GLACK laid their promotion credentials firmly on the Division Three table after a superb second-half display brought them two vital points in the blistering heat at Ardmore on Sunday.
Michael Wilson was at Ardmore
Photographs: Stephen Latimer
Aaron O’Connor’s men have been the surprise package of the Junior ranks to date but it is a tag which is fading fast within Division Three as William McLaughlin’s team became the latest team to experience the violet and blue renaissance. A recent league defeat to Sean Dolan’s raised predictable questions over the durability of a club which has remained on the periphery of the Junior Championship and promotion challenges in recent seasons but they were answered emphatically at the weekend. This six point win won’t bring any silverware but it should provide Glack with the confidence to go on and challenge for it this season.
Ardmore is never an easy place to go but as the home side visibly wilted in the second half heat, Glack found an extra gear and could have won by more. The attacking quartet of Niall McGowan, Oisin King, Jimmy O’Connor and Ryan Morgan were simply superb, accounting for 14 of their side’s tally. Ardmore had no answer to their pace and movement once the visitors took control of a middle third which Ardmore had bossed before half-time.
The defeat is a blow to Ardmore but they are nothing if not resilient and they will be back. Trailing but two at the interval after consistently being caught by impressive Glack counter-attacking in the opening 30 minutes, it looked like the ‘Amber and Black’ were taking control when they turned that 0-8 to 0-6 deficit into a 0-9 to 0-8 lead within four minutes of the restart. That was courtesy of three Al McLaughlin frees but from there it all began to unravel for Ardmore who scored only once between the 34th and 60th minutes when another free from the same source finished the game’s scoring.
By that stage, Glack were well out of sight. Only a goalscorer was missing to complete a perfect away performance. That could be the only criticism because they had plenty of chances, including a first half penalty which Jimmy O’Connor sent wide after Barry Gavin’s foot block on McGowan’s shot. In the end it didn’t matter, though it is something which Aaron O’Connor will be looking to add to his side’s arsenal as the season reaches a critical period.
The first half was an even affair with Ardmore’s domination of the ball largely cancelled out by Glack’s efficiency and speed on the break. Within the first five minutes Al McLaughlin and McGowan had swapped frees and set the tone as both sides - mainly through McLaughlin and Ryan Morgan - gave an exemplary display of free-taking.
The impressive Barry Gormley had Ardmore in front again with a fantastic individual effort before Barry Kerr’s barnstroming run out from the back set-up Aaron Moore for 0-2 a-piece. That was the nature of the half but Ardmore could have put a little daylight between themselves and the visitors when young Cahir O’Kane burst through in the ninth minute but, with a goal beckoning, the corner-forward’s effort flashed just over the bar.
McLaughlin and Morgan continued their personal duel from placed balls in between O’Connor’s miss from the spot until, in the 20th minute, Gormley took it upon himself to level at 0-5 a-piece, again from a free.
Another Morgan free had the visitors in front once more but it should have been a more substantial lead minutes later when Jason Canning drove in from the left and sent a fierce drive inches over Eoin Mailey’s crossbar.
Ardmore had began with Chris Duddy positioned at 14 but he had little joy against the stubborn Glack rearguard and was dropped back into the half-forwards in an effort to open the visitors up. The change yielded one excellent score but another Morgan free ensured the visitors took a two point advantage into the half-time break.
That lead was reversed within minutes courtesy of McLaughlin’s hat-trick of early second half frees and it appeared Ardmore had found the measure of Glack but when questions were asked, the visitors found all the right answers.
Morgan brought it back to 0-9 a-piece before, with Jimmy O’Connor at his elusive best, Glack pulled away. First King set-up O’Connor to score before Morgan and Canning combined for a brilliant Ciaran Carmichael point.
The lead was three points when Canning picked out the increasingly influential King who turned and sent a lovely shot over the bar. Within eight minutes of that 41st strike, the Glack lead had grown to six points as Morgan, McGowan and King built a match-winning advantage. At 0-15 to 0-10, Glack were coasting and looking every inch legitimate title challengers. Two further excellent scores from McGowan, one from a ‘45, compounded the Ardmore misery and capped a superb result for the visitors.
The old saying goes that no Championships nor league is won in May. That’s true but the foundations of any success are laid well before that and Glack, it seems, have been busy building.
Ardmore: Eoin Mailey; Kevin Robinson, Barry Gavin, Karl McLaughlin; Martin Loughrey, Michael Friel, Peter McLaughlin; Gerard Storey, Richie McGrotty; Barry Gormley (0-3, 2f), James Cruickshank, Chris Gormley, William McLaughlin (0-6, 6f), Chris Duddy (0-1), Cahir O’Kane (0-1). (Subs) Kevin Hardtop for C Duddy, H/T; Kyle McColgan for M Loughrey, 38mins; Gerard Quinn for C Gormley, 49mins.
Glack: James Martin McLaughlin; Barry Kerr, Ed McLaughlin, Ryan O’Kane; Thomas O’Kane, Kieran McIntyre, Ciaran Carmichael (0-1); Neal Black, Aaron Moore (0-1); Jason Canning (0-1), Niall McGowan (0-4, 2f, 1 forty-five), James O’Connor (0-2); Ryan Morgan (0-6, 5f), Mark Moore, Oisin King (0-2). (Subs) Conan Feeney for A Moore, 41mins;
Referee: Sean Mullan (Drumsurn)