Eoghan Rua breeze past Magherafelt to seal their place in the semi finals

Sean Leo McGoldrick is closed down by Banagher's John Lynch.
Sean Leo McGoldrick is closed down by Banagher's John Lynch.

A powerful first half performance provided the platform for Eoghan Rua’s passage to the semi-finals of the Derry senior football championship.

They ran out comfortable winners over a disappointing Magherafelt side, 1-15 to 0-11 in the end.

Playing with much more adventure than their previous championship outings Eoghan Rua built a winning lead of nine points in the first half, 1-10 to 0-4 at the break.

Their goal midway through the first half proved to be a real turning point. Just before the goal Ryan McGeough made a brilliant point blank save from Niall Higgins, the ball was quickly transferred forward to midfield where Declan Mullan gathered. His long high ball in was won by full forward Colm McGoldrick, he turned his marker before sidestepping the advancing goalkeeper Connor McLarnon to stroke to an empty net.

Almost inevitably Magherafelt made more of a fist of it in the second half and actually outscored the eventual winners 0-7 to 0-5 but they never really threatened to get the goal they would have needed to test Eoghan Rua’s resolve. A bit worryingly for the Coleraine men though, Magherafelt did create a few good chances but their shooting was way off target.

In contrast when Eoghan Rua were on top in the first half they converted the possession they enjoyed into winning scores, they were much more economical and they did get that crucial goal.

With midfielder Niall Holly posted to full back to contain the threat of Magherafelt’s Emmett McGuckin Eoghan Rua dominated the first quarter. Points from Colm McGoldrick, 0-3, two frees, Ciaran McGoldrick and the hard working Gavan McWilliams had Eoghan Rua ahead 0-5 to 0-1 by the 11th minute. Shane Heavron pointed for Magherafelt to reduce the gap to three in the 13th minute but the game changed over the next couple of minutes.

A brilliant close range save from McGeough was almost immediately followed by the only goal of the game from Colm McGoldrick, a six point turnaround. The sides then exchanged points but Eoghan Rua continued to dominate the second quarter as they sprung from defence to attack with much more speed and accuracy than in their previous championship outings.

Gavan McWilliams hit three, two from frees, in the second quarter Eoghan Rua took a nine point lead into the second half. Two points from Shane Heavron in the opening five minutes of the second half suggested that Magherafelt would make a real fight of it. They did garner a fair share of possession over the next five minutes but poor finishing, they shot five wides in a row in that period, produced nothing where it counts, on the scoreboard.

The Coleraine men’s first point in the second half came 12 minutes in, Ciaran Lagan doing well to find Gavan McWilliams who put Hugh Casey through to score. The sides then twice exchanged points Conor Carey and Colm McGoldrick with fine efforts reinstated Eoghan Rua’s comfortable nine point advantage.

Two long range efforts from Shane Heavron and Shea Murphy did little to change the landscape of the final outcome, a surprisingly comfortable seven point win for the 2010 champions, they now look forward to another semi-final in a couple of weeks time.