Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship final preview
St Enda’s are the third Antrim club to contest an Ulster Intermediate football final and they are bidding to become the first side from the Saffron County to win the title. Moneyglass were the first team to qualify for a decider when they played Tyrone champions Pomeroy in the final in 2004, while Dunloy made it to the final three years later where they were beaten by Ballinagh of Cavan.
Here we carry the reports from those games as they appeared in the Ballymena Guardian. I have to say both reports were a little hard on the home teams and must have been written by a reporter from the opposition teams, the ‘hitting a brick wall’ phrase appears in both.
Moneyglass run into a brick wall
Moneyglass 0-7 Pomeroy 1-13
The Moneyglass team who won the 2004 Intermediate championship
After a magnificent season, which saw them go unbeaten through their league and Intermediate Championship campaign, Moneyglass, in this Ulster final, ran into a brick wall.
The Tyrone champions, with a similar track record to the Antrim men, once they found their bearings in Casement Park, dominated this tie almost from start to finish. Moneyglass with early points from Kevin Brady and Ciaran Duffin looked to have the edge and certainly they settled much quicker that their opponents. However once Pomeroy got into top gear they proved unstoppable.
Aidan McCreesh began the charge with a 10th minute point and along with Ciaran McKenna, Jarlath Quinn and Michael McCourt had eight on the board at the half-way stage. As the slick looking Tyrone men chalked up the points the St Ergnat’s side were in obvious difficulty and with a defence working flat out, and midfield struggling, the forwards had few chances and failed to score again during the first half.
If the Moneyglass men were not dead in the water by this stage it took just six more minutes to put an end to their chances. They were unfortunate when an early effort from Ciaran Duffin came off a post, only to be followed by a Michael McCourt point. The same player delivered the killer blow in the sixth minute when he was on hand to fist home a Benny Devlin fisted clearance. Another point from McCourt five minutes later made it 1-10 to 0-4 and it was curtains for the South West side. In fairness the refused to throw in the towel and they had a good spell between the 12th and 19th minutes when Aidrian McKeefry, Paul McErlean, James Marron and Ciaran Duffin all had points.
The Pomeroy lads however were still not finished and points from Ollie McCreesh, Aiden McCreesh and Steven McKenna gave them the title. Moneyglass did score once more before the end, when substitute Liam Brady had a point but on this occasion they met a stronger more direct side certainly intent on doing the business. Disappointment for Moneyglass but they have nothing to feel ashamed about. They have gone further than any other team in the county and deserve great credit for that.
The Pomeroy scorers were Michael McCourt 1-3; Aiden McCreesh 0-4; Ciaran McKenna 0-2; Jarlath Quinn 0-2; Olly McKenna 0-1; Steven McKenna 0-1.
Moneyglass replied through Aidrain McKeefry 0-2; Kevin Brady 0-1; Paul McErlean 0-1; James Marron 0-1; Ciaran Duffin 0-1; Liam Brady 0-1.
Dunloy’s dream ends
Ballinagh (Cavan) 2-11 Dunloy (Antrim) 2-3
Dunloy can have no complaints after being well beaten by a stronger and much more imaginative Cavan side in the Ulster Club Intermediate Football final at Healey Park, Omagh.
For the Dunloy men it has been a wonderful journey as expectations since winning the Antrim title were never too high. They managed to beat Kinawley in the Ulster quarter final and raised expectations somewhat when they performed exceptionally well against Newbridge in the semi-final. On this occasion however they ran into a brick wall and apart from the opening couple of minutes were always gasping for breath. When hit by a couple of late first half goals they were finished and an injury to David Birt, after just 17 minutes didn’t help things either.
During the second half they were likewise always playing second fiddle as Ballinagh dominated in every position and a 41st minute Benny McGarry goal only helped their opponents to move into another gear.
Dunloy made a few changes from their semi-final side. Gareth McAllister came off the bench to partner Johnny McAleese at midfield with David Birt moving to the half forward line. Ballinagh too drafted in Pat Carroll for Anthony Duffy to the full back line to combat the threat of the Dunloy full forward line but it was something of a surprise when three point half forward Kevin Smith was replaced by David Finnegan. In the end the changes made by both sides had little bearing on the game. For their part Dunloy failed to come up to scratch. Certainly their tried hard but they were outplayed and outfoxed by a much stronger side. Ballinagh on the other hand threw in players right, left and centre and each and every one of them stepped up to the mark.
What a start Dunloy got when Kevin McAllister picked up a ball from Adrian McAllister and in the second minute they were a goal to the good. Their lead lasted just nine minute as Ballinagh followed with points from Colin Gumley, Anthony Gaynor and Declan Beard to level matters by the 11th minute. They continued to dominate as Dunloy found the going much tougher and points from Niall McDermott and Gumley saw them lead by two after 19 minutes. The first of their goals came two minutes later when Niall McDermott cut through the Dunloy defence and beat Gary McIlfatrick all ends up. Dunloy’s second score of the game came from a Benny Carry free in the 22nd minute but they were to be hit with another goal before the break. This time corner-forward Paul Galligan and at this stage even the most optimistic knew that Dunloy were finished.
Perhaps no-one told the players as Paudie Shivers, just a minute after the restart, knocked over a point which could have sparked a revival. It wasn’t to be however as the Cavan champions hit back with three unanswered points, Galligan doing the damage with points in the 34th, 35th and 37th minutes, the last one a fine fisted effort. The only thing Dunloy had to cheer about in the final 30 minutes was a 41st minute goal. Jerome McAllister set up Benny McGarry who gave his side some hope as at 2-2 to 2-6 they had perhaps an outside chance.
Ballinagh however came back again with three more points to kill off any chance the North Antrim side had. Anthony Gaynor pointed a 45, substitute Kevin Smith made his mark and Colin Gumley made their total 2-11. A well beaten Dunloy side had the final say when substitute Declan McGarry knocked over a late point.
Dunloy scorers – Benny McGarry 1-1; Kevin McAllister 1-0; Paudie Shivers 0-1; Declan McGarry 0-1.
Ballinagh – Paul Galligan 1-3; Niall McDermott 1-1; Colin Gumley 0-3; Anthony Gaynor 0-2; Kevin Smith 0-1; Declan Beard 0-1.
The Dunloy team that day was
Gary McIlfatrick, Chris Brogan, Conor McKinley, Darren Webb, Barry Murphy, Paudie Shivers, Cahir Cunning, Johnny McAleese, Gareth McAlliser, David Birt, Kevin McAllister, Kevin McQuillan, JJ McFerran. Subs – Colin Cunning for David Birt, Jerome McAllister for Murphy, Benny Merron for Paudie Shivers, Declan McGarry for Johnny McAleese.