O’Neill’s Sportswear Division 2 Football League
Davitt’s 2-7 Con Magees Glenravel 1-15
Con Magees clinched the Division 2 Football League title on Wednesday evening when they travelled to Davitt’s and beat them in the final game of the league campaign. The Glenravel men certainly had to work hard for their win against a Davitt’s side who battled to the end and who had their visitors in trouble on a few occasions. However the men from the Tenth Glen stuck to their task and turned in a great last quarter to seal their promotion back to Division 1 for the first time in 17 years, a few of those which were spent in Division 3. Five points separated the sides at the end but there were times when it was far from convincing for the winners. However they got the job done in the end and special mention must go to corner forward Ryan McQuillan who was superb in the opening half and to his cousin Eamon Fyfe, who really stepped up to the mark when introduced midway through the first half. When Davitt’s came back to level early in the second half things did not look good for the Glenravel men, but Fyfe settled them down with a couple of classic points and orchestrated much that was good going down the finishing straight.
With three teams capable of claiming the title on the night, (fellow contenders Aldergrove and All Saints were meeting in Ballymena) tensions were high, but Ryan McQuillan got Con Magees off to a good start with a pointed free in the opening minute. However Davitt’s hit back right away and full forward Anthony Rowntree fired in a great goal less than a minute later. Ryan McQuillan responded with his second point of the game soon afterward and a good move by their forwards saw Cormac McKeown put clear in front of goal, but his shot was well saved by the Davitt’s goalkeeper Slane.
Eoin Hynds got the visitors going again when he struck a fine point from outside the D but Davitt’s hit back again when left half back Conor Toner soloed through the middle and sent over a point to restore his team’s two point advantage. It was clear that Glenravel had a battle on their hands but Ryan McQuillan got them back in front when he hit three points in a row, two with the right foot and one with the left. Davitt’s came close to grabbing a second goal when the ever dangerous Rowntree got behind the Glenravel defence yet again and it took a great point blank block by goalkeeper Johnny Fyfe to deny the big full forward.
The introduction of Eamon Fyfe, who has been out for almost a month through injury, helped bolster the Glenravel challenge and he added two points in the last eight minutes of the opening half to put his side three ahead, though Davitt’s had the last say as midfielder Niall McParland landed a good point from play to leave just two between the sides at the short whistle.
When Davitt’s came out and landed the first two points of the second half through Rowntree and McParland to draw level there were a lot of Glenravel fans started to get very anxious, but Eamon Fyfe began to settle the nerves when he restored his team’s lead after good work by Ryan McQuillan. When centre forward Gerard Slane brought Davitt’s back on terms again with a well taken point it looked like anyone’s game, but a great scoring burst from the visitors saw Eamon Fyfe and midfielder Calum Higgins knock over two points apiece to open a gap.
Slane pulled one back for the home side but Glenravel struck a telling blow when good work by corner back Charlie Henry, the Gruig man operating temporarily at corner forward, cut in along the line and fisted a ball across the edge of the Davitt’s ‘square’ where joint team captain David Higgins rose to palm the ball down past the Davitt’s goalkeeper for a decisive goal.
Seven up at this stage it all looked comfortable with just minutes left to play, but Davitt’s gave the travelling fans another few heart flutters when a high ball into the square was palmed down to their full back Paul McKinney and he drilled it low through a packed goalmouth to cut the gap back to four. However there were only a few minutes left to play at this stage and the Glenravel played time out with no further setbacks to seal the title.
Ryan McQuillan and Eamon Fyfe who did the bulk of the Glenravel scoring