Na Magha too strong for Warrenpoint as Lynch blasts Ulster hat-trick

Ulster Junior Hurling Cahmpionship Quarter-final

Na Magha's Michael Lynch scores the first of his three goals against Warrenpoint in the Ulster Hurling Junior Club Championship Q/F in Celtic Park on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: George Sweeney)
Na Magha's Michael Lynch scores the first of his three goals against Warrenpoint in the Ulster Hurling Junior Club Championship Q/F in Celtic Park on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Na Magha 4-18, St. Pater's, Warrenpoint (Down)

Na Magha cruised into a Ulster Junior Hurling semi-final date against Setanta of Donegal next weekend after a comfortable victory over Down champions Warrenpoint in Celtic Park on Sunday.

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Michael Lynch was the Na Magha spark for a game that was won well short of the final whistle, the jet heeled corner forward helping himself to an impress hat-trick of goals in a personal tally of 3-02.

Warrenpoint's keeper Anthony O'Brien makes a goal line clearance from a shot by Na Magha's Keelan Doherty. (Photo: George Sweeney)

With last year's controversial semi-final defeat to Carrickmacross still fresh in Magha minds, Ciaran McCarron's men have a provincial point to prove this season and set about it in some style with two cracking early goals from Lynch giving them a foothold they were never to lose against the Mourne club.

After an early score from Padraig Nelis, the livewire Lynch took centre stage with two strikes set up by a familiar Na Magha source. Breandan Quigley spent much of this season's league campaign sweeping but back at 14, the former Derry player provided a perfect attacking target for Na Magha and Lynch benefitted more than most.

His first goal arrived only two minutes in when Jason Gray misjudged a long ball in, allowing Quigley to gather, turn and draw the keeper before switching play right where Lynch was waiting to produce the most emphatic of finishes into the top corner.

Four points up, Na Magha never looked back against a St. Peter's team that lacked the collective firepower to trouble a miserly Derry rear-guard. John O'Kane did his damnedest to change that outlook with an excellent 1-10 but the fact their first point from play didn't arrive until the 45th minute highlighted Warrenpoint's problem. In total they managed 0-3 from play.

By contrast, Na Magha looked capable of scoring in every attack. No sooner had Lynch found the net for his first than the same source was setting him up for a second. That arrived on six minutes, Quigley again doing the hard yards and Lynch applying the coup des gras for a 2-02 to 0-2 lead.

Tomas Lally added a monster score, with Timothy Rankin, Lynch, Quigley and the fit again Deaghlan Foley (2) all chipping in with scores. Lynch also seen his first attempt at a hat-trick goal turned away by the brilliance of Warrenpoint keeper Anthony O'Brien.

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Na Magha also managed nine first half wides with only the free taking of John O'Kane keeping Warrenpoint in touch at 2-08 to 0-05 at half-time.

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Two lovely scores from Nelis and Lynch kept the scoreboard moving as the second continued along similar lines to the first, O'Kane's one man scoring show failing to make any inroads against the Derry men's lead.

The Lynch hat-trick which looked a formality inside those opening 10 minutes finally arrived on he three quarter mark, Rankin doing superbly to to find Lynch who took the pass in his stride and finished with aplomb.

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At 3-14 to 0-07 that was that in terms of a contest but Warrenpoint to their credit never stopped and got their reward with a first from play from centre-half back Alan Higgins on with 15 minutes left, but only after that man O'Kane had drilled a 30m free into the bottom corner of the Na Magha net.

Tiernan Murphy became the third St. Peter's scorers shortly after but Na Magha would, fittingly, have the final say. And it was left to substitute Keelan Doherty, a players of immense potential, to round things off with the fourth goal.

Again, Quigley was the architect, superbly fielding a high ball under pressure before picking out the forward who was able to round off an excellent display with a lovely first time finish.

Na Magha scorers: Michael Lynch (3-2), Deaghlan Foley (0-7, 3f, 1 '65'), Keelan Doherty (1-1), Padraig Nelis (0-2), Breandan Quigley (0-2), Aidan Cutliffe (0-2), Tomas Lally (0-1), Tim Rankin (0-1).

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St. Peter's, Warrenpoint: John O'Kane (1-10, 8f, 1 '65'), Alan Higgins (0-1), Tiernan Murphy (0-1),

Na Magha: Barry Robinson, Oisin Glass, Diarmuid Shiels, Tomas Lally, Aaron Campbell, Feargal McAnaney, Mark McShane, Padhraig Nelis, Bliadhain Glass, Tommy Gallagher, Deaghlan Foley, Aidan Cutliffe, Michael Lynch, Breandan Quigley, Timothy Rankin. (Subs) Keelan Doherty for T Rankin, 43mins; Ryan McAdams for M Lynch, 50mins; Adam Rankin for F McAnaney, 55mins; Yellow Cards: R McAdams, 57mins;

St. Peter's, Warrenpoint: Anthony O'Brien, Matthew Duffy, Jason Gray, Oisin Kelly, Kevin McCullagh, Alan Higgins, Chris Teague, Mark Rafferty, Tomas Magill, Tiernan Murphy, Matthew Teague, Ronan Cunningham, John O'Kane, Tom Daly, James O'Hare. (Subs) Cathal Fegan for R Cunningham, 37mins; Donal O'Neill for M Duffy, 38mins; Tiarnan Tinnelly for T Daly, 41mins; Tiarnan Kelly for T Magill, 60mins; Yellow Cards: R Cunningham, 9mins; A Higgins, 25mins; M Teague, 29mins; Ros Garrivan for J O'Hare, 51mins;

Referee: Gerard Fox (Tyrone)