The Courtyard Hotel Leixlip IFC losers section
It was a facile victory in the end as Sallins ran out comfortable 13-point winners in St Conleth's Park on Saturday evening, but Castlemitchell at least hung in their for long spells of the game to give their opponents something to think about. The 2015 Kildare Junior county champions are struggling at Intermediate level, and they went into this game as massive underdogs against a Sallins team that possesses enough talent to cause a few shocks in this championship.
Joe Maher was the leading light for Castlemitchell in the first half as the veteran chipped in with all four of their points as he led the line superbly, and it was the corner-forward who tapped over the first score of the game with a close range free in the opening minute. Sallins responded as Jack Sharkey curled over a fine score from the left wing, but Maher once again had Castlemitchell in the lead when he nudged over his second of the game from a placed ball.
It was then that the favourites began to motor, scoring three points in as many minutes and looking dangerous in general. They were winning plenty of ball inside through Paul 'The Bomber' Moynihan, and that gave them a decent platform at the head of the attack. Conor Herbert opened his account with a point from 25 metres out, before a couple of excellent efforts from 2016 Kildare minor footballer Kevin Foley moved Sallins into a two-point lead and they would never relinquish that advantage.
Robert Lovett set up Maher for his first score from play after going on a meandering run, but Sallins continued to take control, but Sallins continued to command the game and further points from Sean Corley and Moynihan were just reward for some inventive attacking play. They could have had a goal in that spell when Foley shimmied his way through, but a combination of full-back Brian Kavanagh and goalkeeper Michael Lawless kept the midfielder's shot out.
Maher managed to get in on goal at the other end almost immediately afterwards but he blazed his effort high over the bar, and Castlemitchell were made to pay as Sallins finally did bag the game's first goal when Paul Farrelly played full-back Johnny Nulty in on the right and he clipped the ball in off the bottom of the near post past a helpless Lawless.
The south Kildare outfit were not going to drop their heads however, and they responded brilliantly to the setback of the goal by scoring their own. Less than 30 seconds had passed from Nulty hitting the back of the net when the ball was played in high over his head, allowing full-forward Paul McDonagh to find the back of Shane Herbert's net.
Sallins ended the half in the ascendancy however, with Moynihan and Herbert both clipping over fine efforts either side of a goalbound effort from Farrelly that was tipped over for a point. That meant that Sallins went into the break with a 1-9 to 1-4 advantage, but Castlemitchell were still in with a boxer's chance of causing an upset.
Any hopes of that happening soon dissipated with 60 seconds of the restart as Sallins landed a second goal, which pretty much represented a knockout blow. Herbert floated a high ball in from the left wing, and with four men competing in the air it was Andy Power who rose highest to palm the ball into the back of the net. Goalkeeper Michael Lawless replied at the other end by slotting over a '45, but a fine long range score from Ian Murphy and a fisted point from Emmet Ralph kept Sallins well in control.
The game petered out at a very pedestrian pace for the remainder as Sallins went through the motions while Castlemitchell struggled to summon the power for a meaniningful fightback.
The best spell Castlemitchell could muster in the second half came when they knocked over two points in quick succession through Maher and Conor Curtis, while Brendan Maher also raised a white flag during the second half. Sallins really began to express themselves during the closing eight minutes or so, tagging on 1-4 for good measure as they put a gloss on the scoreline. The impressive Farrelly stroked over a couple of points, while Herbert and Ralph also added to their tallies, and it was Sean Corley who batted home their late goal with two minutes left on the clock.
Castlemitchell will have to pull themselves together for a relegation battle now, while Sallins will go into round three of the championship hoping they can go on a run like they did in 2015 when they reached the county semi-final.
Scorers for Sallins: C Herbert 0-4(1f), A Power and S Corley 1-1 each, P Farrelly 0-3, P Moynihan, E Ralph and K Foley 0-2 each, I Murphy 0-1.
Scorers for Castlemitchell: J Maher 0-7(5f), P McDonagh 1-0, C Curtis and B Maher 0-1 each.
S Herbert; E Walsh(P O'Connell 30mins inj), J McNulty, J Boland; C Sharkey, R O'Domhnaill, C Johnson(D Murphy 9mins inj); K Foley, E Ralph; P Farrelly, C Herbert, J Sharkey; S Corley, A Power(S Gavin 56mins), P Moynihan.
M Lawless; B Kavanagh, M Moore, D Ryan; B Maher, JP Horgan, K Ward(L Njadayi 45mins); P McDonagh, F O'Rourke(E Wall 49mins inj); C Curtis, K Harris, R Lovett(R Fitzgerald HT(M Fanning 59mins); J Maher, E Hyland, J Horgan(J O'Connor 30mins inj).
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