DERRY GAA: Moneymore defeat gallant Ardmore who have bigger battles to fight

Anthony Hargan was superb  despite Ardmore's Junior Championship defeat to Moneymore.
Anthony Hargan was superb despite Ardmore's Junior Championship defeat to Moneymore.

Premier Electric Junior Football Championship, Group B

Moneymore 4-18, Ardmore 2-07

The result was never in doubt - even before a ball was throw in - but both teams emerged with credit from this one sided Premier Electric Junior Football Championship Group B encounter.

The loss of Ogra Colmcille, coupled with Ardmore's well publicised struggles at senior level, means Group B is a dead rubber in terms of competitiveness. With the draw for the semi-finals not depended on group finishing places, even the meeting of Moneymore and Magilligan - the two teams who will qualify - is something of a non event with the usual shadow boxing anticipated.

Moneymore did their job. Everyone knew they would but there was precious little analysis to take from the game for any watching Glack and Magilligan spectators.

That is not a criticism of Ardmore. Anything but.

Indeed, St. Mary's were the moral winners but their battle is not for any championship. Survival is worth more than any championship title and that is the sole focus of William McLaughlin who is currently filling the role of Club Chairman, senior manager and full forward at the age of 42.

And he's not alone. Barry Gormley, James Cruickshank, Peter McLaughlin, Al McLaughlin, Paul McLaughlin and Gerard Storey - all dyed in the wool Ardmore men who would have imagined they would be cheering the team on from the stands at this stage rather than carrying the fight as they have done for the best part of 20 years.

But off the field these are dangerous times for Ardmore and that loyal core has never let them down. And they didn't here either.

Their tally of 2-07 was more than respectable and they left at least three goals out on the Owenbeg pitch, Al McLaughlin seeing his brilliantly struck first half penalty being met with an even more spectacular save from Moneymore keeper, Liam Mac Inness.

They had the audacity to hit the front through Barry Gormley's early point, the same player grabbing their first half goal with a speculative effort that owed as much to Al McLaughlin's challenge on Mac Inness as it did to Gormely's shot.

Substitute Paul McLaughlin's second goal was the score of the match, the veteran striking fiercely into the far corner from Al McLaughlin's pass midway through the second half. And keeper Tomas Logan pulled off two superb first half saves to deny certain goals,

None of it mattered in terms of the result though. That was a foregone conclusion, especially once Stephen Scullion had hit his side's first goal on six minutes, recycling Patrick Feeney's shot before firing low through a crowd into the Ardmore net.

Scullion's second major followed only five minutes later with Aodhgan Conway firing a third Moneymore goal in the first half as the McCracken's lead 3-09 to 1-04 at half-time.

The points kept coming for Moneymore after the break but Ardmore heads never dropped with the likes of Anthony Hargan and Chris Gormley getting through a Trojan amount of work to keep the tally down.

A fourth goal arrived on 44 minutes when Feeney, who finished with a personal tally of 1-08, robbed Ardmore keeper Logan of possession before rolling into an empty net. It was cruel blow for the St. Mary's no. 1 who had performed well in the face of constant pressure.

Two late Al McLaughlin's frees illustrated the St Mary's spirit which was more than willing but Moneymore were never in danger. They will be in the semi-finals . Ardmore won't win any championships over the next year or two but with the spirit shown here, the club can survive until it is in a position to compete again.

Moneymore scorers: Stephen Scullion (2-2), Patrick Feeney (1-8), Aodhan Conway (1-0), Callan Bloomer (0-5, 4f), Stephen McGurk (0-2), Rory Young (0-1),

Ardmore scorers: Barry Gormley (1-1), Paul McLaughlin (1-1), James Cruickshank (0-1, 1f), Peter McLaughlin (0-1), Al McLaughlin (0-3, 2f, 1pen)

Moneymore: Liam Mac Inness; Neil McKenna, Christopher Marshall, Dean Kelly; Brian Marshall, Aodhan Conway, Rory Young; Aaron Moore, Christy Young; Kian O'Neill, Stephen Scullion, Tiernan O'Neill; Stephen McGurk, Callan Bloomer, Patrick Feeney.

(Subs) Kieran Moore for A Conway, 37mins; Abban McCloy for B Marshall, 42mins; Ryan McAllister for D Kelly, 46mins; Liam McElhone for S McGurk, 49mins; Conan McAleese for K O'Neill, 49mins; Fergal McFlynn for C Marshall, 51mins.

Ardmore: Tomas Logan; Trafford Walker, Anthony Hargan, Gerard Storey; Kyle McColgan, Peter McLaughlin, Ryan Storey, Chris Gormley; Richie McGrotty; Barry Gormley, Donal Boyd, Jack Chambers; William McLaughlin, James Cruickshank, William McLaughlin.

(Subs) Oisin O'Kane for J Chambers 38mins; Paul McLaughline for Peter McLaughlin (Black card), 42mins.

Black Card: Peter McLaughlin 42mins.

Referee: Terence McElhinney (Limavady).