PHOTO: Joe Boyle, who hit 0-7 for Burt.
Battling Burt produced the shock of the day in the Intermediate Championship on Saturday when they dumped one of the favourites for the competition out at the quarter-final stages with a disciplined display in Glenswilly.
Burt 1-12 . . . Cloughaneely 2-08
By Liam Porter
A stunning score in added time from the impressive Joe Boyle was enough to see the Inishowen men over the line and leave Cloughaneely wondering how they had failed to break down the stubborn Burt defence.
The Inishowen men were quick to adopt a blanket coverage against Cloughaneely from the off, but they often used the space that provided to break quickly and create chances of their own.
Indeed, on reflection Burt might feel that they could have won by an even greater margin and yet there probably would have been few arguments if the teams had found themselves meeting again mid week to decide the issue.
There really was little between the sides on the day, but Burt edged it with that little bit more hunger and more quality in front of the posts.
In that respect they were helped by some good fortune as well, Cloughaneely’s most dangerous attacker John Fitzgerald, sitting out the last moments on the sideline after a black card.
He was the thorn in the side for Burt all day and the man most likely to be able to pull them out of the hole at the end. Without him they just couldn’t get a way through and Burt defended well and broke quickly as Boyle snatched the dramatic win.
Fitzgerald was in sparkling form in the early stages and he broke the deadlock in the 3rd minute with a fine point.
A free from Boyle had the teams on level terms and then Conor Harkin fired Burt ahead with a great score in the 7th minute.
Two more from Fitzgerald swung the game back to Cloughaneely, but as they pressed forward against the Burt blanket, they left the back door open and were made to pay.
Mark Coyle spotted the acres of space in the Cloughaneely defence and his through ball sent Conor Harkin though with clear run on goal. Ciaran Gallagher advanced, but Harkin stayed calm and rounded the keeper before slotting home.
Cloughaneely replied in the 22nd minute and there was a touch of fortune about their goal. Darren McGeever appeared to attempt a strike for a point from distance, but the ball dropped in front of the posts and Fitzgerald reacted quickly to grab it and hammer it past Kevin McDermott.
Joe Boyle with a free and a good score from play from Conor Harkin gave Burt a narrow lead at the short whistle and Darren McGeever had the teams back on level pegging soon after the re-start.
However Burt could sense the win was on and they pressed home their advantage in the early stages of the second half.
Joe Boyle and Sean McGuire traded scores before Sean McHugh and two more from Boyle had Burt’s lead out to three by the 38th minute.
It might even have been more when again the Cloughaneely defence was opened up for a goal chance for Mark Coyle that Gallagher saved. Coyle had been fouled on his way towards goal and when the game was called back for the free, Boyle tapped over and ten minutes into the second half, Burt were 1-9 to 1-5 ahead.
It was Fitzgerald who led the charge back again. First he scored with a free in the 46th minute and seconds later he cut open the Burt defence and found Jason McGee who fisted to the net to level the game.
Cloughaneely contrived to gift Burt another goal chance when Sean McHugh picked up a poor goal kick, but Gallagher made up with a good save from the goal-bound shot although Mark Coyle did fire the ’45 over with some ease.
Burt were ahead by one and Coyle scored again from play as the seconds began to run out for Cloughaneely.
Darren McGeever with a fine point from play and substitute Ciaran Scanlon pegged the game back on par and with the game in added time Sean McGuire had a chance to win it only to watch his shot veer off at the last second and drop on the wrong side of the posts.
It was a let off for Burt and they made the most of the luck when they won the kick out, worked the ball out wide to Boyle and he split the posts with a super score.
There was barely time for Cloughaneely to mount a comeback, they worked the ball up the pitch but couldn’t get a shot away and Burt held on to march into the semi-finals.