ACFL Division 2A
Dunloy 3-12 Moneyglass 1-13
Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy
Who says championship dress rehearsals are supposed to be drab affairs? Someone forgot to tell Dunloy and Moneyglass. This one had it all on Wednesday evening with drama aplenty. Red cards, contested decisions, cracking scores, glaring misses and a super-sub performance that sealed the deal for the home side.
Step forward Caolan Gillan. ‘Booter’ was introduced by the Cuchullains management when they trailed Moneyglass by three points in the 46th minute. By full time Booter had helped himself to 2-3 and the home side to two league points. An incredible ending to what was already a cracking game of football.
The St Ergnat’s men came to Pearse Park knowing that a win would seal second place, opening an unassailable lead over their opponents on Wednesday night. That coronation of sorts will have to wait as the 14 man Cuchullains fought back in the last quarter of this contest to leave five points between the sides at the end of 60 plus pulsating minutes of football.
The home side had the better of an entertaining first half and held a three point lead after the opening 11 minutes. Seaán and Nigel Elliott splitting the posts either side of a brace from Conal Cunning (one free), Moneyglass’ sole score coming from Liam Brady in the same time.
Both were showing plenty of attacking intent in the opening exchanges with Dunloy edging the play but they were off target on too many occasion to have their play reflected on the scoreboard, hitting 10 wides overall in the first half.
Moneyglass thought they had scored the opening goal of the game in the ninth minute, Colum Duffin’s smart effort incredibly coming off the underside of the crossbar twice before the Dunloy defence cleared to safety. The St Ergnat’s men didn’t have long to wait before raising the green flag however, Seanchann Duffin rising superbly to collect a long ball and holding off the challenge of two Dunloy defenders, managed to squeeze the ball below Sean Doherty in the Dunloy goals.
Conaill Prenter split the posts to give the visitors the lead for the first time midway through the first half but Dunloy began to find their range in front of the target, Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning both scoring a brace of points to open a three point lead once again for the home side. A free from Seanchann Duffin temporarily reduced that lead to two before the home side were reduced to 14 men. Already on a yellow card, referee Cathal McDermott adjudged Oran Quinn attempted to trip a Moneyglass player and cut his game short by issuing another yellow, much to the dismay of the Cuchullains management.
The game sat precariously before the first turning point. Seanchann Duffin was brilliantly denied a goal by Doherty between the posts before moments later the home side scored their first goal. The Cuchullains countering before Molloy fed Seán Elliott and the Dunloy man showed great composure to find the back of the net despite the presence of the Moneyglass defence.
A brace of scores from Seanchann Duffin, taking his tally to 1-3 for the half left the home side ahead by three at the short whistle.
Half time: Dunloy 1-8 Moneyglass 1-5
The visitors made a superb start to the second half and kept the Cuchullains scoreless for 18 minutes. Maintaining a high press and putting the Cuchullains under pressure from their kickouts, the St Ergnat’s were back on terms after just three minutes. James McMeel, Seanchann Duffin (free) and Colum Duffin with the scores. Playing with a slight wind at their back they were picking holes in the Dunloy defence with Conaill Prenter, Seanchann Duffin and Colum Duffin all inspirational in dragging their sides fortunes around. It could have been better for the visitors but for marauding wing half Eamonn Kelly blazing wide after instigating a precise passing move through the Dunloy defence.
Moneyglass had all the momentum and fully deserved their two point lead on the basis of their efforts in the opening quarter of the second half, after Peter McCormick and Liam Brady fired over from distance in the 42nd minute. They should have had another goal however and for the life of me I’ve no idea how Prenter managed to miss the target in the 44th minute. Another superb move allowed St Ergnat’s to cut through the Dunloy defence and with Prenter on the run, he wrong footed the Dunloy defender and Doherty in goals. His effort went wide however and Dunloy breathed a collective sigh of relief. A goal at that stage would have been curtains for the home side but instead, the final quarter belonged to Caolan Gillan.
Seán Elliott scored the home sides first point of the second half in the 48th minute minutes after Seanchann Duffin’s fifth white flag of the match. Dunloy dragged themselves back into the game though with a 51st minute penalty. Karl Fitzpatrick moved to the edge of the square caught a high ball and with goal on his mind, the Moneyglass defence were overzealous with their tackling. Referee McDermott awarded a penalty and Booter despatched the spot kick with confidence to the bottom right hand corner. With Deáglán Smith pulling the strings from midfield, Dunloy opened a three point lead, Booter with a brace of points (one free) before Moneyglass had one last throw of the dice. The home side were keeping a high press but the St Ergnat’s men broke and with Colum Duffin landing a brace of white flags, they reduced the deficit to the minimum in the last minute of normal time.
That was their last score however as Dunloy and Booter took over in the five minutes of injury time that was added. He raised his third white flag from his second free before putting the result of the match beyond doubt with Dunloy’s third goal. Conor McKinley sending a long ball to Conal Cunning who sprinted through on the Moneyglass goal. Seeing Booter in space, he passed square and the Dunloy sub added gloss to the score line for the home side.
An incredible last 15 minutes between two evenly matched sides. Moneyglass still look like they will seal second place but this was another indication that the Cuchullains are one of the most dangerous sides in the Division. The championship contest between these two sides will prove to be a cracker.
Dunloy: Sean Doherty; Aaron Crawford, Jamie McFerran, Conor Kinsella; Chrissy McMahon, Gabriel McTaggart, Oran Quinn; Shane Dooey, Karl Fitzpatrick; Keelan Molloy, Nigel Elliott, Deáglán Smith; Seán Elliott, Conor McKinley, Conal Cunning.
Scorers: Caolan Gillan 2-3 (1-00 pen, 2 f’s); Seán Elliott 1-2; Conal Cunning 0-4 (1 f); Keelan Molloy 0-2; Nigel Elliott 0-1.
Moneyglass: Mark Carey; Miran Neeson, Tiernan Duffin, Peter McCormick; Jack McCoy, Sean Kelly, Eamonn Kelly; Colum Duffin, Niall Boyd; James McMeel, Paul Tohill, Conaill Prenter; Liam Brady, Seanchann Duffin, Gavin Murray.
Scorers: Seanchann Duffin 1-5 (4 f’s); Colum Duffin 0-3 (1 f); Liam Brady 0-2; Conaill Prenter 0-1; James McMeel 0-1; Peter McCormick 0-1.
Referee: Cathal McDermott (Tír na nÓg)