Defending champions Glen romp into McLarnon decider
Bank of Ireland Ulster U21 Paddy McLarnon Cup semi-final: Watty Graham's, Glen (Derry) 4-10 Mitchell’s, Magheracloone (Monaghan) 1-5
REIGNING champions and red hot favourites Glen pounced with three killer goals in a two-minute spell midway through the first-half to end Magheracloone’s hopes of an upset in Sunday’s Paddy McLarnon Cup semi-final before it ever got off the ground.
The Derry champions were wasteful early on, rushing their shots and taking the wrong option before Magheracloone notched the first score of the game from wing-back James Lambe. The Farney men failed to convert their early possession into scoring chances as Glen repelled them with Connor Carville and man-of-the-match Cathal Mulholland reading the danger signs.
Glen’s Achilles’ heel in the first 10 minutes was the failure to make their breakaways count on the scoreboard.
Glen manager Enda Gormley wasn’t overly concerned, however: “We created opportunities and that’s the big thing. I was confident enough the scores would come and, to be fair, we kept going and we got the three goals,” he said.
Before the first goal came, Magheracloone goalkeeper James Kirk made a terrific diving save to deny Paul Gunning. This was the warning of what was to follow. Conor Glass crashed the ball to the net after powering through the Magheracloone defence and latching onto the end of a Conall Darragh pass. From the resulting kick-out, Darragh won possession, played in Ciaran McFaul and the Derry senior finished brilliantly to the corner of the net.
It got even better for Glen when Danny Tallon won a breaking ball in the middle and set them on the rampage again. The move finished with Conor Glass squaring the ball for Tiarnan Flanigan to fist to the net.
The Monaghan response came instantly, with the pacy Paudie McMahon hitting the net after approach play from Paudie and David Kirk. Glen led at half time 3-2 to 1-4, but had the luxury of an extra man when David Kirk was dismissed for a second yellow card.
The message in the Glen dressing room at the break was about improvement: “We said at half time it was nil-nil and we’d go out and win the second-half. It was all about the performance,” said wing-back Cathal Mulholland.
Glen certainly hit the ground running early in the second-half, with McFaul registering a point after a mere 26 seconds. This was followed by one of the scores of the game when a long delivery from the sideline by Stevie O’Hara was won by impressive ball winner Paul Gunning, whose quick lay-off saw Jack Doherty score a point.
Alan McCaghey got Magheracloone’s last score of the game from a sixth minute free and, from them on, it was all one-way traffic. Most of Glen’s attacking threat was dictated by the power and pace of Glass and McFaul. Conor Convery was on the end of three of those moves to keep Glen motoring along nicely.
Convery then turned provider as Glass palmed home Glen’s fourth goal, with Gunning again proving to be the go-to man, winning another ball played into the Glen attack. With time almost up, Tiernan Flanigan rounded off the scoring with his second and Glen’s fifth goal of the game, setting up a final meeting with St John’s next Sunday.
Glen manager Enda Gormley was happy with the result, but it was already looking ahead: “We only got the five scores in the first-half, so there is plenty to work on ahead of next Sunday,” he said.
Magheracloone: J Kirk; J Carolan, P McArdle, C Freeman; A Kieran, K Rudden, J Lambe (0-1); D Hand, M Metzger (0-1); D Kirk, J Coleman, P McMahon (1-0); S Marron, P Kirk, A McCaghey (0-3 frees); Subs: S Finnegan for Carolan (16), R Burns for Coleman (50), P Finnegan for P Kirk (53), D Kindlon for Metzger (58mins).
Glen: C Mullan-Young; Conor Gallagher, C McDevitt, O Hegarty; R McDonnell, C Carville, C Mulholland; C Glass (2-1), C McFaul (1-1); T Flanagan (2-0), C Darragh, C McCabe; C Convery (0-4, 0-1 free), D Tallon (0-1), P Gunning (0-1); Subs: J Doherty (0-1) for Darragh (25), S O’Hara (0-1 free) for Conor Gallagher (h-t), T Mullan for McCabe (39), C McCloy for Mullan-Young (54), D McCusker for McDonnell (54), Cathal Gallagher for Mulholland (59).
Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).