The Neale 2-10 Davitts 0-16 (AET) The Neale won 3-2 after a penalty shootout.
Davitts lost their Senior Championship status in the most heart breaking of circumstances in Hollymount on Sunday. There was little to separate the sides throughout and while Davitts looked likely winners as the game entered injury time, leading by four points, a very dramatic goal scored in the seventh minute of the time added on by referee Shane Corcoran, got The Neale out of jail as the game went to extra time. The teams couldn’t be separated after the twenty minutes of extra time was played but it was The Neale that saved their senior status winning 3-2 after the absolute lottery that is the penalty shootout.
Davitts had Colm Boyle back, playing through the pain barrier and leading by example as usual with players like Charlie Phillips, Tomas Ronane, Kieran Fahy, Cathal Corless, Evan Ronane, Niall Treacy and Dmitry Trench in top form.
The first half was a very nervy affair with The Neale settling better and they shot the first two points through Sean Cosgrove in the opening three minute. The evergreen Ronan McNamara, who had a great game throughout, fired over a 5th minute point but this was cancelled out by a Sean Cosgrove free a minute later. Davitts had some uncharacteristic misses before Cathal Corless and Fenton Kelly pointed in the 15th and 19th minutes to level the game. James Luskin for The Neale and Davitts Evan Ronane swapped points before a Niall Treacy point gave Davitts the lead for the first time in the 25th minute. Two minutes later Stephen Conroy got the last score of the half when he pointed to leave the teams tied at 0-5 apiece at the break.
Fenton Kelly opened the second half scoring with a fine point in the 33rd minute but The Neale hit back with with points from Ronan Hughes and James Luskin in the next three minutes to regain the lead. Davitts, with Ronan McNamara now operating at midfield alongside the very impressive Fenton Kelly, began to gain the upperhand and they shot five unanswered points between the 45th and 60th minutes through Ronan McNamara (2), Cathal Corless (2) and Shane Treacy, as they looked to be coasting to victory. The Neale pointed three minutes into injury time but Davitts had a gilt edged goal chance to completely wrap it up but failed to capitalise and this appeared to give the never say die Neale lads renewed hope. While everyone was expecting the full time whistle, the ref allowed play to continue. The Neale were throwing everything at Davitts and were providing anxious moments and they appeared to have one last chance when they were awarded a twenty metre free kick six and a half minutes into injury time. Sean Cosgrove’s thunderbolt of a goal effort cannoned off the crossbar but there was still time for Cosgrove to collect the rebound and have another shot which was blocked but Micheal Varley collected the loose ball and his kick found the Davitts net in a welter of excitement. The ref blew for fulltime then so the teams had to ready themselves for another twenty minutes extra time in the very testing conditions.
Fenton Kelly gave Davitts the lead with a 3rd minute point but Sean Cosgrove fired home a great goal in the 6th minute to give The Neale a two point lead. Davitts rallied and Cathal Corless and Evan Ronayne pointed before halftime to leave the sides level again.
Ronan Hughes put The Neale in front in the 11th minute with a fine point but Ronan McNamara levelled it again with five minutes remaining. Cathal Corless converted a free in the 17th minute but Sean Cosgrove held his nerve to convert a 35 metre free kick with seconds remaining to send the game to a penalty shootout. Everyone present knew that in the event of the sides being level after extra time that the outcome would be decided in this manner but surely a replay would be a fairer way to decide such an important game (and I’m not saying that because we lost). Jack Melvin and Fenton Kelly converted penalties for Davitts as The Neale won the shootout 3-2. Fair play to all five players that stepped up to the spot, all young lads that have years ahead of them in the Davitts jersey and all are top quality players.
On Sunday every Davitts player played their hearts out for the team who like most other teams have been hit hard with injuries. Over this championship the Davitts management have given Championship debuts to nine players. On the whole, this is a very young squad with a few older heads providing leadership. They won promotion in the league, winning the Division 2 title in the process. Playing Division 1 football next year should help enormously towards a successful Intermediate championship campaign. Keep the heads held high lads!
Davitts: Keith Prendergast, Tomas Ronayne, Charlie Phillips, Kieran Fahy, Colm Boyle, Cathal Higgins, Jack Trench, Fenton Kelly (0-3), Cathal Corless (0-5), Jack Melvin, Evan Ronane (0-2), Shane Treacy (0-1), Darragh McGale, Ronan McNamara (0-4), Niall Treacy (0-1). Subs used: Dmitri Trench, Liam Kearns, Mark Ronayne, Johnno Clarke, Micheal Hett.
Ballaghaderreen 6-8 Davitts 2-8
A devastating four goal blitz, in a six minute spell in the final quarter of this Senior Championship relegation play-off match ensured Ballaghaderreen’s senior status for next season. Davitts will now face The Neale in the relegation final in Hollymount on Sunday week, with the losers dropping down to the Intermediate grade.
Fenton Kelly opened the scoring with a Davitts point after 20 seconds following a searing run. Gavin Conway replied with a pointed 45 metre kick before Shane Treacy put Davitts ahead again in the 5th minute with a neat point. A Cian Hanley goal for Ballagh in the 7th minute and points from Kuba Callaghan and Luke Connor put Ballagh four ahead after the first quarter of the match. Ronan McNamara fired over a huge long range free in the 16th minute with Andy Moran pointing for Ballagh three minutes later. Ballagh were cutting through the Davitts defence regularly and only for some heroic last ditch defending by Charlie Phillips and Cathal Higgins and some fine goalkeeping by Keith Prendergast, the East Mayo men could have had a few more goals. Cian Hanley and Kuba Callaghan pointed and a Dylan Feeney goal in the 28th minute left Ballagh eight points ahead and Davitts with a mountain to climb. Niall Treacy and Ronan Mac slotted over the final scores of the half with Ballagh ahead by 2-6 to 0-5 at the interval.
Davitts came out firing in the second half and a Niall Treacy point opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Three minutes later, the same player hammered in a Davitts goal after excellent work by Darragh McGale, Jack Melvin and Ronan McNamara, to narrow the deficit to three points. Andy Moran steadied the Ballagh ship with points in the 38th and 40th minutes. A Ronan Mac point left four points between the sides but the ruthless Ballaghaderreen lads fired home four goals between the 47th and 53rd minutes, three from Andy Moran and the fourth from midfielder Darragh Kelly, as the Davitts challenge collapsed. Davitts did add a Fenton Kelly point and a late Niall Treacy goal before the final whistle by referee Paul Lydon, who handled the game well.
Davitts best players in a game best forgotton were Charlie Phillips, Cathal Higgins, Fenton Kelly, Shane Treacy, Niall Treacy and Ronan McNamara.
Davitts: Keith Prendergast, Charlie Phillips, Kieran Fahy, Cathal Higgins, Dmitry Trench, Tomas Ronayne, Jack Trench, Fenton Kelly (0-2), Johnno Clarke, Cathal Corless, Niall Treacy (2-2), Mark Ronayne, Shane Treacy (0-1), Ronan McNamara (0-3), Darragh McGale. Subs used: Micheal Hett, Jack Melvin, Liam Kearns, Aidan Macken, Tom Corless.
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