Limavady Wolfhounds shock Faughanvale to gatecrash Championship semi-finals

McFeeley Group Derry Intermediate Club Championship Quarter-final

Sunday, 17th October 2021, 8:40 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th October 2021, 9:12 pm
Limavady's Kieran McGlinchey grapples with Faughanvale's Conan Murray in Celtic Park on Sunday. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Limavady Wolfhounds 2-12, Faughanvale 0-10

'GATECRASH': (Definition) to go to an event when you have not been invited......

The McFeely Group Derry Intermediate Football Championship semi-finals had better get their guest list out because it's going to need updating!

Limavady Wolfhounds are the surprise name still in the hat for the Bateson, Sheridan and Lee trophy and the real surprise was that this victory was no surprise to anyone in Celtic Park on Sunday. Put simply, Limavady bossed the game from start to finish against a Faughanvale team who never got going. Or should that read, were never ALLOWED to get going.

Unheralded going into a game that was suppose to see the 'Vale take the final spot amid the quartet of Intermediate favourites, Limavady hadn't read the script and produced easily their best display of the season. Tactically cute, clinical in attack and intense all over the pitch, this version of the 'Hounds were brilliant after a season in which they have been consistently inconsistent.

Richard King had missed a couple of group games and his return has certainly made a huge difference, his playmaking link between defence and attack adding an extra dimension as he finished with 1-04, albeit with a fortuitous first half goal which was touched into his own net by the unfortunate Gordon Fahey.

Cormac Quigley was a brilliant focal point in attack and the clever rotation of forwards had Faughanvale all at sea. Indeed it was difficult to find a yellow shirt which wasn't superb but even with the heroics of King and Quigley, big Harry McLaughlin was the best player on the pitch.

Literally head and shoulders above most in every game he plays, the tall midfielder was superb, taking catches, winning tackles and driving his team forward with an injection of pace and power early on that set the tone for a brilliant team performance. It was no surprise to see the big No. 12 cramping in injury time because he had covered every blade of the Celtic Park pitch numerous times over the course of the 60 plus minutes.

With 'Vale trying a high press, Limavady caught them out by aiming long kick-outs at either Quigley or McLaughlin out the field and filtering enough numbers around the jumper to ensure they won the breaks. And with no one back in front of Quigley, Limavady revelled in the space they were afforded. It was a simple tactic and it worked simply brilliantly as Limavady built an early 0-4 to no score lead and a 1-05 to 0-2 half-time advantage that did not flatter them in the slightest.

For 'Vale, this was one to forget. Uncharacteristically slow, lethargic and wayward with their shooting, little went right on a day when they were were second best by some distance. St. Mary's enjoyed plenty of the ball but defensively they were far too open and with Limavady dropping men back inside, 'Vale's slow build-up play never looked like piercing the 'Hounds' defensive lines. Eight first half spoke to the frustration of watching a game get away from them without being able to impact it. As Limavady held firmed, poor decision and wrong shot selections played into the 'Hounds hands to handed them a fully deserved win.

The opening quarter set the tone with Limavady four points up at the first water break thanks to points from Jamie McLaughlin, Quigley (two marks) and King while 'Vale registered six wides in that same period. Indeed it took 'Vale until the 18th minute to get on the scoresheet through a Kevin Martin free but no sooner had they got off the mark than disaster struck through King's 19th minute goal.

The excellent Oisin Hassan was fouled under the main Celtic Park stand. King steeped up for the sideline free but his effort didn't have the legs and was dropping into the square only for confusion between Vale keeper Daryl Moore and Fahey resulting in the latter touching it into his own net. It was an especially cruel blow on Fahey who made two breath-taking goal line clearances for his side during the game.

'Vale's first score from play was another Martin effort but with Quigley rounding off the first half scoring with an lovely effort from range, Limavady had thrown a sizeable gauntlet at the feet of their opposition.

For a while it looked like 'Vale would accept the challenge as they enjoyed their best period in the minutes after the restart, Catahl O'Kane (2) and Martin scoring superb long range efforts to leave it 1-06 to 0-05 four minutes into the the second half.

That proved a false dawn however as Limavady proved anything Vale could do, they could do better, hitting three consecutive scores of their own through King (2, 1f) and Quigley to leave it 1-10 to 0-06.

'Vale heads didn't drop but Limavady answered every score they could manage and were already in the last four by the time the killer second goal arrived on 60 minutes with Oisin Hassan both creator and finisher.

The midfielder robbed 'Vale possession on halfway and set off at pace. With the defence exposed he picked out King whose effort was superbly saved by Moore, only for the 'Vale keeper to see the ball ricochet up for King to centre to Hassan who punched it into the 'Vale net. Game over, with a late red card for Shane McElhinney and a black for 'Hounds substitute John Butcher were mere footnotes.

The goal sparked scenes of wild celebration and this year's championship unlikely lads were in the last four. They'll still be outsiders against Steelstown but these gatecrashers may be about to outstay their welcome!

Faughanvale scorers: Kevin Martin (0-5, 3f), Cathal O'Kane (0-2), Shane McElhinney (0-2), Eugene O'Kane (0-1),

Limavady scorers: Richard King (1-4, 1f), Cormac Quigley (0-5, 2m), Jamie McLaughlin (0-1), John Butcher (0-1), Harry Butcher (0-1)

Faughanvale: Daryl Moore, Gordon Fahey, Michael Sweeney, Conor McGuinness, Kyle McGuinness, Shane McElhinney, Conleith McGee, Jordan Curran, Mark Crane, Cathal O'Kane, Conan Murry, Kevin Martin, Paddy O'Kane, Eoin McElhinney, Dean Curran. (Subs) Aaron Cassidy for M Creane (inj), 9mins; Sean Butcher for K McGuinness, 34mins; Adam Murphy for D Curran, 46mins; Eugene O'Kane for C Murray, 46mins; Oisin Quinn for C O'Kane (inj), 54mins;

Red Card: S McElhinney, 60mins;

Limavady Wolfhounds: Oran Hartin, Manus Quigley, Ben Deery, Jamie McLaughlin, David Brolly, Jack Deery, Conor Boyd, Sheagh McLaughlin, Oisin Hassan, Harry Butcher, Richard King, Harry McLaughlin, Kieran McGlinchey, Cormac Quigley, Ruairi Hassan. (Subs) John Butcher for R Hassan, 46mins; Eunan McLaughlin for H Butcher, 60mins;

Black Card: J Butcher, 60mins;

Referee: Martin McErlean