Burt break new ground with Ulster Junior hurling success

By Francis Mooney

Reporter:

By Francis Mooney

Burt were crowned Ulster Junior hurling champions after a thrilling replay at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, and they had to do it the hard way, playing for almost the entire second half with 14 men following the sending off of captain Ardal McDermott.

Burt were crowned Ulster Junior hurling champions after a thrilling replay at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, and they had to do it the hard way, playing for almost the entire second half with 14 men following the sending off of captain Ardal McDermott.

Burt 2-10

Greggan 0-13

They held off the challenge of Creggan Kickhams to take the title and move on to the All-Ireland stage.

Goals from Michael McCann and Ronan McDermott and Michael McCann proved decisive as Burt held on to win by three points.

It’s absolutely amazing, the guys really knuckled down, for we were up against it for most of the second half,” said manager Andrew Wallace.

“It was a superb Creggan team and it was nip and tuck right to tend there.

“It could have been anybody’s, there’s no point in saying that we deserved it more than they did, it was 50-50 right to the end.”

And he had special words of praise for the dual players in his side, who were involved in an Ulster championship with the club’s footballers as well.

“We have 10 or 12 men playing the two codes, some of them, playing as many as 45 games this year. Professional players would struggle to do that.”

The Donegal champions, with the wind in their backs, got some early attacking momentum going, easing ahead with points from Niall Campbell, Enda McDermott and Stephen Boyle.

But Kickhams rallied for Conor McCann and Aidan McKeown to bring them level in the tenth minute.

Ciaran Dowds and Joe Boyle stood firm at the back as the Antrim champions pressurised for spell, and it was the men from the north-west who went back in front when Campbell slotted over a free.

They could have had a goal when midfielder Enda McDermott sent a shot flashing across the goalmouth and just wide at the far post, and a relieved Creggan side swept upfield to go level again through Oran McCann.

The final ten minutes of the half saw Burt raise their game, with Campbell and Johnny Downey both hitting the target, and they struck for a goal in the 25th minute, Campbell providing the assist for Michael McCann to fire home from a tight angle.

Creggan pulled back points through McCann frees, but Burt led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval.

McDermott was sent off on a straight red card three minutes into the second half, and with the gusting wind in their faces, Burt faced a real test of character.

Campbell steered over another couple of frees to keep them in front, but they had to soak up long periods of pressure with Dowds and Christopher McDermott defending superbly.

Creggan kept chipping away however, pulling back scores through Brendan Maguire and Oran McCann, and they went ahead for the first time through Conor McCann with 12 minutes to play.

But the Donegal men weathered a series of storms and swept upfield for Ronan McDermott and Campbell, from a 60 metre free, to shoot them back in front.

And there was a touch of good fortune about the goal that sealed it, McDermott blocking goalkeeper Stephen Colgan’s clearance, sending the ball hurtling to the net.

Burt scorers: Ronan McDermott 1-1, Michael McCann 1-0, Niall Campbell 0-6 (5f), Johnny Downey, Enda McDermott, Stephen Boyle 0-1 each.

Creggan scorers: Conor McCann 0-7 (5f), Oran McCann 0-3, Aidan McKeown, Aidan Maguire, Brendan Maguire 0-1 each.

Burt: Paul O’Brien, Kevin Glenn, Ciaran Dowds, Conor McLaughlin, Brendan Harrigan, Joe Boyle, Christopher McDermott, Enda McDermott, Ardal McDermott, Johnny Downey, Ronan McDermott, Stephen Gillespie, Michael McCann, Niall Campbell, Stephen Boyle. Sub: Karl Wilson for Kevin Glenn

Creggan: Stephen Colgan, Brendan Maguire, Niall Robb, Enda Maguire, Aidan Maguire, Thomas McCann, Martin Johnston, Sam Maguire, Oliver Duffin, Patrick McAuley, Aidan McKeown, Oran McCann, Brian Joseph McKeown, Conor McCann, Matthew Nelson. Subs: James Dougan for Nelson, Frank McAuley for P McAuley.

Referee: Paul Braniff (Down).