After an unprecedented series of events the Derry senior football championship has seen the completion of the second round games leaving 12 teams still in the hunt for the John McLaughlin Cup.
This weekend four qualifier games will reduce that figure down to eight for the quarter-finals.
Magherafelt confirmed their place in the quarter-finals with an impressive 3-13 to 2-7 win over Lavey in this delayed second round game. The first game came to a premature end following the collapse of Lavey’s Kevin McCloy early in the first half with a suspected heart attack.
Thankfully the former Derry star is continuing to improve while receiving care and attention in Altnagelvin hospital. It was always going to be a difficult game for the Lavey men and so it proved as Magherafelt raced into a 2-7 to 0-3 lead by half-time. Magherafelt continued to dominate in the second half and increased their lead to 3-12 to 0-7 before two late goals from substitute Cailean O’Boyle, just back from a summer in America, put a bit of a gloss on the final score.
Magherafelt join holders Ballinderry, Slaughtneil and Glenullin as one of the four teams straight through to the quarter-finals, while Lavey go into the qualifier round this weekend.
Banagher also made it through to the qualifiers from the ‘losers’ section as they knocked Ballinascreen out of the competition in midweek. In the qualifier draw Banagher will now meet local side Eoghan Rua this coming Sunday evening.
The sides met just a couple of weeks ago in a low key league game which the Coleraine team won 1-13 to 0-6. However this weekend’s championship tie is sure to be a lot closer with just a little more bite to it in comparison to their fairly tepid league encounter.
The qualifier games this weekend are as follows:
Friday, August 29th in Owenbeg, Swatragh v Dungiven at 7.30pm.
Saturday, August 30th in Owenbeg Loup v Kilrea at 5pm and at 6.30pm: Bellaghy v Lavey
The final qualifier game is also back in Owenbeg on Sunday, August 31st betweeb Eoghan Rua and Banagher at 6.30pm.
The quarter Finals have been pushed back one week and will now take place on the weekend of Friday5th & Saturday 6th September and Friday 12th & Saturday13th September. The semi-finals will be played Thursday 18th & Friday 19th September while the final remains fixed for Sunday 5th October.
Under 12 blitz at Eoghan Rua
The Eoghan Rua Under-12 Ladies Footballers hosted a blitz on Saturday afternoon where along with visiting teams from Limavady, Steelstown and Buncrana they put on show a great day of football activity.
This followed on from a blitz hosted by the Steelstown club last month the format of which proved a great success as all the teams enjoyed a series of non-competitive games where the emphasis is on putting into practice the skills learnt at their weekly training sessions and having fun.
While scores were not recorded the local Eoghan Rua girls enjoyed a couple of wins form their games played with the youngsters all the way from Donegal proving to be just a little too strong in the opening game of the blitz.
Certainly it was clear over the period of the blitz that the Eoghan Rua girls have come a long way in a short time, the time spent developing their skills at training showing up well in all their games during the blitz.
The Eoghan Rua panel of Molly O’Hara, Aine Devine, Lucy O’Kane, Cara McLaughlin, Molly McKenna, Aoife Lafferty, India Cameron, Erin Ferguson, Halle Gunes, Grainne Purcell, Ciarrai Mulholland, Cara McDonald and Kara Kealey all played their part in a great day’s activity. Meanwhile having gone out of the Championship last week to Glen the Eoghan Rua Under-14 team now prepare for the Shield competition which is due for decision this Thursday. The local girls meet Craigbane in the semi-final at Faughanvale on Thursday evening at 7.00pm.
Minor hurlers through
The foundation for Eoghan Rua’s fine Under-18 hurling championship first round win over Na Magha was laid in the first half when they led 2-8 to 0-4.
Eoghan Rua had to withstand a late second half comeback from the city side when they reduced the gap to just three points going into added time but a superb Adam Kerr point eased the Coleraine side’s worries as they went through on a score on a score of 3-13 to 3-9.
The home side took an early command of the game when Paddy Mullan netted after seven minutes for a 1-2 to nil lead. By the mid-point of the half Eoghan Rua were 1-5 to 0-1 ahead with point from Paddy Mullan (2) and Conor Boyle.
Na Magha enjoyed a good spell after the mid-point of the half and had three points in a row to reduce the gap to four going into the last five minutes.
However it was in that last five minutes of the first half that Eoghan Rua pushed on scoring 1-3 without reply, Paddy Mullan scoring his second goal while Tomas Magee and Adam Kerr added points as Eoghan Rua took a commandin 2-8 to 0-4 lead into the break.
Two points at the start of the second half from a long range Tomas Magee effort and Ciaran Tosh stretched the home side’s advantage. Na Magha came back with a point but in the 40th minute Paddy Mullan completed his hat-trick of goals to leave Eoghan Rua thirteen points clear and seemingly on their way to a comfortable victory.
However Na Magha showed commendable spirit to stage a comeback with their centre forward Jason McBrearty to the fore. He knocked over a couple of frees and then in the 55th minute fired to the net to add to the earlier goal from midfielder Conor O’Rourke, the gap now down to five points 3-11 to 2-9.
Tomas Magee steadied the ship for Eoghan Rua with a point, their first score for over ten minutes but then in the first minute of added time McBrearty got in for his second goal leaving just three between the sides and a very nervy finish for the home side that seemed to be coasting to victory.
The nerves were eased when Adam Kerr steered over a neat point from a tight to put two scores between the sides with time almost up. Eoghan Rua just held on for a deserved win, it was a solid team performance from back to front, Cillian Butler making a number of f fine stops throughout the game.
Eoghan Rua team and scorers: Cillian Butler; Noah Lundy, Joseph Lundy, James Maguire; Ruari Devine, Tomas Magee (0-4, 0-2 frees), Joseph McQuillan; Aiadan Boyle (0-1), Ciaran Tosh (0-1); Sé McLaughlin, Conor Boyle (0-3), Adam Kerr (0-2); Michael McQuillan, Paddy Mullan (3-3, 0-1 free), Sé Eastwood.
Na Magha: John Rabbett; Jordan McChrystal, Aaron McCarrick, Steven Slattery; Cormac Durey, Matthew Temple, Fearghal Mac Ananuaidh; Timothy Rankin (0-1), Conor O’Rourke (1-0); Conor Maguire, Jason McBrearty (2-7, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65’), Odhran Callan; Cormac McElholm, Aodhan O’Donnell (0-1), Niall Finnegan.