EOGHAN RUA THROUGH TO
Eoghan Rua were never headed after Colm McGoldrick blasted in the first of his two goals in the fourth minute, they went on to lead Loup 2-6 to 0-3 at the break, the outcome of this Derry senior football championship quarter-final never really in any doubt by this stage.
Even though the second half was fairly even as the sides traded ten points evenly Eoghan Rua eased into the semi-finals with plenty to spare, 2-11 to 0-8. It was a strangely low key championship game with little real excitement for the paying patrons at Owenbeg last Saturday afternoon.
Eoghan Rua were always in command and from a fairly early stage, they were much sharper in most areas of the field, particularly up front. Indeed it was the two first half goals from Colm McGoldrick that proved to be the real game changer they helped Eoghan Rua to a commanding nine point half-time lead. Loup never looked likely to penetrate the well organised Eoghan Rua defence to get a goal that might have given them some hope of a comeback.
As it was Barry and Sean Leo McGoldrick marshalled the central defensive areas calmly and effectively denying Loup a sniff of a goal chance. In midfield veteran Johnny McBride tried his best to rally his side while up front Anthony O’Neill caused most problems, scoring four points, but their promptings were not enough to pose a realthreat to Eoghan Rua’s march to the semi-finals.
Underfoot conditions were very difficult following continuous rain as the game got under way last Saturday afternoon in Owenbeg. The sides were level 0-1 each by the third minute, Ciaran McGoldrick had put Eoghan Rua ahead from a free in the opening seconds before Ciaran Devlin levelled matters also, from a free.
Just a minute after that score Eoghan Rua hit the front and were never to be headed from that time. Barry McGoldrick’s quickly taken free down the right hand sideline found his brother Colm, he shook off the attentions of his marker Joe O’Kane before striding forward and blasting to the corner of the Loup net. Loup hit a couple of wides before Anthony O’Neill gathered a breaking ball from Ryan McGeogh’s save to hook the ball over the bar.
Loup were enjoying a little spell of pressure and Johnny McBride’s short free found Anthony O’Neill in space to point reducing the gap to a single point twelve minutes in. That’s as good as it got for Loup in the first half as Eoghan Rua went on to dominate the second quarter.
Eoghan Rua’s second goal arrived in the 18th minute as the ball was worked forward from a short kick out with Colm McGoldrick taking a pass from Sean Leo McGoldrick before firing in his second goal of the game. The last ten minutes of the half belonged to Eoghan Rua as Declan Mullan and Richard Carey held sway around the middle and they both pushed forward to strike over a point to add to the Coleraine team’s lead. Two more points from Ciaran McGoldrick, one from a free pushed Eoghan Rua eight clear.
Loup did have a couple of chances for points but poor finishing cost them before Sean Leo McGoldrick had the eventual winners nine clear with a well taken long range point. Just before the break Liam McGoldrick did well to block Antony O’Neill’s effort out for ‘45’, which was then hit short by goalkeeper Thomas Mallon and cleared to safety as the half-time whistle went, Eoghan Rua well on their way nine to the good 2-6 to 0-3.
If Loup were to get back into contention they really needed a couple of early scores but it was Eoghan Rua that came out of the traps the quickest. Ciaran Mullan burst forward from full back to put Gregory Bradley in for a point just a minute after the restart. Then Colm McGoldrick added another three minutes later, Eoghan Rua now eleven clear.
There really was no way back now for Loup even though they matched Coleraine point for point throughout the second half. Each time Loup did find a way for a score Eoghan Rua were able to fashion a response defender Mark McTaggart getting in on the act mid way through the half.
The last quarter petered out to its inevitable conclusion even through Loup added two points to the winners one but it was never going to be enough as Eoghan Rua got back to the semi-final stage for the first time since their historic 2010 all-conquering season.
EOGHAN RUA TO MEET
The draw for the Derry senior football championship semi-finals has thrown up a couple of very interesting ties with local side Eoghan Rua having to meet Ballinascreen once again despite meeting them in the second round while holders Ballinderry take on fierce rivals Lavey.
Both games are scheduled for this weekend with venues and times to be announced. Eoghan Rua beat Ballinascreen in a dour struggle in the second round, but the ‘Screen battled their way back through the qualifiers and shocked Dungiven in the quarter-finals and now following Coleraine’s win over Loup these two sides must meet again.
This will also be a repeat of their 2010 semi-final meeting when Eoghan Rua won narrowly and then went on to lift the title at their very first attempt. Indeed there is a possibility of a repeat of that 2010 county final as Ballinderry, who were ambushed by Eoghan Rua on that historic day in 2010, are on the other side of the semi-final draw where they will meet south Derry rivals Lavey.
However a repeat 2010 final could be a long shot as surely Ballinascreen have every incentive to see that does not happen. They will not want a repeat of that agonising day in Banagher and they will want to avenge their second round defeat to Eoghan Rua already in this campaign. They were very impressive in beating Dungiven, much more so than in their dour defeat to the Coleraine men.
Ballinascreen were much sharper last time out and although Eoghan Rua had a good win over Loup they were never really fully tested. All the aces must rest with Ballinascreen, they got a second chance and have improved since their defeat to Coleraine.
Their game plan has seen them take a much more positive route. While still playing with a sweeper, Carlus McWilliams brilliant in the role in the win over Dungiven, they seem to be moving the ball much quicker out of defence and to much greater effect. Key to their win over Dungiven was their strength through the central channels and that’s the area where the winning and losing of the semi-final will be battled out.
Eoghan Rua, too are strong in this central area and they are likely to stick with the system that has taken them to this stage, they will defend in numbers and hit Ballinascreen on the break. If Dungiven had beaten Ballinascreen in the quarter-final they would have been strong favourites against Eoghan Rua.
Ballinascreen destroyed Dungiven so you would expect they should be installed as favourites despite Eoghan Rua’s earlier win over them.
It was close the last day and it will be even closer this time. Ballinascreen missed a few chances, if they are as sharp up front as they were against Dungiven and convert their opportunities then they could go even closer in this weekend’s semi-final.
It really will be a tall order for Coleraine to repeat their win for the second time in the same competition against the same difficult opposition, this one might not be decided this weekend even after extra-time.
CHAMPIONSHIP WIN FOR U14 GIRLS
The Eoghan Rua Under 14 Ladies hosted North Derry rivals Craigbane in the Championship quarter final on Thursday.
When Craigbane attacked they rattled off a goal and a point to take an early lead. However Eoghan Rua settled and a great Sarah Moore brace of points got the scoreboard moving.
A great long range goal from Anna Morrison put the Eoghan Rua girls ahead but Craigbane fought back to equalise with a well taken point. Eoghan Rua then took control, fighting for every ball they added 1-6 before half time.
The Craigbane reply was a super goal that left the home side ahead 2-8 to 2-2 at half time.
The level of intensity that the girls showed in the first half was if anything increased after the break. With a bit more composure in front of goal the Eoghan Rua girls could have been further ahead.
Zara Leese made an entrance and in her first piece of play struck over a sweet point, followed by an Anna Morrison point.
When the chance came her way Hannah tucked away a cracking goal. Craigbane did mount a couple of attacks in the second half but the defence of Cora Lagan and the commanding Anna Frizelle ensured there were no easy scores given up.
Aoife Kelly again in goal made a couple of saves and her clearances found team mates who worked the ball forward again and a Sarah Moore scrambled goal was followed by a Zara Leese point to finish the scoring as the Eoghan Rua girls won on a scoreline of 4-14, to 2-2.