Ulster Club IHC Quarter Final
Eire Og, Carrickmore 4-9 Carey Faughs 1-13
Brendan McTaggart reports from McQuillan Park, Ballycastle
Carey’s Ulster campaign ended at the first hurdle in Ballycastle on Sunday when they were beaten by Tyrone champions Carrickmore in the quarter final of the Ulster Intermediate Championship. Coached by former Ballycastle and Antrim star Cormac Donnelly the Tyrone champions were sharper from the start and their ability to get goals at vital times gave them the edge. Carey trailed by eight at half time, but a goal in the first minute of the second half breathed new life into their challenge. They edged their way back into the game but with the gap pared back to a goal they had a player sent off which proved a real game changer. With an extra man Carrickmore used the ball very cleverly and soon regained the upper hand and edged clear again to record a six point win.
Speaking after the game joint manager Cormac Donnelly said he had watched Carey a few times during their Antrim Championship campaign. He felt their strength was their ability to start well in their games and said they were determined not to let them do it this time around. The Tyrone men did just that and the early goals gave them an edge they would not relinquish.
In a nip and tuck opening quarter, Carrickmore took control of the game with two goals in the space of barely two minutes with Ruairi Slane and Cormac Murray finding the back of the Faughs net. It came in the middle of a wonderful purple patch for Eire Og as they held Carey Faughs scoreless for 12 minutes while opening a seven point lead themselves.
Their third major came as the clock went into first half stoppage time with referee Tarlach Conway awarding the Carrickmore men a penalty for an infringement on Bryan McGurk. Dermot Begley stepped up and while Carey ‘keeper Doug McAuley got his hurl to Begley’s effort, the sliotar deflected into the back of the net.
Despite having opened an eight point lead by the half time whistle and full value for that lead, Eire Og were pushed onto the back foot right from the restart. The Antrim champions bagging a major with barely 10 seconds of the second half gone. Shea Hunter sending the ball to the edge of the square and James Black pouncing on the loose sliotar to reignite Carey’s Ulster challenge.
The Antrim men had the wind at their sails and began to turn the screw, upping their intensity and not giving the Carrickmore men the space they allowed them in the first half. They had the sliotar in the back of the net with just five points between the sides but Caolan McCaughan was judged to be inside the square with the Derry official calling a square ball.
A point from Slane was all Eire Og could manage before Begley took his tally to 1-2 for the game with his second free but things changed just before the second half water-break with the game in the balance. John McBride seeing red and Carrickmore controlled the contest in the time that remained.
Carey pushed and played with the same intensity and vigour but Eire Og’s better use of the sliotar and ability to find a man in space shone in the closing stages to seal a five point victory and their maiden win over the Antrim champions at provincial level. They now have a date with the winners of Lisbellaw and Newry Shamrock’s in the semi final.
Connor McBride 0-8 (5f’s); James Black 1-1; Conlith McKinley 0-2; James McCouaig (1f); Caolan McCaughan 0-1
Dermot Begley 1-2 (1-00 pen, 2 f’s); Ruairi Slane 1-1; Sean Og Grogan 1-1; Justin Kelly 0-3; Cormac Murray 1-00; Anthony Crossan 0-1; Conor Grogan 0-1
Cahal McAuley, Daniel Hill, Sean McBride, Eoin Hill; Michael McVeigh, Peadar McVeigh, James McCouaig, Daniel McBride, Patrick Butler, Shea Hunter, John McBride, Caolan McCaughan, Patrick Gillan, James Black, Connor McBride
Subs: Conlith McKinley for D McBride (HT) Daniel McKinley for E Hill (49), Patrick McBride for P Butler (60)
Conor McElhatton, Jarlath Kerr, Sean Pol Begley, Lochrainn O’Donnaille, Dean Rafferty, Dermot Begley, Anthony Crossan, Ruairi Slane, Justin Kelly, Darragh Grogan, Tony Hughes, Conor Grogan, John McGurk, Sean Og Grogan, Bryan McGurk
Subs: Cormac Murray for J McGurk (14); John McGurk for D Grogan (45); Oran McKee for A Crossan (49); Oisin Daly for T Hughes (57)
Referee: Tarlach Conway (Derry)