Glack too strong for decimated Doire Trasna as O'Connor's claim first championship win
McFeely Group Derry Intermediate Football Championship, Group B
Glack 0-12, Doire Trasna 0-07
Glack scored a fully deserved Intermediate Championship Group B victory over a decimated but spirited Doire Trasna who were forced to field management duo Eoghan Carlin and Gary Murray at Páirc Ó Bhrolaigh on Saturday.
The O'Connor's always had the legs on a Trasna team whose Championship preparations this season have been marred by Covid, player departures, unavailability and injury. A mixture of those problems meant Trasna were forced to concede their opening Group game against Drumsurn and against Glack they were forced to turn to some of their most loyal servants. Among them was Carlin, who was excellent in nets, and Murray who appeared for the second half and scored a point while others like Colin Murray were playing without any training under their belts following spells out injured.
It's been a difficult season for the Pearses senior side for whom consolidation is the order of the day until they are in a position to inject more youth into the side, but even with their absentees they made Glack work for their victory.
Simon Doherty's side always looked the fitter, more balanced side and were probably their own worst enemies at times, hitting nine wides over the hour and controversially seeing a goal in first half stoppage time wiped out for a square ball.
Neither side was ever going to have aspirations of lifting the Intermediate championship but there was plenty of pride on show and some decent performances on both side. For the home side, Niall McGowan was his usual reliable source of scores while Ciaran O'Brien was excellent at the back and Jimmy O'Connor's battery shows no signs of slowing.
For Pearses, Dermott McCrossan was superb in defence and Conall Guille not far behind him with Tomas McCrossan the assured presence holding the back line together. Carlin's kick-outs were a big plus for the visitors, as was Ciaran 'Goose' McGowan's workrate and shooting and if their lacked of legs eventually caught them after the break, they still had chances to get closer than Glack would have been comfortable with.
Glack played into their hands to an extent though. The weather gods hadn't been kind to a Pearses side whose fitness was always going to be under scrutiny and in the hot afternoon sun but too often Glack's slow build up failed to adequately test the visitors.
For their part, this was a Trasna side who knew the limitations i their legs and they cleverly managed periods of possession to allow tiring bodies a rest without ever looking like they would be able to reel Glack in.
Any time they did get close, the powerful running of Marty McGonigle and the accuracy of McGowan and Ryan Morgan keep the Waterside men at arm's length with a bit to spare.
The early stages were tit-for-tat with Pearses actually ahead going into the first half water break after two points from McGowan, one a free, and one from Caelan O'Connell cancelled out efforts from Morgan and NIall McGowan.
The second quarter belonged to the home side, McGowan equalising immediately upon the restart and Glack keeping Trasna scoreless for the remainder of the half as two points from Cormac Boyle, one a mark, and frees from Morgan and McGowan saw the home side go into the break 0-7 to 0-3 ahead.
Indeed it could have been game over after Boyle thought he had scored a goal in injury time, only to see the umpire rule it out after referee Martin Donnelly had initially awarded it. Ryan O'Kane's high ball looked to be drifting wide at the far post until Boyle, as he has done so often in the past, manoeuvred himself enough space to get a fist to it and send it into the net from among a posse of players. His celebrations were cut short though, by both the decision to disallow and the half-time whistle.
Trasna introduced a couple of substitutes including Murray at half-time but the third quarter was one to forget as the sides managed only one point each, McGowan for Glack after a superb O'Brien tackle, and that Murray score, the Trasna assistant manager turning and firing brilliantly for 0-8 to 0-4.
Even then through, Trasna were always going to need a goal and it never looked like arriving. Two more Niall McGowan point looked to have sealed the issue only for Pearses to enjoy one of their best spells with 10 minutes left. They had chances to close the gap but could only manage two Colin Murray frees and as the clocked ticked toward full time it was a brace from Morgan this time which eventually made the game safe.
Glack scorers: Niall McGowan (0-6, 2f), Ryan Morgan (0-3, 3f), Cormac Boyle (0-2, 1m), Adam O'Kane (0-1)
Doire Trasna scorers: Ciaran McGowan (0-3, 1f, 1m), Colin Murray (0-2, 2f), Caelan O'Connell (0-1), Gary Murray (0-1),
Glack: Paul King, Liam Moore, Ciaran O'Brien, Ryan O'Kane, Padraig Moran, Eddie McLaughlin, Thomas O'Kane Jimmy O'Connor, Marty McGonigle, Ryan Morgan, Niall McGowan, Adam O'Kane, Cormac Boyle, Aaron Moore, Shane Toner. (Subs) Finbarr O'Brien for C Carmichael (inj), 46mins;
Doire Trasna: Eoghan Carlin, Conal Guille, Dermot McCrossan, Eoghan Devlin, Caelan O'Connell, Tomas McCrossan, Sean McNaught, Mark Healy, Paul Quigley, Ciaran MCGowan, Sean Fleming, Killian O'Neill, Micheal McNaught, Colin Murray, Damien Starrett. (Subs) Gary Murray for K O'Neill, HT; Gavin Kelly for D Starrett, HT; Dee Starrett for G Kelly (inj), 57mins:
Referee: Martin Donnelly (Eoghan Rua)