Naomh PADRAIG, Lifford proved too strong for Milford in the first Leg of the Junior A Championship Preliminary Round contest in Moyle View Park on Sunday.
Naomh Padraig, Lifford 1-12
Last year’s beaten finalists showed greater hunger and desire than their opposition and they raced into a six-point lead after 19 minutes. Milford responded well, but a penalty from Gary McGirr on 32 minutes proved to be the crucial score in the game.
The early exchanges were physical and keenly fought, with Shane Meehan opening the scoring in the third minute with a free.
Luke Barrett scored Milford’s first point, but the border side then kicked six unanswered points in a row. McGirr scored a ‘45’, sandwiched in between two frees from Meehan.
Lorney Crossan kicked two delightful points with the outside of his boot, before Paul Lynch extended their lead even further.
Milford were struggling all over the field, but they got back into the match when Christopher Barrett pointed from play and Dean Burgess raised a green flag.
Corner back TJ Evesson combined well with David Curley and when Evesson’s fisted effort dropped short, the breaking ball fell to Burgess who hammered it to the net.
However, Milford’s dominance did not last as Meehan and McGirr pointed two more frees, to put the Lifford men four points ahead at half time.
Nigel Black’s side started the second half well, with Cathal McGettigan firing over the bar after 24 seconds.
A Milford revival looked possible, but a mistake in defence allowed Crossan to run through on goal. He was hauled down by Paddy Peoples, with referee Shane Toolan awarding a penalty.
The Milford players were aggrieved with the decision, suggesting that the foul occurred outside the large rectangle. The delay did not affect Gary McGirr, who coolly finished the penalty past Caolan McGettigan.
Cathal McGettigan pointed a free and Cormac Friel drove forward to add another point, before Lifford’s Seamie Breslin raised a white flag in the 48th minute.
Luke Barrett and James Gallagher edged Milford closer, but the excellent McGirr soon slotted over another free.
Pauric Curley added a late monster free, but Milford could not find the elusive goal they needed. Shane Meehan kicked the insurance point in the last minute, to send the large traveling contingent home happy.
Lifford were physically stronger and fitter, and Milford will know that they will need to improve significantly if they are to force the tie to a third game.
Milford: Caolan McGettigan, TJ Evesson, Paddy Peoples, Cormac Friel (0-1), Enda McHugh, Pauric Curley (0-1,1f), Dermot Friel, Lorcan Friel, Paul Sweeney, Dean Burgess (1-0), Christopher Barrett (0-1), Luke Barrett (0-2,2f), David Curley, Kevin McGee, Cathal McGettigan(0-2,1f). Subs: James Gallagher (0-1) for Burgess (46 mins) Oisin Barrett for McHugh (53 mins)
Naomh Padraig, Lifford: Shaun McBrearty, Mickey McBrearty, Mark McNulty, Jonny Mahon, Darren Gillespie, Pappy McNamee, Jack Quinn, Conor Catterson, Gary McGirr, (1-3, 1 pen, 2f,1‘45’) Seamie Breslin (0-1), Lorney Crossan (0-2), Paul Lynch (0-1), Shane Meehan,(0-5,4f) Mark Carlin, Daniel Carlin. Subs: David Gethins for Mark Carlin (58 mins).
Referee: Se Toolan (A Ruadh).