Our Minor team reached the Championship final after beating Ogramore on Friday night. Here is a match report sent to us from Michael Hegarty.
Our Minor team met Ogra-More at Magherafelt. With the despondent mood after the dismissal of our U16 team the hopes were not high. We were expecting a tough, physical battle and were not dissapointed.
The game started well for us and Donal picked off two points in succession, one from a free and Ogra replied with a point from their corner forward. Following a great pass from Enda McGuckin to John, the goal seemed in the bag but John was closed down by the full bach and the shot was forced wide.
Further wides by both sides were to follow until Donal again split the posts to leave us 2 points ahead. Then on 16 minutes came the move of the half. Colm McDaid who lorded the mid field over the big No 9, again won the ball, parting it to Enda McGuckin.
As he raced up the left wing he was supported by the half back Eoin Hegarty.With perfect timing Enda passed to Eoin who thundered through into the parrallelogram. As he drew the backs towards him John Hughes cleverly pealed back and was spotted by Eoin and with an inch perfect pass John was left with the goals at his mercy. With only the keeper to beat he slotted the ball cooly into the back of the net leaving us 1-3 to 1 point.
For the next 10 minutes we continued to attack but due to the strong Ogra defence our attacks ended in wides. Ogra started to come back with 2 points but they to had their share of wides. John Hughes continued to give the full back a terrible time and on 25 minutes he was brought down in the small square,the whistle was blown and the ref rushed to the edge of the parralelogram! A penalty was his just reward. The ball was set on the spot and as cool as ice Enda McGuckin stepped up to the mark. With confidence far surpassing his youthful years he professionally guided the the ball home.
2-3 to 3 points. In the final minutes Donal again pointed and Ogra came back with 2. Half time 2-4 to 5 points.
The second half continued in the same plan as the first with first Enda McGuckin and then Donal with a free pointing. Then on 7 minutes after the second of two serious fouls on Enda O’Hagan, Enda limped off. His game looked over. He was replaced by Damian Burns.
From here on Ogra seemed to find their scoring boots and added 3 points to one from Donal. They also had one ball fly past our goalmouth and one expertly turned past the post by Chrissy Bradley. They continued to fight back bravely and were duely rewarded by their No 8 Shane Barton who blasted through a crowded square into the net. Following the kickout they again attacked and scored another point.
The scores were now 2-7 to 1-8 and there were images of the U16 final two years ago but this team had learnt its lesson the hard way and were not about to repeat it. That was the last score Ogra was to get. Eoin split the space between his marker and Shane Barton and assisted Colm in closing up the midfield. With more ball our forwards clicked again. Enda Mcguckin and Donal rallied with points apiece.
We were again 4 points ahead. Then Eoin rose magestically between two Ogra men and fielded the ball, from half back position his crossfield ball into space was pounced upon by Donal. He turned and sprinted direct to the danger area, The corner back left Damian Burns to cover him only to find the ball being passed over him into Damian who in turn returned a perfect ball to Donal and with two men between him and the net the point seemed the safer option but not today. With a rasping shot Donal fired the ball into the far corner of the net and the game was as good as won.
Not to be out done Enda O’Hagan appeared from the bench to continue his sterling work claiming much of the breaking ball around the mid field. We added two further points from Donal(free) and Enda to give a final score of 3-11 to 1,9.
We thank OgraMore for a clinker of a game and wish them the best next year. It is hard to pick out one individual performance as all played well but having watched Ogra and an excellent display of high fielding by Homer their No 9, a special mention should go to Colm McDail who kept him to two clean catches in the whole game.
We wish the lads best of luck in the final against a formidable Greenlough who have been untouchable in the league. Favourites have been beaten before and a top class 60 minutes of the type of football we know this panel is capable of is what is required.
Best of luck lads.
They will now play Greenlough this Saturday at Ballymaguigan. Throw in at 3:00pm