Wednesday, 21 March 2018 at 01:17 AM Galvin Early
Two years ago, these two sides met in the grade two league final with Stewartstown emerging winners. However this was a much improved Owen Roes outfit that took the field in this evening's minor grade one quarter final. Nonetheless it was the visitors who took the spoils again, as they ran out winners thanks to a double goal blitz mid way through the second half.
Macauley Quinn was first to register a score with a well hit 2nd minute free. However a towering reply by Charles O'Doherty levelled things up. The visitors could've had a goal in between these opening points, with a mixture of Jack McGeehan and Ryan McAleer turning Dan Lowe's drive onto the post.
Scores were at a premium in the opening salvos, but the impressive Dan Lowe found range on 12 minutes to break the stalemate.
Within sixty seconds though the North Tyrone side found a lead. Quick thinking by Tyrone minor Cathal McShane sent Ronan McNulty in on goal, and the corner forward slammed the ball to the rigging.
On 20 minutes, Stewartstown almost had a goal of their own. The ball pinged around the scoring zone, and twice Stephen Harper made excellent blocks. Still the ball ran free and Shea O'Neill looked to have a gapping goal but brave defending by Aaron Boggs denied the Stewartstown forward. However putting himself in the line of fire cost Boggs, and had to be replaced from injuries collected while denying a certain goal.
Tyrone minor panellists Lowe and McShane traded dead ball scores late in the half, with Callan Burke also in range for Stewartstown.
With lengthy injury time to be played there was still time for significant exchanges well after the 30 minute mark, and again Lowe was involved. Firstly he cut inside the Owen Roes cover to lace to the back of McGeehan's net, before adding to his tally a minute later to send his side into the break ahead.
It was Lowe who got the first score of the second half within a minute of the restart, but a great driving run by McNulty got his side back in the groove.
McShane clipped over a dead ball kick, and then delivered an excellent strike on 36 minutes put a point between the sides again.
With scores tight to come by and both sides looking well matched, it looked more and more like a goal would be crucial, and it was the visitors who grabbed a pair of them.
A mistake in the Owen Roes midfield allowed the ball into the Harps' scoring zone, and Burke eventually picked up the ball and scored. Five minutes later the East Tyrone outfit got a penalty that was well dispatched by John Lee to all put end Owen Roes dreams.
The home side pushed hard, but the cushion allowed Stewartstown to sit deep and break with possession. McShane snapped up a free with 15 minutes to go, which was cancelled out by Quinn.
With no scores in the closing 11 minutes of the contest thanks to diliigent Stewartstown defending, it was they who go through to the last four, and a clash with Kildress.
A disappointing end to the campaign for this young Owen Roes side. However there are many positives to be taken from the games that were both won, and lost, which will stand in stead as many of the squad go into the O'Neill's adults sides.
Everyone at Owen Roes expresses our best wishes to Aaron Boggs, and hope to see him back in the colours very soon.
Team: Jack McGeehan, Oliver Gallagher, Aaron Boggs, Connor Donaghey, Michael Dooher, Ryan McAleer, Sean Dooher, Charles O'Doherty (0-1), Cathal McShane (0-4), Jack Boggs, Cathal Kelly, Marty O'Neill, Ronan McNulty (1-1), Kevin Cairns, Stephen Harper. Subs: Conal McCormick for Boggs (21 mins), Philip Haughey for Jack Boggs (40 mins).