On a lovely Saturday evening a very competitive game was played out in the first round of the Mayo GAA Junior Championship by both Swinford and Ardagh. There was never more then two points between the teams and the game went down to the wire. Swinford will be considering what could have been if they had 15 men for the second half.
The game started with two frees put wide by the home team before Ardagh opened the scoring after 5 minutes with a well taken 45. Darren Campbell equalised for Swinford after good work by Kevin McShea. From the resulting kick out Barry Brennan put Swinford ahead.
The game was soon level again before Kevin McShea got a point. Ardagh then got the only goal of the game when their corner forward got the ball out on the right hand sode of the pitch and drove in and shot into the net.
Barry Brennan got his second of the game to bring it back to a one point game and then a fine free from Adrian Forkan from all of 50 yards out leveled the game. Ardagh struck back with two points before James Sweeney pulled one back.
Then came the turning point with about five minutes left in the half Gerry Callaghan was sent off by the referree. Ardagh got the last score of the half with a free to leave it Swinford 0-6 Ardagh 1-5.
Ardagh started the second half with a great goal opportunity that thankfully hit the post and came out and ended been kicked out for a 45 that was put wide. Adrian Forkan rolled back the years to get hius second of the game before he leveled the game with a free and then put Swinford ahead with another free.
Ardagh leveled the game with a free and then one up with another free. So midway through the half the visitors led by one.
JP Broderick entered the game as a replacement for Kevin McShea and put Swinford level with a free. The ding dong continued and Ardagh went back ahead with a free of their own. Adiran Forkan got his fifth point to level the game before great link up between Pearse Walsh, Adian Forkan and JP Broderick ended with a JP point. Swinford were now in the dominance and Adrian Forkan put two points between the teams entering the last five minutes.
Unfortunately Ardagh struck the final three points with the winning score coming four minutes into injury time.
After been level for seven times during the game it was Ardagh who came out on the top by 0-13 to 1-11.
Swinford were very unlucky not to get at least a point out of the game and now face Balla in round 2 in two weeks time. The most disappointing thing for the writer was the very poor support for Swinford. When there are more away supporters then home at a championship match it is very difficult to accept. The GAA is a lot more then the county team and locals have to get behind their club.
Swinford: Damien Geraghty, Aiden McLoughlin, Paul McDonagh, John Gerard Kelly, Shane McLoughlin, Kevin Barry, Andy Lenehan, Barry Brennan, Gerry Callaghan, James Sweeney, Steven Walsh, Cillian O’Donnell, Adrian Forkan, Kevin McShea, Darren Campbell. Subs: Mark McNicholas, JP Broderick, Pearse Walsh, Michael Walsh
Scorers: Adrian Forkan 0-7, Barry Brennan, JP Broderick 0-2, Kevin McShea, James Sweeney