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And the waves to crest get bigger.........

posted 21 Oct 2015, 14:16 by Kenneth Fox

"Moycullen made a huge stride in wresting back control of their 2015 championship campaign with a crucial win over fellow contenders, Ahascragh Fohenagh. Still more to do as a Clarinbridge win against Killimor and any result for last weekend's opponents against Kinvara will mean Moycullen must get something from the Abbey game or lose out to Clarinbridge on head to head."

And here we are back again.

Moycullen meet Ahascragh-Fohenagh again in the County Intermediate Semi Final in Athenry on Saturday at 2.30pm. It has been a topsy turvey season for both clubs. Way back at the beginning Ahascragh Fohenagh's loss to Killimor would have been the shock defeat of the weekend but for Abbey's win over Kinvara. A week later Moycullen's opener was equally inauspicious when they were on the wrong end of a Kinvara backlash. Moycullen got back on track with a over Killimor and followed up by a demolishing of an eventually demoralised Craughwell. Ahascagh-Fohenagh had meanwhile won as expected against Clarenbridge. County commitments saw Ahascragh Fohenagh's programme fall behind while Moycullen were to get ahead by overcoming Clarenbridge. Things didn't go according to plan and a shock defeat put in theory even survival intermediate in jeopardy. 
Ahascragh returned after the summer recess to a walkover from Craughwell and followed up with a win over Group A leaders Abbeyknockmoy. Thus they arrived in Athenry on the 26th September with six points in the bag to face a Moycullen with four and a dismal last outing. It was Moycullen who produced the performance and earned the win. Six points each and both left looking at the following weekend to see who would be in head to head peril depending on who won between Clarenbridge and Killimor. Moycullen had limited time to think about it. They had a little  matter of a County Intermediate Football final to care of. A good weekend a Killimor win and a County title but no time to celebrate Abbeyknockmoy in the Stadium on Saturday. Still need a win to be sure of a quarter-final. Ahascragh-Fohenagh need something from Kinvara or it's Killimor in the quarterfinal. Goals change things. After a solid Moycullen start, Abbeyknockmoy gained the upper hand and moved ahead but when Niall Mannion dispatched the penalty gained from Seamus Conneely being hauled down while in on goal, Moycullen stretched that to a two point advantage at halftime. The second half pattern was similar with the lead out to five and Abbey almost level again, when their goalie fumbled then slipped as the ball trickled toward goal, Chris Hurney was alert, held off the fullback and was awarded the pushover. Suddenly one was five again and eventually became fifteen. Meanwhile with the final whistle gone in the Stadium, Ahascragh Fohenagh were trailing in Loughrea; things were looking good for Killimor. But they clawed it back and squeezed a draw out of the extra minutes.
And so on to the quarterfinal on the fourth weekend. Moycullen against Kilconieron in Kenny Park. A poor start this weekend but a recovery was achieved and as Kilconieron had 5 from 7 from frees, Moycullen had only one but 7 from play meant that one was the margin. As the second half progressed, Moycullen pushed it out to 3, 13 to 10. A Kilconieron player pulled yards before arriving at the ball, Kevin O'Donovan went down under the weight of the stroke and a red card saw Kilconieron down to 14. Better? Breathe a little easier? Killimor get the next four points, two remarkable ones from play. Niall slots a free. He will surely blow for a draw. Vinnie accepts a pass the centre of the pitch and strokes it home. Semi-final again.
The following day Ahascragh-Fohenagh overcame Group B winners Ballinderreen by four points. They were within two minutes of going out a week earlier, Moycullen were within a few minutes of the same fate the day before. All four Group A qualifiers won their quarterfinals.

So what does all mean. It means 26th September is old news. Both teams have been impressive and not fully convincing in the interim. All hurling cobwebs are well blown away. It's a strange semifinal in that on this one off occasion the winner makes a return to Senior hurling due to the senior competition restructure. For Ahascragh-Fohenagh it is the goal never attained although close in recent years never more than last. For Moycullen there is a sense of unfinished business, of a senior score to settle. Saturday 2.30pm. Where else would you be?
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