McCann fires Cargin to the brink of league crown

ACFL Division 1A

Roger Casements, Portglenone 0-10 Erin’s Own, Cargin 0-13

Tuesday August 6

Brendan McTaggart reports from O’Cahan Park, Portglenone

Cargin moved two points clear at the top of Division One after a hard fought win over Portglenone on Tuesday evening.  The three point win means that with one game remaining, the Erin’s Own men are in pole position with one game of the campaign to play but with nine minutes of normal time remaining in O’Cahan Park, it looked like the home side were going to cause an upset.  Dermot McAleese had just scored his second point of the match, blazing over the bar when some in the crowd had hoped for a green flag to be raised.  It tied the scores and Portglenone were enjoying their best period of sustained pressure in the match to that point. 

Cargin have proven in the past that they are the masters of these types of games and Tuesday night was no different.  McAleese’s 51st minute effort was the Casement’s last score of the match while Cargin tagged on a further three points in the time that remained. 

In a stop-start first half, the sides were tied on four points apiece with nine minutes remaining before the interval.  Niall McKeever, Niall Delargy, Ronan Kelly and Kieron McKenna landing the scores for the home side in response to Tomás McCann’s frees. 

Some of the matchups throughout the pitch were fascinating and added further sub plots to an already intriguing contest.  Michael McCann, the man who makes Cargin tick, being marshalled by Niall Delargy.  The Portglenone man was McCann’s permanent shadow while Shane Delargy went head to head with youth prospect Pat Shivers.  The Cargin man is turning into quite the target man and although living off scraps for large periods of this contest, the one time he lost Delargy was serenity.  Leaping above the Casement’s man and catching a ball he really had no right to claim.  He wriggled free of the challenge before finding the back of the net.  Referee Laverty had blown for the infringement however, much to the annoyance of the Cargin management team.  John Carron and Kevin McShane dovetailed well in midfield in a great battle with Fergal O’Kane and Niall McKeever which neither really could say had the upper hand throughout the game.

Cargin went on to control the closing stages of the first half.  In a physical and intense encounter with big hits and plenty of off the ball incidents, referee Sean Laverty had his hands full.  That could be the understatement to end all understatements such was the nature of this contest.  Portglenone were smart with their tactics but any indiscretions in the tackle were being punished by an on fire Tomás McCann and the Cargin sharpshooter added a further three scores before the short whistle.

Portglenone came out in the second half with the same energy, vigour and desire.  They weren’t prepared to let Cargin have things all their own way and they matched their south-west rivals score for score until Ronan Kelly and McAleese tied the scores on ten points apiece in the 51st minute.

Incredibly, the Toome men didn’t land a score from play until the 57th minute.  Jamie Gribben taking that ‘accolade’ but when you have a master marksman from placed ball on your side it takes a lot of pressure off when the going gets tough and Cargin have that in Tomás McCann.  He finished the match with 12 points to his name, the last of which was a particular highlight.  Wide on the left, yes the angle may have suited him but with the ball on the ’45’ and in a pressure situation, McCann stepped up and with one majestic swing of that cultured right peg, the ball bent inside the far post.  Was there ever any doubt?  It wasn’t a game winning score but it certainly felt like it was game defining.  Portglenone still had time to mount another attack and do the virtually impossible, create a goal scoring chance against a hugely disciplined Cargin rear-guard.  It didn’t happen. 

The closing stages of time added on were marred by ugly scenes and ‘handbags’ at ten paces and you got the feeling watching the game that it was coming.  It was a niggly contest between these two south-west sides that had threatened on a couple of occasions to boil over.  Frustration kicked in and the red mist descended.  When order was resumed, Cargin did what Cargin do best.  Control.  Portglenone couldn’t get their hands-on leather and the Erin’s Own men saw out the little time that remained without further incident.

The Casement’s round off their league campaign next Wednesday while Cargin travel to Creggan with the knowledge that anything other than a ten point or more defeat will see them crowned as league champions once again.  Advantage Cargin.


Portglenone: Ryan O’Neill; Ryan Convery, Shane Delargy, Johnny Delargy; Caolan Tierney, Dermott McAleese, Ronan Delargy; Niall McKeever, Fergal O’Kane; Conall Delargy, Niall Delargy, Kieron McKenna; Gerard McAleese, Paddy Kelly, Ronan Kelly.

Scorers: Dermot McAleese 0-2; Conall Delargy 0-2 (2 f’s); Ronan Kelly 0-2 (1 f); Niall McKeever 0-1; Niall Delargy 0-1; Kieron McKenna 0-1; Paddy Kelly 0-1 (1 f).

Cargin: John McNabb; Donagh McKeever, Justin Crozier, Gerard McCorley; Ciaran Bradley, Martin Kane, James Laverty; Kevin McShane, John Carron; Paul McCann, Michael McCann, David Johnston; Tomás McCann, Pat Shivers, Jamie Gribben.

Scorers: Tomás McCann 0-12 (12 f’s); Jamie Gribben 0-1.

Referee: Sean Laverty (St Ergnat’s, Moneyglass)

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