Creggan forced to dig deep to stay on top

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 3

St Mary’s Rasharkin 1.10 Kickhams Creggan 2.12

Report and pics by Joe Rice

Creggan ended Rasharkin’s unbeaten start to Division 3 of the All County Hurling League when they travelled to Dreen on Sunday and came away winners after a  hard fought contest.

Both South West teams had clocked up three wins apiece so far in this campaign, and their management would have been eager to get this one over.  There seemed to be a nervous atmosphere about the Creggan players as they lined out in a cold, wet and windy Rasharkin with a heavy pitch to contend with.  Coupled with the fact that they had four of their starting panel missing from their last week’s encounter.

Rasharkin, on a roll from their previous results, confidently took up their position as, Referee Malachy Leech threw in the ball and the home team hit the ground running when Thomas McMullan, flicked the ball up and passed to Declan McKay who struck the ball on the run striking it high, dropping it over the Creggan’s Keeper, Emmet Long’s head, and into the net with less than a minute on the clock.  The resulting puck-out was taken in the air by Rasharkin’s Eamon McNeill and from 30 metres out he struck the ball back between the uprights to increase the home team’s lead to 1.01 to 0.00 with just three minutes gone.

The home team’s confident start had put the visitors under pressure but Oran McCann soon settled their nerves with a pointed free to get them up and running.  Rasharkin responded and grasped the next 2 scores, a point from Donagh Quigg and a second from Declan McKay, and with 15 minutes of play gone Rasharkin now led by 1.03 to 0.02 and appeared to be in control.

Creggan struggled to hold their shape with their usually reliable free-taker, Oran McCann finding it hard to cope with the strong breeze he was off target on four occasions.   His teammate, Conor McCann, wasn’t having much luck either, and was off target with a couple of scoring efforts himself, and it wasn’t until the twentieth minute of play that Creggan started to settle and get the ball on target.  Oran McCann sent over two points, one from play and the other from a free.  Rasharkin responded with Connor McKeever and Eamon McKay adding to their team’s tally, but Creggan hit back with two points of their own to cut the gap to two points at the break. (1-5 to 0-6)

An enthusiastic Rasharkin was out first after the break keen to resume where they had left off but it was Creggan who took control of the second period and Conor McCann sent over two points to level the score.  Eamon McNeill edged Rasharkin back in front but Creggan were getting a grip on the game, and when Teddy McKeown broke through to blast the ball past James O’Mullan in the Rasharkin goal they had the upper hand.

Rasharkin midfielder Donagh Quigg pulled a point back with a  well taken score from close range, but McKeown’s goal seemed to have put a spring in the Creggan’s players’ steps and they hit back with three unanswered points, two from Conor McCann and one from Kevin Rice, to go three clear. Rasharkin kept up the pressure with Eamon McNeill managing to increase his tally with a further three points but at this stage Creggan were gaining and edge, and when Thomas McCann dropped a long free ‘in around the house’ younger brother, Conor pounced on the ball in the ensuing scramble to blast it to the net.  That put the visitors four points clear and when Oran McCann added a point in injury time there was no way back for the men from Dreen.

CREGGAN: No.1 Emmett Long, No,2 Enda Maguire, No.3 Aidan Maguire, No.4 Daanan O’Hara, No.5 Ciaran Rice, No.6 Aidan McKeown (1.0), No.7 Keelan McCann, No.8 Niall McCauley, No.9 Thomas McCann, No.10 Kevin Rice (0.2), No.11 Sam Maguire, No.12 Oran McCann (0.4), No.13 Conor McCann (1.06), No 14 James Dougan, No.15 Jake McAteer, No. 16 Joe Sweeney, No.17 Brendan Maguire.

RASHARKIN:  No.1 James O’Mullan, No.2 Liam Tunney, No.3 Daniel Doherty, No.4 Connor Doherty, No.5 Aidan McKeever, No.6 Connor Hasson, No.7 James Scalley, No.8 Donagh Quigley (0.02), No. 9 Thomas McMullan, No.10 Connor McKeever (0.01), No.11 Shane Hasson, No.12 Emmett McFerran, No.13 Declan McKay (1.01), No.14 Eamon McNeill (0.06), No.15 Brian O’Neill.

Referee – Malachy Leech (Oisins)

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