A towering second half display by Castledawson midfielder Marin Heaney and two excellent points from teenage sub Aidan Keenan were the main reasons Castledawson came out on top of this hard fought Intermediate Championship game in perfect conditions at Swatragh on Friday evening.
The main reason why Claudy lost was that their scoring forwards played far too deep and were often forced to take long range pot shots. This, among other matters, saw them shoot six wides in the opening 15 minutes.
They were just two points in arrears and still very much in the game when Martin Donaghy their most influential player got a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Castledawson half back Paddy Henry who had to go off temporarily for treatment for a facial injury.
Castledawson were reduced to 14 players in added time when Niall McNicholl picked up a second yellow card.
Both teams played the possession game with hand passes going back, forward and mostly sideways. This resulted in a lot of midfield congestion and here it was the greater physical strength of the St. Malachy’s that laid the foundation for a deserved victory.
With 45 minutes gone the teams were tied at 0-9 each and Claudy were growing in confidence, they launched an attack down the right wing where Aaron Kerrigan played in Paul White who dummied big keeper O’Kane and amazingly hit the ball wide from all of six feet. A goal at that stage would have made it difficult for Paddy Campbell’s well drilled team.
Castledawson scorers: Niall McNicholl 0-4 (2f), Conor Scullion 0-3f, Aidan Keenan 0-2, Paddy Henry 0-1f, Barry O’Kane, Aidan McElhone and Martin O’Kane 0-1 each.
Claudy scorers: Martin Donaghy 0-3f, Aaron Kerrigan 0-2 (1f), James McClay 0-1f, Owen McGahon 0-1f, Paddy Hargan, Barry Murphy, Paul White and Shea Kerrigan 0-1 each.
Castledawson - N. O’Kane, C. Lavery, K. O’Kane, R. O’Kane, D. Devlin, M. O’Kane, P. Henry, A. McElhone, M. Heaney, D. Shivers, A. Bradley, D. Lavery, C. Scullion, N. McNicholl, B. O’Kane. Subs Aidan Keenan for A. Bradley (40), Brian Ludlow blood sub for P. Henry (51)..blood sub reversed (56)
Claudy - A. McLaughlin, B. Cartin, C. Wood, L. O’Kane, JE Burke, C. Johnston, B. Murphy, S. McGahon, S. Kerrigan. P. White, B. Carlin, A. Kerrigan, M. Donaghy, P. Hargan, O. McGahon. Subs Eugene McLaughlin (blood sub) for C, Wood (28) reversed half time, Eugene McLaughlin for L. O’Kane (50)
Referee - Brendan Quinn (Ballinascreen)