Dunloy, Ballymena

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Cargin Comeback Falls Short

Antrim champions Erin's Own Cargin, who lost out to Donegal's Gaoth Dobhair.

Erin's Own Cargin 1-13 CLG Ghaoth Dobhair 3-11

A second-half Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill goal finally saw off the determined comeback of Erin's Own Cargin and clinched victory for Gaoth Dobhair in what was an absorbing tussle in Corrigan Park.

Ten points adrift at the end of the first half, the Antrim champions looked out of this game, but a superb opening period of the second half saw the Toome men come within a whisker of causing an upset in this Ulster Club SFC Quarter-Final at Corrigan Park.

The Donegal champions were dealt a blow before throw-in, injury ruling out both Odhrán Mac Pháidín Ó Fearraigh and county star Odhrán Mac Niallais, Eamonn Mac Aoidh and Séamas Ó Baoill replacing them. Likewise, Cargin were without former county captain Kevin O'Boyle, with Gerard McCorley starting in the Erin's Own defence.

Gaoth Dobhair's poor luck continued into the match, losing Ciarán Mac Giolla Easpaig immediately after the throw-in, but it was the Tír Chonaill men who were first off the mark, Cian Ó Maolagáin ending an incisive passing move by slotting over the opening score.

Enda McGrogan levelled things up with a neat score on the right for Cargin, but points from Eamonn Mac Aoidh and Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill saw Gaoth Dobhair edge themselves back into the lead.

Erin's Own then found themselves level once again, points from Jamie Gribbin and Gerard McCann showing the large crowd assembled that they were in determined mood, but further scores from Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill and a first of the day for former All-Star Caoimhín Ó Casaide saw his side open up a two-point gap.

Full back Martin Kane hit back for the Antrim men, but they continued to trail, not making the most of their spell of possession by dropping the ball into the goalkeeper's hands on a number of occasions. A quick brace for Caoimhín Ó Casaide then opened up a three-point gap before Jamie Gribbin doggedly kept Cargin in touch with his second of the day.

Naoise Ó Baoill's pace was causing Gaoth Dobhair some problems and it was one of his runs who sent Eamonn Ó Colm through for a score, before Ó Casaide added a goal to his tally, fisting home a Cian Ó Maolagáin pass across the face of McNabb's goal.

Eamon Ó Colm continued the Gaoth Dobhair advance with a further score, before their dominance was underlined by their second of the afternoon, Ó Maolagáin this time getting on the end of a fisted pass to punch to the unguarded net.

Tomás McCann and Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill traded points at the end of the half, leaving the Donegal champions leading by ten points at the short whistle.

Michael McCann reduced the gap to nine early in the second half, finishing a fine run by splitting the posts, before Jamie Gribbin's third of the day saw the Cargin support raise their voices.

Gribbin suffered an injury in the score and had to be withdrawn, but it was his replacement Paul McCann who lit the torchpaper on the Cargin comeback minutes later, collecting the ball and tucking it past Cristóir Mac Suibhne with his first touch.

Cian Ó Maolagáin came within a whisker of crushing the comeback seconds later, but John McNabb got down well to his right to make the save, before Michael McCann added another up the other end.

Our Physio Performance Man of the Match, Cian Ó Maolagáin of Gaoth Dobhair.

Centre-back Justin Crozier then cut the gap to just three points with a score from distance as the Gaoth Dobhair side began to show signs of disarray, needing a pointed free from Séamas Ó Baoill to settle any jangling nerves.

James Laverty then hit back for Cargin, restoring the three-point gap with a neat sidestep and point as the game began to open up once again, and in the next attack a Tomás McCann free saw the lead reduced to just two points.

As Cargin thoughts began to turn to an epic reverse, Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill reacted quickest to a McNabb save in the Erin's Own penalty area to fist home and break Cargin hearts. The Toome men then lost Donagh McKeever for an indiscretion in the run up to the goal, but hit back immediately through Paul McCann to reduce the gap to four.

In the remaining minutes Gaoth Dobhair were able to run out the clock, helped by a cameo appearance by Gavin Mac Giolla Bhríde, who was no sooner on the pitch than he was returning to the dug out, black carded for a foul on James Laverty.

Gaoth Dobhair greeted the final whistle with a deal of relief and joy as they set up a last-four tie with Crossmaglen in two weeks' time, a match sure to be of interest to many neutrals.

Erin's Own Cargin: John McNabb, Donagh McKeever, Martin Kane, Gerard McCorley, Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier (0-01), James Laverty (0-01), Gerard McCann (0-01), Michael McCann (0-02), John Carron, Jamie Gribbin (0-03) (Paul McCann 39, 1-01), Ciaran Bradley, Enda McGrogan (0-01) (Oran McAuley 55), Mícheál Magill (Kieran Close 29), Tomás McCann (0-02f).

CLG Ghaoth Dobhair: Cristóir Mac Suibhne, Gary Mac Pháidín, Niall Mac Aoidh, Cristóir Mac Pháidín, Niall Ó Fríl, Ciarán Mac Giolla Easpaig (Peadar Mac Aoidh 2), Eamon Mac Aoidh (0-01), Dáire Ó Baoill, Séamas Ó Baoill (0-01), Cian Ó Maolagáin (1-01), Naoise Ó Baoill (Gavin Mac Giolla Bhríde 61 - Conor Mac Eachmarchaigh 62), Donal Mac Giolla Bhríde (Séamas Ó Cearbhaill 46), Éamonn Ó Colm (0-02) (Seaghan Ó Fearraigh 57), Caoimhín Ó Casaide (1-03), Mícheál Ó Cearbhaill (1-03).

Referee: Paul Faloon (An Dún)

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