GAA Football

Strong finish against Dunloy puts Burren into last four

 With little to separate the sides, a strong finish from Burren was enough to edge it. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Anthony Gunning at Rossa Park

CM Precision Components Ulster Club Minor Football quarter-final: Dunloy (Antrim) 0-7 Burren (Down) 0-10

A STRONG finish saw Burren advance into the semi-final of this year’s St Paul’s-hosted Ulster Minor Football Tournament as the Down champions edged out Dunloy in an entertaining game at Rossa Park yesterday.

For long spells there was little between these teams, but it was the St Mary’s side that had that little bit extra going forward to take the scores that ultimately decided this quarterfinal.

Dunloy will certainly feel this is a game they could well have won and just seconds into the game, they could have had a goal when the pacy Seaan Elliott read the flight of a long ball perfectly and his momentum took him clear but the shot shaved the outside of the left post.

Burren were slow to settle and Dunloy continued to dominate, but couldn’t engineer the scores their play merited.

Instead, it was the Down club who hit the front on four minutes from their first foray into Dunloy territory when Declan Murdock converted a free.

The Antrim champions hit back immediately with Conal Gunning kicking a free over, but Burren were now beginning to grow into the game and they were back in front when Thomas Travers picked out Liam Kerr on the left and the wing-forward produced an expert finish off his left boot.

The game went 10 minutes without a score until Dunloy’s Anthony Smith made a good catch and fired over, but again it was Burren – playing into a slight breeze in the opening period – who had the answer with Conor McCartan, Shay Murdock and Declan Murdock all pointing.

Dunloy did have the final say of the opening period with Gunning kicking a free, but Burren went in at the break much happier with their 0-5 to 0-3 advantage.

It looked as though the lack of firepower in attack would cost Dunloy, but they came flying out of the blocks in the second period with the impressive Keelan Molloy winning the throwin and racing forward to score.

A Declan Murdock free restored Burren’s two point advantage, but the tide was now beginning to turn and after a Molloy free reduced the arrears to one, a stray pass intercepted by Cathair McGuigan saw the Dunloy captain tie the game on 44 minutes.

Four minutes later and the Cuchulainn’s took the lead for the first time when Gunning kicked his third free of the day to make it 0-7 to 0-6, but this would prove to be their last score.

Burren steadied and after some patient build-up play, Shea Fitzpatrick floated over a beauty to tie the game with 10 to play.

The game was very much in the melting pot, but the Down side just had that little bit extra and two Declan Murdock frees gave them a bit of breathing space once more and from a breakaway late on, Liam Kerr raced through to kick the insurance score and book a semi-final meeting with Enniskillen Gaels this Sunday.

MATCH STATS
Dunloy:
M McCarten; P Kinsella, E Dixon, A McGrath; C McMahon, C McGuigan (0-1), C Kinsella; K Molloy (0-2, 0-1 free), C Gunning (0-3 frees); S Elliott, F Cochrane, A Crawford; L McCann, E O’Neill, A Smith (0-1). Sub: E McGrath for A Smith (57).
Burren J Brady; M McAvoy, A Fitzpatrick, A McAvoy; T Travers, C Cox, P Fegan; S Fitzpatrick (0-1), A Laverty; L Kerr (0-2), Darragh Murdock, R Fegan; C McCartan (0-1), S Murdock (0-1), Declan Murdock (0-5, 0-4 frees). Sub: R Dalton for Darragh Murdock (59).
Referee: E McHugh (Tyrone)

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