Davitts and Belmullet play out another dramatic draw
Davitts and Belmullet served up another thrilling contest in the intermediate championship playoff replay at Bonniconlon on Saturday evening. After extra time the two teams were still level, the final scoreline being Davitts 1-18, Belmullet 2-15.
Both sides will probably wonder why they didn’t win, Davitts because they led by seven points 12 minutes into the second half of normal time, and Belmullet because Davitts young freetaker Liam Kearns, equalised with the last kick of both normal time and extra time, showing great bottle with both pressure kicks, to keep his side in the championship race. Davitts controlled the first half and led by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break, with the full forward line of Fergal McGrath, the goalscorer, captain Paul Carey and Aidan McTigue (showing a welcome return to form), giving the Belmullet defence a torrid time.
Davitts were looking in control but Billy Jo Padden’s accurate freetaking was keeping Belmullet afloat. The gap had narrowed to 5 points when a Padden free dropped short and Steven Carolan was first to react to the breaking ball, and he smashed it to the net. Another Padden free followed, and a second Belmullet goal from Chris Barrett amazingly had them 2 points up, with ten minutes remaining. Davitts young side, to their credit, refused to lie down, playing against the wind (and uphill), and two late points from Carey and Kearns tied the match, 1-13 to 2-10.
Extra time was again tit for tat and after another nerve wrecking twenty minutes, it was again left up to Kearns to ensure another chapter in this epic saga, with the last kick of the match. Davitts had many stars but Frankie Barrett, Kevin Gallagher, Johnno Clarke, Michael Ronayne, Martin Cosgrove and Colm Boyle were excellent in defence. Indeed Boyle was yet again in inspirational form and gave another man of the match display, after cancelling a holiday to play this game. David McDonagh and Pat Coyne ensured Davitts shared the midfield exchanges. Carey, McGrath and McTigue, as mentioned earlier, were on fire, with Seamus Roche and Liam Kearns giving excellent support.
Davitts: Brendan Devane, Tommy Nolan, Frankie Barrett, Kevin Gallagher, Johnno Clarke, Colm Boyle, Michael Ronayne, David McDonagh, Pat Coyne, Liam Kearns (0-7), Seamus Roche (0-1), Colm Roche, Fergal McTigue (1-2), Paul Carey (0-5), Aidan McTigue (0-3). Subs used: Martin Cosgrove, Shane Mitchell, Carlos O Gara, Josh Ronayne.