Burren blitz St Brigid’s in opening quarter

FonaCab Ulster Minor Football Championship Quarter-Final 

St Brigid’s 0-09-3-12 Burren

Kevin Herron reports from Shaws Road 

Burren advanced to the semi-final of the FonaCab St Paul’s Ulster Minor Football Championship courtesy of three goals inside the opening 15 minutes of their 3-12-0-09 quarter-final win over St Brigid’s this afternoon. 

Joe McLoughlin found net within the first minute and a quickfire double for Oisin McStay- one from the penalty spot and the other a close-range finish had the Down Champions 3-03-0-02 in front and well on their way to victory. 

St Brigid’s only registered a single Diarmuid Hanna point from play and had to rely on Rory McErlean – who notched up seven frees over the course of the afternoon, but in truth their slow start meant they were always chasing. 

Burren made a dream start on the Shaws Road when they won the ball in their own half and found Oisin McStay, he tried to slip in corner-forward Joe McLoughlin and a lucky bounce allowed him to pick up the intended pass and squeeze a shot inside the near post past Owen McCarney. 

Rory McErlean measured a free at to get St Brigid’s up and running, though Dara Mussen steered a shot over the bar. 

The County Down Champions were on the front foot and extended their lead through Cormac Ward’s point after a Donagh Murdock layoff, Joe McLoughlin then added to his goal- dropping a high effort over to give his side a 1-03-0-01 lead. 

McErlean notched his second free of the half for the Musgrave Park outfit, but they soon found themselves in disarray. 

Goalkeeper Owen McCarney was adjudged to have caught a Burren attacker as they tried to force their way in on goal and Tyrone referee Kieran Eannetta signalled for a penalty. 

Oisin McStay took responsibility and sent his effort down the middle to make it 2-03-0-02. A few minutes later Joe McLoughlin floated a high ball in, which dropped and was stabbed to the corner of the net by McStay for a quickfire double from the full-forward. 

St Brigid’s had to rely on the placed ball for their first half scores as Rory McErlean brought his tally to three. 

However, Burren were more clinical in their forward play; Charlie O’Hare opened his personal account for the afternoon and after Conall McKinley turned over the resulting kick-out- Dara Mussen was on hand to pick off a nice score from range. 

The duo of McKinley and Mussen combined again with a similar outcome, Mussen kicking his third point of the half. 

The County Down men picked off two further scores before the half, Cormac Ward doubled his account with a simple point in front of the posts and another goal chance presented itself when the ball was kicked into the path of Oisin McStay- the full-forward may have tried for his hat-trick, but instead opted to dink over the bar. 

It was St Brigid’s who closed out the first half scoring courtesy of a converted mark from JJ Higgins, though at the midway point the Antrim Champions were on the wrong end of a 3-08-0-04 score line. 

Burren extended their lead upon the restart, Conall McKinley played a short free, took the return and shot over the bar. 

First half substitute Diarmuid Hanna hit St Brigid’s first point from play in the contest after 35 minutes and McErlean followed-up with back-to-back frees in the aftermath. 

Mussen added to his personal tally after a nice trade from Joe McLoughlin and at the other end Rory McErlean added two further frees to bring make it seven for the afternoon and make it 3-10-0-09. 

That was close as St Brigid’s would get within as Burren closed the game out with an impressive Shea Begley point and a fifth of the afternoon from Dara Mussen as they ran out 3-12-0-09 winners at the conclusion to set up a semi-final meeting with the winners’ tomorrows quarter final between Ramor United and Dungiven on December 18th

St Brigid’s:  O McCarney, D Ogelsby, C Louge, C O’Connell, T McKenna, C Finnegan, M Gorman, J Blaney, T Lloyd, T McGarvey, R McErlean (0-07f), D Quinn, C Gilleece, JJ Higgins (0-01m), J Mellon. Subs: D Hanna (0-01) for D Ogelsby (24), P Mulgrew for J Mellon (47), D Prenter for T McGarvey (55). 

Burren: R Downey, M Farrugia, S Fitzpatrick, M McManus, A King, C Woods, O Macauley, S Begley (0-01), C Ward (0-02), D Murdock, D Mussen (0-05), C McKinley (0-01), J McLoughlin (1-01), O McStay (2-01, 1-00p), C O’Hare (0-01). Subs: D Cunningham for O Macauley (34), T Serridge for S Fitzpatrick (41), D Carvill for J McLoughlin (49), C Fearon for O McStay (55). 

Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)

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