Creggan Kickham’s 0-14 Erin’s Own Cargin 1-9
Kickham’s Creggan collected their first Minor Football Championship in 2008 under the lights at Casement Park when they overcame the challenge of a good Erin’s Own Cargin. This was a great final and it proved the right decision to postpone the original game due to poor weather conditions as these parish rivals served up a thriller.
This is the report from the Creggan website:
It was Cargin who took the lead following a pointed free in the opening minute but Creggan responded from Hugh McNulty point to bring matters all square. It wasn’t long though to Cargin edged ahead again with their full-forward slotting the ball to the Creggan net but the Kickham’s refused to panic and replied through a point from Odhran McLarnon.
Cargin extended their lead to three once more and their tactic of dropping long ball into their full-forward line was paying dividends early on but Creggan gradually began to get a foothold on proceedings.
Cathal Small and Odhran McLarnon punished indiscretions by the Cargin defence to close the gap to one but Cargin were having none of it as they struck two points of their own to move three in front once more.
Midway through the opening half Creggan began to get on top and they hit four unanswered points with Odhran McLarnon claiming three and the other coming from Cathal Small as the Kickhm’s took the lead for the first time on the night.
It was end to end stuff at this juncture in the game and the young Erin’s Own again found a response with two points of their own to edge one ahead once more, much to the delight of the good crowd who had made the journey to Casement.
Cargin were nearly in for the game’s opening goal but Paul Nelson got back to make a timely clearance but in doing so aggravated an existing Achilles injury and was forced to retire to be replaced by Ciaran Russell.
Russell was to play a major part in his side’s success on the night as Creggan finished the half strongly and Conor McCann sent over a fine point to leave the sides level at 0-9 to 1-6 at the halfway stage and all still to play for in the second half.
Creggan made the better start to the second half with the exchanges between the sides no less intense or exciting. Both sides were determined to get their hands on the cup on the night and both sides contested every ball as if their lives depended on it.
It was Creggan who made the better start however and they put themselves in a strong position as they kicked four unanswered points through the impressive Odhran McLarnon (0-2) and Hugh McNulty who was having a great game on the edge of the square.
Play and possession ebbed and flowed with both defences con top at this stage and a lot of the play centre around the middle of the field as Michael Sweeney replaced Damian McLarnon in the Creggan side.
Cargin kept battling and were rewarded from two pointed frees as the tension mounted in both the stand and on the field as the clock ticked down as Cathal Small edged the Kickham’s three in front from a well struck 35 meter free from out near the touchline.
Cargin refused to throw in the towel however and they staged one final push which resulted in a penalty award but to the relief of the eventual winners the spot kick sailed wrong side of the upright and the cup was on its way to the Staffordstown Road.
This was a great game of football contested by two excellent sides and Cargin will feel somewhat unfortunate not to have taken the game to extra time but they certainly played their part in a game that had both sets of spectators on their feet throughout the hour.
Kickham’s Creggan: Aidan McKeown, BJ McKeown, Ricky Johnston, Paul Nelson (Ciaran Russell) Aidan Maguire, Martin Johnston, Fergal McGrenaghan, Paddy McAuley, Seamus Allen, Cathal Small (0-3), Conor McCann (0-1), David McGuckian, Damian McLarnon, (Michael Sweeney), Hugh McNulty (0-3), Odhran McLarnon (0-7)