Red Hugh's are looking forward to an Ulster Junior final after they toppled favourites Emyvale out of the running in Omagh this afternoon.
Red Hughs 1-13
This fixture might not have been the premier one of the weekend involving the various Donegal clubs across Ulster. But when the dust eventually settled on all that action this, without a shadow of a doubt, was the performance of the weekend by any of Tir Chonaill’s finest.
A brave first-half effort meant that they exited at the break two off the pace. But with the Farney men nailing the first three points of the second period, it looked certain curtains for the Cross men. However, seven uninterrupted points from the 46th minute on spectacularly turned this tie on its head.
A spirited opening quarter from Red Hugh's meant that they led by one on a scoreline of 1-2 to 0-4. Emyvale had initially raced into a three-point lead as David McAlister, twice, and brother Robbie opened impressively.
Damien Browne got Red Hugh's off the mark on seven minutes from a close range free. A huge moment arrived less than 60 seconds later when Calvin Bradley smashed the net.
Another Browne free and Red Hugh's now had the momentum on the scoreboard as well as on the field of play. Emyvale raised their game and in a dominant spell, grabbed the next three scores through McAlister (2) and Daniel McMahon (free) to once again edge in front on 0-7 to 1-2.
Emyvale then lost full forward Gavin McKernan to a black card. Approaching the midpoint, a brilliant Browne point, this time from play, left just a single white flag in it. Seven minutes of injury time were flashed on the board allowing Gareth McQuaid the opportunity to extend his side’s lead once again to two. And, that’s how it stayed right up until the break.
Half-time: Emyvale 0-8:1-3 Red Hugh's.
The classy David McAlister boomed over a sixth point of the game as Emyvale moved to nine. Now gaining what appeared to be a measure of control, Emeyvale stretched their lead to four, thanks to another McQuaid strike from a placed ball.
The power and pace of Karl McQuaid, as he galloped through to post, was seriously impressive. Still scoreless since the break, Peadar McGlinchey managed to break Red Hugh's scoring duck when he hammered over a brilliant ’45. That proved to be the springboard to launch the most almightiest of comebacks.
Digging deep and showing admirable determination, Red Hugh's rattled over another two through Bradley and Johnny Carlin to leave just two in it once again. McAlister, with a seventh from play, steadied matters for the leaders.
But another classy brace from Bradley left Red Hugh's chasing just a single point lead on 1-8 to 0-12, as we approached the 50th minute. It was no surprise that Browne was the man looping around to take on the responsibility and matters were finally tied bang 50 minutes.
Calvin Bradley then pushed Red Hugh's in front. Gerard Melaugh nailed a stunning point from distance with the outside of the right before Peadar McGlinchey put three in it with his side’s sixth on the trot.
Bradley got in again in injury time and despite gaining sight of the net, he elected to take the sensible option of lofting it over the crossbar. Late on, Emyvale lost both McAlisters as frustration got the better of them. Indeed, the losers would finish the tie out with just 12 men as Karl McQuaid also walked. Red Hugh's Gary Kelly saw the line too with what has to be said was a harsh dismissal.
No doubt they’ll look to have that overturned ahead of the Ulster decider.
RED HUGH'S: Ciaran Kelly; Cathal Doherty, Eugene Browne, Ryan Ceallaigh; Gary Kelly, Gerard Melaugh (0-1), Thomas McMenamin; Peadar McGlinchey (0-2,1’45), Stephen McMenamin; Damien Browne (0-4,2f), Pauric McMenamin, Shane McGlinchey; Calvin Bradley (1-5), Shane Gallagher, James Carlin. Subs: Johnny Carlin (0-1) for R Ceallaigh (ht), Colm Melaugh for J Carlin (38 mins), Odhran Doherty for D Browne (60mins+1), Shane Sweeney for C Bradley (60mins+4), black card), PJ Gallagher for P McMenamin (60mins+9).
EMYVALE: Gerard McCaffrey; Sean McMeel, Aaron Loughran, Ciaran Connolly; Gregory Devlin, Ryan McAnespie, Ryan Kelly; Colin Hughes, Stephen Askin; David McAlister (0-6), Robbie McAlister (0-1), Garreth McQuaid (0-2,2f); Karl McQuaid (0-1), Gavin McKernan, Daniel McMahon (0-1,1f). Subs: Jonathan McCarron for Gavin McKernan ( 29mins, black card), James O’Neill for C Connolly (41mins), Michael Flannery for G McQuaid (51mins).
REFEREE: Ciaran Mooney (Down).