St Eunan's and Rossa progress in St Paul's minor football tournament

Aaron Deeney of St Eunan's and Burren's Peter Fagan during yesterday's preliminary round game at St Paul's Picture by Seamus Loughran
Anthony Gunning

FonaCab Ulster Club Minor Football Tournament preliminary round: St Eunan’s, Letterkenny (Donegal) 1-7 St Mary’s, Burren (Down) 0-7

DEFENDING champions, St Mary’s, Burren exited the Ulster Club Minor Football Tournament at St Paul’s yesterday as St Eunan’s, Letterkenny made the most of their chances to advance into the last eight.

The story of this game was of two penalties, one for each team in either half with Burren’s Liam Kerr seeing his effort in the opening period turned around the post by Ronan McGeehin, while in the second period with the game hanging in the balance, Niall Hannigan made no mistake to effectively settle this low-scoring affair.

On a fine, sunny day, the tone was set early with both defences gaining the upper hand, but it was Burren first off the mark when a long ball into Oisin Osborne saw him turn his marker and slot over three minutes in.

St Eunan’s went straight up the field and Aaron Deeney released Louis Hasson, who saw his shot at goal blocked, but the ball broke for Matthew McGovern who chipped over first-time.

Both sides were having trouble with the final ball, while good defending saw efforts blocked and cleared, although St Eunan’s finally did add to their tally on 13 minutes when Hannigan found Hasson out on the right and the wing-forward kicked a fine score.

A minute later, the first of the day’s penalties arrived.

Burren dangerman Liam Kerr took possession to the left of goal and made a break directly in on goal. It appeared he maybe took an extra couple of steps, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was taken down by Ciaran McCloskey and referee Eugene McHugh rightly awarded the penalty. Kerr dusted himself off and looked to place the ball into the bottom-right corner, but McGeehin got down brilliantly to tip the ball around the post.

Kerr was to make amends a minute later when he kicked a good score from out on the right to level the game, while Burren hit the front once again on 26 minutes with Kerr again on target, this time with his left boot from an acute angle on the left sideline.

The Down side doubled their advantage with Ryan Cunningham getting in on the act, while the sides traded scores in the final moments off the half through Hannigan and Kerr to see Burren go in at the break 0-5 to 0-3 ahead.

Hannigan reduced the gap to one a minute after the restart from a free, but scores were at a premium in this game as flooded defences left little gaps for scoring opportunities while Burren’s wides count began to mount.

St Eunan’s tied the game on 42 minutes when Peter McEniff played in Eoin McGeehin to score, while the Donegal side hit the front on 50 minutes when, from a breakaway, Niall Hannigan kicked a great score with the outside of his boot.

Three minutes later the decisive score arrived when Matthew McGovern was upended in the area by Peter Fegan and again, a penalty was the right decision. Up stepped Hannigan and he went for power, blasting to the roof of the net to make it 1-6 to 0-5.

Burren finally got on the board in the second period with Jack McShane pointing, but St Eunan’s broke away on 57 minutes with Hannigan soloing up the field and tapping over.

Burren went looking for goals, but their opportunity never arrived with a Thomas Travers point all they could muster while St Eunan’s finished with 14 players after Hannigan saw a second yellow deep into stoppage time, but this would have no effect on the final outcome as the Donegal side booked a quarter-final with Clann Eireann next Sunday.

St Eunan’s: R McGeehin; J Angel-Atuahene, M McGroary, A Gallagher; R Hilferty, C McCloskey, P McEniff; P McColgan, A Deeney; L Hasson (0-1); N Hannigan (1-4, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 free), E McGeehin (0-1); C O’Donnell, M McGovern (0-1), O Purdy.

Subs: S Breen for O’Donnell (40), J Kelly for McGovern (60).

Burren: R Kelly; M McNulty, A McAvoy, M McAvoy; I Faurigia, P Fegan, S O’Connor; O Duggan, S Fitzpatrick; D Lynch, T Travers (0-1), R Cunningham (0-1); O Osborne (0-1), L Kerr (0-3, 1 free), C Sheehan

Subs: J McShane (0-1) for Sheehan (27), R Dalton for Lynch (44).

Referee: E McHugh (Tyrone)


FonaCab Ulster Club Minor Football Tournament quarter-final: Killanny Geraldines (Monaghan) 0-7 O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim) 2-15


ANTRIM champions O’Donovan Rossa are the first side into the semi-finals of the Ulster Club Minor Football Tournament as they swept past Monaghan’s KIllanny at Woodlands yesterday.

The Farney club finished the game with 12 players to Rossa’s 14 as the game got a little bit feisty in the closing stages, although the first red card of this game came after just two minutes when Killanny’s Tommy Byrne was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident with Dominic McEnhill.

This put his side on the back foot before the game had settled down and, although they did stay in contention for a period, Rossa’s greater threat going forward eventually saw the west Belfast outfit pull away.

The first sending off came in that incident with McEnhill who picked himself up off the ground and fed Eoghan McMenamin to score with referee, Gavin Finnegan going back to consult with his linesman before showing red to Byrne.

Points from McEnhill (two), Matthew Mallon and Daire Matthews followed as the Antrim side went five clear midway through the half with Killanny struggling in front of goal, hitting the post twice with point efforts and a half-chance for goal seeing Calum Murray’s take effort easily stopped and cleared.

The Monaghan side did open their account on 21 minutes through Dean Connolly as Rossa began to lose their way in attack somewhat, although they had their own goal chance just after when McEnhill’s quick free almost had Matthews through, but his low effort was scrambled clear.

The sides kicked another three more scores apiece as the game came to life and at 0-8 to 0-4 in Rossa’s favour at the half, it seemed we were in for an exciting second half.

McEnhill and Eddie Walsh traded early scores after the break, but Rossa gradually began to assert full control on this game.

After McEnhill tapped over a free he instigated the score of the game when he intercepted the ball in his own half, kicked long to Dairie Matthews and supported the run, swapping passes with Matthews who kicked over to open a 0-11 to 0-5 lead on 37 minutes.

Dean Finn kept Killanny in touch with a good score, but the momentum was all with Rossa and they began to pile on the scores with Michael Close kicking points either side of a McEnhill free to leave eight in it after 46 minutes.

Things got a little messy just after as a Rossa breakaway saw McEnhill taken down by Ciaran Guinan for a penalty, but most people’s attention was at the other end of the pitch when from what looked like two players involved in a bout of wrestling on the ground.

Eight minutes passed before the penalty was taken with red cards flashed and Killanny’s Conor Callaghan and Conor Grimes and Rossa’s Tiarnan Murphy.

When the game restarted, McEnhill thumped the penalty home with the final act of the game seeing McEnhill fed Conall Shannon who slid the ball into the net to seal a convincing win.

Rossa: M Byrne; M Smith, M McIvor, C Shannon (1-0); J Morris, M McGreevy, T Murphy; E McMenamin (0-1), C McGettigan; M Close (0-2), M Mallon (0-2), M McCashin; D Matthews (0-2), D McEnhill (1-6, 1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees), C McDonnell (0-1)

Subs: C McParland for McCashin (42), P Cullen for Matthews (57), C O’Neill for Mallon (57).

Killanny: K Duffy; K Connolly, T Byrne, R Grimes (0-1); C Guinan, K Collins, S Finn (0-1); D Connolly (0-1), C Murray; D Leegan (0-1), E Walsh (0-2, 1 free), D Markey; A McConnon, C Grimes, D Leegan (0-1).

Subs: C Callaghan for McConnon (45), T Goodman for Collins (60)

Referee: G Finnegan (Down)

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