Alan Friel hit a goal and five points as Urris drew first blood in this first leg preliminary round Junior A championship clash, in Clonmany on Saturday night.
Naomh Mhuire 0-10
In what was a highly competitive and bruising encounter that ended with both sides reduced to 14 men in the second half, it was the wizardy and scoring prowess of Friel that was the big difference between the sides.
His goal, which was Lionel Messi like in its execution, brought the Inishowen men kicking and screaming back into a game that was going very much away from Danny Kelly’s charges.
With Naomh Mhuire playing all the good football and 0-6 to 0-1 up, Friel turned to first-time a delicately placed lob from Darren Grant over the Naomh Mhuire defence.
That was on 27 minutes and when Friel added his second point from a free in the first minute of injury time, it was all square at the break, 1-3 to 0-6.
This was a scoreline that scarcely reflected the opening half when it came to possession and territorial advantage after Naomh Mhuire had enjoyed the better of both.
Playing with the stiff breeze in their backs, Naomh Mhuire at times looked to be from a different orbit as Ciaran McGinley, the ‘Yank’ Boyle brothers, Sean and Paul, tormented and teased the Urris defence and kicked four quick fire points in the opening ten minutes.
Even when McGinley cracked a 16th minute penalty off the bottom of the upright and wide after Sean Gallagher (Point) was hauled down by Urris ‘keeper Ciaran Friel, it did not seem to unduly halt the Naomh Mhuire march.
Shortly afterwards, impressive centre half-back Aidan O’Gara, despite taking a couple of bone crunching hits, drove forward twice in quick succession to raise successive white flags to open up a five point lead.
But with Grant showing promise on the edge of the Naomh Mhuire square, the game turned with Friel netting and then converting from close range.
Two quick fire points from Friel saw Urris take the lead for the first time and with McGinley and Friel trading points it was still a one point game - 1-6 to 0-8 - by the three quarter mark.
But two points without reply from the impressive Grant and Donal Kelly at the start of the fourth quarter saw the locals open up a three point lead for the first time.
With the tackles flying and the physically stronger Urris getting the hits in, tempers flared six minutes from the end with a number of players getting involved in a minor dust-up.
And when order was restored Donal Kelly, Urris. and Brian Gillespie, Naomh Mhuire. got their marching orders. Both players were shown straight red cards by referee Tony Gallagher.
Fired up by the fracas, Urris, through Grant and Friel, added two quick points to open up a four point advantage, Grant’s strike in the first minute of injury time, the insurance point.
Padraig McCafferty had the final say with a late Naomh Mhuire point.
Urris: Ciaran Friel; James Griffin, Ciaran Kelly, Ciaran Doherty; Mickey Grant, Sean McDaid, Danny Devlin; Donal Kelly (0-1), Phil Pat Doherty; Dean Kelly, Michael Doherty, Conor Bradley; Alan Friel (1-5, 3f), Darren Grant (0-2), Mark McLaughlin (0-2). Subs: Joe Grant for Ciaran Doherty (20); Jason Doherty for C. Bradley (48).
Naomh Mhuire: Sean Gallagher; Robert O’Donnell, Brian Gillespie, Daniel Gallagher; Sean Gallagher (Point), Aidan O’Gara (0-2), Thomas Duffy; Owen Grant, Owenie McGarvey; Harry Harden, Paul ‘Yank’ Boyle (0-1), Padraig McClafferty (0-1); Sean ‘Yank’ Boyle (0-3), Thomas McHugh, Ciaran McGinley (0-3,1f). Subs: John Pigeon for O. Grant ( 39,inj); Darragh White for D. Gallagher (37).
Referee: Tony Gallagher (Red Hugh’s).