and Matthew Barrett also chipped in with valuable scores during that purple patch and though Ballinamore restored parity through Luke Murphy prior to the second water break, Mountbellew-Moylough held all the momentum.

Three points from Barry McHugh, who finished with nine in total, and one from Eoin Finnerty, saw Val Daly's side move four clear inside the final quarter.

Ballinamore weren't done and summoned a strong finish. Wayne McKeon cut the deficit to two and there was almost a sting in the tale for Mountbellew-Moylough when a turnover in defence led to Prior bearing down on goal, only for a magnificent last-ditch tackle from John Daly to save the day for the winners.

Mountbellew-Moylough's next assignment, their third in as many weeks, comes against Roscommon's Pádraig Pearses in Dr Hyde Park next Sunday.

Meanwhile at Markievicz Park Sligo champions Tourlestrane were able to fend off St Kiernan's spirited challenge. Tourlestane eventually prevailed against the London outfit on a 0-9 to 0-4 scoreline.

Scorers for Mountbellew-Moylough: Barry McHugh 0-9 (7f, 1m), Michael Daly 0-3, John Daly, Leo Donnellan, Matthew Barrett and Eoin Finnerty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins: Tom Prior 1-1, Niall McGovern 1-0, Wayne McKeon 0-3 (2f), Shane Moran 0-2, Michael McKiernan and Luke Murphy 0-1.

MOUNTBELLEW-MOYLOUGH: Damien Boyle; Colin Murray, Billy Mannion, Mark Mannion; Colin Ryan, John Daly, Aaron McHugh; Matthew Barrett, Shane Moran; Gerard Donohue, Michael Daly, James Foley; Paul Donnellan, Eoin Finnerty, Barry McHugh.

Subs: Gary Sweeney for Ryan (29), Leo Donnellan for Donohue (HT), Sean Miland for Aaron McHugh (34).

BALLINAMORE SEÁN O’HESLINS: Darren Maxwell; Liam Ferguson, Oisín McCaffrey, Matthew Murphy; Patrick Connaughton, Keelan McHugh, Wayne McKeon; Shane Moran, Dean McGovern; Senan Harte, Brian Banks, Michael McKiernan; Luke Murphy, Niall McGovern, Tom Prior.

Subs: Mark McGrory for Harte (39), Cathal McHugh for Connaughton (46), Peter Reynolds for McKiernan (55).

REFEREE: Barry Judge (Sligo).