Senior Reserve Shield Football Final
Dunloy 2-14 Glenravel 2-07
We’re officially into Autumn but you’d struggle to believe it as Dunloy won the Reserve Football Shield final in balmy conditions well into late evening under floodlights at the magnificent Kelly Park, Portglenone on Wednesday evening. These two clubs competed in last year’s Intermediate Football final and unfortunately for the Con Magees it was deja vu as they lost out once more to the pacey, direct attacking football of a very agile Dunloy team. Goals in the opening minutes of each half gave Dunloy a fantastic platform to work from but their dominance in the second quarter is what really sealed the deal on the night. They had nine different scorers on the night against Glenravel’s five and up front Dunloy had the mercurial pairing of Michael and Anthony Smith who acted as target men for the surging counter attacking runs through the middle.
Michael had notched up 1-01 in the opening five minutes and added three more from placed balls most of which he won as Glenravel struggled to contain him at the full forward berth. Sean McKay got Con Magees opening point on six minutes and then we were treated to a seven minute spell when Dunloy went on the onslaught and only superb defending pivoted off Chris Laverty and Jude Scullion in nets kept the scoreboard quiet. Rory Smyth did manage a point but Daragh Donaghy, who provided a real threat up front all evening, got one back for Glenravel. One minute later, Sean McKay goaled to level the game at the end of the first quarter and Glenravel felt like they had weathered the green and gold storm.
However Dunloy dominated that second quarter and would add four unanswered points from Kevin McAllister (0-02), Karl Fitzpatrick from a forty five and Anthony Smith. Conleth O’Loan reduced the gap to three points from a free but Fitzpatrick drew the half to a close with another well taken free to leave his side ahead 1-07 to 1-03 at the break.
Despite the excellent luminosity of the Kelly Park floodlights, as darkness intensified it was proving difficult as a spectator to differentiate the two teams due to a jersey colour clash – perhaps something the authorities or indeed either side could have considered going into the game. At half time Glenravel took the unusual but very helpful step of reversing their jerseys. It didn’t phase their opponents who goaled in the opening minute of the second half through Barry McCloskey and suddenly it started to look ominous for the Glensmen and things got worse when McCloskey added a point one minute later. Dunloy were now ahead 2-08 to 1-03 and surely beyond the reach of their opponents. To their credit though Glenravel battled hard right to the end. A piercing run from Conleth O’Loan followed by a pin point pass found Sean Pól McKenna on the edge of the square and soon the umpire was reaching for a green flag. A few minutes later Conleth O’Loan pointed and we were back to a four point game. At this stage Glenravel were dominating and had a couple of real goal chances foiled by last ditch defending from Dunloy. Life is a game of if’s and maybe’s; had Glenravel converted those chances the momentum swing would have made for a very interesting final quarter.
It was not to be however. Michael Smith and Eoghan McGrath stretched Dunloy’s lead. Conleth O’Loan pulled one back for Glenravel after another good solo run and one minute later Sean McKay burst through and his rasper grazed the top side of the crossbar on its way over. A few inches lower and the keeper would have had no chance. But we were back to a four point game with Dunloy leading 2-10 to 2-06 setting up a very interesting final quarter. Once again though Dunloy would dominate that quarter and two close in frees for Michael Smith stretched the lead. Glenravel’s only score in the final quarter came from a free by Shea O’Broin and Dunloy’s Barry Scott got the final score of the game to seal victory for them on a 2-14 to 2-07 scoreline.