Naomh Columba took a giant step towards a place in the Intermediate championship last eight with a narrow win over Naomh Colmcille in Newtowncunningham on Saturday night.
Naomh Colmcille ………… 2-10
Naomh Columba ……….. 3-9
In what was a tense, close contest throughout Naomh Columba scored all of their goals in the first half and still only led by two points at half-time.
Aaron Doherty scored the first of Naomh Columba’s three pointers in the opening minutes. Doherty converted from the penalty spot after Michael Maguire was fouled bearing down on goals.
But the 2017 Ulster Junior champions responded well and scored a goal of their own shortly after when former county U-21 Willie Gillespie hit the back of Shane O’Gara’s net.
And thanks to points from Gillespie, Ryan McErlean and Daniel Clarke, Naomh Colmcille led 1-5 to 1-3 before two quick Naomh Columba goals put Paddy J McGinley’s men back in the driving seat.
For the first Michael Maguire again drove forward before setting up Fionn Gallagher and a little over a minute later Naomh Columba were celebrating goal number three.
This time a long range strike from wing-back Pauric Ward ended up in the corner of Jason Quinn’s net and a four point lead for the men from Pairc Na nGael.
Despite the setback Naomh Colmcille did not buckle and Clarke and William Lynch landed two late points just to leave two points between the sides at the break.
The locals were back on front again in the early minutes of the second period thanks to a Ryan McErlean point and a second goal from Willie Gillespie after a wayward kick out from Shane O’Gara.
Back in front by two Naomh Colmcille’s scoring touch left them and Naomh Columba closed out the game with five unanswered points for a good away win.
NAOMH COLMCILLE: Jason Quinn; Paul Friel, Alex Devenney, PJ McBrearty; Michael Friel (0-1), William Lynch (0-1), John Fullerton; Daniel Clarke (0-2, 1f), Ciaran Devine (0-1); Jason Fitzpatrick, Ryan McErlean (0-1), Oran Hilley (0-1); Eddie Gillespie, Willie Gillespie (2-3, 3f), Joe Donaghey. Subs: Hugh O’Donnell for Fitzpatrick, Matthew Crossan for E.Gillespie, Stephen Gallagher for Donaghey, Mark Friel for Michael Friel.
NAOMH COLUMBA: Shane O’Gara; Kieran McBrearty, Martin Cunningham, Barry Carr; Pauric Ward (1-1), Michael Maguire, Philip Doherty; Aaron Doherty (1-3, 1-0pen, 3f), Fionn Gallagher (1-1); Pauric Cunningham, Declan McGuire, Pauric O’Neill (0-1); Ryan Gillespie (0-3, 2f), Tadgh McGinley, Kevin McNern. Subs: Oisin McGinley for P.Cunningham, Pauric Cunningham for R Gillespie .
REFEREE: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh).