RED HUGH’S PUT on a stunning second half performance to come from four down to win the Ulster JFC against Limavady Wolfhounds at Celtic Park in Derry tonight.
Red Hugh’s 1-11 Limavady Wolfhounds 1-9
A 41stminute goal from Cormac Quigley gave the Limavady team managed by Dominic Woods a 1-7 to 0-6 lead. However, Richard King, the Limavady centre-forward, was sent off for a second yellow moments later.
Red Hugh’s Stephen McMenamin breaks for goal during Saturday’s Ulster Junior final in Celtic Park. Photo Evan Logan
In the semi-final against competition favourites Emyvale, Red Hugh’s had trailed by five points before storming back to win 1-13 to 0-12. That spirit was there again tonight and the performance of Johnny Carlin – who scored 1-2 from the bench – will be etched into folklore in east Donegal. His goal in the depths of stoppage time at the Brandywell end of the ground was epic.
Going for the perceived ‘sensible option’ and punching over – which would’ve put his team four up – didn’t look as though it crossed his mind. It was a fantastic finish at the end of a blistering run.
Under the lights at the Loan Moor Road, both teams delivered on their pre-match utterances to play positive football. Limavady, lining out with Caallum Brown ahead of his move to the Australian Football League with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, looked good in spells.
They will though, deliberate long and hard over how they lost their way. Conor Forrest was also dismissed for two cautions, in his case four minutes into second half injuey.
Quigley, Oisin Hassan, Eugene O’Kane and were early point-scorers for Limavady Wolfhounds. The margins were always slender with never more than two points between the teams and a brace from Damien Browne and Peadar McGlinchey’s point had the Cross outfit on terms.
Ruairi Hasson missed a simple free from barely 20 metres but Ruairi O’Kane did put the Derry champions in front by the minimum on 13 minutes, only for Pauric McMenamin’s point to level it at 0-4 to 0-4.
Right after the quarter-hour, Calvin Brown, the Red Hugh’s talisman, swung his team in front for the first time. Richard King leveled it before Oisin Hassan edged Limavady back in front. Ruairi O’Kane’s score – Limavady’s third on the bounce – made for a 0-7 to 0-5 lead.
Seosamh Mac Ceallabhui’s Red Hugh’s were looking to become only the second Donegal team to win the provincial crown at the junior bracket, while Limavady had taken the Ulster gong home before in 2003, prior to it becoming an official competition.
Red Hugh’s best move of the half, in injury time, saw Bradley shoot just over after being set up by Damien Browne after Gerard Melaugh’s diagonal ball. Bradley had been in scoring form in the lead-up to the final, with 3-9 to his name.
It meant that at half-time, Limavady held a narrow 0-7 to 0-6 advantage.
Barely 20 seconds into the second half, Red Hugh’s fashioned another fine move. This time it was Shane Gallagher, who set up Pauric McMenamin to sidestep goalkeeper Oran Hartin only for his blistering shot to be saved on the line by Manus Quigley, the full-back from Limavady.
The pace of the game wasn’t relenting, although the frequency of the scores did, understandably. A goal for Limavady, when it did arrive, was a huge score. Eleven minutes into the second half, Cormac Quigley came in from the stand side and managed to beat Ciaran Kelly from a narrow angle with a high shot. It made the score 1-7 to 0-6.
Carlin, just on, scored two in a minute and when Bradley added his third of the evening, a long-ranger that was almost blown over the crossbar, brought Red Hugh’s back to just one down. Then, on the 49thminute, Damien Browne managed to bring it back on terms again at 0-10 to 1-7.
Colm Melaugh struck the post with an effort from close range just two minutes from time when goalkeeper Hartin got lost as a ball dropped from the sky. However, Red Hugh’s did at least get something from the passage of play as Kelly coolly split the posts with 90 seconds left.
Eight minutes of injury time meant that a nervous one for the Red Hugh’s support. However, Carlin’s stunning goal almost halfway into that gave the Donegal kingpins a four-point lead at 1-11 to 1-7.
Shenagh McLaughlin and Eugene O’Kane did score Limavady’s first points of the second half in injury time. However, it was Red Hugh’s day and they now face the British champions – Neasdon Gaels or Dunedin Connolly’s from Edinburgh next month – in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Red Hugh’s:Ciaran Kelly; Cathal Doherty, Eugene Browne, Shane McGlinchey; Peadar McGlinchey (0-1), Stephen McMenamin, Ryan Kelly (0-1); Thomas McMenamin, Damien Browne (0-3, 2f); Pauric McMenamin (0-1), Gerard Melaugh, Odhran Doherty; Shane Gallagher, James Carlin, Calvin Bradley (0-3). Subs: Johnny Carlin (1-2) for Gallagher (38), Colm Melaugh for James Carlin (47), Sean Sweeney for O Doherty (60+7)
Limavady Wolfhounds:Oran Hartin; Jamie McLaughlin, Manus Quigley, Harry McLaughlin; Kieran McGlinchey, Conor Boyd, Aaron McGregor; Shenagh McLaughlin (0-1), Callum Brown; Eugene O’Kane (0-2, 2f), Richard King (0-1, 1f), Ruairi O’Kane (0-2); Oisin Hassan (0-1), Cormac Quigley (1-1), Ruairi Hasson. Subs: Brendon O’Brien, Conor Forrest and Jack Deery for O Hasson, K McGlinchey and R O’Kane (52), Eoighan Rogers for R Hasson (60+2, black card)
Referee:Conor Dourneen (Cavan).