Coolera/Strandhill beat Gaels to play in decider
Coolera/Strandhill will meet Calry/St Joseph's in this year's Sligo Senior Hurling Championship final after they defeated Western Gaels in their semi-final duel at Tourlestrane on Saturday afternoon.
In an entertaining encounter, Coolera/Strandhill were deserved winners, although they were made work hard for a final spot, as Western Gaels remained in touch throughout.
In a game where both sides were evenly matched, the class of Gary Cadden proved the decisive difference as he bagged 0-7 for his side, and was a key part of their attacking unit. Though Western Gaels only led once for the entire game - that after six minutes - they too could have claimed a spot in this year's final. Champions in 2010, the losers had decent performances from Alan Stenson, who scored 1-4, and James Hynes, who attacked several times from his wing back berth, but they appeared to tire as the game drew to a close.
Errol Flanagan's 23rd minute goal was an important score for Coolera/Strandhill, and helped them to their 1-5 to 0-6 lead. Prior to Flanagan's score, his side did hold a 0-4 to 0-3 lead with Gary Cadden prominent in the early stages with 0-2 from frees - he added another excellent score from play late in the half. MJ Crean's 29th minute point was the best score of the half, however, a long shot from over 65 metres raising a white flag, and the westerners notched further scores through Aidan Morrison and Liam Ryan over the first thirty minutes to ensure the gap at the break was just two points, 1-5 to 0-6.
The winners began take the initiative once more after the re-start - Gary Cadden again to the fore with 0-3 in the opening ten minutes of the half. Four points down midway through the second period, Western Gaels needed a goal to ignite their comeback and got just that through Alan Stenson who blasted home to close the gap to one after 46 minutes.
However, Coolera/Strandhill remained calm and refused to panic, with dual star Niall Murphy and man of the match Gary Cadden pointing over the closing stages to earn their side a deserved win.
Coolera/Strandhill: Kevin Kelly, Cathal Burke, Sean O'Rourke, Martin O'Reilly, Vinnie Cadden(0-1), Cathal Murphy, Niall O'Rourke, Niall Cadden(0-1), Ciaran Brennan, Brain Tobin, Niall Murphy(0-2), Gary Cadden(0-7, 4f), Colm Scanlon(0-1), Errol Flanagan(1-0), Colm Parke. Subs used: Darragh Burke
Western Gaels: Gerry Ryan, Cormac Hallinan, Brian Kelly, Tomas Cawley, Tom Mahon, Garret Ryan, James Hynes(0-1), Aidan Morrison(0-2, 1f), MJ Crean(0-1), Michael McGowan, Michael Rolston, Ethan McGowan, Tomas Ryan, Liam Ryan(0-1), Alan Stenson(1-4, 4f). Subs used: Emmett Healy
Referee: Pat Maguire.