Eoghan Rua race out of the traps to take down Bredagh in Ulster Club IHC
AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final: Eoghan Rua, Coleraine (Derry) 1-18 Bredagh (Down) 2-4
THE result of this AIB Ulster intermediate club hurling semi-final in Loughgiel on Saturday was never in doubt after the opening 10 minutes of play.
Eoghan Rua, Coleraine, who had contested the All-Ireland Junior club final last March, came very fast out of the blocks and raced into a 1-5 to 0-0 lead, their goal scored in the 10th minute by full-forward Ciaran McGoldrick following a long punt from Michael McQuillan. The Derry side went on to lead at half-time by 1-13 to 1-0, with nine of those points scored by inter-county footballer Sean Leo McGoldrick.
Joe Passmore - who takes the team along with long-standing football manager Sean McGoldrick - acknowledged the start helped his side lay the foundations for victory: “We’ve been training hard for this and the delay in scheduling the game has probably helped us in that we are a lot sharper than we might have been in previous years," he said.
“We started well and it made a difference. We got a few scores and Bredagh missed a couple and that probably gave us a bit of momentum.”
However, while he searched for positives, Passmore acknowledged that the injuries to the McGoldrick brothers are a worry ahead of the final: “Barry’s injury looks like a hamstring and I would doubt that he would be ready for a final in a fortnight. Sean Leo came off with a knee injury. We don’t know the extent of that, but we would obviously hope that he will make it," he added.
“They are two key men, but I thought all our boys played well, particularly young fellows like Michael McQuillan, making his first start today - and Ruairí Mooney, Declan Mullan as well. We have a lot of seasoned guys, but the younger players are stepping forward and taking their place in this team.”
The seasoned campaigners shone in this game; all five McGoldrick brothers stepped up to the plate, Barry until his injury in the 21st minute was dominant at centre-half back and Niall Holly slotted into that spot to continue where Barry left off.
Sean Leo’s free-taking was top-drawer and he finished with 11 points, seven of them from placed balls and three of those from inside his own half, while Colm McGoldrick upped his game during the second half.
Bredagh had an off-day and shot nine wides during the opening half, some from relatively straight-forward frees. They struggled to get any foothold in the game and only defenders Cathal Brunton and Mark Patterson along with Sean McGourty made any impact.
Three McGoldrick brothers - Sean Leo, Barry and Ciaran - had made the score-board before Ciaran swept the sliotar home under the advancing Joe Shields in the 10th minute. Sean Leo added two more points before Malachy Scullin’s high ball into the area was finished to the Coleraine net by Ian Galway in the 18th minute. However, it was to be Bredagh’s only score of the half and Sean Leo McGoldrick added five more points before the break to put them 1-13 to 1-0 ahead.
On the restart, Colm McGoldrick burst through to hit two points inside a minute and brother Sean Leo from a free opened a 16 points gap after 33 minutes. Bredagh worked their way into the tie after that, but there was never a chance of overtaking Eoghan Rua, although a 50th minute goal from Cillian Mac Suibhne offered a glimmer of hope
The other semi-final between Keady and Cloughmills takes place next weekend, but Eoghan Rua, on this performance, will be no push-over in the decider.
Eoghan Rua: P Mullan, C lagan, L McGoldrick, P Dallas, N Holly, B McGoldrick (0-1 free), A Rafferty (capt.), D Mullan, R Leonard (0-1), R Mooney (0-1), M McQuillan, T Magee, SL McGoldrick (0-11, 0-7 frees), Colm McGoldrick (0-3), Ciaran McGoldrick (1-1); Subs: C Boyle for B McGoldrick (22), S Papachristopoulos for M McQuillan (48), E McKillop for SL McGoldrick (53).
Bredagh: J Shields, M Patterson, C Brunton (capt.), T McGuckin, M Woods, E Donnelly (0-1), P Kelly, S McGourty, C Mac Suibhne (1-1, 0-1 free), M Scullin, E Trainor (0-2), D McCartney, N Donnelly, R Curran, I Galway (1-0); Subs: D Robinson for T McGuckin (ht), C Ferry for R Curran (ht), A Hoctor for M Woods (53).
Referee: C Cunning (Dunloy).