LOCC Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship
Saturday August 19
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 4-8 St Mary’s Rasharkin 0-17
By Brendan McTaggart
What a way to open the LOCC Solicitors Intermediate Championship. Two teams with high ambitions in this year’s Championship went toe to toe in Randalstown on Saturday evening in a pulsating encounter and it was the men from Moneyglass who came out on top to progresses. Just.
The St Ergnat’s blazed four goals throughout the hour, two from rising star Dermot McErlain with Patrick McCormick adding a third in the first half but it was their fourth goal that had the Rasharkin support up in arms and swung the tie heavily in favour of the Moneyglass men.
Seven minutes into the second half, Moneyglass were awarded a penalty with referee Brendan Toland calling for a foot block by Pearse Kelly. It looked like a harsh decision and the Rasharkin players were far from happy but the decision stood and Moneyglass took advantage. Liam Brady added insult to injury by finding the back of the Rasharkin net despite Ryan Doherty going the right way and despite an epic fightback from Rasharkin, Moneyglass held on.
The first half was an evenly contested affair but Rasharkin will rue the last six minutes of the opening 30. Despite the concession of an early goal to McErlain, the men from Dreen were staying in touch with Eamonn McNeill in superb form. Moneyglass were finding space at will in the Rasharkin defence however with Seanchann Duffin, McErlain and Pádraig Mackle causing major problems with their pace in attack.
When McNeill scored his fourth point of the half, it gave Rasharkin the lead after 22 entertaining minutes but Moneyglass finished the half strongly. Another solo run from McErlain caused carnage in the Rasharkin defence and drew in defenders leaving Patrick McCormick free at the back post. McErlain supplied the pass and McCormick showed composure to beat Doherty for Moneyglass’ second major.
It gave Moneyglass the lead and on the face of things, a deserving half lead but it was the St Ergnat’s third major that changed the game. Paul Tohill this time attacking the Rasharkin defence at pace and finding McErlain in space who did the rest. At half time, Moneyglass led 3-5 to 0-9.
Moneyglass started the second half well and thanks to Duffin, they increased their lead to six points shortly after the restart. Rasharkin hit back with scores from Andrew Hasson, his fourth point of the match and a free from Ryan Lynch and they looked like building momentum. Their momentum was soon derailed though with the controversial penalty decision. Brady applied the finish to leave eight points between the teams and Moneyglass looked home and hosed. Not so. Rasharkin fought back. Slowly chipping away at the Moneyglass lead while indecision that was nowhere to be seen beforehand, started to creep into the Moneyglass men.
Rasharkin made changes to help bolster their defence, Fergal Kennedy and James Scally both having an impact while the outstanding free taking of Andrew Hasson and Lynch edged Rasharkin back into the tie.
15 minutes remained and four points separated the sides when Mark Carey was the saviour for Moneyglass. Rasharkin carved out a goal scoring opportunity with Thomas McMullan finding Andrew Hasson with the Rasharkin man one on one with Carey. The St Ergnat’s ‘keeper spread himself bravely and took one for his team, with Hasson’s shot rebounding off his face and to safety. A sensational stop and an outstanding piece of bravery from the Moneyglass shot stopper.
Rasharkin ploughed on though and when Lynch landed his fourth point of the match, it made it five points unanswered for Rasharkin but Moneyglass still held a two-point lead with just five minutes remaining. Brady’s first point from open play stopped the ‘rot’ for Moneyglass but Lynch returned the favour, replicating his fete to keep the Rasharkin championship hopes alive.
Rasharkin threw everything they had in the closing stages to get the scores required but they came up short. Efforts from long range dropping short and some last gasp defending from Moneyglass kept them at bay and when Brady scored his third point of the match deep in injury time, he also sealed Moneyglass’ passage to the next round.
In the end St Ergnat’s did enough but they were given an almighty scare and almost grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. Rasharkin will look back at the last five minutes of the first half and think on what might have been but it’s goals that win matches and St Ergnat’s delivered. It is they who progress to the quarter-finals and a meeting with Gort na Mona.
Moneyglass: Mark Carey; Kevin McPeake; Miran Neeson; Sean Kelly; Patrick McCormick (1-00); Tiernan Duffin; Pádraig Mackle; Ryan Boyd; Ryan Doyle; Seanchann Duffin (0-1); Paul Tohill; Dermot McErlain (2-2, 1 ’45); Gavin Murray; Liam Brady (1-3, 1-1 frees); Conaill Prenter (0-2)
Subs: Donal Laverty for R Doyle (56 mins)
Rasharkin: Ryan Doherty; Donagh Quigg; Dominic McFerran; Pearse Kelly; Shane Hasson; Thomas Doherty; Declan McKay; Brendan Etherson (0-1); Thomas McMullan; Cathal Mooney; Enda McFerran; Andrew Hasson (0-6, 4 frees); Jonathan McAleese; Ryan Lynch (0-5, 4 frees); Eamonn McNeill (0-5)
Subs: James Scally for D McFerran (31 mins); Fergal Kennedy for T Doherty (40 mins); Gerard O’Hagan for E McFerran (58 mins); Thomas Doherty for J Scally (injury time)
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)