DERRY GAA: Superb Steelstown into Intermediate Final after defeating Foreglen
Steelstown 1-15, Foreglen 1-10
Steelstown and Castledawson will meet in a repeat of the 2010 Derry Intermediate Football Championship final after Paul Ferris hit 1-03 to see the Brian Ogs into the 2016 decider on Sunday, October 9th.
Paul O’Hea’s side fully deserved the win against an O’Brien’s team that never reached the heights expected of them after what has been a turbulent and emotional few weeks for the club following the sad passing of goalkeeper Gary Magee.
For Steelstown, the O’Hea-Gibson revolution continues with a chance to avenge that controversial 2010 Celtic Park defeat which still wrangles with many at the club. The new management team have injected energy into a season that looked to be going nowhere and it has seen a lethargic, tired looking team transformed into a dynamic, attacking unit which looks like it is enjoying its football again.
Ferris’ goal five minutes into the second half, a emphatic high finish following Neil Forester’s pass, was due reward for a fine individual display among a very good team performance.
Steelstown enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges against a strangely subdued Foreglen for whom Kevin O’Connor looked to be carrying an injury. O’Connor is the O’Brien’s ‘go-to’ man for scores and his very restricted influence on the opening 30 minutes robbed Forelgen of much of their attacking threat.
By contrast, Steelstown were cutting through an open O’Brien’s defence at will. Mark Foley and Paul Ferris were in fine form, the latter helping himself to 0-3 from play in the first half alone.
Foreglen were having difficulty winning their own kick-outs, claiming only one of their first seven, with Darren McDaid and Ryan Devine breaking most down into the grateful hands of Neil Forester and Mickey McKinney.
Paul O’Hea’s men were two points up inside three minutes thanks to a Foely free and an excellent Gareth Logue score.
From a Foreglen viewpoint, both scores were avoidable and the ease with which the city side were working their shots was in sharp contrast to how hard Foreglen were having to work to manufactured openings.
The movement of the Steelstown front three of Ferris, Logue and Foley was causing Foreglen all sorts of problems. It made the cross field pass a highly effective weapon and Steelstown used it well.
For all that dominance though, Foreglen had chances to score goals. Their opening point from Kevin Dunne saw the forward score when he had Liam O’Hara clear on his outside and through on goal.
That decision looked costly as Steelstown turned the screw to build a 0-7 to 0-1 lead thanks to points from Foley (2) Oran Sweeney, Eoghan Concannon and John O’Dwyer.
Coalan O’Connor got his side’s second score on 19 minutes but Ferris responded to restore to six point advantage.
Foreglen needed goals and could have scored twice in an attack that eventually yielded nothing. First Darran McDaid produced a brilliant low block to deny O’Connor’s goal bound shot. The ball broke perfectly to Eunan McFeely but his shot was superbly turned away by Marty Dunne.
Kevin Dunne did get a third Foreglen point but even though Ferris and Foley ensured a 0-10 to 0-4 interval lead, it was a scoreline that didn’t reflect the city side’s dominance.
The second half started in a similar manner with Ferris’ goal arriving on 35 minutes and signalling a lead Foreglen would not be able to close.
Andy Moore continued to enhance his growing reputation with another excellent display that included two fine points from play.
To their credit Foreglen responded to the setback but producing their best spell of the game but it never threatened to turn the game their way. A 49th minute Black card for Liam Heffernan was indicative of how Foreglen improved and for a while, Steelstown were struggling to contain the O’Brien’s
A Foreglen goal duly arrived after Marty Dunne was penalised for a foot block and Mark McCormick dispatched the resultant penalty but with only two minutes left, it was never going to be enough and Steelstown advanced to their second Intermediate final.
Steelstown Brian Ogs: Martin Dunne; Ryan McCloskey, Shane O’Connor, Andy Moore (0-2); Neil Forester, Liam Forester, Liam Heffernan, Eoghan Concannon (0-1); Darren McDaid, Ryan Devine; Gareth Logue (0-1), Mickey McKinney, Oran Sweeney (0-1); Paul Ferris (1-3), Mark Foley (0-5, 3f), Eoghan Bradley (0-1). (Subs) Sebastian Crudden (0-1) for G Logue, 49mins; Emmet Deane for R Devine, 40mins; Jacob Duffy for O Sweeney, 60mins;
Black Card Sub: Aidan Cleary for L Heffernan, 50mins;
Foreglen: Niall McConway; Ruairi Duffy, Cahal O’Hara, Conrad Sheerin; Pauric Sheerin, Oisin Duffy, Liam O’Hara; Gavin McCormick, Mark McCormick (1-2, 1pen); Marty Farrell (0-1), Kevin O’Connor (0-3, 2f), Caolan O’Connor (0-1); John O’Dwyer, Eunan McFeely, Kevin Dunne (0-2). (Subs) Eoghan Duffy for C Sheerin, 19mins; Ciaron McFeeley (0-1) for C O’Connor H/T; John Duffy for R Duffy, H/T;
Referee: Brendan Quinn