Carrickmore edge past Corduff

  Carrickmore’s Tiarnan Murray comes under pressure from Corduff’s Dylan McEnaney during yesterday’s Ulster Minor Football Tournament quarterfinal at Woodlands. Picture by Seamus Loughran
John Martin at Woodlands

CM Precision Components Ulster Club MF quarter-final: Carrickmore (Tyrone) 2-12 Corduff (Monaghan) 1-12

CARRICKMORE edged into Ulster minor football semifinal after a nip-and-tuck battle with Monaghan champions Corduff at Woodlands venue.

There was never more than four points between the sides and the lead swapped on a number of occasions, but when Ruairi Slane bagged the game’s third and final goal on 35 minutes to put Carrickmore 2-5 to 1-4 ahead, the Carmen lads were never headed.

Corduff brought the game back to parity midway through the second half and trailed by a single point with two minutes on the clock, but late points from Ciaran Cuddy and Ciaran Daly saw off the Monaghan side who finished the game with 13 men.

Fergal Hanratty opened the scoring for Corduff in the opening minute and the impressive Sean Burns could have handed the Farney men the early momentum moments later but his low shot went narrowly wide of the upright.

Carrickmore raised the first green flag when Daly drilled the ball low to the corner after being superbly picked out by Dara Cassidy. A number of off the ball scuffles threatened to mar the game but the sending off of Corduff’s Killian Hand seemed to focus minds back to footballing matters.

The one-man deficit didn’t seem to hamper Corduff who edged back into the lead when Burns coolly converted from the penalty spot for a 1-3 to 1-2 advantage after 22 minutes.

The same player extended the lead to two points with a Slane effort on goal just sailing over the bar to leave the score 1-4 to 1-3 to Corduff at the break.

Within a minute of the restart, they were all square again when McElduff slotted over, and with a Daly free and Slane’s major on 35 minutes, the Carmen boys were suddenly 2-5 to 1-4 ahead.

Corduff needed a response, and it was Burns who provided it. Four unanswered points from the corner-forward restored parity for the third time, but in keeping with the flow of the game, it didn’t last long.

Lochrann Ó Donnghaile finished a flowing Carrickmore move to edge his side in front again, and on 58 minutes, the gap remained at the minimum in favour of the Red Hands.

Corduff went in search of the equaliser to force extra-time, but it was Cuddy who found the next score to ease Carrickmore nerves.

Colm Lowndes saw red for a second bookable offence, before Daly completed the scoring with a free. Carrickmore will now face Kilrea in the St Stephen’s Day semi-final.

“It was tight, the game ebbed and flowed. It wasn’t a great performance but championship is about getting into the next round and it gives us something to work on for the next round. We’ve got Kilrea in the semi-final and we know that performance won’t be anywhere near good enough,” said Carrickmore manager Ciaran McAleer.

T Donaghey; P Mullan, O McKee, J Kerr; S Donnelly, J McGurk, C Monroe; L O’Donnghaile (0-2, 0-1 free), T McCallan; D Cassidy, C Daly (1-6, 0-6 frees), T Murray; P McElduff (0-1), R Slane (1-1), C Cuddy (0-2) Subs: C Loughran
Corduff: R Connolly; M Keenan, C Marran, L McKeown; D McEnaney, C Lowndes (0-1), M Connolly; J King, J Walsh; D Finnegan, S McEnaney, J McGarrell; S Burns (1-7, 1-4 frees), F Hanratty (0-4, 0-3 frees), K Hand Subs: P Clinton
Referee: C Hemsworth (Antrim)

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access