Three wins from their opening three games has given Eoghan Rua their best start in Division 1 since their arrival in the senior ranks in 2007.
They maintained their winning start to the league with a fine 1-16 to 0-13 home win over Loup last Sunday afternoon. The first half was a tight enough affair with the side’s level on three occasions up to the 24th minute when it was 0-5 each. Both teams had enjoyed little spells of dominance and had added scores when they were on top but the home team finished the half strongly and added four points to Loup’s one to lead 0-9 to 0-6 at the break despite playing against the wind.
Now with the wind at their backs Coleraine tacked on two quick points to stretch their lead to five and after Loup pulled one back Stephen Coyle’s well taken goal set Eoghan Rua on their way to victory just after ten minutes into the second half. By the mid-point of the half Coleraine had stretched their lead to nine, 1-14 to 0-8 and although Loup kept battling over the last quarter they never looked like closing the gap sufficiently to put real pressure on the home side. There was a real battle around the middle throughout the game with both midfield pairs, Declan Mullan and Richard Carey for Eoghan Rua, Brian Doyle and Ronan Devlin enjoying periods of dominance.
However Eoghan Rua had the outstanding player on the pitch by some distance as Sean Leo McGoldrick was imperious throughout from centre back. The ball seemed to be attracted to him like a magnet as he patrolled the defensive area with the aplomb of a Franz Beckenbauer or Bobby Moore, strolling out through a pack of players, head up and just the right pass to move the ball forward, simply sublime. Eoghan Rua almost had the ball in the Loup net inside 30 seconds of the start when Conor Carey was put through but his shot came off the inside of the post and was cleared to safety. Twice more in the opening minutes the home side spurned chances to open the scoring before Ciaran McGoldrick got the scoreboard moving with a point.
Midfielder Brian Doyle levelled matters before Richard Carey Coleraine back in front following good work from Sean Leo McGoldrick. Ten minutes in Loup had a goal chalked off for a ‘square ball’, correctly, despite the protestations of the south Derry players and management. Eoghan Rua then had a couple of wides before Loup went on to enjoy a period of dominance as their midfield got on top. Four points in a row between the 14th and 19th minutes had Loup three ahead 0-5 to 0-2. All four points from Glen Martin, Gavin Mallon, midfielder Ronan Devlin and Ciaran Devlin came from open play. It was then Eoghan Rua’s turn to have a period on top as they regained parity around the middle and pressed forward for vital scores.
Six points in a row took them from three down midway through the half to three up, 0-8 to 0-5 going into added time. Two points each from Conor Carey and Ciaran McGoldrick along with one each from half back Ciaran Lagan and Liam McGoldrick seen the home side retake control. The sides traded points in injury time with Eoghan Rua still three to the good, 0-9 to 0-6. Coleraine were soon five in front as Ciaran Lagan and Ciaran McGoldrick added points inside two minutes. Ryan McGeough then saved brilliantly from point blank range to deny Declan McVey a certain goal while Mark McTaggart made a couple of timely interceptions as Loup came back strongly early on.
They only had one point from Paul McVey to show for that short spell on top. Ten minutes into the second half the only goal of the game arrived as Stephen Coyles beat the advancing Loup goalkeeper Thomas Mallon with a deft lob. Two more points from Ciaran and Sean Leo McGoldrick had Eoghan Rua nine clear and seemingly on the way to a big win. Despite losing full forward, Paul Young, sent off on a second yellow card Loup outscored Coleraine 0-5 to 0-2 over the closing ten minutes. They hit five in a row to reduce the gap to five points going into added time, two late scores from Liam and Colm McGoldrick to a Declan McVey effort embellished the home side’s win, making it three wins from their opening three Division 1 league games. Something will have to give in the next round of Division 1 fixtures as Eoghan Rua travel to Kilrea next Sunday afternoon. Both teams have made a 100% start to their respective league campaigns with three wins from three. There has never been much between these sides since Eoghan Rua moved into the top flight and a close game should be on the cards on Sunday next at 3.30 in Kirea. Eoghan Rua have opened well despite being without the experienced Barry McGoldrick, Ciaran Mullan, Niall Holly and Sean Paul Henry in recent games. Kilrea may just have a little bit more up front to test the Eoghan Rua defence with the likes of james Kielt, Lee Kennedy and Paddy McNeil.
