Danske Bank Arthur Cup
Sr Ciaran’s Ballygawley 2-20-6-08 St. Mary’s CBGS
By Kevin Herron
St. Mary’s CBGS salvaged a share of the spoils with a late Liam Carr goal after a pulsating encounter with St Ciaran’s Ballygawley at Cookstown on Tuesday afternoon ended 6-08-2-20.
The Glen Road side were in the ascendancy for the majority of the opening half through goals from Carr – but were reduced to fourteen men and trailed by two at the interval.
However St. Mary’s battled back and led through goals from Carr and industrious midfielder Daire Murphy. Ballygawley appeared to make the most of their numerical advantage in the closing stages with seven unanswered points.
But with time fast running out Carr rifled low to the net to claim a deserved share of the spoils for his side.
St. Mary’s CBGS were quickest off the mark at Fr Rocks Park and hit the front through two excellent points from captain Carr – the full forward would conjure up the opening goal of the game. The St Ciaran’s defence afforded Carr too much time and space and the Rossa youngster took advantage – blasting to the roof of the net to give his side a 1-02-0-00 lead inside of five minutes.
St Ciaran’s responded almost instantly – Paul McLaughlin parried away a high ball but Ballygawley’s full forward followed up quickly to find the net.
St. Mary’s would restore their five-point advantage though – Conor Sullivan went from a point with a high shot that dropped into the hands of Carr, who claimed his second of the half with 11 minutes on the clock to make it 2-02-1-00.
Carr’s Rossa team mate Eoin Trainor increased his sides lead with a fine point within sixty seconds – though St Ciaran’s Ballygawley began to dominate in front of the posts and hit five unanswered points to close the gap to the minimum with ten minutes of the half remaining, 2-03-1-05.
In need of a score to regain momentum; Liam Carr delivered – but his side were reduced to fourteen men in the aftermath of his score and four unanswered points before the break gave St Ciaran’s Ballygawley a 1-09-2-04 lead at the interval.
Michael McDaid opened the second-half scoring and reduced arrears to the minimum and three-minutes into the second period St. Mary’s CBGS regained the lead for the second time.
Daire Murphy powered forward from midfield and confidently rifled to the net to give his side a 3-05-1-09 lead.
Four unanswered Ballygawley points followed as the Tyrone side regained the lead – though Murphy would pop up in the right place at the right time to edge his side 4-05-1-13 to the good midway through the second-half.
This topsy-turvey encounter took yet another twist within sixty seconds as St Ciaran’s charged up field and found their second goal of the game to regain the lead.
But with twelve minutes remaining in the game the lead changed hands once more as Daire Murphy completed his hat-trick with a powerful shot that the Ballygawley keeper failed to keep out to give his side a 5-05-2-13 lead.
Murphy’s goalkeeping spurred his team mates on as midfielder Dylan Magee, Conor Sullivan and Liam Carr added points to stretch the fourteen men’s lead to four with little over five minutes remaining.
It wasn’t until the final stretch that St. Ciaran’s made the most of their numerical advantage – Ballygawley went on all out attack and hit seven points unanswered.
Things could have been so much worse though had substitute Conor Boyle not made an excellent goal line clearance to prevent a certain third goal.
The Glen Road side were struggling to get out of their own defensive third and trailed 2-20-5-08 deep into added time – though Daire Murphy evaded pressure and launched a high ball into the forward line which was claimed by Liam Carr.
Carr had substitute Jay Burns to his left – but opted to make room for a shot that was directed inch perfectly into the bottom corner of the net to level an absorbing contest at 6-08-2-20.
There was just enough time for the resulting kick-out before proceedings were brought to a close as the sides deservedly shared the spoils.