Ronan Grufferty, Glen Emmets getting the better of Glyde Rangers players Gerard Bourton and Dylan Kearney. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anglo Printers Junior Football Semi-Final
GLEN EMMETS 2-11
GLYDE RANGERS 1-08
Trailing by three points at half time, Glen Emmets put in a stunning second half performance to win by six against Glyde Rangers. The nine-point turnaround in Stabannon showed exactly why Emmets have been favourites for a quick return to intermediate all season.
Their conditioning and their finishing in that devastating second period was too much for a spirited Glyde outfit, who once again fall foul at the latter stages of the Louth Junior championship for the fifth season in a row.
Inside duo of Kealan O’Neill and Conor Grimes sparkled all evening for Tullyallen and their two goals in the second half swung the contest completely, while Glyde were reduced to only two points in the second half after storming into the break with a three point lead.
Glyde got the start they needed when former Ardee player Alan Kirk opened the night’s scoring, quickly followed by a well taken Trevor O’Brien mark.
As usual it was Conor Sheridan who found O’Brien, like they have done for the guts of two decades now. He was highly influential all night getting on tons of possession in the typical sweeper role.
Glen Emmets were dominant at midfield thanks to Seán Byrne but they were wasting a number of opportunities at goal and racking up the wides all the while. Ronan Grufferty would eventually settle his side down with the first of his four frees.
There were key battles all over the field and none more so than Andrew Mooney’s marking job on Glyde’s county star Niall Sharkey. The two former county colleagues went at it for the hour in an absorbing duel played in the most sporting of manners.
With Cathal Maguire switched back onto O’Brien, Glyde struggled for scores. The loss of Brian Duffy through suspension was starting to become apparent for Glyde. With their focus being at full forward, Alan Kirk was forced to play deeper and deeper as a result.
The county full forward pushed Raymond Lambe’s side two points ahead either side of the water break by 0-5 to 0-3 and Glen Emmets looked to be taking control of proceedings.
However, Glyde opted to put midfielder Ciaraín Sheridan at the edge of the square and it straight away paid dividends.
Sharkey’s fielding on the wing was a highlight all evening and when he claimed an eye-catching mark in the middle of the field, he looked for Sheridan straightaway. Sheridan caught the high ball in and had the vision to spot Kirk at the back post.
Kirk’s chance was made for a right footer, but his finish with the outside of his trusty left boot lifted the rafters on an entertaining game. Kirk then added another point to give the Tallanstown men a 1-6 to 0-6 lead.
The topic of discussion at half time was nothing but the possibility of a shock on the cards. That idle talk was completely put to bed in the first Glen Emmets attack when the impressive Kealan O’Neill scorched his marker to turn and force the ball past David Brennan in the Glyde goal.
He did get a hand to it but with the lead quickly wiped out you could sense a shift in the semi-finals momentum straightaway.
Glyde winger Martin McArdle did respond, but Mooney was now crucially beginning to edge his tussle with Rooney. The Tallanstown outfit were unable to engineer any sort of leeway going forward and their misery was compounded when Trevor O’Brien was forced off through injury.
When you possess someone of the quality of Conor Grimes at full forward, there is always that comfort that you are never out of the game and on the other hand the game can be easily won in an instant.
That was the case for Emmets when Grimes turned Conor McCullough to fire a superbly placed low shot to the corner net. The goal removed all doubt about the contest just before the second half water break.
Final preparations were hampered slightly for Glen Emmets however, as they will face John Mitchels in Dunleer on Saturday evening (throw in 4PM) without the services of centre forward James Butler for an off the ball incident. They had to play the final quarter with fourteen men.
There would be no comeback though, Alan Kirk was only able to find the target for his side’s second point of the second half with a free. Kealan O’Neill brought the contest to a stop with a point as his side march on to their first Junior final since claiming the Christy Bellew Cup four season ago in 2017.
GLEN EMMETS: Conor Kelly; Shane Noone, Sam Kenny, Tom Grimes, Andrew Mooney, Danny Grimes, Cathal Maguire; Sean Byrne, Keith Boylan; Eoghan Maguire, Ronan Grufferty (0-4 frees), James Butler (0-1); David Bracken, Conor Grimes (1-3), Kealan O’Neill (1-3, 0-1 free). Subs: Keith Lynch for Bracken (41), Evan English for E Maguire (48), Alex Blakeman-Fowler for C Grimes (59).
GLYDE RANGERS: David Brennan; Kevin Kane, Conor McCullough, Gerard Farrell; Fiachra Sheridan, Conor Sheridan, Gerard Bourton; Ciaraín Sheridan, Dion Conlon; Aaron Devin, Alan Kirk (1-3, 0-1 free), Niall Sharkey; Barry Brennan; Trevor O’Brien 0-5, 0-2 mark, 0-1 free), Martin McArdle. Subs: Céin Sheridan for (50), Barry Sharkey for Devin (50), Dean Smith for McCullough (60).
REFEREE: David Fedigan (Hunterstown Rovers)
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