OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship – Semi-Final
Dunloy 2-9 Davitts 0-4
Sunday 25 September 2022
Brendan McTaggart reports from Dunsilly
Dunloy made safe passage to the 2022 Intermediate decider with 11 points to spare against Davitt’s on Sunday afternoon. Two goals in barely two minutes of the second half was the winning of this game, substitute Michael Smith with the opening major with his first touch while Conal Cunning added the second with the next attack.
In a low scoring first half, both sides lacked a clinical touch in front of goal. Goal chances came and went with the woodwork and ‘keepers stopping a green flag from being raised at either end. Davitt’s will look at their chances in the opening 30 minutes when they analyse this contest and wonder what if?
Dunloy dominated the second half with more intensity in midfield and movement in attack. They held Davitt’s to just one point after the half time break while dictating the play and staying defensively sound. The Belfast men rarely looked like they could reel the Cuchullains in during a second half that saw Dunloy improve immeasurably with their attacking play.
The game was barely 10 seconds old when the first goal chance came. Davitt’s claiming the throw in and sending the ball long to David Wallace. He broke the ball to Sullivan but Dunloy ‘keeper Chrissy Brogan saved superbly from point blank range.
The opening score didn’t come until the 10th minute of the semi-final, Keelan Molloy converting a free after a foul on Conal Cunning. Dunloy had their first sight of the Davitt’s goal with the next attack. Nigel Elliott collecting the pass from Seaan Elliott before unleashing a shot with the outside of his right boot from an acute angle. The ball drifted wide however, a half chance but in a game that was destined to be low scoring, chances like this would be the difference.
Dunloy were enjoying the lions share of possession but Davitt’s were defensively solid. David Wallce playing deeper and closing space but Dunloy’s running from deep was creating chances. The Elliott brothers Seaan and Nigel combining again to release Anton McGrath in front of goal but his effort hit the foot of the post.
A brace of points from Eoin Gillan and Nigel Elliott by the 18th minute gave Dunloy a three point lead and control of the game.
Davitt’s opening score came from Padraig McParland and they should have scored their first goal with the next attack. A Davitt’s player had a superb run from midfield before finding Conor Toner in space. With just Brogan to beat, the Dunloy ‘keeper produced a save right out of the top drawer to deny him. Brave, timed, perfection.
Dunloy rattled the crossbar when Molloy’s pointed effort from distance dipped wickedly behind Aaron Slane but his blushes were saved by the woodwork.
Davitt’s rallied to score a brace of points from Padraig McParland, his second of the game to leave the sides tied but Dunloy had the final score of the half with Cunning dissecting the posts with the last kick of the opening 30 minutes.
Given how many chances were created, the biggest mystery of the opening 30 minutes was how low the scoring was. Dunloy lead 0-4 to 0-3 but both sides hit numerous wides with Davitt’s missing frees that would normally be registered as scores.
Midfielder Deaglan Smith restored Dunloy’s two point lead with the opening score of the second half but in a game of cat and mouse, neither side really took control of the opening exchanges of the second half. Davitt’s created another goal chance, James Lindsey leapt highest at the back post but his palmed effort went wide while Dunloy struggled to find their range at the opposite end of the pitch with a number of shots dropping short.
Davitts reduced the Dunloy lead to one in the 36th minute but incredibly that would be the only score the Belfast men would register in the second half as Dunloy dominated. A free from Deaglan Smith was quickly followed by Cunning’s second point of the semi-final to open a three point lead midway through the second half.
Dunloy introduced Michael Smith into attack and the substitution made an immediate impact. Seaan Elliott had the ball fully 45 yards from goal and there’s no doubt he was lining up a point but the ball landed to the right of the six yard box where Smith rose highest above Paul McKinney. A quite brilliant catch that was matched by his finish to the back of the Davitt’s net.
The crowd were still purring from the major when Dunloy scored their second. Seaan Elliott involved again before released Deaglan Smith. His effort was superbly saved by Aaron Slane but the ball fell to Coby Cunning and he had the simplest of tasks to apply the finish.
Cunning and Molloy hit further scores to add gloss to the score board for the Cuchullains as they controlled the closing stages.
A comfortable win in the end for Dunloy who reach the Intermediate decider for the fifth time in eight years. They’ll face Con Magees in two week’s time with a senior hurling semi-final between times. The momentum builds in the Cuchullains Village.
Dunloy: Christopher Brogan; Anton McGrath, Aaron Crawford, Conor Kinsella; James Scally Scally, Kevin McQuillan, Eoin McFerran; Ryan McGarry, Deaglan Smith; Nigel Elliott, Eoin Gillan, Christopher McMahon; Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott
Subs: Michael Smith for A McGrath (45); Caolan Gillan for C McMahon (45); Ciaran McQuillan for E McFerran (54); Ryan McFarline for S Elliott (56); Tom McFerran for N Elliott (60)
Scorers: C Cunning 1-3; M Smith 1-00; K Molloy 0-2 (1f); D Smith 0-2 (1f); N Elliott 0-1; E Gillan 0-1
Davitts: Aaron Slane; Conor Toner, Paul McKinney, Nathan Maginn; Michael Rowntree, Niall McParland, Jack Scalley; Seamus McNeill, Anthony Rowntree; Gerard Slane, Padraig McParland, James Lindsey; Tony McGrattan, Daniel Wallace, Conor O’ Sullivan
Subs: Cristoir Brown for M Rowntree (HT); Deaglan Mooney for J Lindsey (41); Marcus Toner for A Rowntree (50); Christopher Rafferty for O’Sullivan (58)
Scorers: P McParland 0-2; S O’Neill 0-1; CJ Sullivan 0-1
Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)