Pettigo bridge gap back to 1953 in winning Junior B Championship

Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell

Pettigo bridge gap back to 1953 in winning Junior B Championship

Dylan McGrath on the ball for Pettigo Picture: Thomas Gallagher

Magnificent final quarter for winners

Pettigo have something to celebrate about at last. Their team put in a magnificent last quarter to come from six points down to defeat Red Hugh's in the Junior B Championship final replay in Tir Conaill Park, Donegal Town.

Pettigo 1-11
Red Hugh's 2-6

Unfortunately, the game was marred by a very bad flare-up right at the death with players from both sides involved, and also spectators. It was a dangerous situation as Sean Robinson of Pettigo was injured on the ground amid the pushing and shoving and he had to be removed by stretcher.
But the flare up can not take away from Pettigo's win, which was fully deserved and they showed a battling quality that was magnificent.
They didn't really get going until the final quarter and looked in real trouble at the break as they trailed Red Hugh's by 2-5 to 0-5.
The goals were two disasters for Adam McBarron, but the 'keeper was to become a hero in the final minute as he came out bravely for a ball with the sides level. The ball ended over the bar but referee, Pat Walsh, rightly awarded a free to the 'keeper. McBarron had to be helped off.
It was a case of Murphy's Law for Pettigo in the opening half. They had six bad wides as well as conceding two soft goals. They were 1-2 down after 11 minutes, the opening point from Tim Callaghan with his fist. Conor Gallagher added a second point before Callaghan got the first goal, getting to a ball first as the 'keeper advancing and the ball trickled agonisingly over the line.
Jarlath Leonard, the best Pettigo player on the field in the opening half, finally got Pettigo on the board on 15 minutes after a penetrating run.
Ryan Dullaghan and Michael Riordan traded points before Pettigo conceded a second goal on 24 minutes. It looked as if Adam McBarron was in control of the ball but he somehow managed to lose possession and Ronan Gallen tapped the ball home.
Pettigo did respond well with points from the excellent Jarlath Leonard and Paul Robinson (free).
Darragh Gallagher came forward to leave seven points in it but in added time a great run from Jamie Gallagher saw Sean Robinson point the resulting free to leave it 2-5 to 0-5 at the break.
Pettigo had the margin down to five on 53 seconds with Michael Riordan winning and pointing a free, but Ronan Gallen replied for Red Hugh's on 37 minutes.
Remarkably, that was to be Red Hugh's last score as Pettigo upped their game, led by captain Paul Robinson, Kevin Kane and Ciaran McGee.
At the start of the last quarter Riordan pointed another free before the game was in the melting point when Pettigo found the net. It was finished expertly by Shane Begley after the approach work was done by McGee and captain Robinson.
With seven minutes left Paul Johnston pointed a free to level matters and the momentum was with the Pettigo men.
Then came the McBarron intervention to deny Red Hugh's a point and two minutes into added time a free off the ball allowed Michael Leonard to edge Pettigo ahead for the first time.
Then came the unseemly scenes but thankfully peace was restored and in the 39th minute Johnny McManus, not for the first time, made a great run before winning a free and Leonard had the final point to leave Pettigo victors by two.
There were great scenes afterwards as the large Pettigo support came on to the field to celebrate the win.

PETTIGO: Adam McBarron; Eoghan Crossan, Enda Baird, John Kane; Johnny McManus, Patrick Carr, Jarleth Leonard (0-2); Ciaran McGee, David Robinson; Sean Robinson (0-1,f), Kevin Kane, Paul Robinson (0-2,2f); Darren Johnston, Michael Riordan (0-6,5f), Adie Britton. Subs., Shane Begley (1-0) for Britton (ht); Dylan McGrath for D Johnston 46

RED HUGH'S: Luke Kelly; Darren McCreary, Dylan Irwin, Tomas Doherty; Darragh Gallagher (0-1), Karl Gallen, Jason Callaghan; Justin McBride, Ryan Bradley; Ryan Dullaghan (0-2), Conor Gallagher (0-1), James Gallagher; Tim Callaghan (1-1), Ronan Gallen (1-1), Aidan Gallen. Subs., Carl Scanlon for A Gallen 4; Mark McConnell for C Gallagher 49.

REFEREE: Pat Walsh (Bundoran)