Claudy rally too late as Banagher claim Championship win

O'Neill's Derry Senior Football Championship, Group D

Oran Armstrong's 1-08 accounted for all but one point of Claudy's tally against Banagher in Owenbeg on Saturday. The Mitchel's will now face Slaughtneil in the last 16 while Banagher meet Dungiven.
Oran Armstrong's 1-08 accounted for all but one point of Claudy's tally against Banagher in Owenbeg on Saturday. The Mitchel's will now face Slaughtneil in the last 16 while Banagher meet Dungiven.

Banagher 0-13 Claudy 1-9

Banagher set up an intriguing O'Neill's Derry Senior Football last 16 clash with Dungiven after withstanding a late Claudy fightback in their final Group D encounter at Owenbeg on Saturday.

Defeat condemned Claudy to Pot 4 in Sunday's draw where they were handed the unenviable task of meeting undefeated Slaughtneil in the first knock-out round, a game in which the Emmet's will be odds on to advance.

Banagher controlled much of the first half on Saturday and led by 0-12 to 0-3 at the break, seemingly well in control until the second half saw them desert their direct play and go negative, a tacti which played into Claudy hands. The Mitchel's, who only had one score from open play dominated the second period to such an extent that St. Mary's got only one point, that coming in the 62nd minute. Banagher coughed up some silly frees and had two players black carded giving Oran Armstrong the opportunity to narrow the gap with his deadly free taking.

However, that vital Ciaran Lynch second half point did open up a four point margin one minute into added time when, for the first time in the game, there was a glimmer of excitement when Ryan Cunning was fouled in the ‘area’ and Armstrong fired home the resultant penalty. Yet there was to be no dramatic finale as from the kick out the final whistle sounded much to the relief of Banagher.

Claudy suffered an early setback when Marty Donaghy came off injured after just eight minutes and things went from bad to worse for the remainder of the half. Tiernan Moore’s first minute point was quickly cancelled out by an Armstrong free before Banagher took a firm grip, picking off some fine scores while Claudy kept clocking up the wides.

Moore put Banagher back in front and then won a free converted by Peter Hagan before Mark Lynch hit a trademark point and corner back Shane Murphy sauntered forward unchallenged to give the St. Mary’s a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with just 10 minutes played Moore added a free while at the other end James McClay could have done better with two efforts that tailed wide.

Claudy were simply unable to deal with the strong running and accurate kick passing of the Feeny men. At the end of the first quarter Peter Hagan went through with ease to open up a six point lead, Brian Og McGilligan and Hagan from a free then making the score 0-9 to 0-1 in the 23rd minute and by then the Claudy wides total had risen to six. Oran Armstrong’s 26th minute free was Claudy’s first score for 24 minutes. Armstrong did convert his third free with Peter Hagan and Eamon Og Feeney putting the St. Mary’s into what looked a very safe 0-12 to 0-3 interval lead.

Claudy were a more determined looking team for the second half as Armstrong cut in from the right to fire over his and his team’s only score from open play. Banagher’s negative play suited Claudy who now had Eoin McGahon calling the shots from midfield and a free from veteran Paddy Hargan reduced the Claudy lead to seven points. In the 38th minute Ciaran Lynch was shown a black card as Banagher were all over the place with no apparent plan in place and even had Mark Lynch around the half back line at times.

At the three quarter stage Banagher should have sealed victory. Brian Og McGilligan sparked their best move of the half, a move which ended with Oisin McCloskey one on one with keeper Ryan Mercer but he blazed wide. At the other end a shot from James McClay struck a post and the danger was cleared.

Both Ciaran Lynch and Tiernan Moore were off target with frees and as time ran out Oisin McCloskey was black carded for a foul on Hargan. From the free, Armstrong made the score 0-12 to 0-9. Ciaran Lynch’s solo point in the 62nd minute proved to be a winner for Banagher, Armstrong's well struck 63rd minute penalty coming too late to grab a first win of the season for Claudy.

Banagher scorers: Peter Hagan (0-5,4f), Tiernan Moore (0-3,1f), Mark Lynch (0-1), Shane Murphy (0-1), Brian Og McGilligan (0-1), Eamon Og Feeney (0-1), Ciaran Lynch (0-1).

Claudy scorers: Oran Armstrong (1-8, 7f, 1pen), Paddy Hargan (0-1, 1f).

Banagher: Shane Farren, Cathair McGilligan, Darragh McCloskey, Shane Murphy, Jack Lynch, Oisin McCloskey, Callum O’Kane, Eoin Devine, Brian Og McGilligan, Peter Hagan, Ciaran Lynch, Ruairi Quirk, Eamon Og Feeney, Mark Lynch, Tiernan Moore. (Subs) Tiernan McCloskey for R Quirk, 21mins; John Lynch for S Murphy, 39mins; Paul Murphy for Jack Lynch, 42mins; Niall Moore for P Hagan, 45mins.

Black Cards. C Lynch, 38mins; Oisin McCloskey, 60mins.

Claudy: Ryan Mercer, Conor Donaghy, Cory Armstrong, Ross Stevenson, Aaron Donaghy Jr, Conall White, Aaron Donaghy Sr. Shane McGahon, Eoin McGahon, Jamie Brown, Blaine Carlin, Paddy Hargan, James McClay, Martin Donaghy, Oran Armstrong.(Subs) Joe Polley for M Donaghy (inj), 8mins; Ryan Cunning for A Doanghy Jr, HT;. Liam Connolly for B Carlin, 50mins.

Referee: Mervyn McAleese (Drum)