Late surge helps Mayo champions Knockmore overcome Tourlestrane

Failure to capitalise on first-half dominance ultimately proves costly for Sligo kingpins

Tourlestrane’s Cian Surlis comes under pressure from with Pearse Ruttledge and Adam Naughton of Knockmore during the Connacht club semi-final in Ballina. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Tourlestrane’s Cian Surlis comes under pressure from with Pearse Ruttledge and Adam Naughton of Knockmore during the Connacht club semi-final in Ballina. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

 

Knockmore (Mayo) 0-10 Tourlestrane (Sligo) 0-8

Sligo champions Tourlestrane will surely feel they let a great opportunity slip from their grasp when they were swept away by a late Knockmore surge in the closing minutes of an exciting Connacht senior club football semi-final at James Stephens Park, Ballina.

The Mayo champions looked set to blow the visitors away when they raced into a three point lead after 10 minutes with scores from Connell Dempsey, Peter Naughton (free) and Kevin McLoughlin but the complexion of this game changed dramatically before the half-time break as Tourlestrane had taken over the control room.

The six in-a-row champions from Sligo hit five unanswered points to lead by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time and they should have been further ahead but for five bad wides and a few efforts which fell into the hands of the Knockmore goalkeeper also not helping their cause

Energised by their opening score which came from Gary Gaughan on 12 minutes, Liam Gaughan hit back-to-back points, while John Kelly and Cathal Henry both hit the target. But the failure to take at least one of three decent goal chances in that first half was to prove costly in the end for Tourlestrane.

Knockmore looked to their bench in that second half and both Sean Ruttledge and Liam Durcan made important contributions in turning the tide for the Mayo champions.

But Tourlestrane still held a two point lead as the game entered the last 15 minutes (0-7 to 0-5) but it was Knockmore who were now doing the hunting unlike in the first half when they became the quarry.

Patience was the key to Knockmore’s comeback as they finally cracked the code to Tourlestrane’s defensive structure, with four unanswered points to go two ahead (0-9 to 0-7), Peter Naughton (2), Adam Naughton from a mark and Shane McHale now the driving force behind the recovery.

Three minutes of injury time was announced when Liam Gaughan opened the door yet again for Tourlestrane with a free but Knockmore manager Ray Dempsey could finally breath a sigh of relief as he watched his son, Connell, secure victory deep in injury time from a mark.

KNOCKMORE: C Reape; M Park, D McHale, S Holmes; A Naughton (0-1, mark), K King, C Flynn; K McLoughlin (0-2), S McHale (0-1); P Ruttledge, A Orme (0-1), C Dempsey (0-2, one free); K Ruttledge, J Ruddy, P Naughton (0-3, two frees).

Subs: C Bourke for Ruddy (h/t), L Durcan for K Ruttledge (40), S Ruttledge for Park (40).

TOURLESTRANE: A Broe; JF Carr, B Walsh, N Gaughan; O Kennedy, A McIntyre, C Surlis; C Marren, C Henry (0-1, free); K Gavigan, J Kelly (0-1), J Leonard (0-1); L Gaughan (0-4, two frees), K O’Hara, G Gaughan (0-1).

Subs: P Harte for Henry (35), JP Lang for O’Hara (40), S Henry for Leonard (60).

Referee: T Murphy (Galway).

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