by Geordie McGuckin
Reserve Cup Championship (Final)
Erin’s Own, Cargin (holders) 1-19 Naomh Eoin 1-08
Cargin reclaimed the Senior Reserve Cup when they proved a little too strong for St John’s in the 2017 decider at a well manicured Chapel Hill on Wednesday evening.
The Toome men were the dominant side right from the outset and indeed if they hadn’t spurned more than a few clear openings in the wind assisted opening period they would have been out of sight at the end of the opening period.
With the elements as a friend Cargin started on the positive as they sought the company of the reserve title at their Shore road base for another term but although John Mc Nabb had a mark on the board as he split the posts in the second minute scores were to prove hard to come by.
The Johnnies were on terms a couple of minutes thereafter as Conal Mc Glade firmly punished an ‘off the ball’ offence as he delivered the close free awarded between the posts.
As Cargin dithered on the offensive St John’s looked to take advantage and indeed the West Belfast men looked dangerous on approach in the fifth minute only to be denied in pursuit of a possible major as David Mc Elhone made swift interception.
The full back’s clearance was directed to Ciaran Bradley via Brendan Laverty for the wing half forward to fire between the posts.
Bradley, just out of the minors was in the process of delivering a superb performance and is one to keep an eye on.
The opening quarter was to prove close, as the dominant Cargin continued to squander chances whilst the Johnnies proved more expedient in front of the posts.
Another point from Bradley opened a two point gap for the Toome men but they continued on the wayward path thereafter as the bye ball tally reached five and points delivered in the St John’s cause delivered in back to back fashion by Darragh Mc Callin and the dashing wing half back Russ Hannigan saw it at o-03 apiece by the 12th minute.
A well delivered Peadar Mc Keever point had Cargin back in front and although a couple more byes were to be added and the Johnnies keeper Mark Mc Kenna stood tall in defiance on a couple of occasions a smart Dermot Mc Guckin 16th minute point was delivered to open a two point gap.
Cargin moved further ahead in the 18th minute as Ciaran Bradley added a point and after a counter attack by the hard pressed St John’s men gained the reward of a Conal Mc Glade pointed free a foul on the hard working Peadar Mc Keever opened the door for John Mc Nabb to deliver the 30 metre free kick over the bar.Cargin were looking better in the offensive in the latter stages of the period and due reward for effort was to follow and when Peadar Mc Keever sent Brendan Laverty in to deliver a super goal.
A subtle approach and a delivery in kind settled the men in green and they were now in the groove.
Oran McAuley added a point and although Conal Mc Glade followed suit with a similar score at the other end after a foul on Anto Press the holders of the competition were to finish the period in style.
Dermot Mc Guckin split the posts again in the 29th minute following an eye catching left sided approach and when both Ciaran Bradley and John Mc Nabb followed suit the Cargin men had stretched away into a 1-11 to 0-05 interval lead.
Despite having the breeze at their back in the second period most observers felt the city men really needed to up the ante considerably if they were to reel in their country cousins but they were off in style as the ever accurate Conal Mc Glade raise white in the 32nd minute.
A glimmer of hope in the St John’s camp and a chink of light perceived but such was to be quickly dimmed as the Cargin men returned fire.
Brendan Laverty pointed following another David Mc Elhone intervention and Ciaran Bradley paved the way for a good score to increase the winners lead. When the hugely impressive Bradley nipped away leaving several trailing in his wake to add another, John Mc Nabb despatched a ‘45’ to put a dominant Cargin 1-14 to 0-06 ahead.
The die was cast as the Erin’s Own men dominated the central zone as the impressive Kevin Mc Shane stood tall, though the Johnnies added a further point through Conal Mc Glade who raised another white flag in the Corrigan men’s cause.
A well directed free again following a foul on Anto Press who was working like a demon in the blue and white and although possibly classified as a ‘veteran’ nowadays the centre forward impressed in his efforts.
Cargin again made swift and decisive reply as Oran Mc Auley gave further employment to the scoreboard attendant with back to back points and the end was most certainly in sight.
The Toome men had moved into the clear water afforded by a 1-16 to 0-07 advantage at the 47th minute and only the eternal optimists within the St John’s camp were contemplating come back.
The Johnnies were not about to lose focus however and back they came with a Loughlin Mc Curdy point and a Gareth Clarke goal to follow.
Midfielder Clarke’s major really came right from the top drawer as he unleashed an unstoppable pile driver to the top corner of the net, a score to grace any final.
Cargin returned to the coal face again in the latter stages and having introduced a full complement of replacements they continued to add scores as John Mc Nabb, Oran Mc Auley and replacement Odhran Mc Guckin raised whites apiece.
The latter had the last say on the scoreboard but the match official was to be busy in the dying embers of the decider as John Mc Nabb picked up a second yellow and the red to follow in the last minute and Cargin’s Jamie Kennedy and Michael Dudley looked at red cards apiece deep in time added on.
Cargin crossed the line after the late shenanigans, of the handbag variety and onto the podium to reclaim the ‘Reserve Cup’ on a winning scoreline of 1-19 to 1-08.
Kevin Doyle, Gerard Mc Corley, David Mc Elhone, Jamie Kennedy, Brendan Laverty (1-01), Tony Scullion, David Johnston, Kevin Mc Shane, Kyle Johnston, Dermot Mc Guckin (0-02), Enda Mc Grogan, Ciaran Bradley (0-05), Peadar Mc Keever (0-01), John Mc Nabb (0-05), Oran Mc Auley (0-04).
Odhran Mc Guckin (0-01) for D Mc Guckin
Darren Craig for P Mc Keever
Conor Mc Larnon for O Mc Auley
Ciaran Mc Cann for C Bradley
Padraig Mc Coy for G Mc Corley
Mark Mc Kenna, Michael Dudley, Ciaran Mc Curdy, Brian Moore, Russ Hannigan (0-01), Kevin Cunningham, Dee Mc Garrity, Gareth Clarke (1-00), Conal Mc Glade (0-04), Anto Press, Darragh Mc Callin, (0-01), Luke Peden, Loughlin Mc Curdy (0-01), Joe Lindsay.
Josh Bohill for D Mc Garrity
Lorcan Mulvey for B Moore (black card)
Referee Cathal Mc Dermott (Tir na Nog)