ACHL Division Two
Saturday 23rd July
Report by Niall Kelly
Glenariffe Oisin 1-11 Kickhams Creggan 3-19
A polished performance in the ‘Queen of the Glens’ from Creggan saw them emerge victorious in their penultimate league fixture at the expense of Glenariffe. Despite starting well, the hosts were powerless to halt the fluidity and prowess of the Creggan attack. A flurry of points and a goal apiece indicated that this one could well be a tight affair. However, after edging ahead on the tenth minute, the visitors would refuse to relinquish the lead and a dominant second half performance limited their hosts to only 3 points in the final thirty.
The game burst into life with two goals in the opening five minutes. Oisin’s Michael Gettens pounced on the Creggan defence as they tried to work their way out from the back and slotted the ball through for full forward Alex O’Boyle who finished to the net emphatically. O’Boyle was on hand to add to his tally, splitting the posts from range and Odhran Gillan added another in response to Ruairi McCann getting his team off the mark. Creggan began to shake the cobwebs off and responded with a goal of their own. After firing a point over from close range, Conor McCann was alert to dispossess the Glenariffe defence from the resulting puc out and fired the ball in from close range to level proceedings.
McCann (2) and Donal Kearney exchanged points before Creggan began to turn the screw as they took a stranglehold of affairs. Ruairi McCann was dictating things in midfield and was the fulcrum of attacks. His drilled ball through set through Sean Duffin who unleashed a thundering effort on goal only for Seanan McToal to deny him with an outstanding save. McToal however was powerless to stop the onrushing Morgan Nelson from drilling in the rebound off the ground low into the opposite corner.
A pointed free from Alex O’Boyle decreased the gap to three as the teams went tit for tat in an exchange of well despatched points with the pick of the bunch from Oisin’s midfield maestro Michael O’Boyle who pointed two superb efforts from range after selling a few delicious feints in the process. However, as the half approached its end, Creggan dealt a hammer blow to their opponents to which they never seemed to recover. Tenacious work from Tiarnan McLarnon paved the way for Morgan Nelson to expertly finish his second goal of the game just before the referee’s whistle to leave the score 1-08 to 3-09 in favour of the visitors.
The hosts had an uphill battle in the second half and couldn’t muster the same intensity and resilience as the first. Limited to only three points, they struggled to establish any rhythm and weren’t helped by the imperious form of the talismanic Conor McCann. It was McCann who got the scoring underway in the second half before firing over another with some dogged work. Alex O’Boyle respond with another accurately finished placed ball and after a slight injury delay, substitute Ron McDonnell made an instant impact firing over seconds after being introduced.
But Glenariffe would only register one more point, scored through the trusted hurl of O’Boyle, and Creggan began to seamlessly transition through the gears. The full complement of their forwards managed to get on the score sheet and the interplay between them will no doubt have pleased their management going into Championship. Oran and Ruairi McCann split the posts twice with Diarmuid Mulholland, Kevin Rice, Liam McCann and Aiden McKeown also opening their accounts. Conor McCann was typically in on the act as well adding to his tally as the half drew to a close.
I don’t think too many will argue that Creggan were worthy winners today. Nevertheless, with both teams having not much to play for in Division 2A, we shouldn’t focus too much on the result. It will certainly be interesting to see how both sides’ fortunes pan out in the upcoming Intermediate Championship. Both teams have been drawn in the same group and perhaps neither management team wished to play their hand too much with regard possible tactical tweaks and positional changes.
Also, a speedy recovery to Glenariffe’s number ten today, Shane O’Connor who suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder. Here’s hoping he’s back and at it for the curtain raiser against Sarsfields in a few weeks’ time.
S McToal, M Haughey, N Murray, Daniel Kearney; Donal Kearney (0-01,) C Patterson, C Black; M O’Boyle (0-02,) O Kearney; S O’Connor, M Gettens, O Gillan (0-01;) C Farrell, A O’Boyle (1-05,) B O’Boyle (0-01)
B Prenter; D McCann, T McCann, J McAteer; A McKeown (0-01,) L McCann (0-01,) T McLarnon; K McCann, R McCann (0-02;) M Nelson (2-00) O McCann (0-02,) K Rice (0-02;) S Duffin (0-01,) C McCann (1-09,) D Mulholland (0-01)