Paddy McLarnon-Premier Electrics U21 Ulster club football tournament
St Eunan’s (Donegal) 1-16
An Charraig Mhór (Tyrone) 0-11
St Eunan’s were explosive from the throw-in at Creggan this afternoon and brushed Carrickmore aside on their way to an Ulster U21 Paddy McLarnon Cup semi final.
The Donegal side were three points up inside two minutes as the strong Loughshore breeze sucked the ball back towards Niall McKenna’s goal on each kick out.
Despite Carmen settling towards the end of the half, the Tír Chonaill men led by double scores at the break and continued in the same vein without wind advantage to seal an 8-point win.
A blistering start saw Conor O’Donnell, Brian MacIntyre and Sean Breen all register points before Stephen Grogan could get Carrickmore off the mark in the 5th minute.
That score didn’t stem the Donegal men’s attacking tide as points from Oisín Toal, Shane O’Donnell and a further Conor O’Donnell free stretched the lead to five points.
The lively Conor O’Donnell then found the net after an audacious through ball from Cormac Finn landed perfectly in his arms, allowing him to roll it past Niall McKenna and into the net.
Grogan hit back for Carrickmore, twisting into space and tapping over, but Conor O’Donnell slotted a 45 to restore the gap before Ciaran Daly and Aaron Deeney traded scores.
With the game entering the final ten minutes of the first half, the Tyrone side began to find some rhythm and registered 0-3 without reply with a brace from Daly and Grogan’s third of the day.
As the game entered first-half stoppage time, Conor O’Donnell had another chance to effectively end the contest, but dragged his shot wide, before Aaron Deeney concluded the half’s scoring with his side leading by six points.
The Tyrone champions played with a second-half breeze but were labouring to clear the ball within minutes, coughing up a free which Conor O’Donnell converted on 33 minutes.
Stephen Grogan hit back in the 36th minute, but a brace from opposite number Eoghan McGeehin immediately overturned any momentum gained.
Eoin O’Boyle then had to be alert to parry a driven Ciaran Cuddy shot over the bar as Carrickmore attempted to force the issue, but the slaloming McGeehin replied immediately before rattling the woodwork with a goal effort of his own.
Second-half substitute Pádraig McGettigan tipped over a Conor O’Donnell 45 to stretch the gap to nine points, but Carrickmore continued to snipe with scores from Grogan and Darragh Loughran on 54 minutes.
Michael McCallan and Eoghan McGeehin swapped scores before Peter McEniff fisted over late on to conclude the scoring, but the end of the game was dampened by a serious-looking injury to Carmen’s Rory McElroy.
The Donegal men await the winners of tomorrow night’s quarter final clash between Dungiven and Enniskillen at neighbouring Ahoghill.
After bowing out in last season’s preliminary round, St Eunan’s will be content to have reached this year’s semi final and on today’s evidence, installed themselves as a leading contender.
St Eunan’s: Eoin O’Boyle, Sean Halvey, Darragh Toal, Aaron Deeney (0-02), Anthony Gallagher, Sean Ryan, Cormac Finn, Sean McGettigan, Oisín Toal (0-01), Brian MacIntyre (0-01), Shane O’Donnell (0-01), Kevin Kealy, Conor O’Donnell (1-04 – 0-02f, 0-01 – 45), Sean Breen (0-01), Eoghan McGeehin (0-04).
Subs: Pádraig McGettigan (0-01) for Anthony Gallagher (HT), Peter McEniff (0-01) for Cormac Finn (48)
Yellow cards: Oisín Toal, Peter McEniff.
An Charraig Mhór: Niall McKenna, Pauric Mullan, Jarlath Kerr, Rory Donnelly, Sean Donnelly, Cormac Munroe, Ruairí Slane, Lorcan McBride, Paddy McCallan, Ciaran Daly (0-03f), Tiarnan Murray, Darragh Casey, Conor Loughran, Ciaran Cuddy (0-01), Stephen Grogan (0-05, 0-01f).
Subs: Oran McKee for Sean Donnelly (24), Michael McCallan (0-01) for Darragh Casey (39), Darragh Loughran (0-01) for Conor Loughran (50), Rory McElroy for Tiarnan Murray (50), James McGurk for Ciaran Cuddy (55).
Yellow cards: Ciaran Daly, Conor Loughran, Ciaran Cuddy, Stephen Grogan, Michael McCallan.
Referee: Conall James Roberts (Antrim)