ACFL Division One
Kickham’s Creggan 1-15 St Mary’s Ahoghill 0-07
Reigning county champions Kickham’s Creggan began their 2022 league campaign very much on the positive when they recorded an impressive opening day win over St. Mary’s Ahoghill at their Staffordstown Road pitch today.
The Kickham’s started without their county contingent but the Cloney side never looked looked like posing a serious challenge.
Creggan started with the confidence of champions and had nipped away into an early 0-03 to 0-0 lead in the opening minutes.
Jamie McCann opened their account when he punished an indiscretion on Keelan Mc Cann by despatching the 30 metre free directly between the posts in the third minute. The home side were dominating in the central sector with a monopoly on the ’broken ball’ and further white flags raised in turn by Paddy Cooey and the towering Oran McCann saw them away very much on the positive.
Ahoghill opened their account in the 13th minute via a Colla McDonald point after an excellent Noel Crossey kick out opened the way but back to back points from Paddy Cooey and Tiernan Mc Ateer ensured a 0-05 to 0-01 advantage for the home side at the end of the opening quarter.
A strong Eoin Graham left sided run opened the way for the visitors to add a second point through Donal Graham in the 20th minute but that was to be St Mary’s last score of the opening period.
Aodhan Maguire came forward from defence to raise a white flag for the home side in the 23rd minute with Oran Mc Cann and Martin Johnston following suit. Johnston’s score was an excellent effort delivered from long range to split the posts.
Having struggled to gain a foothold in the opening period, St Mary’s spurned a couple of openings to add to their tally in the closing stages with three bye balls recorded in as many minutes underlining their failings, as their hosts led 0-08 to 0-02 at the short whistle.
The visitors needed a good start to the second half and it looked possible when Colla Mc Donald made a smart approach after a Bernard Graham delivery. A goal looked on but Creggan net minder Peter Graham was equal to the task, denying the corner forward with a smart save.
Creggan’s wing half back Sam Maguire got the first score of the second half when he nipped forward to split the posts in the 33rd minute.
James O’ Connell, who was causing problems for the Creggan rear guard at times, opened his account with a fine 36th minute point with Eunan Mc Ateer replying at the other and O’Connell then doubling his tally to raise hopes of a comeback.
It was all in vain however as Paddy Cooey and Jamie Mc Cann increased the home side’s lead and when Dominic McAteer and Keelan McCann followed suit the die had been truely cast.
Ahoghill kept battling to the end despite impossible odds and a trio of white flags raised in turn by Tom McGlone, PJ O’ Connell, and his sibling James signalled their never say die attitude.
In the event those scores proved ‘too little too late’ and indeed the home side were to finish with a flourish as a strong approach and a smart finish from corner back Eunan Mc Ateer yielded a goal and ushered the home side over the winning line, points secured with a 1-15 to 0-07 advantage.
Creggan: Peter Graham, Ethan Carey Small, Killian Burke, Eunan Mc Ateer (1-01), Aidan Maguire (0-01), Sam Maguire (0-01), Keelan Mc Cann (0-02), Oran Mc Cann (0-02), Jamie Mc Cann (0-02), Paddy Cooey (0-03), Tiernan Mc Ateer (0-01), Martin Johnston (0-02), Matthew Rogers, Dominic Mc Ateer.
Fintan Burke for E C Small
Jamie Mc Ateer for S Maguire
Aidan Mc Keown for M Rogers
Ahoghill: Noel Crossey, Paddy Dougan, Bobby Magee, Bernard Graham, Eamon Brady, Fionnbar O’ Neill, Tom Mc Glone (0-010, Neil O’ Connell, Martin Graham, Eoin Graham, James O’ Connell (0-03), Dan O’ Neill, Colla Mc Donald (0-01), Donal Graham (0-01), PJ O’ Connell (0-01)
Referee Fiontan McCotter (Sarsfields)