Doire Colmcille advance to Junior Quarter-finals as McCallion shoots down Ardmore
Premier Electrics Derry Junior Football Championship Qualifier
Doire Colmcille 0-09, Ardmore 0-08
Doire Colmcille set up a Premier Electrics Junior Championships Quarter-Final against reigning champions, Desertmartin thanks to one point win over an Ardmore side that refused to accept their fate in Celtic Park on Friday night.
Colmcille were marginally the better side throughout but were left clinging on in a frantic finale that saw an Ardmore team who failed to score from play hit three late wides as they attempted in vain to force the extra-time their spirit alone deserved.
In the end, Mickey McCallion was difference between the sides. The Colmcille forward hit 0-7, 0-6 from play, in an excellent display of long range shooting to ensure the Lowry's Lane men advance from a tie they probably should have been more comfortable in.
Down the years, Ardmore have made being difficult to beat in the championship into a fine art and this was yet another example of the St. Mary's being more than just the sum of its parts. How many other teams would fail to score throughout a championship game yet pass up three gilt edged chances to force extra before failing by a single point. 'Al' McLaughlin was St. Mary's sole scorer, each one of his eight points coming from frees, and that lack of a spread meant they were never quite able to reel Colmcille in.
The sides had the distinction of taking part in the first knock-out championship tie of the season but there was a low key feel to game, with little between the teams in a scrappy opening half.
Neither side deployed a sweeper, Colmncille's Fearghal Mac an Deanaigh the closest thing to a spare man if the need arose, but scores were surprisingly hard to come by as the first 30 minutes became a shoot-out between McCallion and McLaughlin.
McCalllion shaded that particular contest with four first half efforts, each of the highest quality, but that was largely due to a better support cast with midfielder Joe McCartie, Dee Watson and Richie Stewart ensuring the Colmcille front line was better serviced than the Ardmore inside line of Al McLaughlin, Paul McLaughlin and Stephen Lawrence.
The Ardmore kick-out was also proving problematic, with keeper Brendan McMenamin playing through an injury that inhibited his kicking, and Colmcille should have had at least one goal from poor Ardmore restarts. McCartie in particular was lording it from the kick-outs. The conundrum for St. Mary's was going short was putting them in immediate danger with Colmcille pushed right up but there was no discernible target for the long kick.
Colmcille's greater running power through the middle third gave them the edge but there was precious little between the teams which was illustrated by the two sides shared the opening four points equally as Ryan Loughran and McCallion's only free of the day cancelled out two McLaughlin efforts.
Two superb McCallion efforts had Colmcille 0-4 to 0-2 up by the 13th minute but McLaughlin once again reduced it to the minimum though that would be their last score of the half as McCallion and the impressive Ciaran Curran pointed, though the latter should have been a goal after the best move of the match sent him clear on the Ardmore goal only for his effort to clear the bar by inches.
Turning around at 0-6 to 0-3 up, the game was Colmcille's to lose but they nearly managed it as a rejuvenated St. Mary's outscored them in the second period with only McCallion's three excellent scores taking them over the line.
Ardmore's energy levels lifted noticeably but neither side was able to take advantage of numerous promising openings as the half became a tale of what if.
Colmcille substitute Cormac Keenan came closest to a second half goal with an effort that was deflect just wide of the far post while three late Ardmore efforts drifted agonisingly wide, two in injury time, to let Colmcille off the hook.
It was never pretty but Colmcille just about deserved the win though Ardmore must be wondering where that second half performance had been before the break.
Ardmore scorers: William McLaughlin (0-8, 8f).
Doire Colmcille scorers: Michael McCallion (0-7, 1f), Ryan Loughran (0-1), Ciaran Curran (0-1)
Ardmore: Brendan McMenamin, James Doherty, Leonard Quinn, Johnny Quinn, Jack Chambers,. Chris Gormley, Jordan Barrow, Gerry King, Richie McGrotty, Oisin O'Kane, Anthony Hargan, Barry Elliott, William McLaughlin, Stephen Lawrence, Paul McLaughlin. (Subs) Peter Harrigan for S Lawrence, 47mins; Mickey MCGroarty for J Barrow (inj), 55mins.
Doire Colmcille: Michael Nash, James Gillespie, Malachy Campbell, Eamon Gillen, Ben Smyth, Braonan Walker, Dee Watson, Ciaran Curran, Joe McCartie, David Quigley, Michael McCallion, Richard Stewart, Ryan Loughran, Deaglan Foley, Fearghal Mac an Deanaigh. (Subs) Luke Clarke for B Walker, 36mins; Harry Curran for R Loughran, 44mins; Cormac Keenan for F Mac an Deanaigh, 51mins; R Loughran for J McCartie (inj), 53mins; Conor Doherty for H Curran (inj), 58mins.
Referee: Alan Nash (Doire Trasna)