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On This Day - Oct 20 1996: Sucker-punch goals by Bellaghy catch St Paul's cold

LOOKING AHEAD: Eunan Cassidy of Bellaghy weighs up his options having left Peter McStravick of St Paul’s in his wake in their Ulster Club clash in Armagh

CLASSIC sucker-punch goals caught St Paul’s flush on their championship chin yesterday as Joe Cassidy struck a first in just 52 seconds, Damien Cassidy another two minutes after half-time, to fire Derry champions Bellaghy into the Ulster Club Football final.

A slick start had Antrim’s contenders reeling, Joe Cassidy catching them cold with a goal and a point inside the opening two minutes, but the killer blow was delivered by an emphatic Damien Cassidy finish after the break to leave St Paul’s chasing the game at overcast Armagh.

But Bellaghy squandered the early initative and in a stoppage-riddled competitive contest, referee Jim Curran interspersed the first period with 23 frees.

A further 17 were blown in between some sharp play from Bellaghy in the second half which started with a sensational goal to leave St Paul’s playing catch-up.

But it required a tremendous block by ‘keeper Kevin O’Neill to shut the door on a St Paul’s surge over the final seven minutes.

That proved crucial.

Bellaghy: K O’Neill; S Doherty, D O’Neill, C McNally; Paul Diamond, P Downey, G McPeake; J Mulholland (0-1), D Quinn; K Diamond, B Lee (0-2), G Doherty (capt.); E Cassidy, D Cassidy (1-1), J Cassidy (1-4).

Subs: Peter Diamond for S Doherty (29 mins), P Scullion (0-1) for Mulholland (49 mins), J Donnelly for G Doherty (55 mins).

St Paul’s: S McGreevy; Paul McStravick, G Finnegan, Peter McStravick; C Hemsworth, C McStravick, A Donnelly; P McErlean (capt), C Murphy; J Kennedy (0-4, all from frees), D Finnegan (0-1), H Tohill (0- 1); J Quinn (0-1), B O’Neill, J McManus (0-4, 0-3 from frees).

Sub: D Nolan for O’Neill (40 mins).

Referee: Jim Curran (Tyrone)

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DOWN champions Burren are through to the quarter-finals of the Ulster Club Football Championship after a tough battle with Gowna in this first round replay at Cootehill yesterday.

Gowna virtually kicked themselves out of the competition when after enjoying a monopoly of possession, especially in the opening half, they failed miserably in front of goal as a statistic of 14 wides, including nine in the first half.

Burren got the only goal of the game from Aidan Woods right on full time.

Burren: G Walsh, J Magee, M Doyle, B McKernan, L Magee, L Duggan, R McGovern, S Ward, G Murdock (0-1), T McArdle, J Treanor (0-5), R Mussen (0-1), J McAlinden (0-1), A McGivern (0-1), A Woods (1-1).

Gowna: D O’Reilly, G Donohoe, J Brady, G Hartin, C Madden (0-1), T Harten, K Madden, P Brady, L Brady, R Simpson, D McCabe (0- 1), F Hartin, D McCabe (0-1), B Morris, S Pierson (0-4).

Subs: E Madden for T Harten, D Duignan for E Madden.

Referee: M McGrath (Donegal)

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Gareth Maguire may well have spotted Irish coach Enda Byrt in the massive crowd at Killarney on Saturday night and decided to send out a signal to the Clare man who ignored the Belfast player’s talents recently.

Maguire bounced off the bench to turn in the proverbial stormer and Star of the Sea romped to another impressive victory – this time washing away the hopes of the Kerry Spring Water side with a fabulous 84-77 victory in the Budweiser Men’s Super League.

And Maguire, who rattled in 26 points, wasn’t the only star of the visitors’ show as Gabe Jackson performed heroics inside and all ten players got court time – even in the first half!

With talent like that on the bench Star will be difficult to stop this season.

 

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