Superb comeback helps hurlers secure their spot in Ulster semi finals

Eoghan Rua club chairman (centre) and senior players Sean Leo McGoldrick and Grainne McGoldrick getting ready for the North Coast Cycle Sportive this Sunday 12th October. (S)
Eoghan Rua club chairman (centre) and senior players Sean Leo McGoldrick and Grainne McGoldrick getting ready for the North Coast Cycle Sportive this Sunday 12th October. (S)

A sensational comeback saw Eoghan Rua overturn a twelve point deficit in the last ten minutes to beat Bredagh, by a single point 4-6 to 3-8 to progress to the semi-final of the Ulster Intermediate hurling championship.

Twelve points up and with just twelve minutes on the clock Bredagh were strolling into the semi-finals as they led the Coleraine men 3-7 to 0-4 in Newcastle.

Even when Thomas Magee reduced the gap to nine with a goal and then Bredagh’s Ian Galway quickly replied with a point it seemed the Down men had this quarter-final sown up.

Not so. In a dramatic last five minutes Eoghan Rua stunned Bredagh, and themselves, with a three goal salvo to add to a couple of earlier points to stage the mother of all comebacks winning by a single point 4-6 to 3-8.

This was a fairly tame affair all through even during those dramatic last few minutes with Bredagh’s previously solid defence going missing in the closing stages.

The Down men were on top for most of the first half as they moved four points up after 15 minutes, Ian Galway knocking over three from placed balls while Ryan Curran added the fourth. Eoghan Rua got onto the scoreboard with a Ruari Mooney free after 16 minutes with Ciaran Gaile adding another a minute later.

The sides exchanged points but Bredagh finished the half strongly as Donal Hughes combined with Malachy Scullin to set up Ryan Curran for a goal that had them 1-6 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

Five minutes into the second half Eoghan Rua had a chance for a goal but Ciaran gaile’s shot was saved. In Bredagh’s next attack a superb sideline cut was fielded by Emmett Trainor who fed Malachy Scullion, his first time pull flashed to the net, that seemed to be a big gamechanger as a minute later Bredagh led by ten 2-7 to 0-3.

Eoghan Rua got a point back but in the 40th minute a defensive error gifted Bredagh their third goal, Ian Galway hitting the net from close range, twelve points up and game over surely.

No scores from either side then as this game seemed to be petering out to its inevitable conclusion even when Tomas Magee reduced the gap to nine in the 48th minute.

The last five minutes then produced a finish that no one actually seen coming least of all Bredagh.

Anton Rafferty launched a high hopeful ball to the Bredagh goalmouth where despite a scramble no one got a touch and the sliothar ended in the net.

Two points from long range frees by Sean Leo McGoldrick just seemed to be finessing the scoreline a little in favour of Eoghan Rua.

However by this stage the Coleraine men just thought there might be something for them and another Anton Rafferty lob to the ‘small square’ ended in the net as Tomas Magee got the last touch in the scrimmage.

By now the Bredagh defence was all at sea and in the 59th minute Colm McGoldrick fired to the net and unbelievably that had Eoghan Rua ahead for the only time in the game.

An added time long range free for Bredagh dropped short but a free out was called the final whistle sounding second later, the most dramatic of comebacks ending with Eoghan Rua through to the 1st round with a single point to spare.

Eoghan Rua: Ciaran McGoldrick; Pearse Dallas, Anton Rafferty, Sean Frizelle; Ciaran Lagan, Liam McGoldrick, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Ruari Mooney, Ruari leonard; Tomas Magee, Colm McGoldrick, Gregory rafferty; Niall Holly, Ciaran Gaile, Liam Frizelle.

Eoghan Rua scorers: Tomas Magee (2-0), Colm McGoldrick (1-2), Anton Rafferty (1-0), Ciaran Gaile (0-2, 0-1 free), Sean Leo McGoldrick (0-2 frees).

A bit rusty but Eoghan Rua through

Eoghan Rua manager Padraig O Mianain was still working out how Eoghan Rua actually won this game minutes after the final whistle when it was suggested that it was one hell of a comeback.

“Yeah I suppose so, I think it was more than a second half comeback though to be fair, it was more like a last quarter comeback as I think with ten minutes or so to go we were ten or eleven points down and looked to be on the way out,” he said.

