Creagh Concrete Minor Football Championship (final)
Erin’s Own Cargin 0-09 St Brigid’s 1-05
Cargin retained their minor title when they withstood a late rally to overcome the challenge of St. Brigid’s in a good minor football final at Dunsilly on Saturday. In a repeat of last year’s final the Toome side looked to be heading for a comfortable victor but a 45th minute goal by the excellent Marcus Lynch reduced the deficit to a couple of points and ensured a pulsating last quarter.
The Cargin defence found themselves on the defensive and when centre forward Lynch added a point less than a minute into the last quarter they came under ever increasing pressure as the Musgrave Park side pressed hard for an equaliser.
The South West side stood firm however with Craig Thornton outstanding making a couple of vital interceptions in the closing minutes as Cargin breasted the winning line on a 0-09 to 1-05 scoreline to retain the title.
In a repeat of the 2019 final, Cargin and St Brigid’s lined out at Dunsilly this afternoon to contest the 2020 version with both having impressed on their way to the final and a close game was very much anticipated.
The South West side had the wind at their backs in the opening half and it was the defending champions who were first out of the starting blocks and less than a minute into the game, Conhuir Johnston raised white, punishing a foul on Paudie McLaughlin.
Eunan Quinn and Odhran Molloy had combined to win the throw in and when the leather was fed into Paudie McLaughlin and when he was impeded Conhuir Johnston was not troubled to despatch the resultant free between the posts.
A good start by the Toome side and Johnston doubled his tally when he sent a 35 metre free between the posts before Tom Shivers followed with another to move the reigning champions 0-3 to 0-0 ahead after 8 minutes.
St Brigid’s got off the mark in the 11th minute when Marcus Lynch split the posts from a 30 metre free but the South Belfast lads could well have fallen further in arrears a minute earlier as their keeper Declan Heery made a good save to deny Benen Kelly. Odhran Molloy’s lob had sent the centre forward in on goal only to be denied by the advancing net minder who made a timely intervention.
Cargin having dominated the opening quarter were only a couple of points ahead at the first water break at 0-03 to 0-01 but they stepped up the pace in the second quarter.
Eunan Quinn and Tom Shivers set up Paudie McLaughlin who was fouled as he advanced on goal and Benen Kelly despatched the resultant free between the posts from all of 50 metres.
St. Brigid’s tried to respond but could get no change out of a strong Cargin defence despite the best efforts of Marcus Lynch and Ronan Boyle who were battling hard to get their side going.
A foul on Tom shivers opened the way for Conhuir Johnston to raise another white flag in the 23rd minute with Marcus Lynch replying from a similar award at the other end to leave Cargin 0-06 to 0-02 ahead at the half way stage and good value for that lead.
The South Antrim side had the wind at their back for the second half and after Benen Kelly’s 50 metre free was just wide of the target in the opening minutes a well laid counter saw Ronan Boyle nip through the middle to grab a 36th minute point.
A good score from the centre forward but the Toome side were quick to reply as a Eunan Quinn flick opened the way for Paudie Mc Laughlin to raise white and Tom Shivers added another to extend the Cargin lead to five and at this stage they were well in control.
A 42nd minute point from Marcus Lynch when he converted a 30 metre free brought a quick response from the Erin’s Own as Sean Og O’ Neill and Tom Shivers combined to place Conhuir Johnston to make reply.
Approaching the second water break St. Brigid’s upped the ante and Oisin O’ Donnell and Conan Mc Nicholl combined to send Marcus Lynch away on the left and he fired the ball to the back of the net to reduce the deficit to two points going into the final quarter.
St Brigid’s now had the bit between their teeth and Marcus Lynch fired over another point in the 46th minute to reduce the deficit to the minimum and with the wind at their back the momentum seemed to be swinging their way.
It was backs to the wall for the Erin’s Own in the closing minutes but their defence stood tall with Cahir Donnelly, Conan Johnston and rugged corner man Craig Thornton repelling all that came their way.
A good game of football with just a kick of the ball between the sides in the end but it was Cargin who claimed their second title in two years and they will be hoping their senior side can do likewise tomorrow in Portglenone to complete a wonderful double-double.
Cargin: Shea Laverty, Conan Johnston, Cahir Donnelly, Craig Tornton, Malachi Johnston, Sean og O’ Neill, Conan Kennedy, Odhran Molloy, Eunan Quinn, PJ Quinn, Benen Kelly (0-01), Charlie Mc Cann, Tom Shivers (0-02), Conhuir Johnston (0-04), Paudie Mc Laughlin (0-02)
Shane Gribbon for PJ Quinn
Ben Mc Larnon for T Shivers
St Brigid’s: Declan Heery, Donal Harrison, Joe Mc Carney, Cathal Maguire, Matthew Smith, Rueben Carelton, Liam Finnegan, Ronan Boyle (0-01), Jack Logue, Fionntan Mc Garvey, Marcus Lynch (1-04), Conal Mc Nicholl, Donal Bradley, Toirleach Brolly, Oisin O’ Donnell
Referee C Mc Dermott (Tir na nÓg)