Eamon McAuley, Na Piarsaigh contesting a ball with Dowdallshill's Luke O Brien. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anglo Printers Junior Football Championship Quarter Finals
JOHN MITCHELS 1-15
CUCHULAINN GAELS 0-04
John Mitchels had no room for sentiment as they put Cuchulainn Gaels to the sword on a night the Omeath based side made history in by playing in their first Junior Championship knockout game.
Mitchels had their goalkeeper David Anderson to thank with three outstanding saves at the right time to thwart the underdogs best efforts. The last save was possibly the best save at the end of the game to deny Chris McQuaid but the penalty was the most poignant.
With Cuchulainn working so hard to stay in the game at the latter end of the first half, they were handed a lifeline when Michéal McCabe was fouled for a penalty and up stepped Raymond Phillips to take the pressure kick.
Anderson held his ground and saved with his knees and the opposition’s deflation could be felt all around the centre of Excellence in Darver. In the opening quarter Anderson made himself big to stop Jordan Loye. Gaels needed to take any of those chances to have a chance.
To make matters worse, Mitchel's in contrast were very accurate going forward in the last of the Junior Quarter finals. Gareth Kane’s goal just before halftime killed the game off as a contest, especially due to the toll the misses took on Paul Sharkey’s plucky Cuchulainn Gaels outfit.
A competitive opening quarter saw Michéal McCabe land two points but John Gallagher, Carl Courtney, Gareth Kane and the outstanding Trevor Matthews all opened their accounts.
Having sized up their opponents, Gerry Gallagher and Des Halpenny’s side upped the gears in the run up to half time. Despite the penalty scare, Mitchels were able to stop themselves being turned over and attack down the flanks better through Mark Gorman and Matthews.
Inevitably Matthews would find John Gallagher inside time after time and Gallagher’s mark typified that. McCabe then added another free to leave four in it and there was a feeling that this game could be close as a result.
However Gareth Kane removed any doubts by blasting to the net after being teed up nicely by midfielder Courtney to make it 1-7 to 0-3 at the turn. An air of inevitability was felt at that half time break.
Jordan Loye showed character to come back after his earlier goal chance to land the first score of the second half but it would prove to be Cuchulainn’s only score of the second half.
John Gallagher then rattled off three scores in a row. Gallagher nailed a ’45 and with such high confidence there after he bore right down the heart of the Gaels defence to twice point and push the game well and beyond their fellow Division 3B side.
Having gotten to this stage by playing only one game in the group stages, the Mitchels looked to their bench to get some game time. The two Coyle’s Robbie and Steven came in with telling impacts along with Leigh Ross.
Coyle would find the target with a free and Mark Gorman would be rewarded for a steady display with the final point of the game. The men from Ballybailie made the semi final stages last season and they will look to go beyond that stage this season against Na Piarsaigh next time out.
JOHN MITCHELS: David Anderson; Anthony Coyle, Niall Carroll, Aaron Kane; Mark Gorman (0-1), Emmett Farrell, Conor Reilly; Carl Courtney (0-2), James Clarke; Andrew Bingham, Trevor Matthews (0-3), Kevin Gallagher; John Bingham; John Gallagher (0-6, 0-1 45’, 0-1 mark), Gareth Kane (1-2). Subs Leigh Ross for Reilly (HT), Steven Coyle for Gareth Kane (44), Michael Quinn for Anthony Coyle (46), Robbie Coyle (0-1 free) for Kevin Gallagher (50), Stephen Bingham for John Gallagher (57).
CUCHULAINN GAELS: Ciaran Connolly; Brendan McKeown, Calum Fearon, Peter Morgan; John Morgan, Martin Hynes, Seamus McCabe; Micheál McCabe (0-3, 0-2 frees), Francis O’Hagan; Jordan Loye (0-1), Eoin McDonald, Brendan O’Hagan; Cian McDonald, David Reilly, Raymond Phillips. Subs: JP Elmore for E McDonald, E McDonald for Elmore, Marty Ward, Chris McQuaid.
REFEREE: Brian Brady (Kilkerley Emmets)
Na Piarsaigh 2-11
Stabannon Parnells 2-07
Na Piarsaigh booked their place in the semi-finals of the Junior Championship after this victory over Stabannon Parnells who were without key defenders Sean Halpenny and Bobby Butterly due to injury.
Yet it was ultimately the first half introduction of Micheal Begley which proved telling for John Garvey’s side. Begley kicked 1-6 from seven shots in a flawless display.
