Comfortable win for Cuchullains

LOCC Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship

Group 1

Sarsfields 0-7 Dunloy 3-11

Sunday July 26

Brendan McTaggart reports from The Bear Pitt

Dunloy eased to victory in the Bear Pitt on Sunday afternoon with 13 points to spare at the end of the hour.  Two first half goals from Caolan Gillan and Aaron Crawford laid the foundation for the Cuchullains victory against a depleted Sarsfields side.

The home side competed with more intensity in the second half with Niall McKenna, Daragh McGuinness and Niall McAlea all caught the eye for the Paddies but the visitors were too strong and slick all over the field.  Ryan McGarry excelled in midfield with his high fielding in particular outstanding throughout the hour while Seaan Elliott was pivotal to the Cuchullains attacking threat.  He finished with four points all from play while the goals came from Aaron Crawford and two for Caolan Gillan – ‘Booter’ top scoring with 2-4 by the full time whistle.

With the help of whatever breeze was blowing on the Stewartstown Road pitch, Dunloy already had a point on the board from Elliott before scoring the opening goal of the match in the second minute.  The Cuchullains cut through the Sarsfields defence before Anthony Smith passed to Gillan who made no mistake.

Sarsfields early struggles were compounded with the loss of McAlea to a black card in the sixth minute as Dunloy took a stranglehold of the game.  The Cuchullains took advantage of their extra man as any Sarsfields attacks were fleeting in the opening quarter.

Their first point came from a McKenna free in the 14th minute but Dunloy had built a six point lead by that stage with Gillan’s accuracy from frees.  Sarsfields could have scored their opening goal moments later but Dunloy ‘keeper Stephen McIlroy saved superbly at the feet of Sam Walsh.

The second Cuchullain’s goal came after the water break with Crawford capitalising on a poor kick out before racing through and finishing to give Michael Brady little chance in the Paddies goal.

Dunloy continued to dominate with a brace of points from Elliott extending their lead to 10 points but their grip on the game was slightly loosened with Kevin McQuillan’s black card.  Sarsfield’s doubled their score through a Connor Laverty point but Elliott’s fourth white flag of the half gave the Cuchullains a 2-6 to 0-2 lead and the Paddies had a mountain to climb at the short whistle.

The home side looked to take advantage of their extra man at the start of the second half and tried to hem the Cuchullains in their own half.  A McKenna point was all they had to show for their efforts however and they were on the back foot when substitute Joe Mac an Fhaili was black carded soon after McQuillan’s reintroduction.  A brace of points from Conor Ferris and Gillan (free) as both sides looked to empty their bench for fresh impetus and the Cuchullains made sure of the result with their third goal of the match.  A blistering counter through the heart of the Paddies defence led by Elliott after Liam McCann played him through.  Elliott’s shot was superbly saved by Brady in the Sarsfields goal but Gillan had the poachers instinct and was on hand to tap into an empty net from the rebound.

A further brace of points from Crawford and Ryan McFarlane soon after the second water break added gloss to the score line for the Cuchullains but the home side never stopped pushing in the time that remained.  They outscored Dunloy four points to one in the final 10 minutes with Jack Daniels, Tomas Skillen and two from McKenna (one free), Gillan with the solitary score for the Cuchullains in that time but they saw out the time that remained with little concern.

Dunloy host Davitt’s on Wednesday evening when the second round of fixtures resume while Sarsfields make the trip to Moneyglass in search for their opening win.

TEAMS

Sarsfields: Michael Brady; Kieran Carson, Martin McPolin, Connor Laverty; Kieran McCullagh, Niall McAlea, Jack Daniels; Ethan Mervyn, Niall McKenna; Nicholas Omullane, Kevin McKernan, Declan Laverty; Sam Walsh, Daragh McGuinness, Tomas Skillen

Scorers: Niall McKenna 0-4 (2f); Connor Laverty 0-1; Jack Daniels 0-1; Tomas Skillen 0-1

Dunloy: Stephen McIlroy; Conor Ferris, Aidy Scullion, Karl O’Kane; Aaron Crawford, Callum Scullion, Oran Quinn; Kevin McQuillan, Ryan McGarry; Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott, Chrissy McMahon; Anthony Smith, Caolan Gillan, Ryan McFarlane.

Scorers: Caolan Gillan 2-4 (3f); Seaan Elliott 0-4; Aaron Crawford 1-1; Conor Ferris 0-1; Ryan McFarlane 0-1

Referee: Gregory Walsh (Aghagalon)

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