Con Magees edge tight final to win Minor B crown.

Creagh Concrete Antrim Minor B Football Championship Final

Glenravel 0-11  Creggan 0-09

Report by Aodh O’Loan

In a very even game where both defences were on top, Glenravel emerged victorious and collected the Minor B Football Championship with a couple of points to spare when they beat South West rivals Creggan by 0-11 to 0-9. The sides were level on six different occasions throughout the hour and it wasn’t until the forty sixth minute before more than a single point separated two very evenly matched teams. Both teams struggled to find any fluidity in their play in the Autumn sunshine at Dunsilly and with defences on top, this wasn’t a game of free flowing football. In fact for most part it was a drab affair – the only real highlights being some outstanding high fielding from both sides.

Glenravel’s Eamon Ward clears from defence

Glenravel’s Cathal Hynds plucked numerous balls out of the clouds and Creggan’s Lee Johnston gave a master class in this art throughout the entire game. The game ended in a flurry of excitement though with Creggan finding the side netting in the final play when  a goal would have been enough for them to steal victory.

A jersey colour clash had forced the teams to toss for who would wear their jersey’s inside out. Creggan lost that toss and played with jerseys reversed for the game. Whilst this was good for the spectators and players it made score recording very difficult for this reporter since Creggan’s numbers weren’t visible. Kickhams started the  brighter side and were first to register score after three minutes. Ryan McQuillan levelled for Con Magees three minutes later, bu in what was to be a low scoring, tit for tat first half, every time Creggan would edge in front, their opponents pegged them back. Rian Lennon and Callum Higgins providing the equalising scores as the teams retired for half time on three points apiece.

Creggan’s Lee Johnston who caused Glenravel no end of problems

Creggan again edged in front twenty five seconds into the second half but again the Glensmen played catch up through Rian Lennon. Corner back Eamon Ward then nudged Glenravel ahead for the first time with five minutes of the second half played before Joe McAteer levelled with a free of Creggan. Rian Lennon put Glenravel ahead only for Joe McAteer to level a matters again, and so it went on.

However on 45 and 46 minutes, Glenravel recorded successive points from Rian Lennon and Shea O’Brion and there was a two point gap for the first time in the game. Sean Duffin reduced that to one point with a free on twenty minutes but with only five minutes normal time left Rian Lennon and Ryan McQuillan scored for Con Magees to pull their team 0-10 to 0-07 in front, and looking like they had just about done enough.

Glenravel’s Cathal Hynds in action

However Creggan’s Sean Duffin saw it differently and put over two fine scores to reduce the gap to a single point with only one minute remaining. At this stage Creggan were going for broke to get that equaliser but the next score came at the other end when Ryan McQuillan cooly slotted ever a free one minute into injury time to leave two between them once more. Now only a goal would rescue Creggan and when they were awarded a free fifty metres from goal deep in injury time it was clear they would have to lob it in and hope. They sent in their midfield  “twin towers” Lee Johnston and Sean Donnelly but it was Glenravel’s Cathal Hynds who fielded the dropping ball. In his attempted clearance there was a little pin ball on the edge pf the square, the ball eventually dropping to Johnston. Hearts were in Glenravel mouths as the big midfielder rose to palm the ball goalwards, but to the relief of the Con Magees followers the ball went inches wide of the upright and Glenravel had survived.

Glenravel captain Rian Lennon is lifted shoulder high by team manager Conor McNeill.

In truth, neither team deserved to loose this game it was so evenly balanced. Both teams came to play football and whilst there were a few yellow cards issued, the sides should be credited for a really sporting game. In congratulating Glenravel you have to feel a little for Creggan who came so close today and also last week in the Senior Championship. Defeat is always sickening but they can rest assured the structures for success are clearly solid and will bear fruit in time. And probably not that far away!

GLENRAVEL – Jude Scullion, Conor Laverty, Sean Higgins, Eamon Ward, Eamon Carey, Cathal Hynds, Joe Martin, Calum Higgins, Daniel McQuillan, Cormac McKeown, Ryan McQuillan, Adam Campbell, Shea O’Brion, Rian Lennon, Conor McAuley.

CREGGAN – Joel Dudley, Caolan Hughes, Cian Graffin, Peter McGinley, Odhran Hampsey, Dylan Hinphey, Sean McAuley, Sean Donnelly, Lee Johnston, Cillian McLarnon, Joe McAteer, Michael Murray, Oisin McAteer, Sean Duffin, Fintan O’Neill.

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