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Armagh Intermediate Football Championship

September 23, 2013

Madden see off Mullaghbawn in a dour defensive game

Madden 1-10 Mullaghbawn 1-5

A through ball from midfielder Karl Quinn left Eugene McVerry in one on one with Armagh All-Ireland Minor goalkeeper Stephen O’Reilly but he opted for the opening point which was to be the one and only time his team would lead in a game that turned into a dour defensive struggle.

Ciaran Rafferty opened and closed the Madden scoring account with their first and last scores of the game but it was the game’s top scorer Niall Grimley (1-2) who gave Madden an eight minute lead that was never relinquished as he sent a “45” between the uprights. Corner back and team Captain Patrick Woods made it 3-1 before the ever alert Grimley took a short free received the ball back for his second point and it was 4-1 midway through the half. O’Brien and Grant set up Declan McGeeney for a point and a minute later the last point scorer was fouled enabling Eddie English to leave the minimum between the teams after 16 minutes. It would be 16 minutes into the second half before Mullaghbawn would raise their next flag. With 12 minutes of the first half remaining we were treated to the last score of the half from Kyle Morgan with the wides tally from both teams mounting in a dreadful final 10 minutes which saw a fleeting McVerry goal chance go a begging to leave the interval score at 5-3.

Madden flew out of the blocks in the second half raiding down the right wing they hit 3 terrible wides inside as many minutes but the warning signs were not heeded by Mullaghbawn as they shipped the game’s most telling score a goal 5 minutes after the restart. The impressive Niall Grimley ran some 30 yards down the right bore down on goals showing great composure to drill the ball, low past a helpless Mark McKinley. Madden took their wides tally to 12 before Grimley increased their lead. A Kieran Grant free brought an end to the Mullaghbawn scoring drought and he added another from play almost immediately to make it a 5 point game 1-7 to 0-5 going into the last 10 minutes. Aaron McKenna added to the lead before Mullaghbawn produced a defence splitting move as Quinn and English combined to set up McVerry who produced a stunning finish to the top corner of the net with easily the hardest of his 3 goal chances to give Mullaghbawn a glimmer of hope now just a single score in arrears with 2 minutes plus added time left. The goalscorer then had his team’s tenth wide as Madden re-grouped to regain control with further points from McKenna and Rafferty to book their place in October 6 final.

St Paul’s live to fight another day

T-MET IFCh

St.Paul’s 0-11 Tir na nOg 0-11

The St Paul’s gamble of playing a clearly injured Andrew Murnin from the outset paid dividends in the end as he delivered a match saving point with what was literally his second touch of the ball in added on time. Andrew had a goal attempt blocked after 4 minutes but was on hand to fire over a deserved equaliser last gasp for his team just after it looked as if they had missed the boat. Indeed underdogs St Paul’s, playing for the League status as well as Championship honours will feel that this is one that they let slip against unbeaten all year Tir na nOg.

Celebrating his thirtieth birthday Portadown’s most influential player Brian Mallon opened the scoring only for his point to be cancelled by the Lurgan boys top man midfielder Feidhlim O’Neill. The sides were level on 7 occasions over the course of the game with a 2 point lead the highest between them in a very exciting contest. ONeill gave St Paul’s the lead but a well watched Paul Carvill levelled before half back Conor McCormac and Carvill again contributed points to double the Tir na nOg lead on 20 minutes. The underdogs then hit a purple patch with two Ryan Lawless converted  frees, Niall McPartland and Darren Fox helping them into a 6-4 lead.   A brace from the boot of Brian Mallon regained parity before a second point for McCormac regained the lead for the favourites. Midfielder O’Neill ensured parity at the break with the last point of the half to leave it 7 all at the short whistle.

The second half was a much tighter, low scoring affair with both teams guilty of some bad misses. Points from Jamie McAleenan and Carvill (free) from 60 metres inside the opening 10 minutes of the restart gave Tir na nOg the edge Lawless from a free broke the Paul’s second half duck but Jonny McGurgan quickly cancelled that score to restore the 2 point lead.Linfield player Rhys Marshall broke a scoreless 10 minute spell to reduce the deficit to the minimum and a minute later it was all back in the melting pot as midfielder Charlie Harte restored parity. Birthday boy Mallon, with a monster free, gave his team back the lead with 7 minutes left on the clock. Paul’s were wide of the mark with two easy chances until handy Andy let them live to fight another day.

Armagh Junior Football Championship Preview

CLONMORE v KILLEAVY SECONDS

Clonmore have crept unconvincingly into the last four of the Junior Championship. 1-12 to 1-7 second round winners over Collegeland they set up this semi-final clash with Killeavy by beating Belleek 0-12 to 1-5 in the quarter final. Killeavy Seconds on the other hand, have defied the odds twice to reach this stage firstly with a 0-13 to 1-7 win over Derrynoose followed by a 1-12 to 0-6 win against Dorsey Emmet’s. With Brendan Donaghy to the fore the 2005 Champions will be strong favourites to advance to the final. Can Killeavy pull off a third giant killing act ? They have the capabilities with a mixture of youth and experience but for me the more established and streetwise Clonmore to progress.

FORKHILL v ANNAGHMORE

This is the eagerly awaited match between two teams who have already achieved their goal, progression to a higher level of football for next year in both League and Championship regardless how the Junior Championship pans out. It was back in 1981 that Forkhill got their name on the Junior roll of honour for the only time and they will be looking to leave this ranks with more silverware. Annaghmore are Senior League and Championship for the first time since their foundation in 1915. The third of their Junior titles came back in 2003 (1970 & 1989) and they too will be hoping to cap off a brilliant year with a fourth title. Both teams have been very impressive all year but have always had question marks over their Championship pedigree. With the monkey off their backs pressure wise as this is now bonus territory for both they could produce a classic as both play open attacking football. Annaghmore, for me, have that little bit more of an attacking threat which will just see them squeeze home.

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