Molloy Helps Cuhullains to Feis Crown

11A

Dunloy Cuchullains who beat St Mary’s Rasharkin in the Feis Cup Senior Football final at Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

Feis na nGleann 2017

Senior Feis Football Final

Dunloy 4-14 Rasharkin 4-8

Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

By Brendan McTaggart

If soccer can be referred to as ‘a funny old game’, football should be looked upon as ‘capable of the bizarre.’  Dunloy looked to be cruising to the Feis crown, dominant in the first half and scoring at will with five minutes of the first half remaining, the Cuchullains held an eight point lead.  To say Rasharkin had a purple patch would be the biggest understatement in the history of the game.  More like a touch glittered of gold, caressed with the Midas touch.  Four goals and three points in the space of four minutes and the men from Dreen not only turned the tables, they ‘couped’ the table on its end as they went from eight down to five up in the blink of an eye.  Dunloy were shell shocked and Rasharkin didn’t want to see half time.

For all the fireworks of the opening 30 minutes, the second half started fairly sedately with Rasharkin looking organised and trying to frustrate the expected Cuchuallins backlash.  Two yellow cards in the space of four minutes for Enda McFerran definitely wasn’t part of the Rasharkin half time plans and it gave Dunloy the advantage.  It wasn’t until the last quarter when they started to make their numerical advantage count.

The St Mary’s men were given a lifeline when Dunloy forward Conor McKinley had his game cut short.  The Cuchullain star man seeing red, but it did little to curtail the dominance and momentum Dunloy had gathered.  A thoroughly deserving six point victory and the Senior football Feis Cup resides in Pearse Park for 2017.

Despite Rasharkin scoring the first point of the match, Dunloy were dominant from the first whistle.  Were it not for the brilliance of Rasharkin ‘keeper Ryan Doherty the Cuchullains would have been out of sight in the opening exchanges.  Twice he denied Conal Cunning moments after the throw in and three minutes later he denied Nigel Elliott, brilliant ‘keeping from the Rasharkin number one.  Dunloy held a two point lead in the tenth minute when they finally got the better of Doherty.  Referee Sean Laverty awarded the Cuchullains a penalty for a jersey pull inside the area and despite Doherty getting a hand to Conor McKinley’s spot kick, Woody’s shot had enough power to squeeze into the bottom corner.

The Cuchullain’s continued to rack up the points with Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning tormentors in chief.  The tide turned when Dunloy defender Jamie McFerran had to be taken off for a facial injury.  Rasharkin capitalised on the indecision in the Dunloy ranks and turned the screw in attack.  With Declan McGarry lining out in goals for the Cuchullains, Rasharkin took full advantage of the Dunloy man’s inexperience between the posts.  The St Mary’s first goal came through Enda McFerran, the Rasharkin half forward punching to the net beyond the rushing McGarry.  Their second goal came two minutes later, Johnny McAleese setting up Ryan Lynch who finished with the goal at his mercy.  The third and fourth goals for Rasharkin came within 60 second of each other as the dream half for the Cuchullains quickly turned into a nightmare.  A fumble from McGarry when dealing with a long ball allowed Johnny McAleese to punch the ball into the net to give Rasharkin the lead and when midfielder Cathal Mooney managed to lob McGarry from wide on the Rasharkin right, the Dreen men took a scarcely deserved five point lead at the short whistle.

The reintroduction of McFerran to the Dunloy defence for the second half was a welcome sight for the Cuchullains but Rasharkin looked to pack their defence and starve the Cuchullains of space early doors.  Two indiscretions in barely five minutes from Enda McFerran swung the momentum once more in Dunloy’s favour as Rasharkin were reduced to 14 men with still over 20 minutes remaining.

Dunloy went through the gears as the match progressed and scored a quick fire brace of goals to regain the lead.  Kevin McAllister getting on the end of a loose ball among a crowd of players before Dunloy were awarded another penalty.  A foul on Miceal Murphy allowed McKinley to score his second goal of the game from the penalty spot, Woody wrong footing Doherty in goals to take his tally for the match to 2-3 but his game was ended soon after as he was sent for an early bath by by referee Sean Laverty.  It was always going to be a big ask for Rasharkin to turn the momentum and Dunloy continued to turn the screw.  They scored their fourth goal late in the game with Captain Nigel Elliott meeting the perfect pass from Man of the Match Keelan Molloy and punching the ball beyond Doherty to seal victory for the Cuchuallins. A worthy win for the Dunloy men and on Sunday evening quite of the few of the team will be bidding to make it a double when they face Loughgiel in the Senior Hurling final.

TEAMS

Dunloy: Declan McGarry; Jamie McFerran; Duanne Scott; Conor Kinsella; Chrissy McMahon; Karl O’Kane; Cathaoir McGuigan; Gabriel McTaggart; Miceal Murphy; Karl Fitzpatrick; Conor McKinley (2-3, 2-00 pen); Kevin McAllister (1-1, 1 free); Keelan Molloy (0-5, 3 frees); Nigel Elliott (1-2); Conal Cunning (0-3)

Rasharkin: Ryan Doherty; Donagh Quigg; Dominic McFerran; Pearse Kelly; Declan McKay (0-1, 1 free); Thomas Doherty; James Scally; Brendan Etherson; Cathal Mooney (1-1); Ferghal Kennedy; Enda McFerran (1-00); Andrew Hasson (0-1); Johnny McAleese (1-1, 1 free); Ryan Lynch (1-3, 1 free); Shane Hasson (0-1)

Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)

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