McFeely Group Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final
Claudy 1-16, Lissan 1-04
If a fortunate replay victory over Steelstown was Claudy's close call, this was the championship favourites reasserting their authority with a one sided victory, albeit against a badly depleted Lissan.
In truth, it was never a contest. Lissan set up with what was essentially a damage limitation formation, dropping every player back inside their own '45' to try and frustrate the league champions and remain in the game as long as possible. That's not a criticism, simply the only option available to Dermot Murphy given the number of players Lissan had missing.
And for Claudy, this was probably the perfect tonic after two rip roaring battles against Steelstown, a gimme of a game to take their dream of a league and championship double to the semi-final stage.
The first half saw 13 scores in total and 12 belonged to Claudy with James Canavan's 22nd minute Lissan goal providing some welcome respite for an over worked St. Michael's defence. Other than that it was one way traffic despite the best efforts of Lissan's county minor, Iarlaith Donaghy who impressed throughout and consistently carried the fight for his team.
It took two minutes for the Mitchel's to get off the mark when Shane McGahon split the posts with Paddy Hargan doubling his side's tally with a first time, soccer style finish from Aaron Kerrigan's pass.
With every player behind the ball, Lissan were wary of the Claudy goal threat and determined to nullify it. It worked well in the opening 30 minutes but the unintentional consequence of swamping your own '45' is free possession out the field and as the half progressed, Claudy were able to pop passes about under no pressure to maintain a lead that never looked under any threat.
Aaron Donaghy, Eoin McGahon and Marty Donaghy took the Mitchel's lead out to 0-5 to no score although Lissan almost hit the net following a superb solo run from Iarlaith Donaghy which took him past four players and required a superb Corey Armstrong block to finally stop.
Paddy Hargan and Callum McElhinney made it seven unanswered Claudy points before Lissan's first score arrived in the form of Canavan's goal after Claudy No. 1, Kieran Reilly, came for but failed to gather a high ball. The loose ball broke perfectly for Canavan who rolled it in the unguarded net.
For the remainder of the half, it was simply Claudy shooting practise as Kerrigan (3) and Oran Armstrong shot Claudy into a 0-12 to 1-0 half-time lead every bit as emphatic as the scoreline suggests.
The second half was a similar story of Claudy dominance and Lissan containment, Aaron Kerrigan and Marty Donaghy pointing before James McKee grabbed his side's first point of the day on 41 minutes.
That was quickly followed by their first free of the game when Ciaran Quigley shot over and had it not been for a brilliant flying save from Reilly in the Claudy goal, Lissan could have had a second goal when Iarlaith Donaghy's fiece shot seem bound for the top corner.
It wouldn't have mattered in terms of the outcome and, ironically, that chance was followed by Claudy's goal courtesy of an Aaron Kerrigan penalty after he had been fouled by Peter McGlone who was booked for his troubles.
The final 10 minutes were played out at a pedestrian pace, Lissan battling to the end but long consigned to defeat.
Following the drama of Claudy's two game epic against Steelstown, this was routine for the Mitchel's but there'll be bigger tests to come.
Claudy scorers: Shane McGahon (0-1), Paddy Hargan (0-2), Aaron Kerrigan (1-5, 3f, 1pen), Eoin McGahon (0-1), Marty Donaghy (0-2), Callum McElhinney (0-1), Oran Armstrong (0-2, 1f), Aaron Donaghy (0-1), Conor Gormley (0-1)
Lissan scorers: James Canavan (1-0), James McKee (0-2), Ciaran Quigley (0-1, 1f), Stephen McCrory (0-1),
Claudy: Kieran Reilly; Jamie Brown, Corey Armstrong, Fionan Smith; Aaron Donaghy, Conor Johnston, Calum McElhinney; Shane McGahon, Eoin McGahon; Shea Kerrigan, Oran Armstrong, Conall White; Paddy Hargan, Marty Donaghy, Aaron Kerrigan.
(Subs) Jamie Donaghy for C White, 43mins; Stephen Farren for S Kerrigan, 51mins; Conor Gormley for P Hargan, 60mins; Ryan Cunning for J Brown, 60mins;
Yellow cards: J Donaghy, 45mins;
Lissan: Stephen Conway; Oran Donnelly, Aaron McWilliams, Martin McCracken; James McKee, Ryan Murray, Niall Murray; Iarlaith Donaghy, Matthew Loughran; Kevin McWilliams, Ciaran Quigley, Conor Loane; Shea McKernan, Peter McGlone, James Canavan.
(Subs) Stevie McCrory for S McKernan, 57mins; Niall McKenna for K McWilliams, 60mins;
Yellow Cards: P McGlone, 50mins;
Referee: Alan Nash (Doire Trasna)