Creggan prove too strong for dissapointing Naomh Eanna

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship Quarter-final

Creggan 3-9 Naomh Eánna 1-8

Kickhams Creggan proved too strong for Naomh Eánna at Dunsilly on Sunday afternoon and deservedly booked a semi-final spot against either Portglenone or St Galls. It was a dominant display from Gerard McNulty’s side who were dominant in all sectors but should’ve made more of the chances that they created over the hour. Afterwards McNulty, himself a Naomh Eánna clubman, praised his sides performance but stressed they still need to be making more of the chances that they are creating. “Delighted with the performance, one thing I’m disappointed in is the chances we missed in the second half. In a tight game against a team that could put you under the cosh that will come back to bite us. We can’t miss that many chances.”

Naomh Eánna boss Frank Fitzsimmons just couldn’t put his finger on a reason why his side under preformed. “Flat, maybe nervous, I don’t know” but he refused to accept that the midweek defeat to St Galls knocked the confidence out of his side. “We just didn’t get going” continued a very disappointed Fitzsimmons.

After conceding that early goal Naomh Eánna almost replied with one of their own but just as Kristen Healy was about to pull the trigger, Ruairí McCann made a brilliant last-ditch block. McCann then kicked three points as Creggan opened up a five-point lead, before he was on hand to finish a move he started by fisting the ball to the net after playing a clever one two with Coey.

At the other end of the pitch the Naomh Eánna forwards weren’t getting much change from a very well organised and disciplined Creggan defence. Time after time the Glengormley men were being forced down the flanks and pressured into a turnover or playing the ball back to half way.

After losing full forward Liam Quinn in the opening minutes, Creggan were dealt a further blow in the 27th minute when wing-back Sam Maguire was also forced off with an injury. This disruption lead to Naomh Eánna’s best spell of the half and three unanswered points from Eastwood, McKeown and Kennedy cut the arrears to five and at the short whistle Creggan led 2-3 to 0-4.

Creggan’s Jamie McCann opened the scoring in the second half before Coey added a pointed free to his tally as Naomh Eanna introduced Joe Maskey and Padraig Hamilton to help ignite a fightback.

It just wasn’t to be for Naomh Eánna and their day was summed up when the usually reliable Eastwood saw his 30-metre free drop short and into the hands of Oisin Kerr in the Creggan goal. Creggan then introduced Conor Small as he continues to work his way back to full fitness after a quad injury and he quickly made his presence felt with a well taken score of his weaker right foot, before converting a mark with his left which opened up a nine-point lead. Naomh Eánna were given a lifeline on 48 minutes when Niall McKeown played in Ciaran Thompson for a well taken goal that gave Kerr no chance.

McCann kicked his fourth point of the game to nudge his side seven ahead as the Glengormley side threw caution to the wind to claw themselves back into contention. This left gaps in their defence but with chance coming on the break Creggan were guilty of too much over playing as they tried to walk the ball into the net.

They were almost made to pay for those missed chances as two Eastwood’s frees and a point from Fionn Nagle brought Naomh Eánna with four points before Kevin Rice intercepted a quickly taken Maskey free to put Tiarnan McAteer away in the clear to finish neatly to the net and wrap up a seven-point win.

Teams & Scorers:

Creggan: 0. Kerr, A. Maguire, R. Johnston, E. McAteer, S. Maguire, M. Johnston, R. McCann (1-4 3f 1 ‘45’), K. Rice, C. McCann, F. Burke, K. Small (0-1), P. Coey (1-1 1f), T. McAteer (1-0), L. Quinn, C. Óg McCann.

Subs: A. McKeown for L. Quinn 5mins, J. McCann (0-1) for S. Maguire 27 mins, C. Small (0-2 1 Mark) for F. Burke 44 mins, T. McCann 46 mins, E. Carey-Small for P. Coey 51 mins.

Naomh Eánna: P. Flood, K. Jennings, C. Lyttle, C. McAuley, R. Kennedy (0-1), J. McAuley, C. Thompson (1-0), E. Gibson (0-1), N. McKeown, P. Healy, O. Eastwood (0-4f), K. Healy, R. Scott, M. McKeown (0-1), E. Nagle.

Subs: P. Hamilton for K. Jennings & J. Maskey for E. Gibson both HT, F. Nagle for M. McKeown 34 mins, D. Walsh for R. Kennedy 57 mins.

Referee: Mr Brendan Toland.

Barry McCoy of Brathe Sports presents a cheque to Paddy McIlwaine of Saffron Gael before Sunday’s Senior Football Championship game against St Enda’s at Dunsilly

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.