Wednesday, 17 January 2018 at 01:57 AM Galvin Early
A sun kissed evening, Championship football, 29 scores, and two game teams was what was on offer in this Minor Championship First round tie in Pairc an Ghleanna this evening as Errigal Ciaran and Owen Roes went toe to toe in front of a healthy crowd. It was Errigal who took their place in the last eight, but the home side found themselves very unfortunate not to at least produce extra time in a game that ebbed and flowed throughout.
The contest exploded into life from throw in and never dulled until Eamon McHugh blew the full time whistle over a hour later. Ryan McAleer won possession from the throw in, and within 15 seconds Charles O'Doherty was placing the ball into the corner of the Errigal goal.
However Errigal were not behind for long. Mark Kavanagh pointed from play, and with 2 minutes of the game played, a second green flag was raised as Kavanagh grabbed a goal of his own.
Cathal McShane levelled for Owen Roes but scores from Kavanagh, Daniel Blake, Padraig McGirr, and Patrick O'Neill in an Errigal purple patch saw them grab control. Kavanagh added another to his tally before Owen Roes almost notched their second goal as Ronan McNulty ran in from the end line and rattled the angle of post and crossbar.
Errigal were proving very efficient in front of the sticks and O'Neill and Eoin McNelis ensured that they kept Owen Roes at arms length. Indeed it looked like Errigal were going to romp home when Kavanagh bagged his second goal on 18 minutes to leave his side 2-8 to 1-1 ahead.
However this is an Owen Roes side that is made of sterner stuff and they slowly edged their way back into contention. A lovely flowing move allowed Jack Boggs to point, with Michael Dooher and a McShane placed kick adding to their tally.
A well taken Kevin Cairns score was added to quickly by another free score from McShane as they half ended 1-6 to 2-8 in favour of Errigal.
It was the men from Dunmoyle that came out of the blocks faster in the second thirty minutes and Blake popped over in the opening minutes. Nonetheless the Leckpatrick outfit were still keeping their heads above water, and McShane's free was added to by a very good score from Ryan McAleer.
McGirr replied for Errigal, but Owen Roes were about to grab their second goal to really stir up the flames as O'Doherty bounced through the tackles to get his shot away and into the net. McAleer was in range again from the kick out as Owen Roes took the game to Errigal.
Nonetheless, Errigal were stirred, and Kavanagh was in range with a score, that Conall McCormick quickly cancelled out. A short worked free was chalked up by that man Kavanagh again before Padraig O'Neill's free put three between the sides once more.
Where Errigal once led by ten points, with four minutes to go Owen Roes' levelled the scores up. The hard working Marty O'Neill played a sumptuous ball into Michael Dooher who rounded the keeper to find the net.
With nerves frayed both sides squandered chances to take the tie before O'Neill's late free gave Errigal the advantage. Once again Owen Roes fought back, but dogged Errigal defending forced them into hurried shots, and despite a couple of chances they could not find that final leveller, and it was Errigal who celebrated the final whistle.
Both sides should be commended on an entertaining hours football that was undecided until the final whistle, and played in a sporting manner. The home side certainly did enough to merit at least a stab at extra time, however Errigal Ciaran's efficiency in shooting positions saw them home.
Team: Jack McGeehan, Conor Donaghey, Sean Dooher, Oliver Gallagher, Michael Dooher (1-1), Stephen Harper, Aaron Boggs, Charles O'Doherty (2-0), Ryan McAleer (0-2), Marty O'Neill, Kevin Cairns (0-1), Jack Boggs (0-1), Cathal McShane (0-4), Conall McCormick (0-1), Ronan McNulty.