Faughanvale defeat Limavady to take direct route to Championship quarter-finals

McFeely Group Intermediate Football Championship

Patrick O'Kane's goal proved critical as Faughanvale scored a 1-12 to 1-08 victory over Limavady Wolfhounds in John McLaughlin Park on Saturday.
Patrick O'Kane's goal proved critical as Faughanvale scored a 1-12 to 1-08 victory over Limavady Wolfhounds in John McLaughlin Park on Saturday.

Faughanvale 1-12, Limavady Wolfhounds 1-08

Faughanvale advanced directly to the Intermediate quarter-finals with a hard earned victory over a Limavady side that should still have plenty more to say about the destination of the Intermediate title.

'Vale were at their consistently inconsistent best, enthralling and frustrating in equal measures at times but fully deserved the win with a counter attacking style which, when it finally clicked into gear, fully utilised the strong runners Joe Gray has at his disposal with corner-back Sean Butcher excellent alongside Eoin McElhinney and the usual suspects of Eunan Murray and Kevin Martin.

Not that it was plain sailing for the Greysteel men, far from it indeed, but matches are decided on defining moments and Limavady's big ones went again them sending them in a qualifying play-off against Slaughtmanus from which they will be favourites to join the other quarter-finalists.

Two incidents in particular could had swung a tight game the 'Hounds' way, one after only four minutes when great pressure saw the visitors turn 'Vale over with keeper Daryl Moore out of his goal. The ball was switched quickly right to Richard King whose shot was destined for the top corner before Conor McGuinness produced a brilliant goal line.

The second and probably more pivotal incident came five minutes into the second half with Limavady trailing 0-5 to 0-3. Eunan McLaughlin, who was superb throughout, sent a lovely pass into Sheagh McLaughlin's run, the midfielder stepping inside and looking poised to shoot for goal until he was brought down by covering 'Vale defenders. It looked a penalty but referee Gavin Hegarty was perfectly placed and waved away Limavady appeals with Vale then rubbing salt in the wounds by tagging on the next two points.

Indeed that third quarter was where Faughanvale won the game.

The Greysteel men are not a side to fall behind against with a number of powerful runners perfectly suited to the transitional game Gray has them playing. Where they have faltered in the past is the game management side of championship football, i.e., when to step off the gas and when to re-apply the accelerator. They did that well on Saturday, managing Limavady's impressive start to come through and lead 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time before kicking on to establish an 1-07 to 0-5 advantage by the 43rd minute, a lead that ultimately won them the game. The only concern would be, even when leading 1-10 to 0-06 with 10 minutes remaining, they never really put Limavady away and had Ben Deery's 58th minute goal come earlier than it did it, then it could have signalled a major momentum shift.

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Limavady's start on Saturday was excellent, bossing possession and pinning 'Vale back as they built a 0-2 to no score lead thanks to Oran Hartin's '45' following McGuinness goal line block and a lovely score from Harry Butcher. By half-time though that two point lead had become a three point deficit as 'Vale got their hand on some ball, controlled the tempo and hit scores through Martin (3), Murray and James Moore.

Indeed had Hartin not been alert to block Eoin McElhinney's 27th minute shot after a superb penetrating run through the middle, Vale's interval advantage could have been more considerable.

The second half was nip and tuck, Limavady seeing their appeals waved away with the two point lead intact at 0-7 to 0-5 when Faughanvale struck the decisive blow through O'Kane's fantastic goal. It owed everything to the great work of Eoin McElhinney and Jordan Curran who combined to free O'Kane at the back post from where he crashed a brilliant finish home off the underside of the crossbar.

At 1-07 to 0-05 that should have been that Limavady refused to lie down, though Eunan Murray was doing his best to keep them at arm's length. The decision to move Deery from full-back to 14 was justified by his excellent catch, turn and finish but his goal came too late for the 'Hounds to mount a fightback.

They go forward to the play-offs, 'Vale already in the last eight but it would be a brave man putting money on the destination of the 2022 title.

Faughanvale scorers: Patrick O'Kane (1-2, 1f), Eunan Murray (0-4, 1f), Kevin Martin (0-3),James Moore (0-1), Connlaoth McGee (0-1), Dean Curran (0-1).

Limavady scorers: Ben Deery (1-0), Ruairi Hasson (0-3, 2f), Oran Hartin (0-1, 1 '45'), Harry Butcher (0-1), Oisin Hasson (0-1), Manus Quigley (0-1), Richard King (0-1, 1f)

Faughanvale: Daryl Moore, Sean Butcher, Gordan Fahey, Michael Sweeney, Jordan Curran, Conor McGuinness, Connlaoth McGee, Eoin McElhinney, Shane McElhinney, Patrick O'Kane, Oisin Quinn, James Moore, Eunan Murray, Brandon O'Doherty, Kevin Martin. (Subs) Dean Curran for J Curran (inj), 47mins; Kyle McGuinness for K Martin, 52mins;Aaron Mullan for S Butcher (inj), 54mins; Aaron Cassidy for J Moore, 57mins.

Limavady Wolfhounds: Oran Hartin, Oisin Kelly, Ben Deery, Callum Carten, Conor Boyd, Oisin Hasson, Jamie McLaughlin, Sheagh McLaughlin, Manus Quigley, Harry Butcher, Richard King, Harry McLaughlin, Ruairi Hasson, Cormac Quigley, Eunan McLaughlin. (Subs) Kieran McGlinchey for O Kelly, 39mins; Michael O'Brien for S McLaughlin, 47mins; Tony Gallagher for C Quigley, 56mins.

Referee: Gavin Hegarty