Dungiven scored a dramatic winning goal in the final minute of this closely contested game at Fr. McNally Park to dash Banagher’s hopes of a first league win of the season.
Dungiven created a promising opportunity in the opening minute but Banagher countered swiftly before Paul Cartin was fouled and Gavan O’Neill swung over the first of his six pointed frees.
After eight minutes Dungiven finally got on the scoreboard when Darrell O’Kane was fouled allowing Grieve to knock the ball over the bar from 20 metres. Three minutes later Banagher probed through the middle with Shane Farren and Kevin O’Neill drawing frees before Gavan O’Neill slotted over the second one for 0-02 to 0-01.
Banagher took advantage of some loose marking to get the ball forward to Shane Farren and he set up Eunan Murphy for a well-taken point, and a 0-03 to 0-01 lead, in the 12th minute.
Tempers became a little frayed and Dungiven’s Kevin Hinphey and Banagher’s Aidan Devine were shown yellow cards, Sean O’Neill then picking up a yellow card for dissent after he’d been fouled.
Dungiven were getting on top at this stage and his time they did make use of possession as O’Neill was fouled by Ryan Lynch and he pointed for 0-03 to 0-02 nine minutes from half time.
A minute later the sides were level, a defensive error from Anderson allowing Ryan McElhinney a scoring opportunity. However his shot struck the woodwork and Cathal Grieve reacted quickest to slam the ball just over the bar.
Gavan O’Neill then converted the free for a 0-04 to 0-03 Banagher lead but Dungiven drew level two minutes from half time when Micheal Anderson fouled Sean O’Neill as he surged down the left wing and Donal McGilligan pointed the free.
Dungiven showed no signs of having corrected their wasteful tendencies on the restart before Donal McGilligan dissected the posts superbly from 40m in the swirling breeze.
Banagher countered through Aidan Devine and midfielders Conor Lynch and Paul Cartin, corner back Anderson then outpacing the Dungiven defence to slot over a terrific point for 0-05 each in the 35th minute.
Dungiven’s retort was swift, Stephen Kerlin and Aaron McCloskey doing the spadework, Ryan McElhinney and Kevin Johnston the providers for Donal McGilligan to slot over a point.
However the lead lasted a mere two minutes as Banagher embarked to a scoring burst that would take them into a 0-09 to 0-06 lead by the midpoint of the half. Oisin McCloskey snaffled a loose ball and was fouled by Paddy Kelly allowing Gavan O’Neill to lift the home support with an excellent point from a difficult free.
He was back on target within a minute when Darragh McCloskey was fouled, this free even more testing from 40m. Midway through the half Eunan Murphy sent a shot against the post, the Dungiven defence doing well to scramble the ball over the end line for a ‘45’. Shane Farren played the free short to Oisin McCloskey who hammered the ball between the posts from distance for a three point lead.
At this stage Banagher were in the ascendency after their four point burst but it would be Dungiven that would finish the stronger. Oisin McCloskey was booked for a foul on Sean O’Neill and the latter pointed the free 12 minutes from time for 0-09 to 0-07.
When Gavan O’Neill pointed from distance for 0-10 to 0-07, Banagher looked home and hosed but James McNicholl pulled back a point though it looked too little, too late as the game entered the last minute. But then Martin McCloskey, a member of the Derry minor panel, popped up to take a pass from Kevin Hinphey and blast the ball to the net for the winning score.
Banagher scorers; Gavan O’Neill 0-07, 0-06 frees, Eunan Murphy, Micheal Anderson and Oisin McCloskey 0-01 each
Dungiven scorers; Martin McCloskey 1-00, Sean O’Neill 0-03 frees, Cathal Grieve 0-02, 0-01 free, Donal McGilligan 0-02 frees and James McNicholl 0-01