All County Football League Division One (Section A)
Cargin 0-11 Creggan 0-07
by Geordie McGuckin
Current Division 1 holders Cargin maintained their post at the top of the ratings in the race to retain the Eddie Fitzsimons Memorial Cup when they defied the efforts of their near neighbours, Kickham’s Creggan at a sodden Toome on Wednesday evening. The Erin’s Own men had to work hard in unfriendly conditions on a rain soaked surface which incessant rain throughout the day had left slippery, and at times treacherous, but although chances were missed they always look in control crossing the finish line with four points to spare.
The home side controlled proceedings in the opening phase and despite more than a few missed opportunities and misplaced passes they had employed the scoreboard attendant on three occasions by the end of the opening quarter. Enda Mc Grogan was sure footed in the extreme on the glass like surface to open their account in the second minute and when Michael Mc Cann left several Creggan defenders for dead before sending between the posts and his sibling Tomas added another shortly afterwards the defending league champs were 0-03 to 0-00 to the good at the end of a low scoring opening quarter. The latter score followed a free awarded 40 metres from the posts as Creggan defender Charlie Devlin halted Michael Mc Cann on his way to the posts, which earned the former a yellow card and further punishment as the artful Tomas Mc Cann delivered the resulting free kick firmly between the posts. The Creggan men having struggled to make inroads through the Cargin rearguard in the opening phase did manage to navigate a course in the 20th minute as a long delivery from Oran Mc Larnon opened the way for Conor Small to open their account with a fine point. The Toome men were quick to reply however as Kevin Mc Shane fetched the resultant kick out and linked up with Tomas Mc Cann who opened a path to goal for Ciaran Bradley to fist the ball between the posts. The local derby was nearing the end of the opening period and the home side still held sway but the slippery terrain was still causing concern in approach for both the teams. Cargin increased the wides tally as did their visitors in the latter stages but a late free awarded for an indiscretion on himself was planted firmly between the posts by Tomas Mc Cann to see his side at 0-05 to 0-01 at the short whistle.
The second period seen the home side increase their advantage by a couple in the early stages as firstly Kieran Close split the posts following a good approach work by Benny Laverty before Tomas Mc Cann added another to put six between the sides. David Johnston had made interception to send the ever ready Mc Cann on his way and when he was hauled to the wet terrain en route to the target he was quick to send the resultant award over the bar. Cargin had moved into a 0-07 to 0-01 lead at the 39th minute but their visitors were to raise their heads and dominate the next phase. Minor star Liam Quinn had been introduced to the frat early in the second period and he was soon to see action. The pace laden youngster was first to the ball in the 42nd minute to send Kevin Small away on the left side to fire between the posts and when Oran McLarnon sent Conor Small in for another, a couple of minutes later, the Kickham’s men were back in contention.
Kieran Close was there to send a 30 metre free between the posts in the 46th minute to put the home side back on course, but the Creggan men had regained composure and intent on clawing their way back. Oran Mc Larnon had found space an easy commodity to gain when he made his way to the target to raise a white flag in the 47th minute and when Conor Small added another from a placed effort a minute later only a score separated the sides. Having looked in the calm waters of safety a few minutes earlier the home side had seen the advantage reduced to a single score as they were hauled back to a precarious 0-08 to 0-05 lead. However the Toome men were soon back on the front foot again and as Tomas Mc Cann stepped forward to supply back to back points, a 25 metre free to punish an indiscretion on Ciaran Bradley before he skipped over the sodden terrain to add another, a superb 54th minute effort to see a five point advantage restored.
Creggan did look down but the Kickham’s men were far from out and back the men in green and gold came as the Small brothers, firstly Kevin and then his sibling Conor raised white flags apiece. The home side were not to be moved further however and a sweet movement which employed several in approach saw Tomas Mc Cann add the last score of the game as his injury time point drew a line under another local derby affair.
John Mc Nabb, David Johnston, Marty Kane, Tony Scullion, James Laverty, James Crozier, Brendan Laverty, Kevin Mc Shane, Mark Kelly, Kieran Close (0-02), Michael Mc Cann (0-01), Paul Mc Cann, Enda Mc Grogan (0-01), Tomas Mc Cann (0-06), Ciaran Bradley (0-01).
Subs – Ronan Devlin for B Laverty; Donnach Mc Keever for D Johnston
Oisin Kerr, Conor Mc Cann, Aiden Maguire, Sam Maguire, Charlie Devlin, Tommy Mc Cann, Conor Mc Cann, Kevin Rice, Oran Mc Larnon, Conor Mc Small (0-06), Aiden Mc Keown, Tiernan Mc Ateer, David Mc Guckin, Kevin Small (0-02).
Subs – Liam Quinn for A Mc Keown; Oisin Mc Ateer for C Mc Cann
Referee – Colum McDonald