Although anything Begley could do, Harry Butterly matched. Butterly himself scored 1-6 including a second half goal from an intercepted kickout which set the cat amongst the pigeons.
But a late goal from one of the old guard Eamon McAuley sealed the outcome of this match and eased the jitters of a frantic Na Piarsaigh sideline.
The Dundalk men led Parnells by 0-2 to 0-1 by the first water break. With Niall Cluskey operating in the sweeper role and former Ardee man Shane McCoy driving on from centre half for Parnells, the Naps struggled to break their opponents down and had to be patient in order to break that line.
When they did, David Boyle teed up Eamon McAuley who drove through for a white flag to give the NAPs the lead after Robbie Murphy had traded frees with Harry Butterly early on. Following the water break, the half became the Micheal Begley show.
A brace of points from the former Kilkerley man was quickly followed by James Mahoney setting up Ciaran Murphy for a 0-5 to 0-2 lead, before Begley latched onto a Robbie Murphy pass to drive the ball to the roof of the net to give Na Piarsaigh a six-point lead heading towards half time.
Harry Butterly continued to kick replies for Stabannon, but another Begley score after a turnover from Robbie Murphy left it at 1-6 to 0-3 in Na Piarsaigh’s favour at the break.
The Naps would probably have felt that they should have been further ahead, having won nine of Stabannon Parnell’s 15 first half kickouts with Ciaran Murphy and Eamon McAuley (19 possessions) helping to lead the charge, while Mark Larkin finished with 31 possessions over the hour, setting up several attacks for his side.
Stabannon Parnells failed to have a single shot at the posts from open play in that first half, with Butterly’s frees crucial, and the Naps conceded 24 free kicks over the hour with 10 within scoring range.
Micheal Begley and David Boyle pointed after the restart and with the score reading 1-8 to 0-3, Na Piarsaigh looked a decent bet for the semi-finals.
However, as long as Butterly was on the pitch, Parnells always had a chance. A quickfire 1-3 came from Butterly (3 frees) with the goal coming after Shane Sweeney intercepted an Adam Molloy kickout. That gave them real hope at 1-8 to 1-6 after 40 minutes.
Parnells continued to press up on the Na Piarsaigh kickout with David Cluskey profiting to set up Robbie Callaghan on the loop to score their first point from play to close the gap to a solitary point.
A much needed free from Begley extended that gap to two points as both teams withdrew for the second water break, a scenario few could have foreseen ten minutes earlier.
However, after that stoppage Ciaran Murphy and Bryan Sharkey combined for the latter to set up Eamon McAuley to fist the ball to the net, much to the relief of the Dundalk side.
Micheal Begley appeared to wrap things up for Na Piarsaigh with another point, however Parnells did manage to grab a second goal through substitute John Campbell to leave a goal between the sides in stoppage time.
It proved too little too late as the Naps kicked the final point of the game through Sean Geeney to seal their place in the last four.
Na Piarsaigh: Adam Molloy; John Galligan, Ronan McCartney, Fergal Mullholland; Bryan Sharkey, Michael Woods, Eamon McAuley (1-1); Mark Larkin, Mark O’Hare; Sean Geeney (0-1), Ciaran Murphy (0-1), James Mahoney; Robbie Murphy (0-1 free), David Boyle (0-1), Paul Mallon Subs: Michael Begley (1-6, 0-2 frees) for Mallon (16), Gerard Smith for O’Hare (49), Stephen Arrowsmith for Ciaran Murphy (59), Aidan Marks for Larkin (61).
Stabannon Parnells: Alan Lynch; Patrick Bell, Barry Lynch, Cathal Halpenny; Shane Sweeney, Shane McCoy, Stephen Barry; Thomas Campbell, Aonghus Giggins; Johnny McGee, Harry Butterly (1-6, 0-6 frees), Ger Durkan; Robert Callaghan (0-1), David Cluskey, Niall Cluskey. Subs: Dean Lynch for Durkan (40), Daniel Bannon for Giggins (50), John Campbell (1-0) for Callaghan (59), Cathal Reynolds for Bannon (60).
Referee: Colm McCullough
Glyde Rangers 1-8 Lannleire 0-7
In a repeat of last year’s semi-final clash, it was Glyde Rangers who came out on top this time to avenge that defeat in 2020.
