An outstanding Burren side made light of the wet conditions and stern Gaoth Dobhair opposition to blast their way to 2019 final of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Champions Tournament in front for a large crowd in Gardrum Park Dromore.
Burren 2-20 Gaoth Dobhair 0-4
Heavily tipped as favourites for the competition after their destruction of Magherafelt in the quarter finals the Down champions were once again dominant in all positions, disciplined and organised in defence, commanding in midfield and ruthless in attack.
Gaoth Dobhair shored up their defence with Rian Ó Dochartaigh dropping back as they were aware of the quality of the Burren attack, the intensity of their tackling and counter attacking style in the first twenty minutes left all in attendance thinking that a shock may have been on the cards, however once Burren got the first goal of the game they really pushed on with relentless style.
Burren had made no secret of their determination to go one better than last year’s semi final defeat and three Niall Toner points and one from the industrious Eoin Loughran put their side ahead early on.
Gaoth Dobhair pulled them back following frees from Ó Dochartaigh and Fionnán Mac Giolla Chomhaill before the game changing moment when a rampaging run from full back Patrick McCarthy created an opening for James Duggan to finish the first goal of the game.
Burren really piled on the pressure after this and it took an acrobatic tip over the bar from Donal Ó Rabhartaigh to deny centre back Ryan Magill a second goal, one of a number of superb save from Ó Rabhartaigh throughout the tie.
Loughran, Toner and Aaron Murdock were among the point scorers as the Down men stretched their lead to leave the scores 1-9 to 0-2 at half time.
Goath Dobhair struggled to break down a Burren defence who were excellent throughout, keeping their opponents scoreless from play with McCarthy and man of the match Magill particularly outstanding.
The powerful Odhran Murdock got through a mountain of work in midfield providing a constant supply of quality ball for a star studded attack.
Toner who finished with 0-7 to his name was a constant thorn in the Gaeltacht boys side, points from him, Loughran and Aaron, Zach and Michael Murdock extended the lead as Gaoth Dobhair tired in the second half. Eamon Mac Giolla Bhríde, Stiofan Mac Pháidín and Darragh Ó Fearraigh fought valiantly for their side but Burren just proved too strong.
Two converted frees from Ó Dochartaigh was Gaoth Dobhair’s only reply as Michael Murdock put the icing on the cake with the second goal of the game in the final minutes, once again being set up by another McCarthy run.
Burren: Callum Grant, Shea Downey, Patrick McCarthy, Aaron Cole, James Duggan (1-1), Ryan Magill (0-1), Eoin McKernan, Odhran Murdock (0-1, 1f), James Kelly, Aaron Murdock (0-2), Niall Toner (0-7, 3f), Tiarnan Ryan, Eoin Loughran (0-4), Zach Murdock (0-2), Michael Murdock (1-1). Subs: Cian Cunningham for Kelly, Ronan Kelly for A Murdock, Thomas O’Hare (0-1) for Z Murdock, Ross McGivern for Ryan, Harry Magill for Cole
Gaoth Dobhair: Donal Ó Rabhartaigh, Aaron Mac Aoidh, Eamon Mac Giolla Bhríde, Johnny Ó Dónaill, Séan Ó Gallachóir, Cian Mac a’tSaoi, Darragh Ó Fearraigh, Séan Noel Mac Pháidín, Ronan Ó hEifearnáin, Stiofan Mac Pháidín, Rian Ó Dochartaigh (0-3, 3f), Fionnán Mac Giolla Chomhaill (0-1, 1f), Cathal De Burca, Niall Ó Doráin, Peadar Ó Baoill. Subs: Caolan Ó Fearraigh for Mac a’tSaoi, Pauric Mac an Gheimhridh for Ó Baoill, Eoghan Ó Dónaill for J Ó Dónaill, Sean Ó Fearraigh for Ó hEifearnáin
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)