“We were getting to the ball all right but our touch was letting us down, it was frustrating as we weren’t putting any of the possession we had to good use.

“To be fair to the lads though they kept at it. Then we got a couple of goals we suddenly realised that the comeback was on.

“Then at the end we had to hold out for that couple of minute’s added time to defend the one point lead.”

When it was suggested that the quality of the hurling was maybe not of the highest order and that Eoghan Rua looked a bit rusty, particularly in the first half the Eoghan Rua manager readily agreed.

“A wee bit rusty surely. The reality is we are only back a couple of weeks training since the footballers were put out of the championship,” he said.

“It’s very hard for dual players to maintain a high level training all year round, I mean 10 or 11 of those boys have been playing for the senior footballers all season and it’s difficult to get hurling time so our first touch was inevitably rusty.

“However our fitness probably showed towards the end as the boys really did keep going strong. That’s maybe where we caught Bredagh out a bit as we were still pushing on in the last quarter, the boys were still hungry for the ball and we managed to get our fair share of possession.

“I suppose we were a bit lucky with a couple of the late goals but it was us that was putting the pressure on in that period and luckily enough we got the rub of the green to some extent too.

“Hopefully that game will help our first touch looking ahead to next week’s game against Eire Óg from Carrickmore. That is going to be another step up for us again,” concluded the Eoghan Rua manager.

Eoghan Rua in North Coast cycle sportiv

The Eoghan Rua club are anticipating a large turnout on Sunday next (12th) for their cycle sportive, which is being organised n association with ‘Opt for Life’, the organ transplant campaign group spearheaded by Joe Brolly.

The event is aimed at social cyclists who are club members or members of neighbouring clubs and more experienced cyclists from cycle clubs in the area.

With 20, 30 and 50 mile courses around the scenic north coast there is something for cyclists of all ability ranges.

The event begins and ends at the Eoghan Rua clubhouse on Agherton Lane, Portstewart with registration commencing at 8.30am with a mass start at 9.30am.

Donation £10 minimum. Pre- registration is available at www.entrycentral.com.

A day licence costing £2 is available for those not holding a Cycle Ireland licence.

Refreshments at clubhouse on return.

Eoghan Rua senior players, footballer/hurler Sean Leo and camog Grainne McGoldrick, said: “We’re looking forward to donning the lycra and getting on our bikes, it will be a bit of change from chasing a ball round the park!

“So why not get on your bike and join us, one of the 20, 30 or even 50 mile courses will suit most people.

“Not only will it be a good day’s craic but you will be helping a very good cause in the ‘Opt for Life’ campaign.’

“ Get the bikes out and join us for a great day’s craic!”

Camogie All-Star nominations for Derry pair

Eoghan Rua and Derry senior camog Grainne McGoldrick has received a coveted Camogie All-Star nomination along with her county colleague Karen Kielt from the Kilrea club.

The Coleraine camog is nominated for the left corner forward position while Karen Kielt is nominated for the left half forward spot.

All Ireland champions Cork and finalists Kilkenny dominate the Camogie All-Stars shortlist.

The final team will be announced at the All-Stars banquet in association with Liberty Insurance at Citywest on November 1st.

Cork, who won the All Ireland title last month, received 14 nominations with goalkeeper Aoife Murray and defenders Joanne O’Callaghan, Anna Geary, Laura Treacy, Eimear O’Sullivan and Gemma O’Connor amongst the 45 nominees.

Rena Buckley and Ashling Thompson have been nominated at midfield. Jennifer O’Leary, Orla Cotter, Briege Corkery, Angela Walsh, Julia White and Katriona Mackey are amongst the forward nominees.

 Speaking about the announcement President of the Camogie Association Aileen Lawlor said: “I want to congratulate all of the 45 nominees who have made this year’s shortlist.

“The All-Stars celebrate the outstanding displays of skill, commitment and sportsmanship by our players.

“It is important to acknowledge at a national level the contribution made by our players to the game over the course of this season and to provide them with the recognition they so richly deserve.

“This year has marked a very special milestone for the Association as we celebrated our 110th birthday and the All-Stars will provide a fitting finale to a great year for the game.”