Convoy cruised into the Junior A championship semi-final with a comfortable home win over Na Rossa, in St. Mary’s Park, on Saturday evening.
Anthony Browne kicked seven points and Shane McLaughlin scored the goal as Oliver Prunty’s young guns - 12 of the starting 15 were U-20 - recorded only their second championship win in four seasons.
The first was in last weekend’s first leg encounter in Dooey, with Convoy emerging with six points to spare on a 0-13 to 1-4 scoreline.
Ironically, the last time Convoy put back to back championship wins – in 2008 – they went on to win the title with club official Liam Diver wondering could Saturday night’s win be an omen.
With Packie Mailey at full-back in place of Shaun Allan (who was away on holidays) the only change from the first leg, the locals got off to a dream start with Shane McLaughlin hitting the Na Rossa net with the game’s only goal inside eight minutes.
The full-forward gave James Bonner no chance after good work and quick hands from Emmett Patterson.
And while the Rosses men, minus the banned Odhran Gallagher – red carded the previous weekend – did make life difficult for the locals in the opening 30 minutes, Convoy still went in at half-time 1-4 to 0-2 to the good. Ace freetaker Browne kicked two points - one from play and the other from a 45 – with Peter Blake and Benny Bonner posting one each.
John Paul McCready, who carried the biggest threat up front for the visitors, hit the two Na Rossa points. The first was on 15 minutes from a placed ball with the second ten minutes later from play.
Leading 1-4 to 0-2 at the break, Convoy went for the jugular early in the second period and with Na Rossa pinned back in their own half Browne converted three frees in quick succession to extend the locals’ lead out to eight points.
And with the Na Rossa challenge all but over, dashing wing back Benny Bonner, up in attack, notched his second to be followed shortly afterwards by another Browne conversion.
Eugene Molloy, with a fine individual point, temporarily halted the procession but normal service was soon resumed. And with the locals dominating all the key battles, Lawrence McMullin and Browne added further points to extend the Convoy advantage to 11 points, 1-11 to 0-3.
In the closing minutes Cormac McHugh and Daniel Elliot scored two Na Rossa points to give the final scoreline a slightly better look to it.
Convoy: Conor Cairns; Oisin Porter, Packie Mailey, Sean Browne; Benny Bonner (0-2), Ronan Donlon, Conor Donlon; Johnny Kee, Raymond McNamee; Ryan Kettle, Lawerence Mullan (0-1), Anthony Browne (0-7, 4f, 1 45); Emmett Patterson, Shane McLaughlin (1-0), Peter Blake (0-1).
Na Rossa: James Bonner; Shane McCready, Denis O’Donnell, Jamie McCready; Daryl Devenney, Cormac McHugh (0-1), Shane McGeehan; Eugene Molloy (0-1), Daniel Martin Melly; Ryan McCready, John Paul McCready (0-2, 1f), Conor Melly; Daniel Elliot (0-1), John Paul Breslin, Patrick Melly. Sub. Paul Byrne for C. Melly (h/t).
Referee: Paddy McGonagle (Buncrana).
Man of the match
Anthony Browne kicked seven points, five of them from placed balls and also proved to be a constant thorn in the Convoy attack.
He gets the nod despite the claims of his colleagues Benny Bonner - who kicked two points from wing-back; Lawrence Mullan, Shane McLaughlin, Johnny Kee, Packie Mailey and Ronan Donlon.
John Paul McCready, Cormac McHugh and Eugene Molloy were the Na Rossa men in the running.
Convoy were probably always fancying their chances after winning the opening leg in Dooey. The one thing the home team wanted was a good start and Shane McLaughlin’s goal, the game’s first score, on eight minutes was just what the doctor ordered and set the locals on their way.
Buncrana official Paddy McGonagle was always up with the play and got all the major calls spot on and had a good enough game.