St Conor’s hold out in McDevitt

December 11, 2019

St Conor’s Clady/Kilrea 5-4 St Ciaran’s Ballygawley 3-9
By Michael McMullan At Celtic Park
A 51st minute goal from Eoin Mullan proved to be the winning score, as St Conor’s held on for victory in a frantic second-half at a rainswept Celtic Park yesterday.
The winners led for much of the game but had to dig deep late on and weren’t found wanting.
When Ballygawley full-forward Oisin Neill flicked a Harry McGinn ball to the back of John McAtamney’s net, St Ciaran’s were ahead for just the second time in the game, 3-8 to 4-4, with 10 minutes to go.
For all of St Ciaran’s dominance, led mainly by the strong-running Ryan Mallon, St Conor’s defended strongly and kept themselves well in contention.
Seconds after Neill’s goal swung the momentum in favour of the Tyrone men, St Conor’s hit back. Conor Kearney was involved in the move and when Paul McGinley blocked Eoin Mullan’s initial shot in a goalmouth scramble, the Glenullin man bundled the ball over the line.
Padraig Kelly did manage to peg a point back in a late Ballygawley onslaught but it as St Conor’s who hung on for victory.
Sean O’Connell scored 1-6 in vain for Ballygawley, while Ryan Mallon’s runs from midfield gave the Tyrone side the impetus for their comeback.
For St Conor’s, their inside line of Fintan McGlinchey, ball-winner JP Hasson and the ever-dangerous James O’Neill always carried a collective threat. In defence Conor O’Boyle carried out a fine marking job when switched back on Finbar McGaughey.
Oliver Wasoski opened the scoring for St Ciaran’s with the first of three goals in a frantic opening 10 minutes. Ben Murphy pounced on a rebound before dispatching to the bottom corner of the net to level the score.
Then came a second St Conor’s goal from James O’Neill to give them the lead but they struggled with their kick-outs against the breeze and later went nine minutes without a score before Ben Murphy slotted over.
St Conor’s led 3-2 to 1-5 at the break and kept themselves in command until the game sprang into life on the 42nd minute. O’Connell bagged a second Ballygawley goal and added a point seconds later to tie the game, 3-4 to 2-7.
Fintan McGlinchey squeezed home a goal and St Conor’s were back in business. St Ciaran’s edged ahead for only the second time in the game with Neill’s goal before Mullan’s second goal put St Conor’s on the way to victory.

St Conor’s: J McAtamney; C O’Boyle, E Marron, Cathair Kearney; R O’Neill, Conor Kearney, R McAllister, E Mullan (2-1), O Keenan, B Murphy (1-1), T Rodgers, C O’Neill, F McGlinchey (1-0), JP Hasson (0-1), J O’Neill (1-1).
Sub: R Scullion for R O’Neill (43).
St Ciaran’s: M Grimes; E McLaughin, P Gormley, L McKenna; P Kelly (0-1), H McGinn (0-1), D McGinley; C McGaughey, R Mallon; R Kinsella, S O’Connell (1-6, 1f), O Wasoski (1-0), C Quinn, O Neill (1-0), F McGaughey.
Subs: P McGoldrick (0-1) for C Quinn (20), P McGinley for E McLaughlin (36).
Ref: J Callaghan (Donegal).