AT LONG LAST, Burt are among Donegal’s elite at two codes after winning an absorbing Intermediate final replay against Milford.
Burt 2-11 Milford 1-12
after extra time
They’ve become used to climbing O’Donnell Park’s steps in their role as the aristocrats of Donegal hurling, but Burt made a familiar walk after what can go down as one of their greatest hours having won only their second-ever adult football championship in Donegal.
One of the oldest clubs in Donegal, Burt – formed in 1887 – took receipt of the Cathal McLaughlin Cup after winning their first ever Intermediate Championship title following a gripping, dramatic, exciting final replay.
Conor Harkin rescued the tie for Burt, just as he had done in the first instalment, when he did well to win a penalty two minutes into added time at the end as he powered his way through the Milford gauntlet.
Harkin dusted himself down to fire the penalty past Caolan McGettigan to take the game to the extra period.
There, Mark Coyle levelled things after Luke Barrett put Milford ahead, but it was fitting that Paul McHugh would swung over the scores that, ultimately, won it for the Hibernian men.
McHugh, from his wing-back sentry, was the Man of the Match and a weaving, bending score, early in the second half of extra time proved to be the game’s final score.
Soon after, Coyle had the winning post in sight, but he dragged his shot wide as he eye-balled McGettigan.[adrotate group=”38″]
Milford tried to force something but when a long ball fell into McHugh’s arms, Andrew Mullin, the referee, called time and Burt rejoiced at the winning of this title for the first time.
A rather calamatous period at the start of the second half saw Milford get back into a game that was creeping away from them.
Sean Black’s ball in from distance didn’t look too dangerous. Burt goalkeeper Kevin McDermott briefly took his eye off the ball and it bounced over for a point that brought Milford within three points.
They were level almost instantly. The ball ping-ponged around a crowded goalmouth and Pauric Curley managed to, eventually, apply the finish.[adrotate group=”85″]
Sean McHugh and Joe Boyle had restored the advantage for Burt, but Milford had one hand on the silverware as Cathal McGettigan (free), Gary Merritt (’45), Cathal McGettigan again and Luke Barrett (free) had them three in front.
The ribbons were almost knotted, but Harkin’s penalty meant that an additional 20 minutes would be needed in the fading light.
It was Harkin who dragged Burt back into it late in the first half when he goaled in the 27th minute, a score that had a stroke of good fortune about it.
After a shot from out the field came off the upright, Harkin gathered possession.
He still had some work to do, but determinedly rounded Caolan McGettigan before hammering to the net.[adrotate group=”83″]
Burt rescued a replay having mounted a late comeback last Sunday and might even have won it, but Joe Boyle saw a last-ditch free, at a nigh-on impossible angle, pull wide.
The Hibernian Park men were clearly on a mission to show that a fine performance six days ago had been no fluke and Martin Donaghey, their captain, shot them into the lead after 60 seconds.
The McHugh brothers, Sean and Paul, caused all sorts of trouble for Milford with their pacy runs from deep and wing-back Paul hit two points to announce Burt’s arrival.
Burt certainly took the game to Milford in those early moments when the Moyle View men still appeared caught in the headlights.
Danny O’Donnell made a raft of changes to his selection with Brandon Wilkie, Conor McNulty, Sean Black and PJ Hagan all included from the off in this one.[adrotate group=”86″]
They hit four points in a row to move into a commanding position as Cathal McGettigan (free), Darragh Blake and two from Like Barrett moved them 0-5 to 0-3 in front.
Boyle ended a 14-minute famine for Burt with a 40-metre free and Calvin Gallagher struck after another powerful run at the Milford heart by Paul McHugh with Harkin’s goal making it advantage Burt at the short whistle.
When Enda McDermott – sent on late in the first half after Stephen Gillespie was harshly black carded sailed over to open up a four-point lead, the writing was on the wall for Milford, who looked every inch a side that was in panic.
They settled and had it won, only to lose it and it was to prove Burt’s hour.
Familiar scenes as the blue and yellow flags went up after a final win but, as the reaction of sheer passion and pride from men like Danny Dowds told, this truly was a moment, a game, a win for them to savour.
Burt: Kevin McDermott; Martin Donaghey (0-1), Stephen O’Donnell, Tom Doherty; Mickey McCann, Sean McHugh (0-1), Paul McHugh (0-4); Stephen Gillespie, Ciaran Dowds; Joe Boyle (0-2, 2f), Darren Gallagher, Dara Grant; Mark Coyle (0-1, 1f), Conor Harkin (2-0, 1pen), Calvin Gallagher (0-1). Subs: Enda McDermott (0-1) for Gillespie (black card, 29), Christopher McDermott for Boyle (45), Ronan McDermott for Gallagher (53), Boyle for Doherty (67), Gallagher for O’Donnell (black card, 75).
Milford: Caolan McGettigan; Brandon Wilkie, Conor McNulty, TJ Evesson; Gary Merritt (0-1, 1 ’45), Paddy Peoples, Sean Black (0-1); Luke Barrett (0-5, 4f), Joey Cullen; David Curley, Pauric Curley (1-0), Cathal McGettigan (0-4, 3f); Darragh Black (0-1), Christopher Barrett, PJ Hagan. Subs: Gavin Grier for C.McNulty (29), Jonny Logue for S.Black (43), Kyle Black for P.Curley (50), Kane Barrett for C.Barrett (56), Barry McNulty for Evesson (60), Evesson for B.McNulty (66), Anthony Fisher for Merritt (75), C.Barrett for D.Curley (76).
Referee: Andrew Mullin (Killybegs).Tags: