GORMLEY uPVC SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP.
Castleblayney 1-22, Drumhowan 0-7.
A rampant, if somewhat under strength Castleblayney romped to a comprehensive victory over Drumhowan in this very one-sided senior football championship round 1 meeting in Ballybay on Sunday evening last. This game as a contest was all over even before the half-time break with Castleblayney racking up a series of scores that saw them with 1-10 on the board before Drumhowan opened their account in the 24th minute. Drumhowan did come more into things in the final six minutes of the first half and the early minutes of the second-half but by then they faced a huge deficit and ultimately lacked the streetwise experience and guile of the championship specialists. That said though the Castleblayney team that was on view on Sunday evening last will bear little resemblance to the teams that will feature over the next couple of rounds of the senior championship but even then they proved much too potent in every aspect of their play be it in defence or in attack. Cormac Brady excelled at full-back and got excellent support from Dermot McArdle, Stephen McGeough and Paddy Mallon, the latter busy as he shuttled between his role at wing halfback and the attack. Gary Ward had an excellent game in midfield while the bulk of the scoring fell to late replacement Niall Duffy who came in for Martin McElroy, Keith Hill and Ciaran Hanratty who between them rattled up 15 of Castleblayney’s 22 points total. For Drumhowan it was just one of those days when nothing that they planned would happen or that they wanted to happen did on the day, but to their credit they kept going even when it was a completely lost cause. That said though with a little better finishing, particularly in the second-half, Castleblayney could have made it a totally facile victory as they spurned a couple of gilt-edged goal chances and a few others when points seemed there for the taking. The accuracy of Keith Hill got Castleblayney off the mark within two minutes of the start, a start that was preceded by a minutes silence for the late Roseleen Connolly of Drumhowan. An early Drumhowan attack proved abortive with Keith Hill then converting another free in the sixth minute and Castleblayney going on to add 1-4 without reply by the end of the opening quarter, the goal by Patrick Tavey in the 14th minute following good work by Keith Hill. In the second quarter of Castleblayney continued from where they had started at the outset and even the switching of James McElroy to midfield did little to halt the increasing Castleblayney tide. Two points by Keith Hill, one from an excellently struck long-range free in the 16th minute and another from play in the 19th minute were followed by an opportunist score from Niall Duffy has Drumhowan needlessly squandered possession, with a further point from another Keith Hill free in the 22nd minute for a foul on Gary Ward putting Castleblayney 13 points in front and Drumhowan yet to register. Drumhowan eventually broke free from the relentless Castleblayney pressure for points by Christopher McGinnity in the 17th minute and a James McElroy free in the 25th to help them avoid a first half white wash. Gary Ward got in for another point for Castleblayney but Drumhowan finished the half with two late points one from Christopher McGinlay in the 27th minute and the second from a free by James McElroy just on the half-hour, following a foul on Darren Duffy, to leave the half-time score Castleblayney 1-11, Drumhowan 0-4.
On the resumption Drumhowan showed early promise with a point from a free by Colm Lambe following a foul on David Millar and with the right service and support he might have proved more problematic for the Castleblayney defence as he did pose problems any time he was in possession. Four minutes into the second-half James McElroy pointed when a centre from a ‘45 was kept in play but that early activity was merely flattering to deceive as Castleblayney again picked up the pace and by the end of the third quarter they held a 10 points advantage although some sloppy finishing by Drumhowan might have taken a couple more points of that margin. Into the final quarter then and further Castleblayney pressure saw three points inside two minutes from Ciaran Hanratty, Niall Duffy and team captain Dermot McArdle to put them 13 points in front. That lead could have been extended further but Ryan Treacy blasted wide from close range with a goal at his mercy. In the final 10 minutes Castleblayney and Drumhowan both emptied their benches to give players a run out on championship day but despite grafting to the finish Drumhowan were unable to generate any further scores with Castleblayney adding five unanswered points in the final nine minutes from Keith Hill, free, in the 21st minute, centre back Stephen McGeough in the 24th, substitute Aidan Ward in the 26th, another substitute Marc McHugh in the 28th and Ciaran Hanratty in the 30th to leave 18 points between the sides at the end of a game that effectively did little for either side.
Teams and Scorers: C’Blayney: Padraig McBennett, Mark Treanor, Cormac Brady, Kealan Duffy, Dermot McArdle 0-1, Stephen McGeough 0-1, Paddy Mallon, Gary Ward 0-2, Patrick Tavey 1-0, Ray McArdle, Damien Hughes, Niall Duffy 0-4, Keith Hill 0-7 (6f), Ryan Treacy 0-1, Ciaran Hanratty 0-4. Subs: Adrian Irwin for D Hughes, Brian McGuinness for R McArdle, Aidan Ward 0-1 for R Treacy, Marc McHugh 0-1 for N Duffy, Jim McHugh for P Mallon.
Drumhowan: Enda Duffy, Darren Duffy, Damien Duffy, Dermot Mooney, Patrick Mulligan, Niall Mooney, Kevin Mooney, Anthony Mulligan, Dermot McDermott, Colm Lambe 0-2 (2f), Stephen McGinnity, Kieran Mooney, David Millar, James McElroy 0-3 (2f), Christopher McGinnity 0-2. Subs: Enda McElroy for Kieran Mooney, Brendan Duffy for C Lambe, Paul McGuirk for Kevin Mooney,Kieran Deery for S McGinnity, David Caulfield for C McGinnity. Referee: Pat McEnaney (Corduff).