The Tallanstown men who have contested three out of the last four finals at this grade to go with last year’s semi-final, played like a team with something to prove and a wonderful start to the game saw them break up Lannliere attacks while they moved the ball through the hands patiently.
Conor Sheridan, who anchored as a second centre half alongside the excellent Conor McCullough, saw his punted kick pass collected by Trevor O’Brien who kicked the opening score on the run as Glyde meant business.
Alan Kirk, so calm in possession and pulling strings from the 40, set up Ciaran Sheridan for another excellent point moments later. An interception from Alan Murphy set up Ian Mulroy to get Lannleire off the mark moments later in a lively first six minutes.
Conor Sheridan judged the wind superbly to kick over from distance via the crossbar to make it 0-3 to 0-1 in Rangers’ favour inside eight minutes.
It was about to get even better for David Devaney’s side as a Trevor O’Brien free fell short and dribbled around the square. The ball fell to Brian Duffy who managed to sneak it over the line for a goal which was eventually given by referee David J McArdle following consultation with his umpires.
Duffy was on fire at this stage, and he kicked over from play to give Glyde a six-point lead after 13 minutes.
The next quarter was a very scrappy affair, littered with sloppy turnovers on both sides with Glyde surrounding Lannleire players and forcing the turnovers in their defence. Gerard Farrell, Kevin Kane, Conor McCullough and Dion Conlon all deserving mentions for work ethic.
Conor Sheridan epitomised this determined resistance with a wonderful block down on an Alan Murphy shot in this period.
They forced Lannleire to surrender possession 31 times over the hour, with Dunleer undoubtedly missing the influence of key forward Colin Murphy who missed out through injury and the suspended Andrew Dowd. They only managed 0-7 from 16 shots over the hour.
Unlike last year, Glyde have been able to keep Trevor O’Brien fit and healthy and the former county man converted an advanced mark to extend Glyde’s lead before an Alan Murphy free left it at 1-5 to 0-2 in Glyde’s favour at the break.
Lannlerie may not have had Colin Murphy to call on, but Mark Gilsenan was still able to introduce Paul Callan into the fray for the second half. They at least managed to close the gap, thanks to another Alan Murphy free.
Paul Callan kicked over from play, but that score came at a cost as the man who set up Callan, Pierce Hawkins suffered a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury which kept him out of last week’s clash against Glen Emmets and he hobbled off.
The Dunleer side were dealt a further blow minutes later, when Ian Mulroy was shown a straight red card. Mulroy had earlier fired the ball to the side netting as Lannleire searched for that elusive goal to bring them back into contention.
Glyde once again soaked up that pressure and Alan Kirk put five points between the sides at 1-6 to 0-4 by the second half water break.
Paul Callan sneaked in behind the Glyde cover as his attempt for a goal cleared the crossbar before Glyde sub, Aaron Devlin kicked his first of two points in a row to keep Dunleer at arm’s length.
Lannleire almost grabbed that goal when a blocked Peter Fortune shot was flicked agonisingly wide by Callan who probably would have bagged a hattrick on another day.
A Niall Sharkey effort for a point fell to Trevor O’Brien who had the presence of mind to set up Devlin for that second point and despite further late scores from Paul Callan at the other end, Lannleire’s quest for back-to-back JFC finals came to an end as Glyde held on for victory despite having Brian Duffy sent off late on.
Glyde Rangers: David Brennan; Kevin Kane, Gerard Farrell, Peter Duffy; Fiachra Sheridan, Conor McCullough, Gerard Bourton; Ciaran Sheridan (0-1), Dion Conlon; Conor Sheridan (0-1), Alan Kirk (0-1), Niall Sharkey; Trevor O’Brien (0-2, 0-1 mark), Brian Duffy (1-1), Barry Brennan. Subs: Aaron Devlin (0-2) for Conor Sheridan (39), Martin McCardle for Brennan (47), Barry Sharkey for Fiarchra Sheridan (57).
Lannleire: Liam Callan; Darragh Goodman, Jason Torris, Thomas Doyle; Gary Monaghan, Briain McGuinness, Caoimhin Maher; Jack Maguire, Pierce Hawkins; Conall Maher, Alan Murphy (0-2 frees), Peter Fortune; Ian Mulroy (0-1), Bob Murphy, Killian Gregory. Subs: Niall Lennon for Conal Maher (19), Paul Callan (0-4) for Bob Murphy (HT), Paul Doyle for Hawkins (44), Alex Carroll for Fortune (55), Bon Murphy for Alan Murphy (55), Aaron McCardle for Torris (62 blood sub).
