Galbally in seventh heaven as Glenullin crash out of Ulster Championship

Ulster Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-final

Neil McNicholl scores a first half point for Glenullin against Galbally Pearses. (Photo: George Sweeney)
Neil McNicholl scores a first half point for Glenullin against Galbally Pearses. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Glenullin 1-11, Galbally 7-12

Glenullin's Ulster campaign was brought to an abrupt halt before to got off the ground following a chastening seven goal defat to Tyrone champions, Galbally in Celtic Park on Sunday.

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Daniel Kerr was superb for the Red Hand side who were a level above an out of sorts Mitchels who gave Paddy Crozier's men far too much space in attack and ultimately paid a heavy price. Kerr (2), Conor Donaghey, Ronan Nugent, Barry Carberry and Liam Rafferty were the Galbally goal scorers, three of them coning in a final quarter during which the game petered out into nothing more than training pace.

Galbally's Conor Donaghy grapples with Glenullin's Dermot O'Kane. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Glenullin heads never dropped and despite always chasing the game, can point to two goal chances five minutes into the second half that may have given them a foothold from which to mount a comeback. Trailing 3-06 to 0-08, Fearghal Close stormed through to send a fierce shot off the Galbally post with keeper Ronan McGeary beaten. The rebound fell to the feet of Cathal Hasson whose follow up was destined for the back of the net until his opposite number Liam Rafferty produced a superb diving block.

And just to twist the knife, Galbally had the ball in the Glenullin net less than 60 seconds later when Carberry slipped through a wide open Glenullin defence before sliding a lovely low finish under Niall O'Kane to extinguish any hope the Mitchel's still held.

In truth, even a Glenullin goal may have left them with too much to do such was the class of a Galbally side able to go through the gears at ease. What will disappoint Paddy Bradley though will be how open a previously miserly defence was. Chasing the game, Glenullin were always going to leave themselves exposed and they met a side perfectly set up to take advantage.

The game looked all but over at the interval with the Tyrone champions leading 3-06 to 0-6 and well in charge of a game they took a grip of early on. Having defeated an Edendork side including Tyrone All Ireland winners Niall Morgan, Darren McCurry and Conn Kilpatrick in their own county final, Galbally started with the confidence of a team who look well equipped to make an impact on the provincial stage.

In the Derry final against Drumsurn, Glenullin had fought back from a 1-02 to no score and once again found themselves trailing by a similar score but this time there would be no fairy-tale comeback.

Early scores from the impressive Conor Donaghy and John Hetherington were added to by a fourth minutes penalty after keeper O'Kane hauled down Donaghey, the full forward dusting himself down to fire home for an early five point lead.

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To their credit Glenullin rallied with frees from Eoin Bradley and Neil McNicholl but just as they were gaining a foothold, Glabally struck for a second goal. Conor Rafferty was caught on the ball in midfield but after that, Galbally raced the length of the field with Enda McGarrity teeing up Ronan Nugent for a brilliant high finish for 2-02 to 0-2.

The third goal arrived one minute before the break and again, came as Glenullin were inching back into the game at 0-6 to 2-06. This time a McGarrity mark was sent in long where Donaghy beat Donal Close before striding away to finish well.

Those early second half chances could have breathed new life into Glenullin's challenge. Instead Carberry's goal at the other end fully deflated the contest.

Glenullin heads never dropped but throwing defensive caution to the wind against a team of Galbally's calibre was always going to be risky, if necessary, tactic and show it proved as further goals from Kerr (2) and Rafferty capped an emphatic victory for the Tyrone men.

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The result was tough on a Glenullin team who can look back on an excellent year. This one will hurt for a while but once the dust settles they'll be able to look back at the massive strides forward made over the last 12 months. That progress shouldn't be forgotten because of one bad day at the office.

Glenullin scorers: Traglach Bradley (1-0), Eoin Bradley (0-4, 3f), Neil McNicholl (0-4, 3f), Fearghal Close (0-2), Donal O'Kane (0-1),

Galbally scorers: Daniel Kerr (2-5, 2f), Conor Donaghey (1-2, 1pen, 1f, 1 '45'), Ronan Nugent (2-0), Barry Carberry (1-0), Liam Rafferty (1-0), John Hethrington (0-1), Sean Wylie (0-2), Marc Lennon (0-1), Mark Donnelly, 57mins;

Glenullin: Niall O'Kane, Eunan Boylan, Eunan O'Kane, Daniel O'Kane, Mark O'Kane, Brian Mullan, Conor Rafferty, Traglach Bradley, Neil McNicholl, Donal O'Kane, Cathal Hasson, Donal Close, Fearghal Close, Eoin Bradley, John O'Kane. (Subs) Christopher Dempsey for C Rafferty, 19mins; Felix Kilmartin for B Mullan, HT; Dermot O'Kane for C Hasson, 40mins; Ronan Close for M O'Kane, 44mins;

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Galbally: Ronan McGeary, Sean Wylie, Conor Quinn, Connor Donnelly, Marc Lennon, Christopher Morris, John Hethrington, Enda McGarrity, Cormac Donnelly, Daniel Kerr, Liam Rafferty, Ronan Nugent, Barry Barberry, Conor Donaghy, Sean Murphy. (Subs) Seamus Og Mulgrew for C Morris, HT: Aidan Carberry for J Hethrington, 52mins; Mark Donnelly for S Murphy, 52mins; Fearghal McGarrity for S Wylie, 57mins; Blaine Nugent for R Nugent, 57mins;

Referee: Marggie Farrelly (Cavan)