by John McIlwaine
All County Football League Division One
Creggan 1-12 Aldergrove 3-5
After appearing to have a victory sown up by the end of the third quarter Creggan were left clinging on by their fingertips in Sunday’s All County Football League win over Aldergrove at Creggan. In a topsy turvy game the Kickhams held on to collect both points but they will know that luckless Aldergrove could have earned at least a share of the spoils, and indeed had the visitors been a bit more accurate in the final minutes they might well have left with a win.
In truth the lack of accuracy was a feature of the game throughout, something which was understandable because of the strong diagonal breeze, and the home side were guilty of some very bad wides as well, especially when they had wind assistance in the second half.
Seamus McGarry got Aldergrove off to a great start when he drilled a low ball to the Creggan net after three minute in what was his team’s first attack. It was eight minutes before Creggan got on the scoreboard with a point from the industrious Odhran McLarnon and a further five minute until their next score, a goal by substitute Mark Dougan who rose to palm a high ball to the Aldergove net just seconds after being introduced in the thirteenth minute. The put the home team a point in front, but the lead was to be short lived as right from the kick-out Aldergrove worked the ball through to midfielder Conor Browning who waltzed through virtually unopposed to put the ball in an empty net and restore his team’s two point lead.
Mark Dougan and Conor Small pointed to bring Creggan back on terms before Seamus McGarry got his team’s first score from play in the twenty third minute, a fisted point from close range, but points from Odhran McLarnon and Conor Small before the break gave the home team a one point lead at half time.
With the breeze behind them most punter would have felt Creggan would pull away easily in the second half but five wides in the opening three minutes of the new half began to instil some doubts among the home followers and in fact it was the visitors who struck first with the Fearghal Buke point which levelled the scores.
When Creggan did eventually get going in the thirty-eighth minute through Conor Small they hit a real purple patch as they hit seven points inside four minutes, three of them from Conor Small who was in fine form. However the last of these in the forty second minute was to prove their last but for a long time it looked like they had done more than enough. Things began to change in the fiftieth minute when right half back Gerard Mallon scored a fine individual goal and when Fearghal Burke swung over a point soon afterwards the gap was suddenly down to three. Creggan tried to respond but the wastefulness that had marked their play in the early part of the second half returned and they were left treading water. Burke closed the gap to the minimum with two fine points and as the game entered injury time he and Ronan Hanna had chance to level matters. However on both occasions their shots curled narrowly wide and so Creggan were let off the hook and Aldergrove left cursing their luck.
Oisin Kerr, Charles Devlin, Aidan Magurie, Jamie McCann, Sam Maguire, Thomas McCann, Jamie McCann, Conor McCann, Ruairi McCann, Odhran McLarnon, David McGuckin, Oran McCann, Kevin Small, Conor Small, Frank McAuley.
Subs: Mark Doughan for Sam Maguire, Jake McAteer for Conor McCann
Christopher Taggart, Stephen Gorman, Ferdia Carson, Christopher McVeigh, Gerrard Mallon, Chris O’Kane, Mickey Sherridan, Ryan Owens, Conor Browning, Conleth Hendron, Brian McQuillan, Ryan Gorman, Seamus McGarry, Ferghal Burke, Ronan Hanna
Subs – James Trolan for Conor Browning; Fergal Hanna for Brian McQuillan, Tomas O’Callaghan.
Referee – Fiontann McCotter.