Banagher too good for Belnaleck in Ulster Intermediate Championship

Derry Intermediate champions Banagher are through to the Ulster Intermediate Quarter-finals after getting the better of Fermanagh's Belnaleck at Owenbeg on Saturday.
Derry Intermediate champions Banagher are through to the Ulster Intermediate Quarter-finals after getting the better of Fermanagh's Belnaleck at Owenbeg on Saturday.

Ulster Intermediate Football Championship, Preliminary Round

Banagher 2-11, Belnaleck 0-09

Two Tiernan Moore goals saw Banagher through to an Ulster Intermediate Championship quarter-final against Glenfin after an ultimately comfortable victory over Fermanagh champions Belnaleck on Saturday at Owenbeg.

Moore's second strike - 24 seconds into the second half - was the game's critical score and knocked the stuffing out of Belnaleck who had competed well during a first half that was peppered with too many breaks in play.

Two weeks since defeating Ballymaguigan in the Derry final, it took the first half for Banagher to blow out the cobwebs but once into their stride after the break, there was only ever going to be one winner and the game was decider long before the final whistle.

A tetchy opening half had seen four Banagher men enter referee Sean Laverty's notebook but at least two of those decisions were harsh on the St Mary's player, especially Shane Farren's 16th minute yellow card after he and Che Cullen barged each other, the latter then dramatically collapsing to the floor to the disdain of most of the 1,397 spectators.

It all served to disrupt the opening half which never really got going in terms of excitement.

Banagher looked the more composed side from the throw-in but Belnaleck were dangerous on the break, seeking to turn the Derry men over inside their own 45 and then gallop into the wide open spaces of Owenbeg with Darragh McGurn an excellent outlet at 14.

Banagher's strength lay in the pace of people like Moore and Conor Feeney and while going into half-time two points up at 1-4 to 0-5, they probably should have had two more goals before the break.

Peter Hagan's free was the opening score but the Fermanagh men replied through McGurn's point but the goal had been on for the forward had he kept his shot down.

That looked a costly miss on three minutes when Darragh McCloskey found Ciaran Lynch who, in turn, teed up Moore to smash a lovely finish into the Belnaleck net and give Banagher a three point lead and they rarely looked like losing that cushion.

Indeed two points would be as close as the Fermanagh champions got for the remainder of the game.

Peter Hagan was seeing plenty of ball for Banagher and making the most of it, hitting two points in a minute as Banagher went to 1-3 to 0-2, Dwayne McNulty the Belnaleck scorer.

Shane Farren grabbed the last Banagher point of the half but, again, a goal could have been on for St. Mary's had he been able to gather a long through ball at the first time of asking and when Sean Lewsley left only two between them at the break, the game was in the melting pot.

Whatever was said in the St. Mary's dressing room during half-time, it had the desired effect as Banagher stepped on the intensity and won the game in the third quarter.

Pivotal to that was Moore's goal and it was all his own making even if it was rather fortuitous how the ball came to find its way back to him.

Mark Lynch took charge of the throw-in and sent a pass down the Banagher right. the ball found its way to Moore whose show superb pace and strength to cut in from the wing and tee up Darragh McCloskey. MCcloskey's shot was blocked amid a sea of defenders but the rebounds squirmed its way back out to the feet or Moore who had continued his run and was left with the simplest of tasks to tap home from a couple of yards.

And even with still 30 minutes to play, the writing was on the wall for Belnaleck.

Shane Farren increased the lead, Mark Lynch (free) and Moore adding further scores after a Sean Lewsley score for 2-07 to 0-07.

Gavin O'Neill and Brian Og McGilligan were next on the scoreboard as spaces started to open up as Belneleck were being forced to go for broke but with Mark Lynch dropping back in to cover his full back line, the Fermanagh men never looked like getting the goal they needed.

Ciaran Lynch and Moore added further scores and while the final two points belonged to Belnaleck, the day belonged to Banagher who recorded their first club victory on the provincial scene.

Banagher scorers: Tiernan Moore (2-2), Peter Hagan (0-3, 2f), Shane Farren (0-2), Mark Lynch (0-1, 1f), Gavin O'Neill (0-1), Brian Og McGilligan (0-1), Ciaran Lynch I(0-1)

Belnaleck scorers: Darragh McGurn (0-5, 4f), Dwayne McNulty (0-1), Sean Lewsley (0-2), Peter Monagahn (0-1),

Banagher: Darrell McDermott; Shane Murphy, Ruairi McCloskey, Oisin McCloskey; Paul Cartin, Sean McCullough, Darragh McCloskey; Brian Og McGilligan, Mark Lynch; Gavin O'Neill, Peter Hagan, Conor Feeney; Ciaran Lynch, Shane Farren, Tiarnan Moore.

(Subs) Michael Anderson for S Murphy, HT; Niall Moore for C Feeney, 44mins; Cien McCloskey for P Cartin, 52mins; Steafan McCloskey for G O'Neill, 59mins;

Yellow Cards: Peter Hagan 10mins; Shane Murphy, 11mins; Shane Farren 16mins; Sean McCullagh, 28mins; Gavin O'Neill 57mins;

Belnaleck: Ryan McNulty; Fergal Keenan, Che Cullen, Ryan Cassidy; Oran McCarney, Kane Connor, Lee Cullen; Sean Lewsley, Dermot Lewsley; Dwayne McNulty, Conor McAuley, Glen Treacy; Brayn Owens, Darragh McGurn, Ronan Quigley.

(Subs) Garrett Cavanagh for D Lewsley, 34mins; Garvin Quigley for G Treacy, 36mins; Peter Monagahn for D McNulty, 46mins; Frnak Raffertry for S Lewsley, 51mins; G Quigley, 60mins;

Yellow Card: Dermot Lewsley, 32mins; Lee Cullen, 63mins;

Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim)