Impressive Steelstown record first senior win

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“Great to get our first win at senior level but we know we are a long way off the finished article.”

The words of relieved Steelstown manager Hugh McGrath after watching his side record an impressive Ulster League victory over Glenullin, the club’s first victory at senior club level.

Cathal Harkin reports

In what was the final game of the campaign the city team broke their duck with a performance in which they were better than their county counterparts in all areas of the field. The Ulster campaign has been a fantastic stepping stone for Steelstown, helping the emergence of exciting prospects such as Shane O’Connor, Oran Sweeney and Jamie Feeney who will have gained invaluable experience against some of Ulster top club sides.

In truth Steelstown could have been out of sight by half-time but due a worrying nine wides, six of them from very kickable placed from various free-takers. Aidan Cleary eventually stopped the rot from a free before the break with other scores coming from Darren McDaid and Dan Jackson.

However a Lee Mullan inspired performance from the hosts, including two wonderful scores, saw the Mitchel’s enter the break 0-04 to 0-03 ahead.

The 2007 Derry champions emerged with the addition of their two county players, Paddy Bradley and Gerard O’Kane, to bolster their attack but the Steelstown defence forced them to shoot from distance on numerous occasions.

Bradley did land one ‘monster’ score to tie up the scores early in the half but if the Steelstown defence was the foundation for this victory, then the midfield pairing of McDaid and Stephen McCauley were the catalysts.

McCauley was particularly impressive and he landed the score of the match out on the right from 50m to put the city side ahead once again. Steelstown had Glenullin hemmed in during the closing stages and missed numerous goal chances until Cleary managed to poke home a breaking ball to put three between the sides and ensure victory from Steelstown.

Stressing the Glenullin team his side faces come league time will be drastically different, McGrath was content with his team’s showing.

‘I’m happy with our progress thus far,” he explained, “A lot of our younger players are stepping up and putting pressure on the more established guys. That’s exactly what was need and we’re looking forward now to April 15th.”

Steelstown: Martin Dunne; Jamie Feeney, Kevin Lyndsey, Chris Beales; Oran Sweeney, Mickey McKinney, Pearse Bradley; Darren McDaid (0-01), Stephen McCauley (0-1); Aidan Cleary (1-02), Conan Doherty, Liam Heffernan; Dan Jackson (0-02), Ryan Devine, Mark Foley. Subs used: Neil Forrester, Paul O’Hea.