Antrim Intermediate championship at Armoy
Carey Faugh’s 0-19 Tír na nÓg 0-17
By Séamas Mac Giolla Fhinnéin
Carey Faugh’s certainly did not make life easy for themselves in this Antrim Intermediate championship tie at Armoy.
Midfielder Patrick Butler received a straight red card after just 50 seconds for an off the ball incident picked up by referee Mark O’Neill. But they still took the game by the scruff of the neck and won it with a power-packed display in the first half by the end of which they had opened up a 0-13 to 0-7 lead.
Despite a valiant attempt by Tír na nÓg over the course of the second half, Carey held on for a narrow victory and passage into the decider next month where they will meet Sarsfields.
Carey’s striking was that little bit crisper and they used their physicality better, particularly during the first half, to create and execute much needed scores.
Tír na nÓg probably didn’t use the extra player well during the first half, but they raised their game significantly after the break with the half-back line in particular taking control and keeping Carey pinned back in their half for long periods.
After the delay around the early red card, Kevin Sheerin pointed the resultant free and Tír na nÓg moved into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead after 10 minutes with Kevin’s brothers Pearse and Christy also making the score-board.
However Carey were showing a battling mentality and chasing down everything with full-forward Cathal McAuley creating enough problems for the Randalstown defence that the points were totting up all the time.
McAuley himself fired over some nice scores from frees and open play, while Martin Hunter’s second point put the team’s level at 0-5 each.
James Black, who was magnificent in the first half, hit the target twice from long-range frees midway through that opening half and Sean McLaughlin added two more white flags in the five minutes before the break to open a 0-13 to 0-7 lead.
Indeed Randalstown could have been in worse trouble only Kevin Kerr saved brilliantly from Fiachra McVeigh a short time before McLaughlin’s double.
Tír na nÓg came out strongly for the second half with an early point from Caoimhín Duffin followed by Ciaran Logan’s third from play and two frees from Kevin Sheerin. Suddenly the difference was down to two points, but over the next five minutes Carey hit four points of their own, two from ‘Doog’McAuley frees and one each from James Black and Fiachra McVeigh.
That slowed Randalstown’s momentum and it wasn’t until the 50th minute that they were back down to a three point gap again. Sub Kevin Murphy however hit back with a point, but further Tír na nÓg frees from Sheerin (2) and Colm Duffin brought it back to a single point in the fourth minute of added time.
However another Carey sub, Shay Hunter, came to their rescue pouncing on a loose ball and firing over from 40 metres just before Mark O’Neill sounded the long whistle.
The north Antrim men certainly will be delighted that they were able to dig deep and come through 60 minutes of hard championship hurling with 14 men against 15, but Tír na nÓg will reflect on what might have been if they had not allowed the second quarter gap on the score-board to develop.
Carey : Stephen McGinn, Eoin Hill, Sean McBride, Daniel Hill, john McBride, James McCuaig, Michael McVeigh 0-1, James Black 0-3, 0-2 frees, Patrick Butler, Fiachra McVeigh 0-2, Nathaniel Hunter, Martin Hunter 0-2, Peadar McVeigh, Cathal McAuley 0-7, 0-5 frees, Sean McLaughlin 0-2.
Subs : Kevin Murphy for M Hunter (HT), Shay Hunter 0-1 for S McLaughlin (48), Chris Butler for F McVeigh (53), Gerard McBride for J Black (59).
Tír na nÓg : Kevin Kerr, Conor Fitzgerald, Tony Martin, Brendan Kerr, Ryan O’Neill, Colm Duffin 0-1 free, Ronan O’Neill, Christy Sheerin 0-1, Caoimhín Duffin 0-1, Ciaran McKeown, Pearse Sheerin 0-1, Ciaran Logan 0-4, Kevin McCann, Kevin Sheerin 0-9, 0-8 frees, Emmett Martin.
Subs : Conor Dougan for E Martin (24), Donal Martin for Ronan O’Neill (52).
Referee : Mark O’Neill (Armoy)