ACHL Division 2A
Gort na Mona 1-15-5-14 Cloney Gaels
Kevin Herron reports from Enright Park
Top played bottom in Saturday’s Division 2A clash between Gort na Mona and Cloney Gaels and it went the way of the form side with Cloney claiming a 5-14-1-15 win thanks to three second half goals.
A quickfire double from James and PJ O’Connell ensured their side pulled away from a stubborn Gort outfit and despite Desi McClean giving his side renewed hope with a goal in the last ten minutes Eoin Graham thundered home his sides insurance goal.
Cloney were quickest off the mark with points from PJ O’Connell and namesake James.
Conor Healy hit back at the other end for the hosts, but PJ O’Connell confidently pointed from range and Ronan Graham angled the ball between the posts.
Gort closed the deficit to a single point again, following a Desi McClean point and a Mark Rea effort from range.
The opening goal fell to the Ahghill men with ten minutes on the clock, Ronan Graham slipped a pass inside to James O’Connell who finished low to the net.
Eoin Graham added his sides fifth point of the afternoon a superb shot that sailed between the posts.
Gort needed a lift and Desi McClean conjured up three scores on the trot, two of which were angled efforts and the third came from a free after Declan Hughes was fouled and at the first half water-break just two-points separated the sides (1-05-0-06).
The hosts closed the gap further upon the resumption with Declan Hughes splitting the posts from Desi McClean’s pop back. But Ronan Graham responded from range for Clooney.
Parity was restored at Enright Park as Neil Henry picked off a fine score from just inside the Cloney half and Darren Boyd added his first of the afternoon.
Cloney edged back in front following James O’Connell’s converted free and better was to arrive before the break as Ronan Graham gave it to Owen Neeson off the shoulder and Neeson struck to the corner of the net to make it 0-09-2-07.
Gort na Mona replied with a point from Ryan Cahill before the break- but his side trailed by three points at the midway point in proceedings.
Desi McClean notched his fifth of the afternoon and fourth from play to reduce his sides deficit early in the second period.
Cloney almost had their third goal of the game as Ronan Graham bore down on the target and rolled it past Conor McCann- it was frantically hooked off the line and James O’Connell somehow only secured a point from the loose ball that he picked up in front of the empty net.
McClean converted a free at the other end, but the hosts were to be undone by two quickfire Clooney goals.
The first of them arriving on 41 minutes when James O’Connell won possession and turned towards the target before picking his spot low in the corner of the net.
Shortly afterwards Eoin Graham burst forward and offloaded to PJ O’Connell who picked his spot high in the corner of the net- giving Conor McCann no chance.
Ronan Graham added a point in the aftermath with Desi McClean converting a free from range in response.
Further points were traded between Diarmuid Graham and McClean (65’) before Clooney substitute Colla McDonnell made an impact with a nice, angled effort.
4-10-0-14 down Gort na Mona needed quick action if they were going to take anything from the game and they were thrown a lifeline.
Desi McClean somehow missed a gilt-edged chance moments before he found the net after a poor puck-out from Aiden Graham went straight into his path and McClean made no mistake at the second time of asking with a deflected drive into the corner of the net.
Gort’s marksman would bring his tally for the afternoon to 1-09 with a further free that narrowed the margin to five-points with just over five to go.
But any hope of a late resurgence was dashed with a fifth Cloney goal, PJ O’Connell set off towards the target before picking out Eoin Graham for a close-range finish.
Cloney ended the game with three successive points through James O’Connell (free), Eamonn Brady and Colla McDonnell and Gort would finish the game out with 14-men after James Connolly received a second yellow card late-on.
It didn’t have a bearing on the final outcome as Cloney Gaels were home and dry by then and strengthened their position at the summit of Division 2A.
Gort na Mona: C McCann, J Connolly, C Devlin, L Dixon, N Henry (0-01), P McClelland, M Rea (0-01), G McKenna, D Hughes (0-01), R Cahill (0-01), D Boyd (0-01), T O’Cadhlaigh, R Coleman, D McClean (1-09, 0-04f, 0-01 65’), C Healy (0-01). Subs: C Fitzsimons for T O’Cadhlaigh (37), K Campbell for C Healy (39).
Cloney Gaels: A Graham, H O’Donnell, J Magee, D Graham (0-01), F O’Neill, N O’Connell, E Brady (0-01), G Graham, T McGlone, O Neeson (1-00), E Graham (1-01), PJ O’Connell (1-02), R Graham (0-03), D Graham, J O’Connell (2-04, 0-02f). Subs: C McDonnell (0-02) for R Graham (47), D Scullion for O Neeson (52), C Crossey for T McGlone (55), J Logan for PJ O’Connell (58).