NJorthern Switchgear SFC Semi-Final
Creggan 2-9 Portglenone 1-7
A goal from Ruairi McCann, 20 minutes into the second half turned this Senior Football Championship semi-final on its head as Kickham’s Creggan came with a late run to defeat Casement’s Portglenone at Clooney today.
With Casement’s holding a slender one point lead but with the wind behind them the Bannsider’s appeared to be gaining control but Creggan were awarded a free about 40 meters from the Portglenone goal and Ruairi McCann stepped up to take the resulting kick.
The Creggan number 10 had been in great form throughout the contest and had already scored six points(4 frees) so when he stepped up to take this one he looked set to send over the equaliser but his shot dipped at the last minute and ended in the corner of Ryan O’Neill’s net.
Portglenone looked stunned and before they could gather their thoughts and regroup Conor Small raced through for a second goal, minutes after being introduced as a sub and that was that as Creggan took control in the closing stages.
It was Creggan who made the better start to this semi-final with Tiernan McAteer firing over a couple of excellent points and Ruairi McCann pointed a free to leave them three in front with eight minutes on the clock.
Portglenone were forced to start without Niall McKeever and Oisin Doherty, both players injured in Wednesday night’s win over St. Galls but Dermot McAleese made the starting team after being listed in the doubtful category prior to the game.
Peter Duffin came into the starting line-up and looked to be in for a goal scoring opportunity but ran out of road and was closed down before Dermot McAleese got his side off the mark with a point in the 13th minute.
30 seconds later Ruairi McCann restored the Kickham’s three point advantage before Ronan Delargy limped out of the contest to be replaced by Gerard McAleese.
The tackles were going in hard and fast and Conor McCann received a yellow card before Conall Delargy pointed from the resulting free but Ruairi McCann replied with a great point from play and another pointed free for the Creggan men to again extend their lead to four with 21 minutes gone.
With the breeze at their back, Creggan were in control and a point from Kevin Small in the 29th minute moved them further in front and they looked to be heading into the break with a healthy lead.
It wasn’t to be however as Portglenone’s running game with fast movement through the hands finally paid dividends and Niall Delargy was brought down by Marty Johnston as he bore down on goal with Conal Delargy putting away the resulting penalty to leave just two between the sides at the break.
With the breeze gaining in strength and now behind them the momentum looked to have switched in favour of Portglenone and they made a blistering start to the second half with Conall Delargy pointing a free and Caolan Tierney followed with a superb point from play before Michael Hagan converted another free to put them ahead with only seven minutes of the new half gone.
The Casement’s suffered a setback when Fergal O’Kane was shown a Black card following a rash challenge and Ruairi McCann levelled matters from the resulting free as the Bannsider’s introduced Paddy Kelly for Gerard McAleese.
Creggan were beginning to enjoy some success again and Jamie McCann fired to the net in the 11th minute but referee Sean Laverty had already blown for a free which Ruairi McCann despatched between the uprights to edge his side ahead once more
The Ports were now playing with a bit of swagger and confidence however and Caolan Tierney fired over a sublime point from out on the left and Conall Delargy dispatched another free between the uprights to give his side a slender one point lead at the second water break.
A game that appeared to be swinging the way of Portglenone took another turn on the resumption as Paddy Kelly appeared to have extended his side’s lead from a sideline free but his well struck shot came back of an upright and was cleared to safety.
Play switched to the other end and Ruairi McCann’s rather fortuitous goal turned matters on their head once more and Conor Small applied the coup de grace to rub salt into the wound with an excellent finish.
Kevin Rice added a point to move Creggan six clear and Niall McKeever replaced Kieron McKenna as Portglenone made their last role of the dice but there was to be no way back for Barry Dillon’s side.
Peter Duffin replied with a consolation point for the Casement’s and Ruairi Hagan received his side’s second Black card as a bit of frustration crept into the Portglenone play with their opponents seeing out the game comfortably.
This win sets Creggan up with a final meeting with old adversaries Cargin, who defeated Lamh Dhearg in a tempestuous second semi-final at St. Enda’s with the side’s last meeting at this stage of the championship in 2018 when Cargin won a rather uninspiring decider by 0-5 to 0-4.
Creggan: Oisin Kerr, Aidan Maguire, Ricki Johnston, Eunan McAteer, Sam Maguire, Martin Johnston, Jamie McCann, Kevin Rice, Conor McCann, Ruairi McCann, Kevin Small Fintan Burke, Tiernan McAteer, Paddy Coey, Conor Og McCann. Subs: Conor Small for Fintan Burke, Tomas McCann for Martin Johnston, Matthew Rogers for Sam Maguire, Liam Quinn for Kevin Rice
Portglenone: Ryan O’Neill, Johnny Convery, Shane Delargy, Ruairi Hagan, Ronan Delargy, Niall Delargy, Caolan Tierney, Dermot McAleese, Michael Donnelly, Conall Delargy, Kieron McKenna, Ryan Convery, Michael Hagan, Feargal O’Kane, Peter Duffin. Subs: Gerard McAleese for Ronan Delargy, Paddy Kelly for Gerard McAleese, Niall McKeever for Kieron McKenna.
Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)