Eoghan Rua Under-16 footballers hit ten goals
Eoghan Rua’s Under-16 footballers recorded their biggest win for many a year beating Slaughtmanus 10-12 to 0-3 in the league last week. Played in windy conditions last Thursday night this was an encounter which was hard to predict. The Coleraine lads quickly found their feet though and their play at times mesmerised their opponents. Slaughtmanus had a number of fine performers who became intent on playing the man instead of the ball at times. The referee at times had some difficult decisions to make, but throughout the whole game only two players were booked. The Eoghan Rua team kept their shape and discipline and by half time were 6-8 to 0-2 ahead thanks to a brace of goals each from Hal McGonigle, Jack O’Doherty and Paddy Mullan.
In the second half Eoghan Rua made a number of changes. Shea Eastwood entered the fray and continued his scoring bonanza with a coolly taken strike midway through the half. Another to make an impact was Aaron Doherty who scored a fabulous point despite the attentions of two defenders. Hal McGonigle and Jack O’Doherty went on to complete their hat-tricks. Niall Brown again returned to his natural form with a commanding display and fine running with and without the ball. He finished with a goal and three points. The defence had a quieter than usual day but Connor Boyle was again the pick of the bunch with great positioning play and fine distribution.
Eoghan Rua girls find Limavady too strong
Eoghan Rua Under 16 ladies team played their second league game of the season last Wednesday evening at Pairc Eoghan Rua. The home side started well and had the Limavady defence under pressure as the Eoghan Rua girls mounted a series of attacks on the Limavady goal early on. However all they had to show for this dominance was a single point from Shauna Doherty before Limavady drew level. Further pressure on the Limavady goal, with Aoife Kelly and Sarah Moore putting the Limavady girls under pressure resulted in a goal and point to put the Eoghan Rua girls into a 1-2 to 0- 1 lead. As the half drew to a close a further pointed free from the local girls was matched by a Limavady point before in first half injury time Limavady drew level with a 1-1 salvo. It was a disappointing last couple of minutes of the first half for the Coleraine girls as they had slightly the better of the exchanges in the first half. Cora Lagan and Caitlin McFall were dominating the right hand side of the defence and while Niamh Boorman and Anna Frizelle were coping well in the centre the two Limavady playmakers were proving a real handful. Brenda Grant who was playing in goal was finding great distance and accuracy with her kick-outs and with Anna Morrison and Aoife Boorman challenging for everything in midfield against their more experienced and older opponents, it was developing into an absorbing contest. Darcey Kelly and Aimee Tweed were proving very reliable defenders as they challenged for everything and gave their opponents no time to settle on the ball.
In attack Aoife Bradley was linking well with Niamh Morrison, Francesca Watson and Aoife Kelly and this helped keep the ball in the Limavady half, creating the scoring opportunities for Shauna Doherty. Sarah Moore featured in the unfamiliar position of full forward and won the ball time and again, retaining possession and laying off passes to team mates.
The second half started poorly for the home side. Some poor decision making and losing of focus meant that in the first three minutes Limavady had added a goal and three points to open up a six point gap.
However to the great credit of the Eoghan Rua girls they settled to the task of reeling their more experienced opponents back in. Some magnificent defending by Anna Frizelle, Niamh Boorman and Cora Lagan, along with a couple of fine saves from Brenda Grant helped keep the Limavady forwards at bay, only recording a further three points from then to the end. The battle for possession further out the field was continuing and the constant work rate of the Eoghan Rua midfielders Anna Morrison and Aoife Boorman, who are both still Under 14, meant the ball was getting forward to the attack time and again. However the Limavady full back was playing quite well and she helped snuff out a number of Eoghan Rua attacks.
It fell again to ace score getter Shauna Doherty to register Eoghan Rua’s first point of the second half and while Limavady replied almost immediately with a point a further goal from Shauna Doherty brought the game back to a three point margin and the potential for a comeback was on. Limavady then seemed to pack their defence and while the Eoghan Rua girls were getting forward sheer weight of Limavady defenders was making it difficult to create scoring opportunities. Aoife Kelly and Aoife Bradley were a strong presence in the Eoghan Rua forward line and support from Francesca Watson, substitute Grace Taylor and Niamh Morrison the Eoghan Rua girls were challenging for possession all the time. Despite this terrific effort the clear cut scoring opportunities were just not appearing.
When Limavady did get forward Aimee Tweed in defence was probably having her best game to date and Darcey Kelly was providing great cover with some superb tackling and blocking to keep the Limavady attack at bay.
Two late breakaways from the Limavady defence closed out the game for the Limavady girls as two late points opened the gap again to a five point margin, though the score was probably not a true reflection of the game of football.
All in all this was a gutsy performance from the Eoghan Rua girls. This is their first season at this level and if they keep displaying the same heart and commitment they will continue to improve. It was unfortunate that they appeared to switch off either side of half time, when Limavady scored 2-4, but to their credit they came back at the opposition and it gives the girls great heart as they look forward to next weeks match away to Lissan.