O'Connor's Glack 3-08 Henry Joy McCracken's Moneymore 2-05
Three first half goals from O'Connor's Glack were the springboard for their Premier Electric Derry Junior Football Championship Quarter-Final victory over Moneymore in Ballerin on Friday evening.
Both team's preparations, as well as that of the assembled media, were hampered when referee Richie Donoghue deemed the bottom pitch unplayable due to the amount of cut grass lying on it and moved affairs to the main pitch before throw-in.
Indeed, Moneymore hadn't made it as far as the bottom pitch, but the trek down and up the steps had done Glack no harm at all, and it was O'Connor's who started brightest, a Ryan Morgan free giving them an early lead after a frenetic opening few minutes.
Adam O'Kane then netted the first of the Glack goals to deal Moneymore an early blow.
Picking up the ball at half-back, captain Ciaran Carmichael started a neat passing move that saw the ball moved through Liam O'Brien's hands and eventually being played neatly between O'Kane and the onrushing Liam McInness in the Moneymore goal.
O'Kane showed great pace to nip in front of McInness, palming the ball over his head and, despite a good touch from the keeper, it nestled in the McCracken net to yelps of delight from the sizeable Glack crowd.
A Martin McGonagle shimmy and point from the next play after good work by James O'Connor had his side in a commanding five-point lead after seventeen minutes with Moneymore yet to register a score.
When it eventually came, it was worth the wait, full back Christopher Marshall sending over a fine effort wide on the Moneymore right, splitting the posts from an angle to give the Henry Joys a lift.
The reprieve was short-lived however, and after Cormac Boyle claimed a hop ball on the Moneymore 21m line, Glack were awarded a penalty, with Adam O'Kane fouled as he attempted a shot which found only the side-netting.
Finbar O'Brien made no mistake, firing the ball low into the bottom left corner past the despairing dive of Liam McInness who, to his credit, guessed correctly and almost got his fingertips to it.
Just as the dust was settling on the O'Brien effort, a reeling Moneymore rearguard were sucker-punched with a third green flag, Liam O'Brien the creator this time, neatly timing his hand pass for full-forward Cormac Boyle to come steaming in at the back post to fist the ball home.
Henry Joy McCracken's needed a lift and Emmet Crozier provided it, immediately replying with a neat point on the run before Callan Bloomer pointed a free to reduce the gap to eight as the game entered first half stoppage time.
Moneymore were finishing the half strongly, and James Martin McLaughlin had to be alert to pull off a fantastic save after Pádraig O'Neill plucked a ball from the air and shot from point blank range.
Seconds later, on the stroke of half time, McCracken's finally found their rhythm, O'Neill fielding another high ball and slipping it to Adam Luke McCormick who rattled the Glack net from the edge of the six yard box.
There was still time for Callan Bloomer to follow up with a point to leave Moneymore firmly in the hunt at half time only four points behind.
The Henry Joy's needed a quick start to the second half if they were to stand any chance of overturning the Glack lead, but were dealt another blow with the sending off of Aaron Moore in the opening minutes for a second bookable offence.
Glack immediately made the numerical advantage count, Thomas O'Kane slipping over a neat point before the game entered an entrenched period in which neither team troubled the Ballerin scoreboard operator.
After a number of wides and short efforts from both teams, Martin McGonagle finally restored some accuracy, finishing a full-pitch passing move with a shot from close range that sailed between the posts. Liam O'Brien then repeated the trick, wriggling free of Pearse McFlynn to fire over from a similar position.
After twenty minutes, Stephen Scullion registered Moneymore's first score of the second half, picking himself up from a big hit to collect a hand pass and shoot between the posts from 35 yards out, only for Glack's Jack Cannon to respond almost immediately as the game entered the final ten minutes.
Glack at this stage were in full control, James O'Connor dictating play in the middle and darting in and out of the Moneymore back line when the opportunity arose, eventually being fouled and presenting the chance for Ryan Morgan to knock over another free to open a nine-point gap on their opponents.
As the game entered stoppage time, James Martin McLaughlin again had to be alert to turn away another close-range effort before late Moneymore pressure yielded a consolation goal, corner back Pearse McFlynn scrambling home the breaking ball on the edge of the six yard box.
It was too little, too late for the Moneymore men who now enter the back door section of the Junior Football Championship, while victors Glack march on to the semi-final stages.
O'Connor's Glack: James Martin McLaughlin, Luke McLaughlin, Ciaran O'Brien, Ryan O'Kane, Thomas O'Kane (0-01), Ciaran Carmichael (c), Adam O'Kane (1-00), Aaron Moore, Liam O'Brien (0-01), Martin McGonagle (0-02), Edward McLaughlin, James O'Connor, Finbar O'Brien (1-00f), Cormac Boyle (1-00), Ryan Morgan (0-02f).
Henry Joy McCracken's Moneymore: Liam McInness, Pearse McFlynn (1-00), Chris Marshall (0-01), Oisín O'Neill, Emmet Crozier (c) (0-01), Aodhan Conway, Aaron Moore, Christy Young, Brian Marshall, Conan McAleese, Stephen Scullion (0-01), Stephen McGurk, Adam Luke McCormick (1-00), Callan Bloomer (0-01f, 0-01), Pádraig O'Neill.
Referee: Richie Donoghue (Emmet's Slaughtneil)