Paddy Bradley seals Glenullin win against Coalisland
Ulster Senior Football League final: John Mitchel’s, Glenullin (Derry) 0-17 Coalisland Fianna (Tyrone) 2-10
PADDY Bradley landed the winner one minute into stoppage time as Glenullin took their third Ulster League title with a barnstorming second half performance where they outscored Coalisland 0-9 to 0-2.
The drama didn’t end there. Two minutes later Stephen McNally went galloping forward in search of an equaliser, but John O’Kane grabbed his ankle and stopped him in this tracks.
Cormac O’Hagan had a chance to force extra-time with the resultant long-range free, but he was off target and Glenullin had held on.
Trailing 2-8 to 0-8 at half-time, the Derry men had all the momentum in the second half and Coalisland didn’t register a score in the entire final quarter.
Coalisland were out of the blocks early with a Stephen McNally point after a mere 11 seconds. The Tyrone men were rampant, leading 0-4 to 0-0 after five minutes.
Glenullin eventually got on the scoreboard with Neil McNicholl and one from each of the Chrissy Dempseys, but Coalisland then struck for their first goal.
In an age when short kick-outs are the norm, it was a long booming drive from Coalisland goalkeeper Curran that scuppered Glenullin. Peter McGahan flicked the ball into the path of McNally and he exposed the space with a surging run and cracking finish to put the Fianna 1-6 to 0-3 ahead.
Glenullin were playing into John McKeever’s hands by trying to force the kick. And with Eoghan Hampsey sweeping, it was difficult to hit the inside line.
Worse was still to follow with a thundering Dermot Thornton penalty and Coalisland led 2-7 to 0-4.
A point from Dermot O’Kane, frees from Paddy Bradley and Neil McNicholl (2) gave Glenullin some hope before half-time.
The Derry side’s manager Liam Bradley was still hopeful at half-time. “If they scored two goals in the second half we certainly had the forward line to score two goals in the second half.”
Cormac O’Hagan added a majestic free from an acute angle right on the sideline three minutes after half-time and Coalisland looked comfortable, but they didn’t kick on.
With Chrissy Dempsey putting a strong shift at midfield, Eoin Bradley providing a creative spark and Ruairi and Paddy Bradley always showing for the ball Glenullin edged themselves into the game.
Midway through the half came the turning point. Cathaoir Quinn opted to kick a sideline ball into his defence and the pass when astray and with Eoin Bradley powering through, Niall Kerr stopped him unceremoniously and received his marching orders for a black card.
Dermot O’Kane tapped over the first of three frees and with Paddy Bradley adding two from play the game was level as Coalisland couldn’t break the Glenullin dominance.
Glenullin were awarded a late free in the vicinity of the half way line but an infringement by Niall Fox saw it moved forward and up stepped Paddy Bradley to pop over the winning point.
After being relegated last season this was a terrific boost for Glenullin. “It was some performance so it was, probably the best thirty minutes of football these guys have had since 2007. I thought they were superb,” added Bradley.