JFC: Ballymachugh seal final berth

September 20, 2014

Liam Goldrick Buchannon (Ballymachugh)

Ballymachugh 1-12
Shannon Gaels 1-9

Ballymachugh are through to the junior football championship final after seeing off Shannon Gaels this evening at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Stephen Baxter's team were full value for their victory, having dominated for large portions of the second-half after seeing their half-time lead wiped out early in the restart by their opponents.

Shannon Gaels were made to fight without Cavan star Jason McLoughlin for most of the second period, after their centre-back picked up injury, and matters would get worse when they were reduced to 15 men with the dismissal of midfielder Denis Smith.

It all played into Ballymachugh's hands and they now have a championship final to savour next month against Arva or Cornafean.

Killian Smith opened Ballymachugh's account inside 30 seconds with a sweet point which Shane Dolan erased after two minutes.

Nevin O'Donnell's quick brace gave Shannon Gaels their first lead and doubled it by the seventh minute but their opponents hit back in devastating fashion via a Mark Kiernan goal in between points from Barry Kiernan and Darragh Kiernan (a '45').

Niall Walsh hit the net at the perfect time for the Blacklion men, after collecting Aaron O'Hara's pass and burying past Paddy Baxter, who came racing off his line, and when the corner-forward pointed in the 18th minute the Gaels were back in the ascendancy.

O'Reilly looked menacing for the leaders whenever he got on the ball, raising another white flag to cancel out efforts from Mark and James Kiernan at the other end.

The full-forward's second in six minutes looked to have the westerners heading for the half-time lead but Ballymachugh finished out strong and reaped some profit from it with scores from Richie Fitzsimons (free) and Liam Buchanan to take in the slender 1-7 to 1-6 advantage.

Points from O'Donnell and the lively O'Hara handed the Gaels back the lead within eight minutes of the restart, but they'd suffer a massive double blow when they saw midfielder Denis Smith dismissed for a second caution, having already lost centre-back Jason McLoughlin to injury just after half-time.

As the Gaels began to lose their shape a bit, 'The Hughs' were back in front by the 50th minute thanks to points from corner-back Finbarr Sheridan and Mark Kiernan.

A James Kiernan free doubled the advantage and there was very little done about it at the other end, as the Gaels had several attacks smothered, and scores from Buchanan and Alan Donohoe put a seal on the victory for Ballymachugh.

Ballymachugh: Paddy Baxter; Finbarr Sheridan (0-1), Michael Halton, Brendan McLarney; Darragh Kiernan (0-1, 1 '45), Anthony Baxter, Christopher Rooney; Aodhain Kiernan, Liam Goldrick-Buchanan (0-2); Alan Donohoe (0-1), Killian Smith (0-1), Barry Kiernan (0-1); James Kiernan (0-1, 1f), Richie Fitzsimons (0-1, 1f), Mark Kiernan (1-3). Subs: Padraig Galligan for R Fitzsimons (HT, inj).

Shannon Gaels: Liam O'Reilly; Donal Flanagan, Stephen McManus, Daniel McCann; Peader Fitzpatrick, Jason McLoughlin, Aaron O'Hara (0-2); Shane Dolan (0-1), Denis Smith; Kevin McGovern, Ronan McCaffrey, Nevin O'Donnell (0-3); Niall Walsh (1-1), Eamon O'Reilly, Oliver Nolan. Subs: Cathal Dolan for J McLoughlin (36, inj), Niall McGrath for K McGovern (52).

Ref: Kieran McCarville (Cootehill Celtic)

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