Dunloy, Ballymena

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Relentless Foreglen Crowned Champions


Foreglen camped in the Claudy half as they claim the title.

O'Brien's Foreglen 0-15

John Mitchel's Claudy 0-09


Foreglen's intensity finally told in Celtic Park this afternoon as they methodically attacked John Mitchel's Claudy to break free in the second half and run out six-point winners to take the Bateson, Sheridan and Lee Cup this afternoon.


In a much-anticipated clash, Mitchel's had started brightly and were two up after just 4 minutes but O'Brien's calmly went about their business, chipping over points and staying in touch, trailing by just one point at the break.


Eoghan Duffy had been stifled by disciplined Claudy tackling in the first half, but he began to find success in the second and the Mitchel's resolve faded. They managed just one point - an Oran Armstrong free - in the second half while their rivals managed 0-08.


Claudy announced their intent early on and by the 4th minute were two points ahead. The two Aarons - Donaghy and Kerrigan - raising white flags before Foreglen hit back through Kevin O'Connor.


The Mitchel's men were moving fluidly though and reopened the two-point gap through Marty Donaghy, the full forward racing 40 yards to point in the 6th minute before the game entered a five minute period of wasteful shooting from both sides.


Cahir O'Connor nipped in along the end line and fisted over in the 11th minute to break the mini-deadlock but his effort was immediately cancelled out by Aaron Kerrigan up the other end.


Foreglen replied through Kevin O'Connor, who was finding space inside with ease against Callum McElhinney, stationed in an unusual full-back role. O'Connor added an 18th minute free to level the scores at 0-04 apiece.


Oran Armstrong took advantage of Barry Cassidy's tendency to allow the game to flow by spinning and pointing following a foul on Aaron Kerrigan to edge Claudy back in front, before the same player doubled the lead from a free.


The O'Brien's men refused to panic however and simply played to their plan, duly eradicating the lead within two minutes with frees from Kevin O'Connor and Mark McCormick. The latter then fed corner back John Duffy to nudge Forelgen in front with a minute left on the first half clock.


In superb form, Oran Armstrong ensured that it was Mitchel's who would take a lead into the dressing room, first knocking over a free and then breaking a tackle to point in the dying seconds of the half.

Man of the Match - Foreglen captain Kevin O'Connor. Led by example with 0-06.

Armstrong's efforts were wiped out within seconds of the restart as Mark McCormick shot over a free from a tight angle following a foul on Cahir O'Connor before Claudy had a goal chance cleared.


An Aaron Donaghy shot dropped in the Foreglen six-yard box and John Duffy had to be alert to flick the ball off the line for Shane Duffy to collect and win the free out, but a 39th minute Oran Armstrong free again gave Claudy a tentative lead.


Until now the Claudy rearguard had kept Eoghan Duffy at bay, surrounding him at the very whiff of a darting run, but he broke clear in the 42nd minute and landed a score from the right flank.


Buoyed by Duffy's score, Foreglen roared forward and Kevin O'Connor sent them into the lead with a free before slotting his sixth point after Caolan O'Connor found him with a neat handpass while on his backside.


O'Connor again turned provider as a now rampant Foreglen scented a wounded Claudy. The full-forward fed Liam O'Hara who applied a deft finish to split the posts and open a three-point gap.


Claudy were desperately in need of scores but looked every inch a beaten docket on 55 minutes as a scuffed Aaron Kerrigan 45 landed in the hands of Blaine Carlin, only for the normally excellent half-back to pull his tired effort wide.


Eoghan Duffy punished the mistake with yet another scything run and finish, before two Mark McCormick frees from identical positions brought the action to a close and sparked celebration in the Foreglen ranks.


Both these sides will be operating in Senior football next season after Claudy's league success, but Mitchel's will be bitterly disappointed with their second half collapse.


Credit to Foreglen however who played with the composure and efficiency of champions, registering only four wides while arrowing 0-15 over the bar.

O'Briens: Tiarnan Burke, John Duffy (0-01), Cathal O'Hara, Shane Duffy, Pauric Morahan, Oisín Duffy, James O'Kane, Liam O'Hara (0-01), Mark McCormick (0-04f), Eoghan Duffy (0-02), Kevin Dunne, Sean O'Connor, Cahir O'Connor (0-01), Kevin O'Connor (0-03, 0-03f), Caolan O'Connor.


Subs: Ciaran McFeely for John Duffy 39', Eunan McFeely for Kevin Dunne 51', Gavin McCormick for Caolan O'Connor 52', Jonathan O'Dwyer for Pauric Morahan 60', Ruairí Duffy for James O'Kane 60'.


John Mitchel's: Kieran Reilly, Jamie Brown, Callum McElhinney, Fionan Smyth, Blaine Carlin, Conor Johnston, Aaron Donaghy (0-01), Eoin McGahon, Conal White, Paddy Horgan, Oran Armstrong (0-02, 0-03f), Shea Kerrigan, Stephen Farren, Marty Donaghy (0-01), Aaron Kerrigan (0-01, 0-01f).


Subs: Jamie Donaghy for Shea Kerrigan 38', Conor Gormley for Stephen Farren 55'.


Referee: Barry Cassidy - Wolfe Tones' Bellaghy


Man of the Match: Kevin O'Connor - O'Brien's


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