Rasharkin through to semi-final

Casement SC JHC Group 1

St. Mary’s Rasharkin 4-1 Davitt’s 0-14

St. Mary’s Rasharkin became the second team to qualify for an automatic semi-final place in the Casement SC JHC when they overcame the challenge of Michael Davitt’s at a sunny Dreen this afternoon.

In front of an audience that included GAA President Larry McCarthy and Ulster Council Vice President, Michael Geoghan who were there for the official opening of their new 4G pitch, four first half goals put the home side in a strong position.

Conor McKillop fired home the first after 30 seconds as Rasharkin started strongly into the breeze and Conor McKeever pointed a 4th minute free to give them an excellent start. The visitors hit four unanswered points to draw level by the 9th minute with the free taking of Don Whelan instrumental in their comeback and Anthony Rowntree on target from play.

Davitt’s were enjoying the better of the possession at this stage but Rasharkin replied and a long delivery from Tiernan O’Boyle was fielded by Conor McKeever who turned his marker before firing home his side’s second goal.

Don Whelan replied with a point from a ‘65’ and Conor McKeever and Stephen McGivern for the West Belfast men exchanged further points before Donagh Quigg raced through the Davitt’s defence to fire to the corner of the net for his side’s third goal.

It got even better for the men from Dreen when a massive free by Tiernan O’Boyle from the left hand touchline and about 60 meters from goal deceived Thomas Maguire and dropped to the corner of the net to put Rasharkin 8 ahead by the 22nd minute.

Conor McKeever (0-2 f’s) for Rasharkin and Don Whelan and Stephen McGivern for the visitors exchanged points in the run into half time with the Naomh Muire men in a strong position going into the second half and with the breeze now in their favour.

Davitt’s needed a good start to the second half if they were to get back into contention and Don Whelan fired over his fifth free of the evening in the 2nd minute before deciding to go for goal from his second award of the half but Liam Tunney in the Rasharkin goal was equal to the task.

Whelan added a point from another free as the visitors enjoyed the better of the early second half exchanges before Donagh Quigg replied with St. Mary’s first point of the half with five minutes gone.

The Lower Falls side continued to dominate the opening exchanges as Don Whelan fired over another free before Stephen McGivern sent a magnificent effort from 60 meters between the sticks to bring his side’s total to 0-12 as his side’s comeback appeared to be gaining momentum.

Rasharkin hadn’t scored at this point but Conor McKeever fired over their first point of the half in the 8th minute and should have had a goal immediately after as he took advantage of a bad puck-out but his close range drive sailed over instead of under.

The same player added another from a close range free in the 14th minute as the home side started to get on top again and at this point they introduced Conor Higgins for Conor McKillop.

The Belfast side continued to fight for every ball but were finding it difficult to penetrate a rock solid Rasharkin defence who were giving nothing away and the impressive McKeever added another from play before sending a sublime side-line cut between the uprights in the 17th minute.

The same player looked to be in for his side’s 5th goal a minute later but his deft flick came back of the crossbar with the keeper beaten and was cleared to safety.

Rasharkin were now in control however as Donagh Quigg added a 23d minute point and the same player had his attempt for goal blocked for a ‘65’ which Conor McKeever returned between the uprights to bring his total for the evening to 1-8 with five minutes of normal time remaining.

Davitt’s kept battling to the end with McGivern and Whelan adding late points but there was no way back at this stage and it is Rasharkin who will now contest the semi-final and enjoy home advantage while Michael Davitt’s have a chance to redeem themselves and will now meet Armoy in the quarter-final.

Rasharkin: Liam Tunney, 2 Daniel Doherty, 3 Conor Doherty, 4 James Higgins, 5 Ruairi O’Boyle, 6 Emmet McFerran, 7 Aidan McKeever, 8 Declan McKay, 9 Tiernan O’Boyle, 10 Shane Hasson, 11 Conor McFerran, 12 Eamonn McNeill, 13 Conor McKillop, 14 Donagh Quigg, 15 Conor McKeever, 23 Thomas McMullan. Subs: Conor Higgins, Fergus Quigg, Terry McGregor, Eoin Kennedy, Kealan Darragh

Davitt’s: 1 Thomas Maguire, 2 Odhran Gorman, 3 Michael Rowntree, 4 Ruairi McIlroy, 5 Caomhin Heaney, 6 Christopher Gallagher, 7 Antoin McLaughlin, 8 Deaglan Mooney, 9 Peter Og Carleton, 10 Don Whelan, 11 Stephen McGivern, 12 Marcas Toner, 13 Cormac Maguire, 14 Anthony Rowntree, 20 Christopher Cunningham, 25 Jamie McNally, Sub: Oskar Deevy Persson

Referee: Mark McDonald

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