HEARTBREAK for Greenlough but it was all smiles for Eoghan Rua Coleraine as they dramatically snatched victory with an added time goal at the sunny south Derry venue last Sunday afternoon.
In a closely fought contest that saw the lead change hands six times, Eoghan Rua were a point adrift in added time but a superbly struck Colm Hanlon goal just got the Coleraine men over the line on a score of 1-13 to 2-8.
Both defences dominated proceedings in the first half as getting numbers back was the order of the day.
Breaking down massed defences is not easy and in the sweltering heat of last Sunday afternoon neither the Greenlough nor Coleraine forwards found that task straightforward.
Things opened up more in the second half as the pace and heat of the day took its toll and larger gaps began to appear in both defences.
Indeed Greenlough were in the driving seat when they exploited the growing gaps in the Coleraine defence to create and superbly finish two goals in the third quarter, a further point just over five minutes from the end had them two points clear 2-8 to 0-12.
However after Enda Lynn sent wide in the last minute Geenlough were hit with that Hanlon hammer blow and with the final whistle coming seconds later there was no time to hit back again, the two crucial league points slipping away and crossing the Bann with Eoghan Rua.
The Coleraine men dominated for the early part of the first quarter and led 0-3 to 0-1 and then 0-4 to 0-2 by the ninth minute, Conor Carey (2), Sean Paul Henry and Ciaran McGoldrick on target for the visitors while Enda Lynn popped over two frees for Greenlough.
The home side then began to get more possession around midfield and through the promptings of centre forward John Óg McPeake and the pace of Enda Lynn they reeled in the Eoghan Rua lead.
Points from McPeake and Lynn frees levelled matters by the end of the first quarter and the same two player contributed the points to put the home side two up 0-6 to 0-4 at the break.
During that second quarter Eoghan Rua did squander a number of chances shooting four wides from scoreable positions while over elaboration in the face of a packed defence seen a number of attacks flounder.
Within a couple of minutes of the restart however the sides were level again as Ciaran McGoldrick punished a foul on Conor Carey while the latter finished a slick passing move for the equaliser just two minutes in.
Greenlough briefly took the lead before a superb long range Kieran Lagan point had the sides level again. Eoghan Rua then enjoyed a good spell and it looked as if they were going to pull away.
Three points in quick succession from Conor Carey, Ciaran McGoldrick from a free following a late tackle on Richard Carey and Colm Hanlon after Ciaran Mullan burst forward from had Coleraine clear.
However just seconds after Hnalon’s score Greenlough swept forward with a neat passing move for Cormac O’Neill to brilliantly finish to the Coleraine net, the sides level again.
Niall Holly then combined with Sean Leo McGgoldrick to set up Colm Hnalon for a fine point down the left side to put the visitors back in front again.
That lead lasted just over a minute as Greenlough struck for a virtually carbon copy goal, a sweeping move down their left side cut the Coleraine defence open with Enda Lynn getting free to drill a low cross shot to the far corner of the net.
The sides exchanged points yet again but Greenlough squandered two good chances, one a ‘45’ to extend their lead.
Ciaran McGoldrick then reduced the leeway to a single point as the game moved into added time.
Not for the first time in the game Niall Holly and Sean Leo McGoldrick drove hard at the Greenlough defence and the space opened up for Colm Hanlon just to the left of the Greenlough goal.
A point was there for the taking and a draw would probably have been more than acceptable for the Coleraine men but Hanlon seen the goal opportunity and victory in his sights, took aim and drilled low to the net, a brave finish and duly rewarded with all of the spoils going to the visitors, smiles all round then!
It followed their first home league win of the season, a fine 2-8 to 0-11 victory over Dungiven last Wednesday evening, in perfect conditions at Pairc Eoghain Rua.