AIB Connacht SFC quarter-final
Maigh Cuilinn 3-18 Westport 1-12
By Colm Gannon in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park
Maigh Cuilinn moved their way into the semi-final of the Connacht Club Senior Football Championship with a handsome win over Mayo champions Westport in Castlebar.
Dessie Conneely was the star attraction hitting ten points over the contest, with five coming from play and five from frees while Daniel Cox got in for a vital goal just before the end of the first half and second half goals from Owen Gallagher and Aidan Claffey rounding things out on the scoreboard.
Maigh Cuilinn were seven points up at the half-time break and they closed it out in the second half with the closest that Westport got to reeling them was cutting the gap back to six points.
A powerhouse display of scoring from Dessie Conneely had Moycullen with one foot firmly in the the Connacht Senior Club Football Championship by half time.
Conneely hit eight first half points, four from play and four from frees for his side to send them in leading by 1-11 to 1-4 at the turnaround after a devastating first half display.
The grace note of the half for the Galway champions was applied by Daniel Cox who rolled the ball to the back of the Westport net a minute into injury time after some good build up play involving Eoghan Gallagher and Tom Clarke.
Westport were struggling to keep tabs on Conneely from early doors and they dispatched Lee Keegan back to try and get to grips with him 13 minutes in but it did little to stem the tide, they also introduced Eoghan McLaughlin from the bench early in the first half to try and get back into the contest.
Maigh Cuilinn showed their ambition inside the opening minute when Niall Walsh fired over the bar inside the opening minute, that was quickly canceled out by a Fionn McDonagh effort.
Two points in quick succession from Conneely had Maigh Cuilinn two to the good - before Westport hit for the first goal of the game the game. The Westport centre back drove home from close range after a flowing move through the middle of the Maigh Cuilinn defence. That score was followed up quickly afterwards by a Oisin McLaughlin point to put Westport into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead - but they weren’t to score again for 15 minutes.
In that time period Maigh Cuilinn took complete control of the game with Conneely kicking four points and Eoghan Kelly also getting in on the action. Three off Conneely’s points came from play in that run, each of them better than the one that came before.
Killian Kilkelly stemmed the tide a bit for Westport with a point from a free to bring the score back to 1-3 to 0-8, but scores from Walsh and two more from Conneely had Maigh Cuilinn looking pretty and when Cox rolled in their goal the game looked to be done and dusted before the break.
Owen Gallagher got things going in the second half for Maigh Cuilinn with a point two minutes after the resumption. Westport tried to grind their way back into the contest but a series of wides early in the final 30 minutes saw that chance drift out of reach.
They did managed to get it back to a six point deficit at one stage following points from Kilkelly and Mark Moran, but when Paul Kelly and Conneely tapped over points to stretch the lead back out to eight the game was done.
Maigh Cuilinn added two more goals before the end through Gallagher who palmed home after a fine move finished with him being found by Eoin Kelly and Aidan Claffey rounded off the goals just before the start of injury time.
There was still time for both Lee Keegan and Donal Wynne to be shown red cards, with Keegan picking up two yellows in the space of a minute and Wynne getting a straight red right at the death.
Scores for Maigh Cuilinn**:** Dessie Conneely (0-10, 5f), Niall Walsh (0-4, 2f), Owen Gallagher (1-1),Daniel Cox (1-0), Aidan Claffey (1-0),Paul Kelly (0-2), Eoin Kelly (0-1)
Scorers for Westport: Killian Kilkelly (0-7, 5f), Brian McDermott (1-0), Oisin McLaughlin (0-2), Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Rory Brickenden (0-1), Mark Moran (0-1)
Maigh Cuilinn: Andrew Power; Conor Corcoran, Niall Mulcahy, Michael Moughan;David Wynne, Eoghan Kelly, Micheál Reilly; Paul Kelly, Tom Clarke; Ger Daveron, Niall Walsh, Sean Kelly; Daniel Cox, Dessie Conneely, Owen Gallagher. Subs: Conor Bohan for Cox (38), Aidan Claffey for Moughan (45), Mark Lydon for Clarke (57), Evan Kenny for O’Reilly (60), Cian Deane for Sean Kelly (60)
Westport: Paddy O’Malley; Luke Tunney, Rory Brickenden, Niall McManamon; Liam Shevlin, Brian McDermott, Paul Lambert; Lee Keegan, Brian O’Malley; Conal Dawson, Fionn McDonagh, Oisin McLaughlin; Kevin Keane, Mark Doran, Pat Lambert. **Subs:**Eoghan McLaughlin for O’Malley (16), Shane Scott for Shevlin (30), Pat Lambert for Dawson (30), Finbar McLaughlin for McManamon, (45), Ronan Geraghty for Eoghan McLaughlin (53),