AIB Ulster Club Junior Football Championship (Qtr Final)
Con Magees Glenravel (Antrim) 0-08 Red Hugh’s (Donegal 3-08
Report by Geordie McGuckin
Pics by Dylan McIlwaine
A couple of late goals claimed in the dying minutes of the Ulster Club Junior Football championship ensured passage into the next phase of the competition and added sheen to the scoreline and a victory claimed by Donegal representative Red Hugh’s over the Antrim champions, Glenravel on a pristine Portglenone sod on Sunday.
The Donegal men having gone in at the break with a 1-07 to 0-04 advantage, late call-up Calvin Bradley grabbing the goal from a 16th minute penalty, but as the second period progressed it became clear that the Glensmen were not about to give up the ghost.
Conor McNeill who scored 4 points for Con Magees. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine
The Antrim champions started the second half with a point from the impressive Conor Mc Neill and as the defence, in which Niall Swann and Paul Mc Curry led by example, stood tall in defiance they started to reel in the Donegal champs. When Josh Mc Keown sent a free between the posts in the 50th minute only a score separated the sides.
The Tir Conaill men having failed to register a score in the second period were a little rattled but late replacement Jonny Carlin raised a white flag in the 52nd minute to settle things down. Glenravel cut their deficit back to three points again and hopes were high that they might yet salvage something out to the game until late goals by Colm Melaugh and Calvin Bradley dashed their hopes and sealed their team’s win by a somewhat flattering nine point margin.
The year 2018 had been kind to the Con Magees and after winning the county title they went on to add the Division 3 title as well. Red Hugh’s arrived to the Portglenone meeting place in the guise of firm favourites and they started out on the pristine O’ Cahan Park surroundings with an early point.
Less than a minute had elapsed when mid-fielder Damien Browne made strong approach to the target and although a Glenravel defender got in the way of his initial goal bound shot, he was able to claim the rebound and plant it between the posts.
The Glensmen looked for a quick reply and although denied in transit on a couple of occasions Conor Mc Neill had them on terms at the 7th minute when he split the uprights with a good finish.
The Con Magees may well have nipped ahead shortly thereafter when the Red Hugh’s net-minder Ciaran Kelly fluffed his lines from a kick out which went straight to Josh Mc Keown but the wing half forward failed to take advantage as he fired wide of the target.
Red Hugh’s Gerard Melaugh in action against Glenravel’s Michael Laverty
The Donegal champs certainly lacked for nothing in composure on their first visit to Portglenone and they seized advantage with back to back points through Shane Gallagher and Peadar Mc Glinchey saw them on the march as the end of the opening quarter approached.
Despite the nimble Conor Mc Neill and Aiden O’ Donnell causing concern to the Donegal rearguard when presented with the quick delivery Glenravel were having problems and a well worked counter attack by the Tir Connell men in the 16th minute as Calvin Bradley fired home from the penalty spot to give his side a 1-03 to 0-01 advantage.
Josh Mc Keown and Aiden O’ Donnell pulled a couple of points back for the Antrim men to sandwich a Peadar Mc Glinchey point at the other end, but despite having plenty of possession Glenravel were finding it hard to make the breakthrough and breakaway points from Pauric Mc Menamin and Calvin Bradley put Red Hugh’s in control.
Calvin Bradley added a further point to the Red Hugh’s total when he was sent away on the clear by Colm Melaugh in the 29th minute, but the Glensmen were to have the final say in the period via the pace laded Conor Mc Neill with his injury time delivery to their arrears to 1-07 to 0-04 at the short whistle.
Glenravel needed a good start to the second period if they were to get back into the game, and indeed with a few words of ‘encouragement’ no doubt delivered in the sanctuary of the changing room they returned in a different mood.
Conor Mc Neill added to their account with a point in the 32nd minute and indeed they should have added another in the next attack but for wayward finishing.
Red Hugh’s men were struggling to find a way through a Glenravel defensive unit in which a ‘no entry’ notice had been erected but the Antrim side were looking less secure in the attack mode.
Martin Mc Carry’s fetch and delivery from a Jonny Fyfe approach opened the way to the target for Declan Traynor, whose crisp delivery was parried away for a ‘45’ by Red Hugh’s keeper.
Conor Mc Neill did send the award across to see Conor mor Carey grab a smashing point and when Josh Mc Keown despatched a close range free, on the same direction a few minutes later only a score separated to protagonists with less than ten minutes remaining and the game appeared to be within the Antrim men’s grasp.
Con Magees forward Josh McKeow. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine
Red Hugh’s having failed to find the target for the opening twenty minutes of the second portion were begging to look a little less confident, but their drought ended in the 52nd minute when a strong Stephen Mc Menamin clearance sent late replacement Jonny Carlin away on the left to raise a white.
The Glensmen were quick to reply as Conor Mc Neill hoisted white in at the other end but and the game was still up for grabs.
However as the Glenravel men pushed to reduce the deficit further a well-timed interception saw Cathal Doherty and Damien Browne combine to send Colm Melaugh in for goal that would all but end the Antrim side’s challenge. Glenravel’s brave challenge had hit the rocks as the game went into injury time and to make matters worse Calvin Bradley broke through to grab his side’s third goal and give his team a somewhat flattering, though well-deserved victory.
Ciaran Kelly, Cathal Doherty, Sean Sweeney, Shane Mc Glinchey, Gary Kelly, Stephen Mc Menamin, Ryan Kelly, Thomas Mc Menamin, Damien Browne (0-01), Pauric Mc Menamin, Gerald Melaugh, Peadar Mc Glinchey, Colm Melaugh (0-01), James Carlin, Calvin Bradley (2-03)
Jonny Carlin (0-01) for S Sweeney; Colm Melaugh (0-01) for J Carlin; Eugene Browne for D Browne; Michael Devine for Gerard Melaugh; PJ Gallagher for S Mc Menamin
Sean O’ Boyle, Alister Mc Keown, Paul Mc Curry, Michael Laverty, Conor og Carey, Niall Swann, Gareth Mc Keown, Conor mor Carey (0-01), David Higgins, Declan Treanor, Ciaran Mc Keown, Josh Mc Keown (0-02), Conor Mc Neill (0-04), Martin Mc Carry, Aiden O’ Donnell (0-01)
Subs – Jonny Fyfe for Gerard og Carey; Conleth O’ Loan for D Traynor; Mark O’ Connor for G Mc Keown