Naomh Comhghall’s Ulster Dreams shattered at Breffni

Ulster Junior Club Football Championship quarter-final

Denn (Cavan) 2-15 Naomh Comhghall 0-6

Antrim Junior champions, Naomh Comhghall had their Ulster dreams well and truly shattered by an excellent Denn of Cavan at Breffni Park on Saturday evening. The Antrim town side went into their Ulster debut without three key players from their Antrim county final victory over Rasharkin and set up defensively in an effort to contain the Denn men.

Things appeared to be going to plan when the sides went into the first water break tied on two points each but significantly the Cavan champions had kicked eight wides during an opening period where they dominated possession.

Cavell Keogan pointed Denn ahead in the opening minute and the Cavan men might have been further ahead but were guilty of some poor shooting and when Naomh Comhghall hit back with points from Miles Devine and Dylan Murdock to take the lead by the 9th minute things appeared to be going the way of the Antrim champions.

The Cavan side continued to create and waste chances before the impressive Ben Conaty levelled matters just before the water break and the same player edged his side ahead with his second of the game in the 22nd minute.

Denn were pushing up on their opponents and forcing turn overs as Naomh Comhghall found it increasingly difficult to penetrate a hard tackling defence and Leon Cobey stole forward from defence to fire over in the 25th minute and the right back might have had a goal.

The Cavan side continued to edge the opening half exchanges as Conaty took his personal tally to three to leave his side leading by 0-5 to 0-2 at the short whistle but at this stage there was little indication of what was to come in the second half.

Adrian Dougan’s side needed a good start to the second half if they were to get back into this game but it was the Cavan men who opened on the front foot and a good build up opened the Naomh Comhghall defence wide open and Thomas Edward Donohoe finished to the corner of the net with just two minutes on the clock.

Stephen Baxter’s side were beginning to play with great confidence and flow as goalkeeper, Mark Fegan stepped up to convert a ‘45’ and Oisin Kiernan and Caolain McCabe added two more as the Antrim men struggled to break out of defence.

Dylan Murdock, who was outstanding for the losers finally opened their second half account with a point in the 41st minute but the momentum was now with Denn as they replied with points fromThomas Edward Donohoe and James Brady.

St. Comgall’s never gave up as they continued to probe for an opening with substitute Peter McAuley pointing after making a mark and Tom Patchett added another to the approval of the Antrim town support but it was going to take something special to get them back into contention.

The Cavan champions were in no mood to let that happen as they finished in devastating fashion with Eoin Reilly firing home their second goal with ten minutes remaining and points from Ben Conaty, Mark Fegan, Cian McGann, Conor Courtney and Thomas Edward Donohoe in reply to a consolation point from Dylan Murdock, saw them run out convincing winners.

Naomh Comhghall: Anto Watson, Ryan McAuley, Kian Walker, Caolan O’Loan, Ruairi Griffin, Dylan Murdock, Michael McCabe, Miles Devine, Danaan O’Hara, Tom Patchett, Lewis Higgins, Paddy O’Connor, Oisin Crilly, James mcCabe, Paddy Quinn.

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