Eoghan Rua’s hurlers eased into the semi-finals of the Ul;ster Junior hurling championship with a comfortable 1-17 to 0-8 win over Tyrone side Naomh Columcille.
Played in perfect conditions this was a fairly pedestrian affair throughout, Eoghan Rua dominating proceedings almost from pillar to post.
The opening twenty minutes were well contested despite Eoghan Rua opening up a 1-5 to 0-3 lead, their goal in the 10th minute from Colm McGoldrick the difference.
The sides were only level on one occasion, the 4th minute after Ryan O’Neill replied to Ruari Leonard’s opener in the second minute.
Ciaran Gaile edged Eoghan Rua ahead with a point before Colm McGoldrick blasted to the net in the 10th minute with Ciaran McGoldrick adding a point from a free moments later.
Naomh Colmcille battled to stay in contention with points from Joe O’Neill and Eamon Duffin, the latter leaving five between the sides at 1-5 to 0-3.
That Duffin point would be the last the Tyrone side would score for all of 27 minutes by which time Eoghan Rua had added nine points without reply to lead 1-14 to 0-3 going into the final quarter of the game.
By half-time Eoghan Rua were eight points to the good as Niall Holly, Colm McGoldrick and Ciaran McGoldrick put on three points in the last firve minutes before the break for a 1-8 to 0-3 lead.
Midway through the second half Naomh Colmcille’s cause was not helped when they had Ryan O’Neill sent off on a straight red for a wild pull on Ruari Mooney.
By that stage the Coleraine men had added to their half-time lead with three more points.
Going into the final quarter that lead was exytended to fourteen points with three points in a couple of minutes from Ciaran Gaile, Ruari Mooney and Conor Boyle.
The Eoghan Rua defence was well marshalled throughout by Anton Rafferty, Barry McGoldrick and Sean Leo McGoldrick while Paddy Mullan in goals made a couple of tidy saves to deny naomh Columcille majors.
This game was over as a contest long before the final whistle even though the Tyrone men kept going to the finish adding five points in a last quarter flourish.
However the damage had been done in the first 45 minutes as Eoghan Rua matched the late five points with five of their own in the final quarter to keep a comfortable winning margin between the sides.
Eoghan Rua hurling manager Pádraig Ó Mianain was just pleased to get over this first round Ulster junior championship game.
Having played very little hurling in the last few weeks the dual club’s concentration was on the Derry football championship so it was no surprise that the Coleraine men were a bit ring rusty.
“We were very rusty out there’, said Ó Mianain.
“But we managed to get through, we got better as the game went on and got the scores to win the game.
“We were in much the same position this time last year, we didn’t play that well against Bredagh in the first round but we sneaked through, the following week we put in a great performance against a good Carrickmore side, so we would be hoping for something similar this time around.’
When it was suggested that while Eoghan Rua were the better side at times they looked a bit off the mark with their striking.
“With the football the boys haven’t been doing much at all the last month or so.
“The dual players are all very fit but the challenge is to get as much hurling in over the next few days and then see what next Sunday brings. We’ll just have to get the boys out again this week.
“The challenge now is to get in as much hurling training as possible.”
Eoghan Rua had a good spread of scores while the goal came at a good time much to the delight of the manager.
‘“t half-time we had a good cushion so it was a case of trying to get on the ball as much as possible, move it to the right spaces, keep them under pressure,” he said.
“They lost a man quite early in the second half and they lost their shape for a while, we even lost our shape a bit too, so it was a bit of a struggle just to get things right.’
“There is no doubt we have plenty of work to do for the next day, there’ll be no sense of over confidence after that performance today. We will need to concentrate on our basics again, but we would hope to raise our performance for thenext day, we will have to, if we want to progress,” concluded Ó’Mianain.