Action from the St. Naul's v Burt game in Mountcharles
Promotion hopefuls, St Naul’s, deservedly edged out this lively affair against a gritty Burt, in a tie that had literally something for everyone in the audience.
St Naul’s 1-13
There were two somewhat gifted goals by the respective 'keepers, some superb long range points, a memorable Burt comeback as they turned a 1-10 to 0-4 deficit to two points and the match ended in a tetchy as opposed to torrid melee.
And presiding over all was the calming presence of the Val “ium” Murray, who played a total of 76 minutes due to a large number of stoppages and a few mini scuffles.
But the referee’s job was not helped by the fact that he had only two umpires and no linesmen for the entire second half
Players from both sides were falling like flies so much in the opening half, that one frustrated old time spectator said he had “never seen as many grass inspectors in years.”
This resulted in a 38 minute half and thankfully matters improved immeasurably in the second half as we were treated to a truly frenetic finish.
With the last kick of the game, the excellent Paul McHugh faced a crowded St Naul’s goalmouth with the home side hanging on to a 1-12 to 1-10 lead.
This was preceded by a squall in a teacup where players and mentors from both sides seemed to be locked in a three minute waltz in and around the St Naul’s square.
His kick was smothered and Val Murray called time on a tie that never failed to keep the small crowd interested.
Stephen Griffin was once again the main man for the winners from frees and play - but he also shot five wides, admittedly from tricky angles.
A bad kick out by Burt 'keeper Kevin McDermott eventually resulted in a tap in for Griffin in the 3rd minute.
This was a heavy blow to the decimated losers who only had a total starting panel of 17 players.
Griffin and county hurling star Joe Boyle swapped scores as St Naul’s turned over a health lead of 1-7 to 0-4 at the interval.
And it looked even bleaker for Burt when two more from Griffin and one from Barry Rose put the Mountcharles men ahead by 1-10 to 0-4 eight minutes into the second half.
But the Inishowen men threw on veteran Stephen Gillespie and set about clawing back the home side’s lead in determined fashion.
McHugh, Boyle and a great long- range point from the veteran Ciaran Dowds made matters interesting.
And we had a real contest when full forward Conor Harkin capitalised on some hesitation on the part of Naul’s keeper Gavin Mulreaney to find the net.
Mulreaney made swift amends by landing a 45 as an exciting affair drew to a close.
ST. NAUL'S: Gavin Mulreaney (0-1,45), Conor McBrearty, Enda Lynch, Karl Rose, Stuart Johnston, Conor Gavigan, John Rose; Barry Griffin, Lee McBrearty (0-1), Stephen Griffin (1-10 4f), Cathal Lowther, Barry Rose (0-1), Des McGroarty, Shane Conneely, Aidan Meehan. Subs: Edward Kane for Lee McBrearty (19 inj), Keenan Gibbons for Des McGroarty (54)
BURT: Kevin McDermott, Tom Doherty, Rory Grant, Darren Gallagher; Mickey McCann, Sean McHugh (0-1), Paul McHugh (0-3 1, 45), Caolan Gallagher, Ciaran Dowds (0-1); Mark Coyle, Martin Donaghy, Dara Grant; Joe Boyle (0- 6f), Conor Harkin (1-0), Christopher McDermott,
REFEREE: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh)