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It was far from pretty, definitely not easy on the eye, but that will matter very little to Eoghan Rua as they came out on top in this dour struggle beating Ballinascreen 1-8 to 0-7 to move straight into the quarter-finals of the Derry senior football championship.

This tie was flagged up as likely to be a very defensive affair with both sides playing with packed defences and that is exactly what the near 3000 crowd witnessed at Owenbeg on Sunday evening. It really was poor fair for the neutrals as neither side showed much by way of expansive attacking football with every score having to be eked out against a phalanx of defenders. Free ridden from start to finish, the sides shared 28 equally throughout the game, there could have been many more had the referee chosen to deal more harshly with the off the ball pulling and dragging particularly from the losers. In tight games like this a goal was always going to be crucial and so it proved with Eoghan Rua getting the only one a minute into added time at the end of the first half when they were just two points, 0-4 to 0-2 ahead. They took that five point advantage,1-4 to 0-2, into the second half but within six minutes of the restart Ballinascreen had reduced the leeway to three. However the south Derry men were never able to bridge that three point gap as the sides traded point for point throughout the remainder of the half. The win was sealed for Eoghan Rua when full back Sean McWilliams, who had been superb throughout, slalomed his way through the heart of the ‘Screen defence before being upended by goalkeeper Danny Dillon just inside the penalty area. To compound his error Dillon then lashed out at the grounded Eoghan Rua man and was subsequently shown a straight red card. Ciaran McGoldrick tapped the penalty over the bar for a four point lead with the final whistle sounding seconds later.

Ballinascreen had their fair share of possession throughout the game, taking the kick out battle 12 to 7 while they also turned the ball over almost twice as many times as Eoghan Rua. However they were very wasteful up front shooting 7 wides to the winners 2. The opening quarter was very cagey with the pattern set full square for an ultra defensive game as only three points were scored, Eogha Rua leading 0-2 to 0-1 after 14 minutes. A Liam McGoldrick sot was well saved by goalkeeper Danny Dillon with the rebound being tipper over the bar. The sides exchanged points, both frees, Benny Heron for Ballinascreen with Ciaran McGoldrick replying in the 26th minute. Then in added time came the crucial goal as a long ball from Barry McGoldrick over the massed ranks of Ballinascreen defenders found his brother Colm who did well to find Ciaran McGoldrick to the left of the goals, he hit a low cross shot to the back of the net for a 1-4 to 0-2 half-time lead, it would prove decisive.

Balliascren came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the second half and had three points on the board inside six minutes. Kieran Conway burst through to point after 20 seconds, Seamus Bradley added another following a turnover before Benny Heron clipped over a superb effort under pressure from the ‘45’ m line. Now there was only two points between the sides with Ballinascreen on top. Eoghan Rua tightened matters and began to get back into it with Barry McGoldrick restoring their three point lead from a free midway through the half. Benny heron then pointed a ‘45’ to reduce the gap to two however as the game moved into the last ten minutes Sean McWilliams burst out of defence, linked up with Sean Leo McGoldrick to hit a wonderful point to ease the pressure. A Ciaran McGoldrick point from a free put four between the sides before Seamus Bradley reduced the gap to three in a tense finish. Ryan McGeough then saved brilliantly in a goalmouth scramble with the resultant ‘45’ being cleared going into the last minute. Then in added time came the penalty which was pointed to ensure there would be no dramatic ending as Eoghan Rua went through to the quarter-finals by the direct route, Ballinascreen going into a knockout qualifier.

Eoghan Rua team: Ryan McGeough; Ciaran Mullan, Sean McWilliams, Barry McTaggart; Liam McGoldrick, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Barry McGoldrick, Richard Carey, Barry McGoldrick; Ciaran Lenehan, Colm McGoldrick, Ciaran Lagan; Gregory Bradley, Ciaran McGoldrick, Conor Carey.

Substitutes used: Aidan Mullan for C Carey (42), Leo Sweeney for G Bradley (58).

Eoghan Rua scorers: Ciaran McGoldrick (1-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 pen), Liam McGoldrick (0-2), Colm McGoldrick (0-1), Sean McWilliams (0-1), Barry McGoldrick (0-1 free)

Ballinascreen: Danny Devlin; Phillip McGlade, Michael McShane, Dermot Scullion; Ronan Devlin, Dermot McBride, Kieran Conway; Michael McBride, Phillip Bradley; Carlus McWilliams, Benny Heron, John Scullion; Seamus Bradley, Emmett McKillion, Eunan Murray.

