Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup
Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament
Sunday January 13
O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt (Derry) 6-7 Enniskillen Gaels (Fermanagh) 1-10
Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Chiceam #UlsterU21Club19
A blistering start with a hatfull of goals and a controlled display from O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt despite a fightback from Enniskillen Gaels ensured the Derry men would progress to the semi-finals.
Six goals from six different scorers throughout the hour proved to be the difference. The Magherafelt side were in control of this quarter-final after 12 seconds when captain Michael McEvoy landed their opening goal and while the Gaels got to within six points late in the second half with a vastly improved display after the restart, a late brace from substitute Eoghan Hawe and Paddy McLarnon ensured the Derry champions would win with a bit to spare.
They were clinical in front of the posts in the first half and all but one of their scores came from open play in the opening 30 minutes. The axis of Michael Lynch and Ronan Young were causing the Fermanagh champions insurmountable problems while the tactics of leaving their attacking trio isolated was paying huge dividends. They had opened a six point lead by the sixth minute when Young landed their second major, McLarnon with the assist to leave Enniskillen Gaels with a huge mountain to climb.
Matthew McAleer opened the Gael’s account in the eighth minute with their first effort on goal but Rossa were dominant all over the pitch and were tearing through the Gaels defence at will. Declan Martin landed a point for his side, drilling his effort over the bar but he had more than a point on his mind. The Magherafelt man made no mistake when presented with a similar chance moments later though to score his sides third goal in the 11th minute. Cormac Murphy with the assist and Martin’s finish emphatic.
The Magherafelt charge was halted with a point form John Reihill but the Derry men maintained their pressure with Michael Lynch landing a point before scoring their fourth goal with a superb team move. Young collecting a long ball before finding Ben McErlain. Lynch read the play and moved into space and McErlain duly obliged with the pass. Lynch was through one on one and he gave Cian Newman no chance with his finish. 15 points separated the sides with seven minutes of the half remaining and the tie looked over. Lynch added a free in the last minute of normal time of the half before Enniskillen Gaels scored a goal of their own and the goal of the contest. Reihill collecting a quick free from Conal Quinn before unleashing a thunderous drive from distance with the ball clipping the inside of the upright before finding the back of the net. It did little to take away from an outstanding performance in the opening 30 minutes from the Derry men as they led 4-6 to 1-2 at the short whistle.
The Fermanagh champions made changes for the second half and began to pick off scores from range. Substitute Conor Love had a massive impact, scoring three points along with the playmaking ability of Callum Jones but they rarely threatened to score the goals they would need to worry the Derry men.
With seven between the sides they had a glimpse of goal when Jones landed a ball on top of Brandon Horan on the edge of the square but the Gael’s man saw his punched effort deflected over the bar by Odhrán Lynch in the Rossa goals.
Magherafelt finished the quarter-final strongly however with Eoghan Hawe finding the back of the net after superb work from Conor McCluskey while Paddy McLarnon added the sixth deep in injury time. The Gaels lost Smyth to a second yellow card late in the game but it had no bearing on the result with Rossa progressing to the semi-finals and a meeting with either Dromore or Clann Éireann in three weeks time.
Enniskillen Gaels: Cian Newman; Michael Dooris, Ciaran Smyth, Aaron Nolan; Conor Butler, Jonathan Cassidy (0-1), Ronan Beattie; Patrick Cassidy, Brandon Horan (0-1); Eoin Beacon, Conal Quinn (0-1, 1f), Ronan Quinn (0-1); John Reihill (1-2), Nathan Tierney, Matthew McAleer (0-1).
Subs: Conor Love (0-3) for P Cassidy (HT); Timmy Boyd for E Beacom (HT); Callum Jones for M McAleer (HT); Gavin Greene for R Beattie (38); Matthew Dixon for R Quinn (52).
O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt: Odhrán Lynch; Diarmuid Kielt, Conor Mansell, Patrick McLarnon (1-1); Conor McCluskey, Simon McErlain, Guisseppe Lupari; Michael McEvoy (1-00), Sean Óg Monaghan (0-1); Declan Martin (1-2), Cormac Murphy, Liam Óg McElhone; Ben McErlain (0-1), Michael Lynch (1-2, 1f), Ronan Young (1-00).
Subs: Eoghan Hawe (1-00) for M Lynch (50); Johnny McErlain for G Lupari (54); Ryan Kearns for C Murphy (inj).
Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)