GAA: Playing catch up

Eoghan Rua were always playing catch-up football as Slaughtneil stole a march on them at the beginning of each half in this first round Derry senior championship tie in front of a large crowd at Glen last Sunday evening.

Three points up after seven minutes Slaughtneil went into the break 0-6 to 0-4 ahead but it was the fast start early in the second half that really caused the damage. A goal in the first minute of the second half and then a further three points without reply eight minutes in had Slaughtneil 1-9 to 0-4 ahead, despite a battling performance by Eoghan Rua over the closing twenty minutes they went down 1-12 to 0-9. Slaughtneil join the winners side of the draw for a place in the quarter –finals while Eoghan Rua have a second bite to go through to the last eight via the qualifiers.

Slaughtneil dominated the early exchanges in the middle third and had three points on the board by the seventh minute, through two Paul Bradley frees and a Se McGuigan effort. In Eoghan Rua’s first attack of substance Barry McGoldrick was fouled for Ciaran McGoldrick to tap over the free. Eoghan Rua fans then enjoyed the rare sight of half back Ciaran Lenehan pushing forward to stroke over a neat point to leave just one between the sides by the 11th minute. Slaughtneil continued to dominate around midfield picking up most of the break ball and this was the platform from which they pushed 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 20th minute, two more Paul Bradley frees doing the damage.

A Ciaran McGoldrick point from a free reduced the gap but Se McGuigan picked up a loose ball close to the Eoghan Rua 20m line before firing over Slaughtneil’s sixth point. Again it was the accurate Ciaran McGoldrick who kept Coleriane in touch with a point from play following good work in the middle by Niall Holly. Slaughtneil finished the half with a lot of possession but shot three wides before going in 0-6 to 0-4 to the good at the break.

This tie was effectively won within two minutes of the restart when Slaughtneil struck for the only goal of the game. Midfielder Patsy Bradley launched a high ball into the Eoghan Rua goalmouth, in where Michael Kelly gathered but he was dispossessed, the ball falling kindly for Se McGuigan to get a toe-poke on it to scramble to the net putting his side 1-6 to 0-4 ahead. Three further points in quick succession from Se McGuigan (2) and Barry McGuigan had Slaughtneil in a commanding position 1-9 to 0-4 ahead. Eoghan Rua did have a couple of chances as Colm McGoldrick and Niall Holly just failed to find the target.

They did rally however midway through the half in their best spell of the game as they hit four points in a row, ciaran McGoldrick on target from three frees while Barry McGoldrick added a fine point from play. There was just a hint that the 2010 champions might stage a remarkable comeback but Slaughtneil had another ace up their sleeve with the introduction of the experienced Jim Kelly six minutes from the end. With his first kick Kelly stroked over a marvellous point and then Karl McKaigue added another in the 60th minute. Three minutes into added time Kelly swept over another finr point just to make sure there was no way back for the Coleraine men. Deserving winners Slaughtneil could take a bit of stopping as the championship moves forward to the latter stages while Eoghan Rua will hope to regroup and plot a pathway through the qualifiers.

Eoghan Rua team: Ryan McGeough; Sean McWilliams, Ciaran Mullan, Ciaran Lagan; Ciaran Lenehan, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Mark McTaggart; Niall Holly, Barry McGoldrick, Sean Paul Henry, Ciaran McGoldrick, Declan Mullan; Kieran Lagan, Colm McGoldrick, Richard Carey.

Sustitutes used: Conor Carey for M McTaggart, Barry McTaggart for K Lagan, Liam Frizelle for S L McGoldrick.

Eoghan Rua scorers: Ciaran McGoldrick (0-6, 0-4 frees), Barry McGoldrick (0-1), Ciaran Lenehan (0-1), Conor Carey (0-1).

