ACHL Division Three
Bredagh 2-22-4-12 Gort Na Mona
By Kevin Herron from Cherryvale
Gort Na Mona suffered their first league defeat this evening after Bredagh edged a breathtaking contest 2-22-4-12 at Cherryvale.
Despite the County Down side starting the better; the opening goal of the game gave league leaders Gort Na Mona the lead through Dessie McClean.
McClean would claim a second goal before the break – but the Turf Lodge men’s free count was to prove their undoing as Niall McFarland converted 0-05 from the placed ball to ensure Bredagh held a 0-13-2-06 lead at the interval.
A point separated the sides with a quarter of an hour remaining but Bredagh were dealt a blow – losing defender Danny Robinson to a straight red card after a high challenge.
With the game level the 14-men struck a hammer blow to the Gorts as Colin Lordon rifled to the corner of the net.
It started a rut of late goals as Patrick McCaffrey found space and buried it to the net to make it a two-point game with three minutes left.
Only for Malachy Scullion to instantly reply – Bredagh held a healthy seven point and despite Dessie McClean securing his hat-trick in injury-time it was little more than scant consolation for the league leaders – who despite their blip still sit top of the pile.
It was Bredagh who made the fast start on a wet and windy evening – Sean McGourty popped the ball between the posts within the first two minutes with Niall McFarland adding a second.
The first goal opportunity fell to Gort Na Mona as Sean Doyle picked out the run of Darren Boyd whose low shot was parried by Eoghan Donnelly in the Bredagh goal.
Patrick McCaffrey’s angled point got the visitors off the mark – but three successive points courtesy of Ryan Curran, Sean McGourty and Mark Patterson had the hosts 0-05-0-01 ahead with ten minutes on the clock.
Points from Declan Hughes and Darren Boyd gave Gort Na Mona a lift – though Niall McFarland hit back at the other end to make it 0-06-0-03.
Darren Boyd’s link-up play was beginning to pay dividends as Brendan Quinn shot over from a tight angle and Dessie McClean confidently struck over the bar.
By the midway point in proceedings Bredagh held a two-point advantage thanks to Niall McFarland’s confidently converted free from range.
However the opening goal of the game saw the lead switch hands for the first time; Niall Healy laid the ball off to Declan Hughes whose forward pass fell to Dessie McClean and the corner-forward powerfully rifled to the net to give the Turf Lodge men a 1-05-0-07 lead.
Niall McFarland’s second free of the half levelled proceedings and despite the corner-forward missing the opportunity to edge his side back in front from a 65’ – he atoned for his miss, converting a free to make it 0-09-1-05.
Gort Na Mona missed the opportunity to regain the lead as Darren Boyd was somehow denied by Eoghan Donnelly – but on 23 minutes the visitors did hit the front for the second time.
Dessie McClean found a yard of space and confidently picked his spot – giving Donnelly no chance to make it 2-05-0-09.
Bredagh showed their powers of recovery and pegged Gort back for a second time in the aftermath. Niall McFarland converting his fourth free of the half and midfielder Joe Hanrahan squeezing the ball over after a nice combination with Colin Lordon.
Gort Na Mona immediately edged ahead once more through Neil Henry – but two late frees from the clinical free-taking of Niall McFarland ensured the County Down men held a 0-13-2-06 lead at the interval.
McFarland increased his sides lead upon the resumption from the placed ball – but the Gort’s replied as Declan Hughes popped the ball to Brendan Quinn whose shot from range dropped over the bar.
The sides traded the next four scores – Bredagh twice took a two-point lead through Niall McFarland (free) and Malachy Scullion, though on both occasions Darren Boyd replied to leave the score 0-16-2-09 with a quarter of an hour remaining.
The hosts chances of victory were dealt a set-back on 46 minutes as Danny Robinson caught Brendan Quinn with a challenge and referee Brendan Toland had little choice but to give issue a straight red-card to the Bredagh number four.
Darren Boyd converted the resulting free to level the score at 0-16-2-10 and with the numerical advantage Boyd and his team mates would hope to press on for victory.
However it was the 14-men of Bredagh who hit the front with little over ten minutes remaining – Sean McGourty’s shot dropped short of the target and Colin Lordon angled the ball past Connor McCann to make it 1-16-2-10.
Niall McFarland converted two further frees with Lordon pointing in between as the hosts were back on the front foot.
Darren Boyd fizzed a free over the bar in response and a grandstand finish appeared to be on the cards of a breathtaking encounter as Dessie McClean popped the ball to Patrick McCaffrey – McCaffrey made space for a shot and rifled to the net to reduce the deficit to two-points (1-19-3-11).
Though any chance of a Gort fight back was ended almost instantly as Malachy Scullion poked the ball home from Joe Hanrahan’s high ball forward.
McFarland added his final two scores of the evening; courtesy of a converted 65’ and free – with Sean McGourty conjuring up his sides final score in the aftermath.
There was still enough time for Dessie McClean to complete his hat-trick of goals two minutes into injury-time; it proved to be a mere consolation though as Bredagh claimed a massive scalp and inflicted a first defeat on table toppers Gort.
Bredagh: E Donnelly, O McFlynn, C Ferry, D Robinson, K Power, C Hughes, D McCartney, J Hanrahan (0-01), M Patterson (0-01), M Scullion (1-00), E Trainor, C Lordon (1-01), R Curran (0-01), S McGourty (0-03), N McFarland (0-15, 0-01 65’; 0-10f). Subs: J McKee for R Curran (40 mins).
Gort Na Mona: C McCann, J Connolly, M Rea, C Devlin, G McKenna, P McHugh, N Henry (0-01), D Hughes (0-01), T McCaffrey (1-01), N Healy, G Doyle, S Doyle, D Boyd (0-06, 0-03f), B Quinn (0-02), D McClean (3-01). Subs: C McErlean for G Doyle (42 mins), B Cousins for S Doyle (52 mins), P Fryers for N Healy (52 mins).
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lamh Dhearg).