Substitutes used: Eamon Murray for Eunan Murray (42), Gary Conway for Emmett McKillion (52), Sean Woods for Phillip McGlade (55), John Paul McConnell for Seamus Bradley (62)

Ballinascreen scorers: Benny Heron (0-3, 0-1 free), Seamus Bradley (0-3, 0-1 free), Kieran Conway (0-1)

Senior Football Championship Quarter-finals Qualifier Draw

The draw for the senior football quarter –final qualifiers has thrown up a big derby game between local rivals Glenullin and Slaughtneil. Prior to the start of the championship both of these teams were being tipped as possibles to go a long way however one will now bite the dust before the quarter final stage as the losers in this round go out. The four winners will go into the hat to be drawn against the ‘double’ winners from the first two rounds, Ballinderry, Dungiven, Lavey and Eoghan Rua. The full draw is:

Banagher v Kilrea

Glenullin v Slaughtneil

Loup v Swatragh

Ballinascreen v Steelstown

Eoghan Rua girls footballers win challenge games

The Eoghan Rua Ladies football team played a challenge game with Moneyglass last Monday at Pairc Eoghan Rua and recorded a satisfying win.

This was a combination of Under 16, Under 14 and Under 12 girls as agreed with their opponents and the Eoghan Rua girls won comfortably on a scoreline of Eoghan Rua 6-13to 0-1.The Eoghan Rua girls fell behind at the start as Moneyglass started brightly but they soon got back on terms through Shauna Doherty point.

Aoife Kelly in goals did well in the first half and the defensive sextet of Francesca Watson, Cora Lagan, Sarah Moore, Niamh Boorman, Anna Frizelle and Darcey Kelly kept the Moneyglass attack at bay. Aoife Boorman and Anna Morrison in midfield kept things ticking over while Shauna Doherty and Brenda Grant kept the scoreboard busy for the home team. Niamh Morrison, Caoimhe Hamill Aoife Bradley and Olivia Mullan were helping create the opportunities for the Eoghan Rua girls to go into a 2-11 to 0-1 half time lead.

The second half saw a lot of switching of positions. Ellen Ferris came into defence, Anna Frizelle took over in goals and Aoife Kelly went to the half back line. Naoise Kennedy and Olivia Mulla started the second half in midfield and did well, with Sorcha Duggan taking up a corner forward position. Eoghan Rua went on to score 4-2 in the second half to run out winners on a score of 6-13 to 0.01.

Team: Aoife Kelly, Francesca Watson, Cora Lagan, Sarah Moore, Niamh Boorman, Anna Frizelle, Darcey Kelly, Anna Morrison, Aoife Boorman, Aoife Bradley, Shauna Doherty (1-11), Niamh Morrison, Olivia Mullan (1-1), Brenda Grant (3-1), Caoimhe Hamill. Subs used: Ellen Ferris, Naoise Kennedy, Sorcha Duggan (1-0).

Next up was an Under 14 challenge against Desertmartin which was used to give a number of the younger panel players a competitive game.

In a good game the stronger players showed well and the experience for the younger players will stand to them going forward. Molly McKenna started in goal and did well – as a half back in the second half she showed up well too.

Hannah Mullan in a corner back position probably had her best game to date, and with Eve Lundy commanding at full back the Desertmartin attack were not getting their scores easy. Lucy O’Kane in the other corner showed promise too.

Aoife Lafferty, Naoise Kennedy and Cara McLaughlin did well in the half back line and more games will no doubt bring Cara and Aoife on. Anna Morrison and Aoife Boorman at midfield helped keep the Eoghan Rua girls on top as they continually harassed and harried their opponents.

Cara Kealey started in the half forwards and was moved to the full forward line. Again more game time will bring her on.

With Olivia Mullan at centre half forward the Eoghan Rua girls had a strong runner and Brona McGonigle at left half forward showed great promise in winning ball and laying off passes.

A return of 1-2 from Brona was a super return from her. In the full forward line Anna Lagan showed great determination in tackling and dispossessing of her opponents. Sorcha Duggan at full forward was a constant threat to the Desrtmartin defence and Grainne Purcell in the other corner will benefit from games at this level.