Slaughtneil: Anton McMullan; Conan Cassidy, Chrissy McKaigue, Francis McEldowney; Karl McKaigue, Barry McGuigan, Danny McMullan; Patsy Bradley, Padraig McGuigan; Fergal McEldowney, Paul Bradley, Patrick Cassidy; Christopher Bradley, Michael Kelly, Se McGuigan.

Substitutes used: Jim Kelly for Paul Bradley.

Slaughtneil Se McGuigan 1-2, Paul Bradley 0-4 frees, Jim Kelly 0-2, Chris Bradley 0-2,  Barry McGuigan 0-1, Karl McKaigue (0-1).

Camogie champions crash out at semi-final stage

There will be no ‘three in a row’ of Derry senior camogie titles for champions Eoghan Rua, Coleraine as they crashed out of the championship at the semi-final stage last week to Ballinascreen. The ‘Screen came back from a five point deficit, 2-10 to 1-8, ten minutes from the end to outscore Eoghan Rua with a 2-5 to 0-1 salvo running out five point winners 3-13 to 2-11.

The champions had led all the way until they were hit with a two goal blast in the 55th and 56th minutes. That goal five minutes from the end had put Ballinasccreen into the lead for the first time in the game, the second giving them a four point lead and they never looked back from that stage as they finished very strong to close out the victory with a superb long range point to dethrone the reigning champions.

After a very cagey start when the sides exchanged points a long range shot from Rosanna McAleese found the back of the Ballinascreen net for Eoghan Rua to take a lead they would not relinquish until five minutes from the end. Grainne McGoldrick added a point from a free for Eoghan Rua but midway through the half a defensive error was fully capitalised upon when Emer McKenna found patricia Murray in acres of space to blast to the Coleriane net.

That was just a sign of things to come as Ballinascreen were very sharp to pounce on any opportunities given to them by Eoghan Rua. By half-time Eoghan Rua held a none too convincing 1-6 to 1-3 lead. For most of the third quarter it was fairly even as the sides traded point for point before Ballinascreen enjoyed a good spell hitting three in a row to leave the minimum between the sides, 1-9 to 1-8 in Eoghan Rua’s favour going into the last fifteen minutes. Eoghan Rua seemed to have tamed the Ballinascreen challenge when Grace McMullan goaled from a penalty after Grainne McGoldrick was hauled down. Then when Jane Carey burst through from midfield to lash over a fine score putting Eoghan Rua 2-10 to 1-8 ahead with just over ten minutes left it seemed the champions were still very much on course for that shot at ‘three in a row’.

This young energetic Ballinscreen side had other ideas though and their slick moving brand of camogie would bring its divedends. They took the game to Eoghan Rua over the closing minutes and with three points from frees, two long range efforts from Anne McAllister and a close-in tap over from Bronagh McGilligan left just two between the sides. Then going into the last five minutes came the two goal blast that effectively won the game for Ballinascreen.

The first came after Anne McAllister’s long puck into the danger area was not cleared and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble Patricia Murray just got the sliothar over the Eoghan Rua line. That goal had Ballinascreen in the lead for the first time in the 55th minute and just a minute later they extended their advantage with a third goal. The very effective second half substitute Maeve McGilligan got the better of Maureen Heneghan for a tussle for the ball on the ground wide out on the right side, rounded her marker before gathering and racing inside to calmly hand pass to the Coleraine net.

A further point from Anne McAllister had turned a five point deficit into a five point lead in the space of just ten minutes. While Rosanna McAleese did get one back for Eoghan Rua yet another long range point from a free through Anne McAllister capped a superb winning finish by the Ballinascreen side. They were worthy winners and could take some stopping in the race to see who will take over from double champions Eoghan Rua as Derry senior camogie champions.

Eoghan Rua team: Aileen Moore; Eilis McNamee, Maureen Heneghan, Adele Archibald;

Maeve McWilliams; Meabh McGoldrick, Megan Kerr; Kelly Maybin, Jane Carey; Maeve Dillon, Grainne McGoldrick, Amy Holmes; Rosanna McAleese, Grace McMullan, Claire Tracey.

