After four rounds of their Division 1 league campaign Eoghan Rua Coleraine secured their first win with a narrow 1-12 to 0-12 win over Dungiven who are themselves still in search of their first points, four games in.
In mid-week Eoghan Rua went down by a single point away to Bellaghy, 0-16 to 2-9, for a third straight defeat so last Sunday’s victory was a welcome boost and two points for the Coleraine men.
Last Sunday’s home game against Dungiven was a tough encounter as both teams were feeling just a little early pressure after three straight defeats. However playing with the wind in the first half it was the home side that took the early initiative hitting the first three points by the 6th minute, Colm McGoldrick, Ruari Mooney and Sean Paul Henry scoring.
Then in the ninth minute Eoghan Rua took an early grip on proceedings with a goal. Sean Paul Henry di well in the middle of the field before finding Conor Carey, his high ball into the ‘square’ was eventually bundled into the net by Colm McGoldrick.
Moments after that score Eoghan Rua developed a fine move down the right side before Conor Carey finished neatly from close range.
It was fully 17 minutes before Dungiven troubled the scorekeeper as Ryan McElhinney pointed a close in free. The same player then added a second Dungiven point before Eoghan Rua strung together another well worked move, Richard Carey, Hugh Casey and Declan Mullan combining to set up Conor Carey for a point, 1-5 to 0-2 now the score. The last ten minutes of the half seen the sides trade point for point, Colm McGoldrick and Niall Holly from long range for Eoghan Rua while Mark Craig and Fergal McGuigan replied for Dungiven. In added time Conor Murphy reduced the gap to five as Eoghan Rua went in 1-7 to 0-5 up at the break.
The battle around the middle third was not for the faint hearted as nothing was won easy, Niall Holly and Sean Paul Henry going toe to toe with Mark Craig and Rian Kealey in midfield, while the break ball was always ferociously contested, Eoghan Rua just about shading the first half exchanges.
That five point advantage with the wind did not look too solid as Dungiven started the second half with an early point from a Martin Burke free but Eoghan Rua responded well with two quick strikes in return from Conor Carey and Colm McGoldrick, from a free. Eoghan Rua went on to dominate the third quarter as Niall Holly and Conor Carey added points to stretch the home side’s lead to eight. It was then Dungiven’s turn to enjoy a spell of pressure as they reeled off five points in a row, two each from substitute Donal McGilligan and Ryan McElhinney with Eoghan Quigg pulling the gap back to just three with two minutes to go.
Even at that late stage Dungiven were very much on top and threatened to turn the game around in their favour. However in a breakaway attack Ciaran McGoldrick did well to carry out of defence before setting up Colm McGoldrick to fire over the insurance point, four ahead and time almost up.
The visitors did manage to get one back to reduce the gap to three, Dungiven needing a goal to get something from the game. Eoghan Rua held on though to secure their first win and two league points.
Eoghan Rua: Ryan McGeough; Sean McWilliams, Ciaran Mullan, Ciaran Lagan; Ciaran Lenehan, Liam McGoldrick, Ruari Mooney; Niall Holly, Sean Paul Henry; Hugh Casey, Richard Carey, Declan Mullan; Ciaran McGoldrick, Colm McGoldrick, Conor Carey.
Substitutes used: Kieran Lagan for C Mullan, L Sweeney for C Carey.
Eoghan Rua scorers: Colm McGoldrick (1-4, 0-2 frees), Niall Holly (0-3), Conor Carey (0-3), Ruari Mooney (0-1), Sean Paul Henry (0-1).
Meanwhile two late points helped Bellaghy edge past Eoghan Rua in another tight affair, the south Derry men just getting the better of the visitors by a single point 0-16 to 2-9 in mid-week.
The sides were level three times in the opening ten minutes before four points from frees, all scored by Colm McGoldrick, helped Eoghan Rua to a 0-7 to 0-4 lead by the 25th minute.
In the last five minutes of the half, with Fergal Doherty prominent around the middle, two points from a Conor Doherty free and a Ruari McElwee left the minimum between the sides. On the stroke of half-time a Declan Mullan un set up Gavan McWilliams for a point that had Eoghan Rua ahead by two, 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.
The home side were on top in the opening ten minutes of the second half and with four unanswered points, Conor Doherty, Peter Cassidy (2) and Ryan McNally scoring, they led 0-10 to 0-8.
Five minutes after taking the lead Bellaghy were behind again as a Sean Paul Henry lofted ball into the ‘square’ was palmed to the net by Hugh Casey. Eoghan Rua’s lead lasted just three minutes as Peter Cassidy, from a free levelled mattes and then Ruari McElwee, from a tight angle, had the home side ahead agin.
Such was the nature of this second half that it was now Eoghan Rua’s turn to snatch the advantage as another high ball caused problems in the Bellaghy defence, this time Ciaran McGoldrick getting in ahead of the goalkeeper to nick a goal edging the Coleraine back in the lead by two ten minutes from time.
However Bellaghy finished the stronger, two Peter Cassidy points left the minimum between the sides before a controversial 59th minute free kick seemed to have gone wide but the referee awarded a point.
Conor Dohety then added another point from a free, no doubt about this one as it was dead central between the posts.
Eoghan Rua still had time to mount a last attack in added time but Ciaran Lagan opted to take a point when a goal was needed, the final whistle sounding on the kick out.