ERRIGAL CIARAN 2-11 URNEY 0-7
THEY were slow to click through the gears, but when they did Errigal Ciaran eventually sped away from a dogged Urney side at a rains-swept Loughmacrory on Saturday night, though the ten point winning margin was somewhat flattering.
An injury time breakaway goal by sub Peter Og McCartan with almost the last kick of the match handed the Dunmoyle men a double digits success at the finish up, but for long periods they struggled to quell an obdurate and well-organised St Columba’s outfit.
Urney didn’t disgrace themselves in their first SFC tussle in near on two decades, with their challenge spearheaded in wonderful fashion by midfielder and captain Fergal McNulty. However with their attacking talisman Johnny Lafferty unable to play a role, they lacked a focal point up front and a potent force to regularly trouble the scoreboard.
Errigal for their part were efficient rather than enterprising, but having led by just two points at half-time (0-5 to 0-3) a few choice words clearly did the trick as they emerged a more tenacious and purposeful unit on the restart.
McNulty provided the perfect early tonic for the North Tyrone men when he hoisted over a superb point in just the second minute, but as expected they found scores in the main hard to come by, despite a well-drilled tactical template which stymied Errigal’s dangermen.
Peter Harte levelled with a free before McAnenly sent a quality effort sailing over from out on the left wing. Peter Harte then converted a ’45’ after Urney keeper Keith Nelis did splendidly to palm away Kavanagh’s attempt at goal.
Urney were sticking admirably to their task as Christopher Bogle found the range in brilliant manner from an acute angle. Errigal were continuing to rely on Harte’s dead-ball expertise for scores, conjuring little from open play and with Plunkett Langan (free) trading points with McAnenly, a dour first period came to a close.
A sweeping move involving Aidan McCrory and Peter Harte ended with the latter cutting a ball across from the endline for Davy Harte to drill to the net. The Harte cousins each then slipped over pointed frees as suddenly the gap opened to 1-7 to 0-3.
St Columba’s maintained their impressive work-rate and intensity, with the likes of James Kelly, Marty Owens and Christopher Bogle producing whole-hearted efforts, but with little end product in terms of scores, they were always fighting a losing battle.
Peter and Davy Harte were again on the mark with placed balls as Errigal methodically stretched clear, though Owens and McNulty blasted over fine points to raise Urney’s spirits. Keeper Nelis also again played his part, to thwart Peter Harte from close range.
McNulty and sub Stephen Lafferty sent excellent shots sailing over the bar in the closing stages but with Kavanagh recording a score for Errigal, they were able to seal the outcome right at the death courtesy of McCartan’s fine finish to the net.