Larkin Cassidy Solicitors
Intermediate Football Championship – Group 1
Wednesday August 12
Dunloy 1-11 Con Magees 1-10
Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy
Gripping. Compelling. Championship football in it’s rawest and purest form. Dunloy and Glenravel slugged it out in Pearse Park in a match billed as must win for the Cuchullains.
The home side delivered but this was an epic encounter with the minimum between the sides at the end of a pulsating 60 minutes of football. Chrissy McMahon top scored for the victors, finishing with 1-3 for the hour with the major coming in the second half when his side were down to 14 men after the loss of Caolan Gillan.
It was the decisive score for the Cuchullains and the match. The numerical advantage didn’t have the influence on the game it could have. The Con Magees threw everything at Dunloy on the day and in Eamon Fyfe they have one of the best forwards in the county. He gave the Cuchullains their fill of it and more in a superb performance. Like McMahon for Dunloy, Fyfe finished with 1-3 while Cathal Hynds recorded four white flags in total but it wasn’t enough for the men from the Tenth Glen.
Their numerical advantage was gone with seven minutes of the match remaining when full back Connor Carey was given a black card for a foul on the rampaging Kevin McAllister. The introduction of the Dunloy veteran proved to be a masterstroke for the home side. He provided much needed composure and gelled their attack that was lacking any fluency in the first half.
The game was held up in the early stages with Aidy Scullion injured after a collision in the fourth minute. It came from a high ball into the heart of the Dunloy defence that went lose with Scullion contesting. Fyfe collected but Dunloy ‘keeper Stephen McIlroy produced a superb save.
By the first water-break, there were just three points on the scoreboard – weighted in the Cuchullains favour. To say both defences were on top would be an understatement but it was becoming a game of chess that was more intriguing than anything. Neither side willing to gamble.
Gillan scored the point of the match in the 20th minute when he dissected the posts with the outside of his left boot on the right hand side of the pitch but Glenravel found another gear. They had a major outlet in Fyfe on the inside forward line and when they delivered quick ball, they were getting some joy. They reeled off three unanswered points thanks to Fyfe and Hynds (two) to take a two point lead.
Dunloy and McMahon had the last say of the half when he finished a swift counter attack for his first score of the match to leave the visitors ahead by the minimum at half time.
The Cuchullains started the second half with more urgency and pushed up further on the Con Magees defence. They regained their lead when Gillan and Seaan Elliott split the posts after just five second half minutes but their charge was halted with the dismissal of Gillan for an off the ball incident with Connor Carey.
McAllister’s first point opened a three point lead for the Cuchullains but Fyfe scored what can only be described as a wonder goal for the Con Magees in the 39th minute to drag them back into the game. Wide on the left and 30 yards from goal, he sent a speculative effort towards the goal that dipped viciously and ended up in the back of the net. For a lesser mortal you might call it lucky but it’s the type of genius the Glenravel man is capable of.
The Dunloy response was match defining.
Elliott scored a free from close to 45 yards out before Cathal Hynds and Conal Cunning swapped white flags to leave the sides tied on 0-9 to 1-6 14 minutes into the second half. The Cuchullains were pressing the Glenravel defence and forcing them into errors, and they created their goal through this avenue. Seaan Elliott and Cunning forcing the turnover ball before Elliott sent McMahon clear. The Dunloy man still had work to do but he finished superbly to put the home side in control just before the second water break.
Glenravel responded by reducing the Dunloy deficit to the minimum thanks to Aidan O’Donnell and Cathal Hynds (free) and looked to be in the ascendancy but their charge was halted when they lost their full back to a black card. Carey dragged down McAllister who was through on goal but for the Con Magee’s man intervention.
The Cuchullains regrouped and held onto their one point lead in the time that remained. McAllister (free) and McMahon with the scores for the home side, Eoin McCusker and Sean McKay for the visitors.
This group goes into the final matchups with no one guaranteed a place in the semi-final. Glenravel host Moneyglass while Dunloy travel to Glenavy needing to at least match the Con Magees result against the St Ergnait’s men.
Get the calculators ready.
Dunloy: Stephen McIlroy; Conor Kinsella, Aidan Scullion, Connor Carey; Aaron Crawford, Callum Scullion, Oran Quinn; Kevin McQuillan, Ryan McGarry; Conal Cunning, Seaan Elliott, Ryan McFarlane; Chrissy McMahon, Caolan Gillan, Anthony Smith
Subs: Anton McGrath for Aidan Scullion (7); Kevin McAllister for A Smith (HT); Padraig McGilligan for R McFarlane (52); Ciaran McQuillan for O Quinn (58)
Scorers: C McMahon 1-3; C Gillan 0-2; K McAllister 0-2 (1f); Seaan Elliott 0-2 (1f); C Cunning 0-1; C Scullion 0-1
Con Magees: Shaun O’Boyle; Conleth O’Loan, Connor Carey, Charlie Henry; Cathal Hynds, Eoin McCusker, Daragh Donaghy; Connor Carey, David Higgins; Eoin Hynds, Sean McKay, Aidan O’Donnell; Ryan Lennon, Eamon Fyfe, Aidan McCafferty
Subs: Declan Traynor for R Lennon (33); Ryan Lennon for D Traynor (50)
Scorers: E Fyfe 1-3 (1 mark); C Hynds 0-4 (1f); E McCusker 0-1; S McKay 0-1; A O’Donnell 0-1
Referee: Eamon McAuley (Erins Own, Cargin)