Callanan hits top form as Mellows book ticket to quarters

COUNTY player Aonghus Callanan hit 0-5 from play as city side Liam Mellows, who won the last of their seven Galway SHC titles back in 1970, advanced to the quarter-finals at Athenry yesterday, seeing off Sarsfields 0-13 to 0-11.

Sarsfields, who won five of their six county titles between 1989 and 1997 – becoming the first side to win successive All-Ireland titles along the way – have been working on underage in recent years and the current crop contains the next generation of many of those who triumphed in the 1990s.

But they were ousted by a Mellows side for whom county player David Collins manned defence and aside from Callanan’s exploits, Brian Lee, younger brother of Galway defender John, hit three great points from play.

Sarsfields, with wing-back Darren Skehill rock solid, led by 0-9 to 0-4 having played with the wind in the opening half, with Kerrill Wade hitting five frees.

But they managed just two in the entire second half with Callanan drawing Mellows level with 11 minutes left and sub John Hughes sealed the win with a brace of points in addition to another from Callanan after Joseph Cooney – son of Galway legend Joe – who blasted one over the bar for Sarsfields.

Former Galway player Mark Kerins was the key figure as Clarinbridge saw off the disappointing challenge of St Thomas 2-15 to 1-8 to reach the quarter-finals of the Galway SHC at Athenry yesterday.

Kerins hit 0-9, seven of them from frees, most of which he won himself, and brother Alan also shot 0-3 from play.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men with referee Alan Kelly adopting a hardline policy on discipline and he dismissed Clarinbridge’s Jamie Cannon and John Conroy of St Thomas for their part in a brawl after 11 minutes.

Both sides concentrated on hurling after that with Clarinbridge recovering from a Bernard Burke goal as Alan Kerins set up Paul Coen for a goal which helped them lead by 1-5 to 1-4 at the break, having played against the wind.

Three points without reply inside six minutes pushed Clarinbridge further ahead as Mark Kerins continued to dictate and the game was over as a contest when Eoin Forde blasted home after a superb crossfield ball from Stephen Forde.

Elsewhere seven unanswered second-half points from Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry secured them a place in the quarter-final with a facile 0-12 to 0-8 win over Castlegar in Athenry.

Castlegar led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break thanks largely to a 65, a sideline cut and a free from Ger Farragher.

Castlegar, the most prolific winners of the Galway SHC title with 17 crowns but who have not won it now since 1984, looked likely to win when Ronan O’Flynn pointed five minutes after the restart to increase the lead to three.

However, three scores each from Padraig Brehony and Shane Moloney and a superb effort from substitute and former All-Star Kevin Broderick ensured Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry a place in the last eight.

The victors – who had Ger Burke sent off late on for a second yellow – were never troubled after the restart, but three missed frees from Farragher did not help Castlegar’s cause.

A strong final quarter sealed Craughwell’s place in the quarter-finals when they proved too strong for Kinvara at Loughrea, winning 0-11 to 0-8 on Saturday.

The scoring power of Craughwell was too much for Kinvara who looked to have the match of their opponents early in the second half.

Kinvara started briskly when playing into the breeze and Shane Quinn and Conor Kavanagh struck over a brace of points but Michael Coughlan, Keelan Cullinane, Niall Healy and Jamie Ryan responded for Craughwell.

Craughwell led 0-7 to 0-4 at the break as Kinvara had a mountain to climb with the decision by Kinvara to play county team full back and captain Shane Kavanagh at centre forward clearly not working, as Fergal Healy marshalled the Craughwell defence.

Successive points from David Huban and another from Shane Quinn brought Kinvara back level at the start of the second half, but Craughwell’s defence again put up the barriers and Keelan Greene, and three Niall Healy points, sealed Craughwell’s win.

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