Kevin McLaughlin kicked a goal and ten points as Urris finally got their championship up and running with a five point victory over Robert Emmet’s.
Robert Emmets 2-7
After losing their two opening games - away to Red Hugh’s and at home to Naomh Ultan last weekend - it was backs to the wall for last year’s finalists in Castlefin on Saturday night.
And it did not look good for them when they trailed by four points with a little over ten minutes remaining as the locals led 2-7 to 1-9, having changed ends 2-2 to 0-7 in front.
But a late scoring burst from Danny Kelly’s men and three points from their scorer-in-chief McLaughlin and a late goal from Jason Doherty, turned this tie on its head.
For well over three quarters of this highly entertaining and closely fought encounter, the locals had the look of winners about them.
They got off to a great start and led 1-2 to 0-1 after ten minutes thanks to points from the ageless Jonny McLaughlin and Gary McNulty, either side of a sweetly struck six minute goal from the elusive Barry Tourish.
For the goal, Tourish polished off a sweeping move to drill past Ciaran Friel after good work out the field from Ryan McGirr, Chris Bryson and Jonny McLaughlin.
And with Jonny McLaughlin buzzing on the ‘40’ and Chris Bryson winning vital ball in the middle third, Aaron McBride’s side were in an even better position when they led 2-2 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Peter Bryson hit the Urris net for the second goal after a good turnover by Padraig Harvey and a good move to put daylight between the sides for the first time.
However, with McLaughlin in sparkling form from placed balls, the Inishowen men slowly eased themselves into the game.
McLaughlin, who kicked the game’s first point inside a minute, and his side second on 11 minutes, finally unlocked the Emmet’s rearguard with four unanswered points in the closing ten minutes of the half. And when Jason Doherty raised a white flag just before half-time, the margin was down to a single point as the teams trooped off.
The locals took control again on the resumption and with points from Jonny McLaughlin (3), Paddy Dooher and Gary McNulty, to two Kevin McLaughlin placed balls, they were four up again, 2-7 to 0-9, by the 52nd minute mark.
But they failed to score again for the remainder of the half as Urris put in one last almighty push.
McLaughlin cut the margin to a single point when he struck a super goal from a tight angle.
That was on 54 minutes and three minutes later it was all square when McLaughlin again converted from close range. The winners hit the front on the hour mark thanks a well taken Niall McLaughlin point before Kevin McLaughlin rounded of his scoring when he drove a penalty over for a point.
Jason Doherty made sure of the points when he struck for goal number two after the Robert Emmet’s defence was caught ball watching and Kevin McLaughlin found Doherty with a quick free in front of the Emmet’s post.
Robert Emmet’s full back Sean Coyle, who was one of his side’s best performers, was shown a red card after the final whistle for a verbal confrontation with the referee Paddy McKeever
Urris: C Friel; C Doherty, S McDaid, G Doherty; M Grant, J Cooke, D Harkin; D Kelly, J McCarron; J Doherty (1-1), P Devlin,K McLaughlin (1-10, 6f, 1,45); N McLaughlin (0-1), B Doherty, C Bradley. Subs: R Doherty for C Bradley (38); R Doherty for B Doherty (61).
Robert Emmets: S McMenamin; R McGirr, S Coyle, P Harvey; P Dooher (0-1), M Lafferty, B Dooher; C Bryson, J Hunter; G McNulty (0-2), J McLaughlin (0-4,2f), D McBride; B Tourish (1-0), P Bryson (1-0), R Tourish. Subs: D McNamee for B Tourish (62).
Referee: P McKeever (Glenfin).