Glenullin gone in 60 seconds against Limavady Wolfhounds!
Glenullin 4-14, Limavady Wolfhounds 1-13
You've heard it said it only takes a second to score a goal. Well, how about it only takes a minute to win a game? In fact, it might be more accurate to say it only takes a minute to lose a game, especially in the Derry championship!
For the opening 14 minutes in Celtic Park on Sunday, Limavady Wolfhounds looked well in control of a quarter-final they would have been considered underdogs in against the reigning Intermediate champions.
Controlled, composed and with a real threat up front in the form of Cormac Quigley and John Butcher - with Richard King slightly withdrawn behind - the Wolfhounds were well worth their 0-5 to 0-3 lead. In fact they probably should have been further ahead and there were early signs of Glenullin frustration creeping in.
The came the 14th minute.
Eoin Bradley, who scored two points with his first two touches, tried a long free that dropped short. Wolfhounds tall midfielder Tom Deery rose superbly to pluck it out of the sky but the ball squirmed away from him as he landed awkwardly. Not only that, it squirmed perfectly for Fearghal Close who had followed in and managed to stick out a toe amid the pile of bodies diving to win it and each watched as the ball rolled slowly back over the Limavady line.
The Wolfhounds were rocked. The subsequent restart found another Glenullin hand and was quickly transferred to former Derry minor captain Ryan McNicholl whose outside of the right boot finish into the far corner was as audacious as it was classy. From two down to four up in 45 seconds!
The goals rocked Limavady to the extent they would not score for the remainder of the half and by the break Glenullin had made it 2-07 without reply as Christopher Dempsey, Eoin Bradley (2), Fearghal Close, Neil McNicholl (f), Cormac Hasson and Traglach Bradley pointed. It was all but game over!
The half-time introduction of Eunan McLaughlin made a real difference for the Wolfhounds, injecting pace and incisiveness but they had left themselves too much to do against a team with a real cutting edge in the form of Eoin 'Skinner' Bradley, Neil McNicholl and Ryan McNicholl.
An early second half penalty after Boylan's excellent run was cut short by Jonathan McStravick allowed 'Skinner' to slot home Glenullin's third goal and their fourth arrived only minutes later and only seven after the restart.
It came courtesy of a lovely move that showcased Glenullin's attacking potential as Neil McNicholl and Eoin Bradley combined to release Ryan McNicholl who then fed Christopher Dempsey to fist home at the far post for 4-10 to 0-08.
While Glenullin's passage through to a mouth-watering repeat of last year's Intermediate final against Drumsurn was more or less secured, Limavady continued to cause bother and will be frustrated they didn't try the direct route earlier in the contest.
They grabbed their consolation goal on the three quarter mark when a long ball drifted over Quigley but found John Butcher ghosting in behind to collect and he produced a clever near post finish for a major his side's display fully merited. It was never going to be enough to rekindle their chances of progressing but the consolation meant Glenullin could never fully relax.
But Glenullin had done enough and Paddy Bradley's men will cause any team bother if they can get the attacking trio of Neil and Ryan McNicholl and Eoin 'Skinner' Bradley enough ball. Those three were the difference makers for Glenullin although Eunan Boylan deserves a mention for a brilliant display that included much of the unseen work every manager loves! The one area of concern ahead of the Drumsurn semi-final would be Limavady's relative success going down the middle.
However four goals and a spread of nine scorers highlights the threat Glenullin hold with the return to full fitness of Ryan McNicholl adding a new dimension to the Mitchel's attack. The young forward would be a handful for any senior defence and his ability to find the net could be Glenullin's ace in the hole.
Last season they were the Intermediate championship surprise package but even as holders, Glenullin will go into the last four clash as underdogs against a Drumsurn team hell bent on revenge for 12 months ago. But there's certainly no danger of anyone underestimating them this time around!
Paddy Bradley worked wonders last season and this Glenullin team has improved even further after another year under his management. They look more assured and balanced as a team and have the talent to hurt Drumsurn, even if there remain a few question marks in defence. It all adds up to one intriguing semi-final clash in Owenbeg next Saturday (3.45pm)
Glenullin scorers: Eoin Bradley (1-4, 1f, 1pen), Ryan McNicholl (1-2, 1f), Fearghal Close (1-2, 1m), Christopher Dempsey (1-1), Neil McNicholl (0-2, 2f), Cormac Hasson (0-1), Traglach Bradley (0-1), Cathal Hasson (0-1).
Limavady scorers: John Butcher (1-0), Ruairi Hassan (0-5, 5f), Richard King (0-4, 2f), Harry Butcher (0-1), Oran Hartin (0-2, 1f, 1 '45'), Eunan McLaughlin (0-1).
Glenullin: Niall O'Kane, Daniel O'Kane, Eunan O'Kane, Diarmuid McNicholl, Cormac Hasson, John O'Kane, Traglach Bradley, Neil McNicholl, Cathal Hasson, Ryan Nicholl, Christopher Dempsey, Eunan Boylan, Eoin Bradley, Fearghal Close. (Subs) Adam Mullan for C Hasson (inj), 54mins;
Limavady Wolfhounds: Oran Hartin, Jonathan McStravick, Ben Deery, David Brolly, Kieran McGlinchey, Jamie McLaughlin, Conor Boyd, Tom Deery, Harry McLaughlin, Harry Butcher, Oisin Hassan, Cormac Quigley, Ruairi Hassan, John Butcher, Richard King. (Subs) Eunan McLaughlin for D Brolly, HT; Sheagh McLaughlin for T Deery, HT; Conor Logue for K McGlinchey, 54mins; Oisin Kelly for J McStravick, 60mins;
Referee: Maurice Corrigan