O'Donovan Rossa march into Paul McGirr final with win over Clann Éireann
Paul McGirr Tournament semi-final:
Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa 0-12 v Clann Éireann 0-9
THE second semi-final of the Paul McGirr U16 Club Champions Tournament between Derry champions Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa and reigning title holders Clann Éireann of Armagh produced some fabulous football, with some of the best U16 footballers in Ulster on show.
Cormac Murphy, Caolan Coyle, Peter Tohill and Ben Mc Erlain were outstanding for Magherafelt as they booked their place in the semi final with a three point victory over a highly talented and well coached Clan Éireann outfit.
Oscar Mc Keagney, Tiernan Kelly, Jack Conlon and Michael O’Shea all produced superb displays that pushed the O’Donovan Rossa lads all the way in a game that was excellently refereed by Brian Mc Callion.
The highlight of the game was the midfield battle between man of the match Cormac Murphy and Clann Eireann’s towering captain Tiernan Kelly, Murphy wore the number three on his back but, along with Caolan Coyle, he covered every inch of Gardrum Park, top scoring with 0-4 from his team’s total of 12 points.
The Lurgan boys took an early lead with a point from Ryan Latifi but Murphy showed his early intentions with two scores, the first following a great sixty yard run. Two points from Jack Conlon gave his side the lead again, however four unanswered scores from Cathal Martin, Eoghan Hawe, Thomas Maynes and Aodhan O’Loughlin put the Magherafelt boys three ahead, a lead they never relinquished.
Swapped points from O’Loughlin, Caolan Coyle and Conlon (0-2) left the score 0-8 to 0-5, but it took a fine save from Rossa keeper Shea Murray to foil Patrick Bateson just before the half-time whistle to maintain the Rossa lead.
The tempo was taken up another notch in the second-half, with exchanges becoming more intense and tempers somewhat frayed as both teams battled to the end in what was a pulsating encounter.
Clann Éireann reduced the lead to the minimum following converted frees from Martin Magee and Kelly who’s effort with the outside of the boot from 50 yards was sublime. However, with Murphy and Patrick McLarnon stamping their authority on the game, Rossa hit a purple patch with scores from Murphy, twice, Ben McErlain and Caolan Coyle.
Murray was again called into action to deny Magee as Clann Éireann exerted some pressure and two points from Conlon and Magee left just a goal between the sides, but time ran out for the defending champions and Rossa progressed marking themselves out as early favourites for the competition.
O’Donovan Rossa: S Murray, J McErlain, C Murphy (0-4), S McSorley, A McCloskey, P McLarnon, K McNicholl, P Tohill, C Coyle (0-2), TS Maynes (0-1), C Shields, P Batseon, C Martin (0-1), A O’Loughlin (0-2), E Hawe (0-1); Subs: R McDonald (0-1) for Shields, O Grimes for T Maynes
Clann Éireann: C McAlinden, D McCarthy, O McKeagney, J McMorrow, T Harbinson, M O’Shea, E Kearney, T Kelly (0-1), C Magee, C Kearney, J Conlon (0-5), M Cooper, M Magee (0-2), R McDonald, R Latifi (0-1); Subs: A McVeigh for C Magee, E McSherry for M Cooper