Published on September 7th, 2016 | by admin0
Intermediate Football Championship Semi Final
Dunloy 1-08 Aldergrove 0-09
Creggan was the venue for the Antrim intermediate football championship semi-final between Dunloy and Aldergrove. The men from Crumlin ply their football in Division 1, a league above Dunloy, so were favourites with most people but like before in the Dunloy dressing room there was only one team that was for winning and confidence was high among Dominic Dillon and his management team.
The game could not have started any better for Dunloy as with just over a minute on the clock a surging run by Paudie Conlon through the heart of the Aldergrove defence left him one on one with the full back he sold him a dummy and as the corner back came across to cover he hand passed the ball to Nigel Elliott who palmed the ball to the roof of the net. This was the start Dunloy had dreamed off.
Aldergrove responded well and put over two points in a row and with ten minutes played the score was 1-00 0-02. Dunloy were playing well and the defence was solid as a rock. Duane Scott was picking up everything and with Kevin McQuillan bombing forward taking the Aldergrove forward with him meaning their attack was being limited to long range attempts.
The next ten minutes was an even game the only score came from an Aldergrove point from well out the field. In this period Dunloy hit four wides in a row, all from reasonable scoring chances and it was keeping Aldergrove in the contest. The Crumlin men then took the lead when their go to man Fergal Burke pointed a fine score form out the pitch.
Dunloy had dominated but were now behind but this wasn’t to be for long. In the next attack Elliott, who had ran Aldergrove into the ground in the 1st half, burst in on goal again this time his effort grazed the bar on the way over and the game was tied.
Dunloy had a chance to go in one up but when they missed a thirteen yard free it summed up their shooting in the 1st half – a game that could have been out of Aldergrove’s reach after the first thirty was now firmly in the balance.
Dunloy made a change at the start of the second half as Dillon handed a championship debut to minor star Keelan Molloy replacing Kevin McAllister. Aldergrove started the second half well and got the opening score of the half to take the lead by one.
Dunloy then missed a few decent chances before Aldergrove made them pay. Burke again the go to man as he slotted over from thirty yards. It was the first time in the game Dunloy trailed by two 0-06 – 1-01.
Dunloy needed something to happen and it did in the form of the substitute Keelan Molloy. The young man rounding his marker he then stroked the ball between the posts to make his mark on this semi-final.
Dunloy then levelled things up when Stephen McAlone converted a free – it was to be McAlone’s last action as Dunloy’s second change was made as another minor star entered the fray Conal ‘Coby’ Cunning.
Aldergrove then edged in front again and with fifteen minutes left they lead by one. This lead didn’t last long as Dunloy were in the ascendency and captain Conor McKinley got his first score of the day as he galloped away from his marker and curled over a fine score from well out the pitch.
The teams traded points again with Dunloy’s coming from another score from captain McKinley after he was released by a fine pass from Coby as the ball split the post McKInkey went straight to the minor to acknowledge the pass. With less than ten minutes left the scores were tied 1-05 – 0-08.
Dunloy couldn’t seem to get their noses in front and again they were behind with five to go as Aldergrove broke and scored a point to get back in front by the minimum.
The next score was crucial and after great link up between Coby and Molloy the latter was fouled and Dunloy had a free twenty five yards out the pitch towards the right of the post. With twenty eight second half minutes played this was as nerve racking as you could get surely but not to Molloy as he put it straight over the black spot. This score lifted Dunloy and from the kick out they got in on goal a good Aldergrove defensive tackle kept the ball out of the net and away for a 45. With just injury time to be played surely a point from this would do for Dunloy. Eoin Gillan took two steps back jogged up and the crowd looked on it was a straight as an arrow but had it the distance as the Aldergrove keeper jumped but he could only tap the bar as the ball sailed over what a score with now only stoppage time to play.
Dunloy knew if they won the kick out the game was over and they did as he had done all day Gabriel McTaggert rose and claimed the ball a quick ball into the forward line and Aldergrove could only foul. Molloy stepped up again and Dunloy led by two 1-08 -0-09. Surely that was it. There was time for one more kick out which Dunloy won again Molloy again was the receiver of the ball he was now out on his own 45 tracking he skipped by one man and was took out by the next and as Dunloy went to take the resulting free Fintoan McCotter called for the ball and Dunloy were back in the intermediate final hoping to make up for their final defeat last year.
Defensively Dunloy were solid as a rock as for the second championship game in a row Doherty kept his clean sheet intact. Scott and his corner back had an excellent hour time after time clearing everything that came their way. Oran Quinn had a great game from half back was an option on the overlap run constantly and never gave his man a kick on the other side Corrigan one of the best man markers in the team was like glue to his man and thwarted many attacks. In the middle Kevin McQuillan was a rock and led by example not only with the ball but vocally kept things right a fine hour from him.
Midfield battle was crucial and McTaggart and Gillan done what they had to do. Whether it was breaking balls or clean catches they dominated and gave Dunloy the platform to build on. The score from Gillan at the end to give Dunloy the lead was crucial. A great days work from both the 8 and 9
In attack the half forward line put in a shift Conlon, Dooey and McAlone worked their socks off up and down the pitch. Conlon appeared in his own box ten seconds later he was in the opposition box he never stopped and Aldergrove could not get to grips with him at all.
McKinley on song is as good as anything in the intermediate championship still not 100% from a recent hamstring problem he was still causing Aldergrove problems at every opportunity and when he was needed he twice levelled the scores a great captains display. McAllister only back from sickness worked tirelessly for the first half hour holds onto every ball and always playing the smart ball Dillon will be hoping he’s fully fit for the 24th
All seventeen players used by Dunloy were brilliant with not one weak link, but in the first half one stood out, Nigel Elliott from his goal in the first minute terrorised the Aldergove defence and scored 1-01 and with a bit more luck he could have scored a lot more, he was brought out deeper in the second half and tracked back right to the end a great hour from him. The introduction of Molloy at half time and Coby midway through the second half seemed to give Dunloy the spark they needed and neither were fazed by the occasion. Molloy scored three points one a free to tie the game with only a few minutes remaining he wasn’t reached the ball he wanted the ball and that says enough about the calibre of this young man as good a thirty minutes as you’ll see from any player he is as good as any minor footballer in Antrim and he showed in Creggan on Saturday he can mix it up against a division 1 senior team. In Coby, Dunloy have one of the most intelligent young footballers about not only can he score with both feet and pick out passes at will his runs are a joy to watch the Aldergove corner back did not know where he was he just tried to follow him round Creggans pitch though he didn’t score himself he was directly involved in setting up scores and just caused havoc in the Aldergrove back line. The call to bring the two of them was well rewarded and both are surely worthy to be considered for a final place it’s a good problem to have for the management team.
Dunloy will play Aghagallon in the Antrim Intermediate Football Championship Final on Saturday 24th September. There is no venue confirmed as yet.
- Sean Doherty
- Karl O’Kane
- Duane Scott
- Kieran Hughes
- Oran Corrigan
- Kevin McQuillan
- Oran Quinn
- Eoin Gillan (0-01)
- Gabriel McTaggart
- Paudie Conlon
- Shane Dooey
- Stephen McAlone (0-01)
- Kevin McAllister
- Conor McKinley (0-02)
- Nigel Elliott (1-01)
Subs used: Keelan Mollloy (0-03) for McAllister, Conal Cunning for McAlone