Burt are on top of the Donegal hurling tree once again following Sunday’s county Senior Championship final victory over arch rivals Setanta in O’Donnell Park.
The win saw the Inishowen men regain the title they last won two years ago and after a sluggish start they did it in some style with county ace Niall Campbell turning in a man of the match performance.
Campbell posted 2-8 of his side’s total with 2-2 coming from play. His first goal came seven minutes from the end of the first half as Burt recovered from a poor start, going 1-5 to 0-2 behind inside the opening 20 minutes.
The goal kick-started the Burt challenge and with further points from Campbell and one from Stephen Boyle, the champions amazingly went in 1-7 to 1-6 in front at half-time.
And it was all plain sailing for the Inishowen men in the second half as their power and pace combined with their vast reservoir of experience meant they more or less dominated the rest of the encounter.
In the second 34 minutes, they outscored a youthful and by and large inexperienced Setanta 2-4 to 1-1, with the Setanta point scored within two minutes of the restart and the goal drilled home deep in injury time; both scored by Kevin Campbell.
In between Niall Campbell and company bossed the game with Jonathan McGrath netting the second goal in the middle of the half and Campbell bagged the third shortly afterwards to cap a truly magnificent individual scoring performance. However, his performance was somewhat tarnished late on when he was sent off following a second yellow card offence.
Burt were the better side once they settled and as well as the scoring exploits of Campbell, the experienced trio of Ciaran Dowds, Joe Boyle and team captain Ardal McDermott left their imprint.
The younger brigade of Enda McDermott, Brendan Harrigan and Ronan McDermott also had their moments in what was a hard fought and niggly encounter.
But it all looked oh so different early on as Setanta with Danny Cullen, Michael McGhee and Philip Browne hurling well tore into their more experienced opponents.
The men from the Cross were not at all flattered when they led 1-5 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. Danny Cullen scored the goal from long range. And while it was of the fortunate variety when his effort from way out on the 45 metre line and close to the sideline dropped over the head of Paul O’Brien in the Burt goals, it was no more than they deserved.
Michael McGhee and Damien Browne one each and Kevin Campbell (3), scored the points for Setanta.
The loss of McGhee to injury after just five minutes was a body blow as the wing forward was looking sharp and as well as scoring the game’s opener inside 30 seconds, he also had a hand in Browne’s white flag too.
Setanta also finished the game with 14 men after team captain James Callaghan
got his marching orders with ten minutes remaining for a second yellow card offence.
The game changed in the closing minutes of the first half - a point up and the wind in their backs in the second half Burt were in a good place.
And that is how it turned out with Campbell and company taking control in the second half they ran out convincing winners.
Burt: Paul O’Brien; Christopher McDermott, Ciaran Dowds, Kevin Glenn; Brendan Harrigan, Joe Boyle, Conor McLaughlin; Ardal McDermott, Jonathan McGrath (0-1); Stephen Boyle (0-2), Paddy Strain, Ronan McDermott; Niall Campbell (2-8, 6f), Enda McDermott, Mickey McCann (0-1). Subs: Darren Grant for K. Glenn (39); Stephen Gillespie for S. Boyle (47, inj); Sean Murphy for P. Strain (59).
Setanta: Mark Campbell; Brendan Tourish, James Callaghan, Shane Gallen; Chris Bonner, Danny Cullen (0-1), Tom Cotter; Justin Browne, Philip Browne; Damien Browne (0-1), Simon McMenamin, Michael McGhee (0-1); Kevin Campbell (1-4,1-3f), Shane Flynn, Martin Bonner. Subs: Subs: Ritchie Kee (0-1) for M. McGhee (5 inj.); Conor Gallen for S. McMenamin (34); Mark Callaghan for S. Flynn (44).
Referee: Eamon Hasson (Derry)
Man of the match
Niall Campbell scored 2-8, with 2-2 of that total from play in an overall top drawer display, not only from free taking but also from general play.
He was the one Burt man that stepped up to the challenge when they were in a spot of bother after a whirlwind opening from Setanta.
Niall Campbell’s first goal on 27 minutes was the score that finally got the Burt machine up and running. Burt were trailing 0-3 to 1-5, at the time and all of a sudden the game was back to two points and game on.
The goal came when the ever alert Campbell was on hand to flick to the net when Mark Campbell failed to hold a long delivery from Stephen Boyle, under his own crossbar.
Derry official Eamon Hasson was on top of things from the start and stamped his authority on the game early on. But even then, a good deal of off the ball stuff went unpunished especially early on and the referee and his officials showed a lenient side.
He also flashed two red cards to Niall Campbell and James Callaghan late on for second yellow card offencea and there were a few other yellows that could easily have been red.