Glen Emmets 0-18
St Nicholas 0-08
A strong second half was decisive for Glen Emmets as they overcame a two-point halftime deficit to in the end coast to a 10-point victory over St Nicholas in Drogheda.
The Emmets started poorly and didn’t score in the opening quarter, their shooting coupled with some efficient scoring from the Nicks seeing them take a slender 0-5 to 0-3 lead into half time.
However from here it pretty much one way traffic as the Tullyallen men got their act together, smothering their opponents around midfield and hitting two big purple patches without reply to seal their spot in the Junior Semi Finals.
Glen Emmets started the game with purpose, looking to create scoring chances at every opportunity, however they were very wasteful in the first 11 minutes. Four wides and one attempt blocked down as they struggled to take advantage of their large spells of possession.
After five minutes of domination, Sam Kenny was sent to the bin leaving the Glen’s down to 14 players for the next 10 minutes. This was a huge help as ventures forward for the Drogheda based side at this stage had been scarce.
Con Sheehan blossomed in this period, the Nicks tended to utilise solo runs and good direct passing to open up the defence and with the extra man Sheehan’s runs were a huge asset.
The first score of the match came their way on five minutes, Fionn Meagher running through the challenges of three defenders before winning a close range free which was duly tapped over by Jimmy Murray.
Murray was front and centre to their next score as well, under pressure he managed to create enough space for himself to have another strike, this time from range and he duly raised another white flag to leave his side 0-2 to 0-0 up at the first water break.
With Kenny back on the pitch Emmet’s quickly got on the board on 17 minutes shortly after the break, Ronan Grufferty slicing over a placed ball, but their poor shooting continued as two more wides and another effort dropped short stopped them regaining control.
In contrast with every venture forward the men in Red looked like scoring, throughout the 60 plus minutes of action they would only post one wide.
In the final minutes of the opening period they matched their more fancied opponents score for score, points from Grufferty and James Butler cancelled out by a late brace from Meagher and Philip Kirwan to leave St Nicholas 0-5 to 0-3 in front at half time.
It looked like we could be in for a real battle in the Drogheda sunshine, but sadly for any neutrals in attendance Glen Emmets upped their work rate and intensity significantly in the second half and would keep the Nicks to just three points for the rest of the contest.
Despite St Nicholas getting two early scores through Murray to keep them in front, they soon went 13 minutes without a score. A timeframe in which the Emmet’s would hit nine in a row to build up a cushion that never looked like it would be pegged back.
Their domination came through the middle, the Tullyallen men turned over the ball from opposition kick outs nine times in the second half. This allowed them to go from counterattack to counterattack and effectively tire St Nicholas into submission.
Four points from James Butler, three from substitute Keith Lynch and one a piece from Davey Bracken and Grufferty had their side 0-13 to 0-7 in front with just 10 minutes left to play.
The men in Red rallied and never gave up, a fine solo run from Ryan Farrell resulting in a score that ended their barren spell without a point, however again Emmet’s were able to regain control around midfield and tee over three more scores in quick succession to seal the win.
Glen Emmets: Conor Kelly; Shane Noone, Sam Kenny, Cathal Maguire; Keith Boylan, Danny Grimes, Robbie Byrne; Sean Byrne, Cian Talbot; Ronan Grufferty (0-3, 0-2 Frees), James Butler (0-8, 0-3 frees), Alex Fowler; Damien Grimes, Keelan O’Neill (0-3), Eoghan Maguire. Subs: Tome Grimes for Robbie Byrne (28), Davey Bracken (0-1) for Alex Fowler (HT), Keith Lynch (0-3) for Damien Grimes (HT), David Andrews for Eoghan Maguire (53), Jamie Gilkes for Cian Talbot (58).
St Nicholas: Alex Reilly; Stevie Finnegan, Dec Heeney, Andrew Starrs; Ryan Farrell (0-1), Johnny Carter, Alex Finnegan; Brain Carter, Sam Reilly (0-1); Con Sheehan, Philip Kirwan (0-1), Lee Kavanagh; Fionn Meagher (0-1), Jimmy Murray (0-4,0-2 frees), Padraic Downey. Subs: Bernard Maguire for Philip Kirwan (HT), Darren Thornton for Stevie Finnegan (49), Jack Downey for Ryan Farrell (58).
Referee: Ultan McElroy
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