Subs used: Katey Mullan for M McWilliams, Aisling Carey for A Holmes.

Eoghan Rua scorers; Rosanna McAleese (1-1), Grace McMullan (1-1, 1-0 pen, 0-1 free), Grainne McGoldrick (0-5 frees), Meabh McGoldrick (0-2 frees) Jane Carey (0-2, 0-1 free),

Ballinascreen: Kathleen McNamee; Roisin Conway, Sarah McAllister, Teresa Bradley; Kelly Marie Hegarty, Laura Brunton, Catriona McBride; Anne McAllister, Maura Bradley; Bronagh McGilligan, Dania Donnelly, Rachel Kelly; Mary Jo McCullagh, Patricia Murray, Emer McKenna.

Substitutes used: Maeve McGilligan for P Murray

Balinsacreen scorers: Anne McAllister (0-8, 0-7 frees), Patricia Murray (2-1), Emer McKenna (0-3), Bronagh McGilligan (0-1 free)

Senior championship round-up

Glenullin staged a dramatic comeback with a goal seconds form the end of extra time to get a draw against Loup in the second of the double-header at Glen last Sunday. Seconds remained of the second period of ‘extra time when Brian Mullan launched a hopeful ball to the goalmouth, Loup three points ahead and defending desperately in an absorbing game. In the gathering gloom Eoin Bradley reached highest and got a fist to the ball to send it arching over the head of keeper Thomas Mallon to snatch a dramatic draw for Glenullin.

In truth neither side can have too many complaints about the outcome as this was a game retreating forwards, some woeful finishing mixed with some excellent scores, on both sides.

Loup led 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the first half, Anthony O’Neill scoring two points for Loup and a few times in the second half Loup looked on course to win the game.

The sides were level 0-7 each when full time was called but then right at the start of the first period of extra time, just after Paddy Bradley had put Glenullin ahead 0-8 to 0-7  Loup were awarded a penalty but Anthony O’Neill drove the ball over the bar.

Loup led 0-10 to 0-9 at the end of the first period but seemed to have the game in the bag when  Declan McVey and Johnny McBride opened up a three point gap but then came Eoin Bradley’s equalising goal.

Loup scorers: Anthony O’Neill (0-4, 0-1 pen, 0-2 frees), Roddy O’Kane (0-2), Joe O’Kane (0-2), Declan McVey (0-2), Brian Doyle (0-1 free), Johnny McBride (0-1).

Glenullin: Eoin Bradley (1-2), Rory Boylan (0-5), Neil McNicholl  and Paddy Bradley (0-1 each)

Kilrea 2-16

Lavey 2-7

Lavey made a sensational start to this very exciting game on a pristine Dean McGlinchey Park when Colm Murphy opened the scoring with a point and Sean Conway rattled the net inside two minutes.

Five minutes from half time they still lead, 1-5 to 0-3 but Charlie Kielt, who had a quiet opening half, set in train a Kilrea move that led to Eamon Morgan blasting  the ball to the back of the net to cut the half time Lavey lead to 1-5 to 1-4.

Kielt then levelled the score on the restart  and from there the Pearses produced a tremendous attacking display, with player of the match Tiarnan Rafferty scoring 0-5 from play.

Midway through the half Gavan McWilliams scored the second goal, a Caolan O’Boyle major eight minutes from time merely cutting the margin of victory to nine points.

Kilrea scorers: Tiarnan Rafferty (0-6),  James Kielt (0-5, 0-4 frees), Eamon Morgan (1-1),  Gavan McWilliams (1-0), Paddy McNeill (0-2 frees), Charlie Kielt  and Liam Morrow (0-1 each)

Lavey: Caolan O’Boyle (1-2, 0-1 free), Sean Conway (1-0), Colm Murphy (0-2, 0-1 free), Ben Dodds (0-2) and Kevin Rafferty (0-1)