Report by Gearoid Loughnane
Photos by Sean Ryan Photography
Loughrea easily brushed aside a disappointing Beagh outfit in this years county semi-final to reach the clubs seventh county final since 2003. Loughrea were never in trouble at any stage and from Sean Sweeneys opening point to the final whistle Beagh never got close to last years county finalists. Sweeney opened the scoring in the first minute after a cleverly taken side-line from Paul Hoban and this was quickly added to by Neil Keary, who shot two points (1 from a free) and a fine Johnny O’Loughlin score to leave “The Town” four points to the good after ten minutes. Beagh, appearing in their first ever county sem- final never settled and had to wait until the 11th minute to open their account with Kevin Keehan pointing from a free. Neil Keary then shot another two points again one from play and one from the placed ball to keep Loughrea safely in front. Keehan responded with another free before Loughrea struck for their first goal. Neil Keary did well to win the ball off a Beagh lineball and his crossfield pass found the on-form Johnny O’Loughlin and he slipped his man before drilling an unstoppable shot past the hapless Kevin O’Grady. Keary then added another from a ‘65’ with Johnny O’Loughlin also pointing in between two Beagh points from Pat Diviney and PJ McAllen. Loughrea, who had the advantage of a stiff wind in the opening half now lead by 1:08 to 0:04 but drove on in search of more before the break. And when a long Sean Sweeney delivery broke between Johnny Coen and two Beagh defenders, Coen somehow managed to steal the ball and evade the two defenders before blasting the ball to the roof of the net for a tonic goal just before the break to leave the score at half time, Loughrea 2:08, Beagh 0:04.
Beagh had to start the second half well and they did get the opening score through another Keehan free. However they never built up any significant momentum as Loughrea kept them at arms-length throughout, with the ‘two Johnnies’- Maher and O’Loughlin pointing in repose to points from Adrian Touhey and yet another Keehan free. The game seemed to be edging towards its inevitable conclusion with Beagh doing little in the way of making inroads into the Loughrea lead. Keehan with another free, Jamie Diviney and a Rory Gantley free were all Beagh could muster with Loughrea responding through Johnny Coen (twice), Maher, a fine point from the marauding Brian Mahony and Neil Keary by the 54th minute. Loughrea now began to empty their bench with the win safely secured and these changes ensured Loughrea kept going to the end with Johnny Coen and Neil Keary- play and free scoring for Loughrea. Beagh did get a consolation goal when Kevin Keehans low drive from a free found its way to the back of the net but it was much too little too late. And so Loughrea find themselves back in another county final where they will meet the winners of St. Thomas’ and Portumna, who will have to meet again after playing out a draw match yesterday in Kenny Park. This will be Loughrea’s seventh final since 2003 and all concerned will be keen that they get their hands on the Tommy Callanan cup for the first time since 2006. Loughrea had great performance all over the field with every player out performing their Beagh counter-part. Nigel Murray was excellent in goals and his long puckouts provided many scoring opportunities for the victors. The full back line was always in control with Tom Regan having a particularly good opening thirty minutes. The half back line dominated the Beagh half forward line and kept Beagh danger men Joe Gantley and Keehan scoreless from play-with both Sean Sweeney and Brian Mahony managing to outscore them! Captain Gavin Keary and Emmet Mahony were always on top around the middle with Mahony having probably his best game all year, while today was the day the forwards really clicked and the goals came, with Johnny Coen, Neil Keary and Johnny O’Loughlin particularly impressive. All in all a great days work for Loughrea who now have another chance to add to their two county titles! Is this the year?? Heres hoping…
Loughrea scorers: Neil Keary 0:09(4 f’s, 1 “65”), Johnny Coen 1:02, Johnny O’Loughlin 1:02, Johnny Maher 0:02, Sean Sweeney 0:01, Paul Hoban 0:01, Brian Mahony 0:01
Beagh Scorers: Kevin Keehan 1:05 (1:05 f’s), Adrian Touhey 0:02, Rory Gantley 0:01 (1f), Pat Diviney 0:01, PJ McAllen 0:01, Jamie Diviney 0:01.
Loughrea: Nigel Murray, Tom Regan, Damien McClearn, Eoin Mahony, Vincent Maher, Brian Mahony, Sean Sweeney, Gavin Keary, Emmet Mahony, Johnny Coen, Paul Hoban, Neil Keary, Johnny O’Loughlin, Johnny Maher, Jamie Ryan.
Substitutions: Thomas Hoban for J Ryan(41), John Dooley for T Regan (54), Stephen McCormack for G Keary (55), Alan Cormican for J Maher (57), Peter Quinn for V Maher(58).
Beagh: Kevin O’Grady, Enda Tuohey, Brian McGuane, Michael Geaghan, PJ McAllen, Rory Gantley, Jonathan Morris, Damien Landers, Pat Diviney, Joe Gantley, Kevin Keehan, Adrian Tuohey, Padraic Landers, Kieran Diviney, Jamie Diviney.