All County Hurling League
Creggan Kickhams 5-20, Con Magee’s Glenravel 1-10
By Joe Rice
The torrential rain cleared just in time to allow for a high scoring Division 3/4 game at Creggan on Saturday evening. Both teams were missing regular starters, but the 30 who started in the warm sunshine, and those replacements who were used, served up an entertaining, and at times feisty, encounter.
The game began slowly with only three scores in the first eight minutes, two for the home team and one for the visitors. Indeed, all three scorers, Oran McCann and Kevin Rice for Creggan, and Brian O’Neill for Con Magee’s, would go on to be involved in much of what was good for both teams. However, it could be argued that the destination of the two points was decided in minutes 9 and 10 when, fresh from his goal-fest against Shane O’Neills, Conor McCann netted twice for the home team. In both cases the Con Magee’s goalkeeper, Chris McCann, was given no chance, although McCann would go on to make a handful of outstanding saves throughout the game, one soon after McCann’s brace from Conor Small, and an astonishing effort later in the half from a rasping Thomas McCann shot.
The visitors kept the first half scoreboard ticking over with scores from Caolan Mullan, Barry McCann and Declan Traynor, all of whom performed well throughout the game. However arguably the best score from the visitors came from a free by the influential Brian ‘Twig’ O’Neill from close to his own ’45. O’Neill dictated most of the visitors play throughout the first period. For the home side, points from Ciaran Rice, Kevin Rice, Conor McCann (2), Conor Small, and Oran McCann (’65) sent them in at half time leading 2-08 to 0-06.
Creggan introduced Peter Graham in place of Conor Small at half time, and Graham was to score two goals, one with the ash, and another with the boot, in what was his first game for a number of years. While there may have been something scrappy about the kicked goal, this was in contrast to Tommy McCann’s goal which gave the impressive Chris McCann absolutely no chance. In truth, the home team dominated the second half, and scores from Oran McCann (0-5; 3f and 1 ’65), Conor McCann (0-2), Kevin Rice (0-2), Kevin Small (0-2) and Tommy McCann (0-1) kept the Glenravel men at bay. The visitors netted through Ronan McCann, with further scores from Caolan McCann (0-02), Declan Trainor (0-01), and Barry McCann (0-01). For regular attendees at Creggan there was something fairly experimental looking about the starting line-up, with two regular defenders Tommy McCann and Ciaran Rice, both starting at midfield, and regular midfielder, Sam Maguire, starting at #6. However, in what was a hard-hitting and physical game, all three were influential in their new roles with McCann, in particular, dictating a lot of the Creggan play. Indeed, these three players were able to move the ball quickly and create a lot of attacking space, which ultimately proved the foundation for many of Creggan’s scoring chances. While these three, along with Conor McCann, Oran McCann and Aidan Maguire saw a lot of action, particular credit must go to Kevin Rice who was involved in numerous tough physical encounters, winning many.
Perhaps it doesn’t seem right to criticise a team who manage to score 5-20 in the hour, although it might be suggested that the home side were guilty on numerous occasions of over-playing the ball, and on another day the forward line may have been more selfish and ruthless. For the visitors, O’Neill at midfield was the star man, with deserved mentions also going to Chris McCann in goals and Shanlee Kerr at #3, without whom the score line could have been so much more painful. Although specific mention has been made of some of the Creggan players, this might be better summarised as a good all round team performance by the home side. Something no doubt pleasing to the management and supporters.
Scorers for Kickhams: Oran McCann 0-7 (3f; 2 ’65); Conor McCann 2-04; Peter Graham 2-00; Kevin Rice 0-04; Tommy McCann 1-01; Kevin Small 0-02; Conor Small 0-01; Ciaran Rice 0-01.
Scorers for Con Magee’s: Brian O’Neill 0-03 (2f); Caolan Mullan 0-03 (1f); Declan Trainor 0-02; Ronan McCann 1-00; Barry McCann 0-02.