Faughanvale defeat Glenullin to top group and put themselves among Championship contenders
McFeely Group Derry Intermediate Football Championship, Group A
Faughanvale 1-16, Glenullin 0-07
First things first: the scoreline.
The official score recorded was 1-15 to 0-08 but Joe Gray's team score 1-16. Glenullin scored seven points. The confusion arose when referee Mervyn McAleese mistakenly noted Dean Curran's superb 15th minute point for Glenullin rather than 'Vale and meant the sides went into the first water break at 0-5 to 0-4 instead of 0-6 to 0-3. It proved academic in the end but it lit the blue touch paper on a contest that was always simmering just beneath the surface.
Faughanvale were worthy winners with a performance that was much more like what Gray will have expected from his team. Against Slaughtmanus, the 'Vale were pedestrian and predictable but against Glenullin, the intensity was back.
The driving wind and rain meant it was never going to be a classic but real team spirit is forged in the heat of championship battle and this type of feisty encounter will be worth its weight in gold to the Greysteel men as the Championship moves into the knock-out stages.
Glenullin's problem was a simple one; not enough scoring threat. Eoin Bradley carried the entire bulk of the Mitchel's attacking threat but he was feeding off scraps, often outnumbered and lucky to remain on the pitch after a first half altercation with Shane McElhinney. Even not at his sharpest, Bradley can hurt any team and hit 0-6 but the fact that he was Glenullin sole scorer until a 57th minute Christopher Bradley point tells its own story.
In contrast 'Vale had a spread of eight different scorers and a powerful running game that Glenullin couldn't cope with. Eoin McElhinney was central to that. Wearing 14, he dropped deep but covered a serious amount of ground in a superb individual display, just edging out younger brother Shane and the excellent Conor McGuinness for the 'Man of the Match' accolade.
Bradley got the scoreboard moving with a lovely hooked effort after holding off his marker Michael Sweeney but 'Vale responded with points from Eoin McElhinney and Kevin Martin before a Bradley free left it two points apiece five minutes in.
'Vale had the benefit of the wind first half and with Shane McElhinney sweeping, always looked more secure than Glenullin who were well in the game without being able to translate possession into scores.
Kevin Martin and Conor McGuinness scored before Bradley again reduced to deficit to one point.
Another free from Martin and a fantastic point from Dean Curran had the home side 0-6 to 0-3 up, or so they thought, as the water break revealed the referee's score to be 0-5 to 0-4. 'Vale were incensed but used the sense of injustice to fuel energy as Jordan Curran, Eoin McElhinney, Paddy O'Kane and Martin (3f) stretched the lead to 0-12 to 0-4.
Tempers were still frayed though and when Bradley clashed with Shane McElhinney, the 'Vale man was left on the floor, sparking a melee that players from both sides became involved in. When the dust settled, yellow cards for both Bradley and 'Vale's Mark Crane left both clubs feeling aggrieved.
Half-time arrived with 'Vale leading 0-13 to 0-4, or was that 0-12 to 0-5, but Glenullin's second half fightback never materialised. Instead, 'Vale hit 1-02 inside the opening five minutes and the game was gone.
Points from Cathal O'Kane and Kevin Martin had already taken the wind from the Mitchel's sails when a superb Eoin McElinney goal on sealed the deal for the home team. The strike owed everything to a lung bursting run from Conor McGuinness who was eventually swallowed up by two Glenullin backs. When he was though, McElhinney was on another trademark break forward, gathered the ball, surged forward and finished well for 1-15 to 0-4.
Glenullin remained competitive but that lack of a cutting edge never allowed them to gain a foothold in the game and wasted some very good build-up work at various stages of the match.
As for 'Vale, this was more like it for a team that is certainly among the contenders.
Faughanvale scorers: Eoin McElhinney (1-4, 1 '45'), Kevin Martin (0-6, 4f), Conor McGuinness (0-1), Dean Curran (0-1), Jordan Curran (0-1), Paddy O'Kane (0-1, 1f), Cathal O'Kane (0-1), Connleith McGee (0-1)
Glenullin scorers: Eoin Bradley (0-6, 3f), Christopher Bradley (0-1).
Faughanvale: Daryl Moore, Gordon Fahey, Michael Sweeney, Conor McGuinness, Kyle McGuinness, Shane McElhinney, Connleith McGee, Jordan Curran, Mark Crane, Cathal O'Kane, James Moore, Kevin Martin, Dean Curran, Eoin McElhinney, Paddy O'Kane. (Subs) Sean Butcher for K McGuinness, 45mins; Conan Murry for O O'Kane, 50mins; Aaron Cassidy for K Martin, 51mins; Oisin Quinn for M Crane, 56mins,
Glenullin: Sean McKinney, Christopher Bradley, Eunan O'Kane, Daniel O'Kane, Mark O'Kane, John O'Kane, Conor Rafferty, Brian Mullan, Traglach Bradley, Conor Kearney, Dermot O'Kane, Neil McNicholl, Fearghal Close, Eoin Bradley, Christopher Dempsey. (Subs) Cillian Bradley for T Bradley, 38mins; James Conway for D O'Kane, 38mins; James McKeown for C Kearney, 42mins; Oisin McGowan for F Close, 45mins; Cathal Bradley for B Mullan, 52mins;
Referee: Mervyn McAleese