In The Irish News - Aug 25 1997: Man of the match Joe Brolly fires Dungiven to seventh Derry SFC title
DUNGIVEN claimed their seventh SFC title, and their first since 1991 with a six- point win over a Castledawson side that led 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time but then succumbed to two stunning second-half strikes.
Seven minutes after the break man of the match Joe Brolly – he scored 1- 5 to finish as championship top scorer with 1-25 – ran onto a McGonigle pass and crashed home a typical goal.
Then Dungiven brought on Brian Kealey, just as they’d done in the 1984 final victory over Castledawson, and he dominated midfield with Brian McGilligan to the finish.
Still there was just three points between the sides until McGonigle drilled home a second goal in the last minute to clinch a deserved victory.
It was not a classic final, too many stoppages, misplaced passes and errors disrupting the flow of play.
Dungiven did look in the early stages as if they would run away with the game, Brolly scoring three excellent points for a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.
However Dermot and Eugene Heaney got a grip on midfield and Michael Gribben picked off some lovely points to help Castledawson to a one-point interval lead.
Early in the second-half Brolly levelled the scoring, 0-6 to 0-6, from a free, Gribben then putting Castledawson back in front in the third minute.
However in the seventh minute Brolly held off a strong challenge to shoot a low shot to the net to give Dungiven a 1-6 to 0-7 lead.
Gribben narrowed the gap three minutes later but Brolly and McGonigle again opened up a threepoint lead.
In the last six minutes subs Barry McGonigle and Paddy Mallon exchanged scores, Geoffrey McGonigle wrapping up the game with a stunning last-minute goal.
Dungiven: O McCloskey, S Heavern, K McKeever, P McCloskey, G Murphy, E McKeever (capt), S McGonigle, B McGilligan, R McCloskey, P Murphy (0-1), G McGonigle (1-2), C Grieve, J Brolly (1- 5), R Murphy, E Kelly.
Subs: B Kealey for C Grieve, B McGonigle (0-1) for E Kelly. Castledawson: S Heaney, D Shivers, S Doyle, D McLarnon, R Shivers, P Mackle, A Heaney, C Gribben, E Heaney (capt), K Heaney (0-1), D Heaney, D Hardy (0-2), M Gribben (0-5), S McLarnon, S Shivers.
Subs: P Gribben for S McLarnon, P Mallon (0-1) for P Gribben.
Referee: D Kearney (Glen)
Ulster rugby today faces a crisis it could scarcely have contemplated a week ago, despite the injury problems which have beset its preparations.
A 27-17 defeat at the hands of Connacht signalled their second successive defeat in the Guinness Inter-Provincial championship,
With champions Munster, 15-12 victors over Leinster in Limerick, due at Ravenhlll this weekend, Ulster finds it must somehow contrive the must unlikely victory if it is to qualify for the 1998 European Cup competition.
Just one win in the current Inter-Pro campaign would have secured an automatic place, now relegation to the junior European Conference tourney seems inevitable.
For Ulster rugby this was a weekend to forget.
Connacht: Ruane, Barry, Duignan, Reddan, Carolan, Elwood, McGuinness, Maher, Mulcahy, Finlay, McConnell, Heaslip, Rogers (capt), Gavin, Charlie.
Ulster: Morrow, Park, McDowell, Coulter, Cuningham, Laing, Bell, Mackey, Ritchie, Leslie, Longwell, McWhirter, McKinty (capt), Wilson, Ward.
Referee: Laurie Mayne (Munster).