Faughanvale 2-13, Claudy 1-07
After successive defeats in Carlin-Duffy finals, Faughanvale dined at the top table following an eventually comfortable nine-point win over a depleted Claudy 13 who were without three key players.
Claudy put up a stern test in the opening half and rocked the hot favourites with a 20th minute Cillian Higgins goal to take a 1-03 to 0-04 lead, the young Mitchel’s ahead by the minimum margin at the break, 1-04 to 0-06.
Kyle Gormley put Claudy ahead with a brace of points inside eight minutes but Faughanvale settled down and James Moore pointed a 10th minute free, levelling the score two minutes later before Eunan Murray pointed.
Midway through the half Murray put Faughanvale 0-03 to 0-02 ahead, Patrick O’Kane then chipping over a delightful point for 0-04 to 0-02.
Two minutes later Conal White narrowed the gap, Cillian Higgins then lifting the home crowd when he placed the ball accurately beyond ‘Vale keeper Aaron McGuinness for a 1-03 to 0-04 lead 10 minutes from half time.
Murray pulled back a point but Cillian Higgins drilled the ball superbly between the posts from a 40m free when he was fouled. Right on half time James Moore closed the gap to 0-06 to 1-04.
But really Claudy should have been further ahead after spurning a couple of goal chances that, had they been taken by Conal White and Odhran Duffy, might have increased the pressure on Faughanvale.
However it was ‘all change’ in the second period as Faughanvale, inspired by the outstanding Gordon Fahey and captain Eoin McElhinney at the heart of the defence, got their run game going full steam and they revelled in the wide open spaces that 13-a-side allows, with the dynamic Eunan Murray running amok.
From the minute James Moore pointed a free at the start of the second half it was one-way traffic. In the 37th minute Moore pointed a free before Murray raced through for a point but inevitably the Claudy defence would be pierced and it was the superb Eunan Murray who scored the goal midway through the half that put the outcome beyond doubt.
Murray pointed a free 12 minutes from time and then ran on to a James Moore pass to slice open the Claudy defence before rocketing the ball against the bar from close range when a goal looked certain.
Three minutes from time Dean Boyle fired home a second goal which proved the icing on the cake for ‘Vale. Conor Ward and Kyle Gormley scored Claudy’s final two points but the winners had the last word when James Moore landed a delightful point for a most convincing victory.
Faughanvale mentor, Conor Nicholl, agreed his side had struggled in the first half against a determined Claudy outfit.
“We were not able to get really going in the first half,” explained Nicholl, “We struggled for consistency and were knocked out of our stride when we lost Sean Bradley to a ‘black card’ in the 12th minute.
“But we recovered well from the early concession of two points to hit four in a row though Claudy came back well at us in the second quarter to score the goal.
“We had a good chat with the players at half time and reminded them about doing what they had been doing well all season, moving the ball quickly and getting it forward and they did that in the second half.”
When the displays of their key players were flagged up, especially ‘man of the match’ Eunan Murray who finished with 1-06 and accurate free taker James Moore who converted five frees in his 0-06 haul, Nicholl agreed they had made hugely significant contributions but stressed that it had been a great team effort,
“Just delighted for the lads. They have put in a great effort so far this season and they showed what they can do in the second half,” he added.
Faughanvale: Aaron McGuinness; Matthew Boyle, Gordon Fahey, Kyle McGuinness; Brandon O’Doherty, Eoin McElhinney (Captain), Gareth Doherty; Colm Logue, Sean Bradley, Eunan Murray (1-6, 1f); Patrick O’Kane (0-1), James Moore (0-6, 5f). Dean Boyle (1-00). (Subs) Michael Devine for G Doherty, 9 mins; Eoin Devine for Sean Bradley (Black Card) 13 mins; Conal McFeely for P O’Kane 45 mins; Mark Creane for C Logue, 60 mins; Jamie McDermott for D Boyle, 60 mins
Claudy: Shea Nicell; Steven McKeever, Jamie Brown, Ronan Johnston; Kyle Gormley (0-03), Cillian Higgins (1-02, 1f), Conor White (0-1); Odhran Duffy, Odhran Crumley, Keelan Smith; Ciarnan Higgins, Shane O’Neill, Liam Brolly. (Subs) Conor Ward (0-1) for O Duffy.
Referee: Mervyn McAleese (Drum).