AIB Ulster Club Football Championship Preliminary round
Cargin 0-12-2-10 Derrygonnelly Harps
From Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park
Antrim’s recent poor record in the Ulster Club Football Championship continued this afternoon as first half goals from Conall Jones and Gavin McGovern saw Fermanagh Champions Derrygonnelly Harps claim a 2-10-0-12 preliminary round victory over Cargin at Corrigan Park.
Jones was first to reply to Kieran Close’s opening score and although Close closed the gap to the minimum a second goal on the quarter hour mark from Gavin McGovern saw the Fermanagh side move four-points ahead. The sides would continue to nip and tuck throughout the contest but those strikes were enough to see the five-in-a row Fermanagh Champions progress to a quarter-final clash with Tyrone winners Trillick in two weeks’ time.
Although St Galls were the last side to taste a win in the club series back in 2014, there was a degree of hope that Cargin could finally register that elusive win with a clash against Fermanagh kingpins Derrygonnelly.
Cargin were back at the Whiterock Road venue for the third time in three weeks – having successfully defended their Antrim crown with a 3-16-0-23 extra-time victory over Lamh Dhearg eight days ago.
A Kieran Close free edged his side in front inside of two minutes but Derrygonnelly hit the game’s opening goal after seven minutes.
Conall Jones shaped up for a point but the ball dropped in behind the full back line and bounced over John McNabb and into the net to give his side a 1-00-0-01 lead.
The Fermanagh Champions increased their lead as Garvan Jones split the post, but Kieran Close hit back with two top class scores, one with either foot, the second of which was expertly taken off the left to close the deficit to a single point (1-01-0-03).
Midway through the opening half a second Derrygonnelly goal would thrust them firmly into the driving seat.
Gavin McGovern fired the ball to the net, but credit for the goal must fall to Stephen McGullion who was able to solo almost 40-yards before picking out McGovern with a low shot drilled across the Cargin goalmouth. With their tail firmly up the Fermanagh men added further points through Garvan McGinley and Garvan Jones (free) to take a commanding lead.
Cargin responded before the break through Jamie Gribbin who popped the ball over, though Derrygonnelly would restore their two goal lead at the break as Conall Jones fed goalscorer McGovern who fired it over to give his side a 2-04-0-04 lead at the interval.
Derrygonnelly increased their lead within four minutes of the restart as Garvan Jones converted his second free of the contest, but Kieran Close would reply from the exact same scenario and narrow the margin with his third free of the contest shortly afterwards.
Conall Jones landed his first free of the afternoon and a terrific point from Lee Jones gave the Fermanagh men a 2-07-0-06 lead and Cargin less time to mount a comeback.
The introduction of Michael McCann gave the Toome men some momentum in the next ten minutes as Tomas McCann landed two straight forward frees and after a patient passing move; Paul McCann swung the ball over the bar to close the gap to four-points (2-07-0-09).
Derrygonnelly put an end to Cargin’s purple patch as substitute Gary McKenna popped the ball into the path of Garvan Jones to claim his fourth point of the afternoon, and though substitute Kevin McShane momentarily closed the gap again, the Jones connection played a part in an instant response as Conall passed the ball to Garvan who slotted the ball between the posts.
Tomas McCann and Neil Gallagher traded points but Cargin were in desperate need of two goals to keep their Championship ambitions alive.
Their cause wasn’t helped by Donagh McKeever picking up a second yellow-card in the aftermath of Gallagher’s point.
A goal almost arrived deep into added time as Paul McCann took a pass from Tomas and hung the ball into the back post were Kevin McShane popped up, but McShane snatched at the opportunity and hooked the ball over the bar instead of under it and Derrygonnelly saw the game out and claimed a 2-10-0-12 victory to progress to the quarter-final of the Ulster series against Trillick in two-weeks time.
Cargin: J McNabb, D McKeever, M Kane, J Laverty, T Scullion, J Crozier, K O’Boyle, P Shivers, K Close (0-05, 0-03f), P McCann (0-01), J Carron, T McCann (0-03f), M Magill, J Gribbin (0-01). Subs: K McShane (0-02) for P Shivers (HT); M Clarke for M Magill (38); M McCann for T Scullion (44); P Shivers for K Close (57). Blood Sub: G McCorley replaces D McKeever (26), D McKeever replaces G McCorley (30).
Derrygonnelly Harps: J Kelly, J Love, T Daly, E McHugh, S McGullion, M Jones, G McGinley (0-01), R Jones, S McGullion, G McGovern (1-01), K Cassidy, D Cassidy, L Jones (0-01), C Jones (1-01), G Jones (0-05, 0-02f). Subs: G McKenna for G McGovern (44); N Gallagher (0-01) for K Cassidy (56); R McHugh for D Cassidy (61).
Referee: Paul Faloon (An Dun).