Sean MacCumhaill’s are basking in the club’s first Ulster success this week following their extra-time victory over Derry’s Foreglen, in the Ulster Club Intermediate final in John McLaughlin Park, Faughanvale, on Sunday afternoon.
Sean MacCumhaill’s 0-16
(after extra time)
They showed some character and determination to come from behind in the closing minutes of an exciting and always close encounter.
Benny McLaughlin scored five points, Darren O’Leary four with the O’Reilly brothers Steven and Marty posting two points each with Paddy Hannigan and Barney Lafferty posting one each.
Marty O’Reilly, who played the most of the first half the night before for Donegal against Dublin in Croke Park, was only sprung from the bench in the second half.
And it was his penetrating runs and those of Benny McLaughlin along with the determination and drive of his brother Steven (who won a lot of dirty ball around midfield) that turned the tide after MacCumhaill’s fell five points behind early in the second half.
And it took the coolness and composure of Darren O’Leary to earn 14 man MacCumhaill’s a draw and extra-time.
O’ Leary tied up the game for only the second time in the fifth minute of injury time having minutes earlier passed up the opportunity to have a go from a long range sideline kick.
Eight minutes earlier MacCumhaill’s wing back Darren McGowan received a straight red card for a hefty charge on a Foreglen forward.
And what is a new-look and youthful MacCumhaill’s took complete control in the extra-time to run out five point winners.
Despite dominating proceedings from the off MacCumhaill’s found the stiff downfield breeze tricky to negotiate and trailed by three points, 0-2 to 0-5, at half-time. Darren O’Leary and Benny McLaughlin scored the MacCumhaill’s points, both in the closing ten minutes of the half while Stephen Mullan, Eunan and Niall McFeely, Marty Farrell and Ciaran McFeely all scored for the more potent Derry men.
MacCumhaill’s looked in real trouble when substitute Kevin O’Connor (2) and Marty Farrell made light of the breeze to split Rory Patton’s posts in the opening eight minutes of the second half to one from Darren O’Leary.
And even when Pat McNabb’s side turned up the heat with five unanswered points from Paddy Hannigan, McLaughlin, Steven O’Reilly, O’Leary and McLaughlin to draw level, Foreglen went two up again with the clock counting down.
With MacCumhaill’s refusing to buckle a McLaughlin run should have yielded a goal, but for a brilliant block and deflection over his own crossbar by the Foreglen number three Sean Campbell.
But there was one more chance and O’Leary took it like a veteran when he engineered space to launch from 40 metres over his shoulder between the posts.
Marty O’Reilly scored for MacCumhaill’s in the first period of extra time and Shane Feeney hit the target for Foreglen, before the Donegal men took over in the second period with Steven O’Reilly, Barney Lafferty, Marty O’Reilly, McLaughlin and O’Leary all raising flags for a convincing five point winning margin.
Sean MacCumhaill’s: Rory Patton; Eoghan Wright, John Lynch, Joe Dunnion; Darren McGowan, Gary Dunnion, Shane Duffy; Paddy Hannigan (0-1), Steven O’Reilly (0-2); Shaun McGowan, Darren O’Leary (0-5, 3f), David White; Benny McLaughlin (0-5, 3f), Barney Lafferty (0-1), Christopher McDaid: Subs: Gavin Gallagher for C. McDaid (h/t); Martin O’Reilly (0-2) for D. White (35); Andrew McCloskey replaced the red carded Darren McGowan at the start of extra-time.
Foreglen: Ronan Treacy; Rory Duffy, Sean Campbell, Conrad Sheridan; Cathal O’Hara, Oisin Duffy, Kevin O’Neill,; Mark McCormack (0-1) Stephen Mullan (0-1); Niall McFeely (0-1), Marty Farrell (0-2), Eunan McFeely (0-1); Shane Feeney (0-1), Ciaran McFeely (0-1), Eoin Duffy. Subs: Kevin O’Connor (0-3) for N. McFeely (h/t); Sean Monaghan for K. O’Neill (39); Marius Doherty for S. Mullan (42); James O’Kane for C. Sheridan (43).
Referee: John Kerlin (Tyrone).
Man of the match
Steven O’Reilly scored two points, but his overall contribution was immense from the first whistle to the last. While his was a no frills performance he harried and chased and won a lot of dirty ball especially when Foreglen had the bit between their teeth and in the ascendancy in the early minutes of the second period.
In a game of a fair few twists and turns MacCumhaill’s three points in the space of two minutes at the start of the second period of extra-time finally turned the tie. It opened up a three point lead and Foreglen heads went down.
Tyrone official John Kerlin was firm but fair and while he did not get all his calls right, neither did he blow for every infringement and also was sensible in the use of the advantage rule.
As for the sending off of Darren McGowan, it happened in a crowd of players close to the sideline and in fairness to the officials and his linesman they were close to the action.
“We are just delighted to get the win. It was not a great performance but I think the introduction of Marty O’Reilly and Andrew McCloskey along with our fitness made the difference.
“We found it hard to score in the first half against what was a tricky wind. The fact that we were three down at half-time did not worry us all that much and we also spoke at half-time that they might go four of five up.
“We always felt that we had the fitness and the young legs and that is exactly what happened. But we never panicked because we had finished strong in all our games and we just kept plugging away and it was a little worrying when they went two up again in the closing minutes.
“But Benny and Darren kicked the points and we felt good about the extra-time and as I said earlier I think our fitness proved the difference in extra-time.”
Pat McNabb – MacCumhaill’s manager