by Geordie McGuckin
South West Senior Football – O’Cahan Cup (final)
Erin’s Own Cargin 3-22 St Mary’s Aghagallon 0-07
The O’ Cahan Cup is bound for residence in the Shore Road premises of Erin’s Own Cargin for another term after the Toome men proved far too strong for St Mary’s Aghagallon in the 2017 final of the South West divisions premier competition at the excellent O’Cahan Park, Portglenone on Sunday evening.
The Erin’s Own men were installed as warm favourites to reclaim the trophy after it had been prized from their grasp and secured by next door neighbours Creggan last term and indeed from a relatively early juncture it was quite clear that the pundits were on the mark in their unanimous predictions.
An excellent evening at the Casement’s abode and although a light drizzle had descended for a time the skies had cleared and a pristine sod was available.
Cargin did look to open account early but in the event the Aghagallon side were away to a better start as mid-fielder Dan Donnelly raised a second minute white flag.
A good getaway for the St Mary’s men but in the event that was to be as good as it was to get for the new kids on the block in the top grade as the reigning county senior champs came back strongly and points delivered in turn by the ever excellent Kieran Close (2), Michael Mc Cann, Kevin Mc Shane and Tomas Mc Cann saw the Cargin men move 0-05 to 0-01 ahead as the match clock moved to ten minutes.
Aghagallon were seeking the short kick out ploy on nearly every opportunity but the Erin’s Own men were proving as adept in the tackle as they were proving on the offensive, quick to close down and halt forward momentum towards their posts.
Aghagallon were finding the going tough and Cargin were quick to take advantage and with Kieran Close certainly retaining his usual artistry in front of posts he added a quick-fire brace in the 14th and 15th minutes and Paul Mc Cann followed with another.
Although Aghagallon made a breakthrough when full forward Ruairi Loughran raised a 23rd minute white flag from a placed effort the Cargin response was quick and decisive as Paul Mc Cann completed well organised counter attacks with back to back points in the 25th and 26th minutes.
The end of the opening period was imminent as the Aghagallon men lifted siege to grab a 28th minute score via a Gareth Magee point but the Toome men returned to the coal face again as Tomas Mc Cann, John Carron, and Kieran Close split the posts in turn and it was 0-13 to 0-03 at the break.
Although Cargin had been forced into early adjustment when Gerard Mc Cann, who was dominant in the central zone, was forced out of the action with a leg injury they carried on in fluency, unyielding in the defensive and potent in the offensive.
Tomas Mc Cann and Kieran Close bagged a couple of points apiece in the early phase of the second portion and although Ruairi Loughran converted another free into a point for Aghagallon it was all over bar the shouting at the end of the third quarter.
John Carron drove in from the middle to hoist white and as Tomas Mc Cann, his sibling Micheal and Kieran Close followed suit it was 0-21 to 0-04 at such juncture and the trophy was on the way to Toome.
John Brennan took the opportunity in the last quarter to add a full quota of replacements offering game time to as many as possible and his charges continued to dominate with a trio of late goals bagged in turn by Marty Kane, after a superbly laid attack, Kyle Johnston and fellow replacement Dermot Mc Guckin which put the icing on the cake.
They looked good from the outset and finished with a flourish as the Cargin men crossed the winning line on way to the podium with a 3-22 to 0-07 winning scoreline.
John Mc Nabb, Tony Scullion, Marty Kane (1-00), Brendan Laverty, David Johnston, Justin Crozier, Kevin Mc Shane (0-01), Gerard Mc Cann, John Carron (0-02), Kieran Close (0-08), Michael Mc Cann (0-02), Joe Maybin, Tomas Mc Cann (0-05), Paul Mc Cann (0-03), Enda Mc Grogan.
James Laverty for G Mc Cann (inj)
Mark Kelly for J Maybin
Kyle Johnston (1-00) for J Carron
Dermot Mc Guckin (1-00) for E Mc Grogan
David Mc Elhone for M Kane
Jonny Mc Guckin for P Mc Cann
Michael Mc Stravick, Aaron Doherty, Caolan Reynolds, Jack Lenehan, Pat Branagan, Adam Shanks, Dan Donnelly (0-01), Caolan Farr, Paul Mulholland, Ciaran Brady, Dessie Marshall, Mark Mc Kenna, Ruairi Loughran (0-05), Gareth Magee (0-01).
Damien O’ Hagen for G Magee
Connor Mc Kavanagh for D Donnelly
Oisin Lenehan for C Reynolds
Fintan Campbell for P Branagan
Referee Gerard Dougan (Kickham’s)