Creggan cruise through to semi-final

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship – Quarter final

Creggan Kickhams 4-13 St Mary’s Ahoghill 0-8

Report and pics by John McIlwaine

Creggan secured their passage to the semi-final of the Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship when they beat South West Antrim opponents Ahoghill at Quinn Park, Ballymena on Friday night. On top from the off Creggan were never really threatened by a strangely under par St Mary’s side who never came close to reproducing the form that saw they past St Brigid’s in the opening round. The Creggan men went on to lead by five at the break and when midfielder Kevin Small grabbed the first of his team’s four second half goals four minutes after the restart there was no doubting who would advance to the semi-finals.

Conor McCann, who had a fine game at midfield for Creggan, opened his team account on four minutes after picking up a pass from Odhran McLarnon and two minutes later McLarnon grabbed his team’s second. Centre forward Kevin Small set up overlapping half back Ruairi McCann for his team’s third in the eleventh minute and when the Creggan men won the kick-out Oistin McAteer raced up from corner back to add the fourth. It was 0-5 to 0-0 in the 13th minute when Odhran McLarnon sent Kevin Small through for a well taken score and though the scoring dried up for the winners it was a further eight minutes before Ahoghill registered their first score of the game with a pointed free from PJ O’Connell. After waiting 21 minutes for their team’s first score the Ahoghill fans only had to wait another 21 seconds for their second as full forward Donal Graham took advantage of a poor kick out to send the ball back between the posts, but Creggan hit back inside a minute when Odhran McLarnon finished a good move with a point at the other end. There was one brief glimmer of hope for Ahoghill three minutes before the break when good movement in the forwards saw midfielder Patrick Graham win possession on the edge of the Creggan square, but even though Graham hit his shot well, Creggan goalkeeper Oisin Kerr was equal to it and the danger was cleared.

Creggan took advantage of the let-off when Liam Quinn cut in along the end line and fisted over a point and when Keven Small added another his team were 0-8 to 0-2 clear. Ahoghill came back with two quick points in injury time to cut the gap to four but Small struck again with the last kick of the first half to give Creggan an 0-9 to 0-4 lead at the break.

19Five points down as the second half began Ahoghill certainly were not out of it, despite the vast difference in possession, but they needed a good start to that second period if they were to have any chance of a comeback. As it turned out it was Creggan who produced the goods and two Kevin Small points and a brilliant goal from midfielder Kevin Rice all but ended the contest. Donal Graham managed an Ahoghill point on 36 minutes but Creggan’s second goal came a minute later when Kevin Small found his brother Conor unmarked to the right of the Ahoghill goal and the full forward finished expertly with his left foot.

Ahoghill battled away against the odds and PJ O’Connell and Eoin Graham pulled a couple of points back but further goals from centre back Conor beag McCann and substitute Matthew Rodgers left a massive 17 points in it at the end.

CREGGAN

Oisin Kerr, Aidan Maguire, Richard Johnston, Oistin McAteer, Sam Maguire, Conor beag McCann, Ruairi McCann, Conor McCann, Kevin Rice, Odhran McLarnon, Kevin Small, Fintan Burke, Paddy Coey, Conor Small, Liam Quinn

Subs – Matthew Rodgers for McLarnon; Tiernan McAteer for Fintan Burke, Marty Johnston for Conor beag McCann.

AHOGHILL

Francis Neeson, James Magee, Stephen O’Connell, Bernard Graham, Eamon Brady, Thomas Hamill, Eoin Graham, Patrick J Graham, Martin Graham, Sean McMahon, Owen Neeson, Daniel O’Neill, PJ O’Connell, Donal Graham, James O’Connell.

Subs – Ronan Graham for Dan O’Neill; Daniel Graham for Bernard Graham

Referee – Brendan Toland

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