Three and Easy for Eoghan Rua


Ruairí Mooney finished the afternoon with 2-02 to his name. Pic by SFM Photography.

Eoghan Rua (Doire) 3-19

John Mitchel's (Warwickshire) 0-07


A Ruairí Mooney brace and 1-09 from the ever-dependable Sean Leo McGoldrick ensured that the hurlers of Eoghan Rua will embark on a 'sensible' Christmas as they breezed past John Mitchel's of Birmingham into the All-Ireland JHC Semi-Final on Sunday.


"We’ll keep doing the work around Christmas," said manager Brendan McNicholl after the game.


"You’re better out training – our boys are sensible enough and we’d rather be training for an All-Ireland Semi-Final at Christmas than sitting at home."


Two McGoldrick frees inside the opening minutes set the tone for this Quarter-Final in Celtic Park. The first was a simple finish from close range, while the second raised the first green flag of the game, the centre-forward's effort from distance slipping through the fingers of Phil Crean and into the Mitchel's net.


Des Kelly's charges found their posts besieged in the opening stages as waves of Coleraine attacks crashed around them. A trio of frees followed from McGoldrick before Niall Holly hit their first score from play on 11 minutes to open a seven-point gap on their opponents.

Just the 1-09 for Sean Leo McGoldrick this time out. Pic by SFM Photography.

McGoldrick was untouchable in the Eoghan Rua attack and swung over a point from each touchline with a converted free between them before Ruairí Mooney latched onto a long ball from Portstewart Pirlo Colm McGoldrick in the 18th minute.


The full-forward burst past two tracking defenders and dispatched the sliotar past Crean in the Mitchel's goal from point blank range to stretch the Eoghan Rua lead to what already looked like a definitive 13 points.


The Warwickshire champions responded by slotting their first score of the day, half-forward Breen Fallon splitting the uprights after a neat Ciaran Heeney pass, but Coleraine barely flinched and hit back with points from the Mooney brothers and a Niall Holly brace.


Mitchel's found a modicum of rhythm in the closing minutes of the first half with points from Padraic Crehan and Dean Bruen, but any faint hopes of revival disappeared four minutes into the second when half-forward Robbie Duggan was dismissed for a late pull on Ciaran McGoldrick.


Sean Leo punished the misdemeanour and Ruairí Mooney's ensuing point left the gap at 16 points but Mitchel's battled on valiantly with Emmet McCabe finding his range and adding two frees to their total.

Man of the Match Niall Holly swings over one of his four points. Pic by SFM Photography.

Eoghan Rua pushed on again as the game entered the final quarter and a trio of scores from Liam McGoldrick, Dara Mooney and Niall Holly left the gap at a gaping 18 points before Breen Fallon hit the Mitchel's last score of the day on 53 minutes.


Among a raft of changes, Aidan Boyle shipped a tackle under the stand and split the posts before Ruairí Mooney rounded off the scoring by collecting a neat hand pass from substitute Ciaran Lenehan and burying it to the net at the changing room end.


Another eye-catching performance from Sean Leo McGoldrick and the Eoghan Rua attack, but their defence also deserves credit, having not conceded a goal in over 240 minutes of hurling.


It was a performance that pleased their manager.


"We played well. We knew we were going to be in for a tough fight and that they would be very physical, but we were confident our hurling skills would take us through."


"We had a good spread of scorers again – we’re going well and that’s us into the Semi-Final now, that’s where we want to be at this stage of the year."


McNicholl is delighted to be back in an All-Ireland Semi-Final after their heartbreaking final loss in 2016.


"We’ve always wanted to get back in again because we feel we left one behind us in Dublin. One-on-one we’re as good as what’s about and we proved that today I think."


In the words of their official Twitter account, there will be no surfing in the Port this Christmas.

Eoghan Rua: Kevin McCarry, Ciaran Lagan, Barry McGoldrick, Pearse Dallas, Ciaran McGoldrick, Colm McGoldrick, Aidan Boyle (0-01), Liam McGoldrick (0-01), Tomas Magee, Anton Rafferty, Sean Leo McGoldrick (0-03, 1-05f, 0-01 -65) Niall Holly (0-04), Dara Mooney (0-02), Ruairí Mooney (2-02), Dara McGoldrick.


Subs: Paul Roantree for Dara McGoldrick 49’, Ciaran Lenehan for Dara Mooney 49’, Lorcan McMullen for Ciaran McGoldrick 54’, Ruairí Devine for Ruairí Mooney 57’, Michael McQuillan for Niall Holly 60’.


John Mitchel’s: Phil Crean, Seamus Brough, Chris Brough, Mícheál O’Regean, Steve Ahern, Dean Bruen, Padraic Crehan (0-01), Ian Dwyer, Robbie Curley, Robbie Duggan, Willie Allen, Breen Fallon (0-02), Alan Brookes, Emmet McCabe (0-04f), John O’Shea.


Subs: Kelvin McGee for Willie Allen 29’, Diarmuid Murphy for Seamus Brough 46’, John O’Shea for Emmet McCabe 48’, Niall Shalvey for Steve Ahern 57’.


Referee: Shane Hynes – Oranmore/Maree (Gaillimh)


#TheToughest


Dunloy, Ballymena

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