THE group stages of the Charlie O Donnell Cup got underway with a double round of games at the weekend. Here’s what happened:
Greencastle Res 2 Glengad Res 2
The visitors had the first opportunity when an attempted lob from Patrick McDermott just cleared Puaric Carey Doherty ‘s crossbar. Greencastle responded with Andrew Peoples seeing a shot deflected over before he headed wide from a corner, Seamy McLaughlin fired wide and Joshua Lafferty sent a free kick just over the top.
The home side broke the deadlock on 15 minutes after Ben Doherty fed Kyle Harkin on the right and he beat a defender before pulling the ball into the path of Doherty to slot low past Michael McLaughlin.
McLaughlin then saved well to deny Eoin O’Doherty moments later. Glengad upped the tempo with Nathan McConalogue firing just wide and Ryan McLaughlin shooting over twice.
Before the break O’Doherty burst into the area but saw his effort blocked. Glengad had the first chance of the second period when McDermott s free was well held by the home custodian who then turned McConalogue’s effort round the post.
Greencastle went two up on the hour when Peoples and Doherty combined to release O’Doherty over the top and he made no mistake from fourteen yards.
O’Doherty and Gerry Gill then had chances to put the game to bed but failed to convert and Glengad got a goal back on 78 minutes after John G McDermott won possession in midfield and broke into the area before drilling low to the corner.
Seamy McLaughlin had an effort for the home side saved before Gill and O’Doherty were off target.
The visitors made them pay when they snatched a point with Paul McGonigle beating the offside trap and firing to the corner.
Gleneely Colts 3 Aileach Res 6
In a high scoring contest for the first competitive league match of the season, Aileach were first to show and opened the scoring after only two minutes when Darren Bradley slotted into an empty net when he seized on a poor clearance.
Gleneely’s first attempt fell to Paul Doherty but his snap shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.
Aileach doubled their lead midway through the half after Stephen O’Donnell advanced on the left wing, played the ball inside to Anthony Doherty, who fired a rocket to the top right corner of the net, giving Oran Raymond no chance.
Gleneely clawed a goal back on 35 minutes after good work by Paul Gamble down the right wing and he clipped a ball across the goal for Paul Doherty who slotted home at the back post.
In the opening minute of the second half, Gleneely drew level when Corey O’Brien charged down the keepers clearance to see the ball ricochet into the empty net.
A minute later, Aileach took the lead again, when a goal mouth scramble resulted in Micheal McElroy firing home from close range. Aileach went further ahead on 55 minutes when Stephen O Donnell intercepted a ball out from Oran Raymond and played it across goal for James Wallace to slot home from close range.
Gleneely pulled a goal back after a throw in from Darragh Canny found Corey O’Brien on the edge of the box who laid it off to Iarlaith McLaughlin to slam home into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Again within minutes Aileach struck after David Ryan slotted at the back post when played in by Anthony Doherty. The visitors completed the scoring in the final minute with Anthony Doherty breaking on the right past two defenders and cutting inside to shoot low to the bottom corner to complete the scoring.
Dunree United 0 QPS 1
This game was played at a very high tempo with both sets of players finding it difficult to get time and space on the ball. There was nothing in the way of chances for the first 20 minutes however QPS opened the scoring midway through the half, when a long clearance by a visiting defender fell to Darragh McDermott and he made no mistake rounding the keeper and slotting home.
Dunree pushed hard to get back into the game but failed to register any attempts on target. The pace of the game continued after the break with the home side on the front foot.
Conor Barrett had a shot tipped over in the first minute and a few minutes later Shaun Mulhern saw his 20-yard effort drift past the post. The Point were always dangerous on the break with McDermott holding the ball up, bringing players into play.
The same player had a snap shot from a tight angle clip the outside of the post in the 75th minute.
Dunree pressed but found the visitors defence hard to break down. They had the last chance of the game late on after a ball over the top was controlled by Liam Baldrick but his shot save by the keeper low to his right.
Redcastle United 7 Greencastle Res 2
In a very entertaining match Greencastle started the quickest and after only one minute went ahead through a low shot from Daniel Rowan.
Redcastle replied immediately through Gavin Grant to make it one each. Greencastle once more took the lead with a curling shot from Eoin Doherty to the top corner.
Once more Redcastle got back in the game with a sweet left foot shot from Stephen Grant before the home side took the lead just before half time with a superbly taken free kick by Stephen Grant from the edge of the area.
The second half was one way traffic with Redcastle scoring four more goals.
Brendan Murphy scored with a bullet header from a cross, Gavin Grant added to his first half goal with two excellent finishes to complete his hat trick and on the stroke of full time Drew McKinney scored after a save from Seamus Bovaird in the Greencastle goal fell kindly for him.
Culdaff FC 2 Gleneely Colts 1
The home side got a dream start in the opening minutes when an Aiden Cunningham’s low delivery from a corner was flicked past Oran Raymond by Jack McLaughlin.
The same players combined minutes later but McLaughlin headed wide on this occasion.
Gleneely responded and Iarlaith McLaughlin had a goalbound effort cleared by Thomas O’Brien before Paul Gamble ‘s shot was saved by Pauric O’Donnell. Keith Norris had a shot saved by Raymond after good build up play before Jack McLaughlin collected a Dillon Ruddy ball but fired wide from the edge of the area. Again the visitors replied and Iarlaith McLaughlin and Cory O’Brien were both off target with efforts.
The visitors equalised before the interval after the ball broke on the edge of the area to Adrian Duffy who fired first time to the bottom corner. The second half saw fewer chances but the home side pressed for the majority of the half.
Ben Curley had a good shot saved by Raymond before Jack O’Brien won possession advanced but drilled across goal and just wide. On the hour Dillon Ruddy fed Jack Mclaughlin but again Raymond was equal to the task.
Gleneely had spells of pressure and had a few corners but failed to create a clear chance.
On 81 minutes substitute Bryan McCandless laid the ball off to Aiden Cunningham but he fired over.
With the game looking destined for a draw Culdaff struck for the winner after McCandless flicked on for Cunningham to race into the edge of the area and fire an unstoppable effort across Raymond to the far corner.
QPS 1 Clonmany Res 8
An understrength home side got off to the worst possible start after Kevin Harkin pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the area and drilled to the bottom corner past Oisin Burke. It got worse on four minutes after Liam Hirrell evaded a couple of challenges before advancing into the area and firing low past Burke.
Mark McLaughlin then saw an attempted lob crash off the bar before they added a third on 16 minutes. Marty Doherty floated in a corner which broke for Harkin to poke home from close range. Mark Mclaughlin added number four with a spectacular Mark Mclaughlin diving header.
The Point rallied and Shea Lynch had an effort come off the bar before both Darragh McDermott and John McCloskey were narrowly off target. Clonmany resumed in control and added a fifth in the 48th minute when Marty Doherty stabbed the ball home after Burke had parried well. In fairness to the home side they continued to battle well and had chances.
McCloskey had an effort turned round the post by Kieran Friel before Deaglan Bown fired over and McDermotts effort lacked the necessary power to beat Friel.
McCloskey was then unlucky to see a shot cannon back off the post and the visitors broke and added number six from this let off with Thomas Comiskey firing low past Burke from sixteen yards.
Two late goals from Mark McLaughlin completed the visitors tally while the point got a consolation after a Stephen McHendry lob caught Friel off his line.