In a tough uncompromising battle Eoghan Rua, Coleraine just got the better of Banagher on their home patch, 1-6 to 0-5, to pick up their first league points after two outings.

This was a dour encounter, the heavy Banagher pitch not lending itself to sharp, free flowing football. Mind you the ultra defensive styles adopted by both teams left scores very difficult to come by. There was no quarter asked and none given as both teams found it difficult to get a free.

This led to a lot of pulling and dragging on and off the ball with a few skirmishes during the course of this tense encounter. Still the Coleraine outfit will no doubt be happy enough to have come through this one almost unscathed and to have picked up their first two points of the season. They did lose their midfielder Hugh Casey towards the end of the first half after he was cut down with a harsh tackle when he bore down on the Banagher goal. No goal, no penalty but Casey had to leave the field injured to be replaced by Sean Paul Henry.

Both defences were on top throughout and a goal was always going to be the real difference between the sides. After a scoreless opening ten minutes when the sides traded two wides each Banagher opened the scoring with a P J McCloskey point, the big midfielder firing over from long range.

Eoghan Rua’s first score proved to be crucial as they opened their account with a goal in the 15th minute. Sean Leo McGoldrick who was pushed much further up the field this weekend delivered the ball inside to Colm McGoldrick who had only one option on his mind, beat the last man and find the net, that’s what he did. Richard Carey, back in the side following injury, was having a solid opening and he began the move that was finished for a point by Ciaran McGoldrick, Carey then added a fine point to put Coleraine 1-2 to 0-1 ahead.

In between those scores Banagher should have had a goal when a wayward sideline ball by Barry McGoldrick was intercepted by Padhraic Murphy but a superb block by Ciaran Lenehan spared the centre back’s blushes! Four minutes from the end of a feisty first half Eoghan Rua midfielder Hugh Casey got clear inside the penalty area but just as he made to shoot he was scythed down by a foot block, the ball slicing wide, Casey left in a heap and incredibly no action from the referee.

In the closing minutes of the half Banagher squandered a number of chances, twice sending wide while Padhraic Murphy left one short into a grateful Ryan McGeough’s hands in the Eoghan Rua goals. The visitors led 1-2 to 0-1 at the break.

The home side made a great start to the second half as P J MCCloskey won the throw-in and barged through to fire over a point and just three minutes later Shane Farren reduced the gap to just two points. However Banagher then struggled to break down a hard working Eoghan Rua defence where Mark McTaggart was superb in the half back line, he had great support from McGoldrick and Rafferty while Daly, Lenehan and Lagan all stuck to their tasks in a no-nonsense full back line.

Three points in a row, Ciaran McGoldrick, Richard Carey and Colm McGoldrick the scorers, pushed Coleraine five clear, 1-5 to 0-3 by the end of the third quarter. Banagher still struggled in the last quarter and their wide count climbed before Mark Lynch pulled one back. However going into the last five minutes Gregory Bradley, under severe pressure, ‘drop-kicked’ a point to keep Coleraine in command.

Deep into added time Chris Guy pulled one back for Banagher, the home side still needed a goal to have any chance of getting something from the game. They would be denied that by superb point blank save from Ryan McGeough in the last action of the game.

Eoghan Rua team: Ryan McGeough; Ciaran Lenehan, Paul Daly, Ciaran Lagan; Mark McTaggart, Barry McGoldrick, Anton Rafferty; Hugh Casey, Ruari Leonard; Sean Leo McGoldrick, Ciaran McGoldrick, Richard Carey; Gregory Bradley, Colm McGoldick, Kieran Lagan.

Substitutes used: Sean Paul Henry for H Casey (inj) 26, Colm Hanlon for G Bradley (57), Conor Carey for R Carey ,

Eoghan Rua scorers: Colm McGoldrick (1-1), Ciaran McGoldrick (0-2, 0-1 free), Richard Carey (0-2), Gregory Bradley (0-1).


Next Next up for Eoghan Rua will be Bellaghy this Sunday at Pairc Eoghain Rua (2.00pm reserve and 3.30 senior). Bellaghy maded it two from two in their start to the season with a comfortable 3-14 to 1-6 win over Greenlough.

Despite the best efforts of Neil Bradley in the middle of the field, Joe Kearney and Brian O’Neill in the central defensive positions Greenlough were mostly outclassed in this one-sided game, the heroics of keeper Vincent McDonnell saving them from a drubbing. On at least three occasions he made fantastic point-blank saves to deny Bellaghy seemingly certain goals.

With Fergal Doherty and Ryan McNally dominant at midfield, Michael McGoldrick and the powerful Thomas Hughes raiding effectively from the wing back positions, Laurence Diamond foraging  all over the park to get the ball into the scoring zone, Bellaghy simply had too much fire-power for an overrun Greenlough defence.

Indeed when Joe Diver palmed the ball to the net in the 10th minute from an accurate Gavan Diamond cross the writing was on the wall for the Clady side in this local ‘derby’. Then the tireless Laurence Diamond set up Ryan McNally for the second goal five minutes later it really was ‘game over’, even if Greenlough battled gamely to the finish.

They trailed 2-8 to 1-1 at half time, Enda Lynn tucking the ball to the net from a 26th minute penalty. Eoghan Brown scored 0-03 in the first half, and Thomas Hughes 0-02 from frees, Brown showing a turn of speed three minutes after half time that took him clear of the Greenlough defenders. He gave keeper McDonnell no chance with his close range shot for the third goal.

Greenlough scored just one point from open play, John Og McPeake the scorer. 

The Bellaghy scorers were Eoghan Brown 1-05, 0-01 free, Joe Diver 1-01, Ryan McNally 1-00, Thomas Hughes 0-03, 0-02 frees, Frankie Donnelly 0-02, Laurence Diamond 0-02,  Gavan Diamond 0-01  

The Greenlough scorers were Enda Lynn 1-02, 1-00 pen, 0-02 frees, Gary McPeake 0-02 frees and John Og McPeake 0-01