Tir na nOg bounced back from their recent defeat to All Saints in the OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship to record a four point victory over Con Magees, Glenravel in what was a dour hour’s football.
Ferocious defensive tackling in the opening half from the Randalstown men choked any creativity Glenravel could muster and that combined with some poor ball into the forward line led eventually to the home team’s downfall.
Tir na nOg went ahead in the opening minute from big midfielder Darren McCormick and that was a lead they would hold onto the entire game. After seven minutes, Randalstown’s full back Ciaran McGrellis found himself far from home when he fisted a point from ten yards out and Ciaran Dobbin increased the visitor’s lead to three with a point on eleven minutes. A minute later Eoin Hynds put over the best score of the game when under intense pressure and off balance his trusty left footed effort sailed over the green spot from forty five yards.
Eamon Fyfe followed up a minute later to reduce the gap to a minimum before Sean Duffin, who had an impressive performance throughout the hour, restored a two point lead for the Whitehill men. Eamon Fyfe was being well marshalled by the intense Randalstown tackling but still managed to pop over a score just after the water break but Duffin and Aaron McNeilly stretched Randalstown’s lead to three points on a 0-06 to 0-03 score line.
Aiden O’Donnell and Daragh Fagan traded points before the game’s decisive score off the boot of Sean Duffin who found the net one minute before half time and suddenly Tir na nOg had a six point lead. Callum Higgins and Aiden O’Donnell put over a couple of points between which Randalstown midfielder Darren McCormick pointed, all of which took us to half time with the visitors leading 1-08 to 0-06.
Brothers Eamon and Johnny Fyfe got Glenravel off to a good start in the second half with points on three and six minutes but Randalstown bounced back with three unanswered points in the next five minutes to restore their six point lead with only fifteen minutes remaining. They focussed from there to the end of the game in a defensive strategy with one further point from Sean Duffin the only score they recorded in that fifteen minute period. Eamon Fyfe pointed two nice frees and Aiden O’Donnell got the final score of the game to leave four between them in the end.
In truth the result was more important than the means in this game which did little to advertise the free flowing game that Gaelic football can be. In the end, Tir na nOg had a little more experience and used that to good effect. Both teams now get a well deserved break before embarking on the final two games late September in this round robin league.