Ballymacnab 2-12 Pearse Ogs 0-10
Pearse Ogs would have been delighted with how their game plan was playing out after 30 minutes of action with the sides drawn at half time, while the Nab never got their noses in front during the entire first half. But the second half was a different game and a Jack Grugan inspired Ballymacnab powered home to a comfortable eight point victory.
The Nab struggled with the Ogs tactic of dropping men deep behind the ball, often having two or three men sitting back in front of Jack Grugan to deny the big full forward any space or possession. And it was the city side that opened the scoring with two points in as many minutes through James Freeman and Paul Duffy.
Ballymacnab levelled with two points of their own with a Grugan free before Pauric Gribben hit the equalising point in the 9th minute. Pearse Ogs tagged on the next three points to take the lead with Paul Duffy splitting the posts followed by a Justin Graham free and a James Freeman point, the score now 0-5 to 0-2.
The final 10 minutes of the opening half belonged to Ballymacnab as they outscored their opponents 4-1 and it was important to get on level terms before the short whistle. Gavin McParland saw his effort on goal tipped over the crossbar by the Ogs number one Ryan Kearney before McParland hit his second point.
Justin Graham swung over another free but Ballymacnab got the final two points to see the sides level at the break. Jack Grugan struck a mighty point from beyond the 45 metre line while Ryan Kennedy burst forward from his defensive duties to raise a white flag to see the score Pearse Ogs 0-6 Ballymacnab 0-6 at the interval.
The game was essentially put to bed within the first ten minutes of the second half, with Ballymacnab taking the Ogs defence for 1-2. The Nab may not have led in the opening 30 minutes but it didn’t take long for the Round Towers to edge ahead with Gavin McParland sending the ball over within 60 seconds of the second half.
Jack Grugan then hit the net for the first goal of the contest, meaning the Ogs would have to push up to keep in the game, allowing more gaps to appear in their defence. James Freeman pulled one back for the men in green and gold but his score was soon cancelled out with an Oisin McGivern free.
The Nabs number 14 was split the posts once again for his third point while Gavin McParland showed great composure and power to drive through the Ogs defence and fire the ball across the goal for Jemmy Gray to palm the ball into an empty net and put his side eight points ahead, 2-9 to 0-7.
Paul Duffy knocked over a point from the dead ball while James Freeman tagged on another for the Ogs. Pearse Ogs had to work extremely hard for the scores only to see them matched by two Brian McCone efforts while Grugan was proving impossible to deal with as he was on the end of another Ballymacnab attack.
The Ogs hit the final score of the evening with their captain Paul Duffy striking in the 63rd minute but the game was well away from them by this stage. Pearse Ogs made serious strides this season and are an improving team but Ballymacnab just had too much experience and strength on this occasions to win 2-12 to 0-10.
Ballymacnab Scorers: Jack Grugan (1-4), Gavin McParland (0-3), Jemmy Gray (1-0), Brian McCone (0-2), Pauric Gribben (0-1), Ryan Kennedy (0-1), Oisin McGivern (0-1).
Pearse Ogs Scorers: James Freeman (0-4), Paul Duffy (0-4), Justin Graham (0-2).
Granemore 0-11 Madden 0-10
The second quarter final done little to excite the crowd until the final few minutes on Saturday evening but this will not concern Granemore who reached their first Senior Championship Semi Final since 2011. Madden will look back on this game with huge regret as their accuracy in front of the posts allowed Granemore to stay in the game and ultimately steal the contest in the final moments.
The widest gap opened up between the teams was just two points across the evening and the difficult weather conditions accompanied an error riddled 60 minutes saw both sides losing possession due to unforced errors. Madden opened the scoring with a magnificent point when Niall Grimley converted a 45 with ease after three minutes.
Liam Doyle equalled Grimley’s score with a converted free before once again pointing from the dead ball to nudge his side ahead by the minimum of margins. Aron McKenna drove over Madden’s second to tie the game but two Jason O’Neill frees meant Granemore now led by double scores after 21 minutes.
Madden were soon back on level terms once again with Grimley accurate from the placed ball while McKenna hit his second to see the sides tied 0-4 each. Grimley landed another free just before the short whistle with the Raparees ahead by the minimum of margins at the break, 0-5 to 0-4.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Cathal O’Hare tying the score with a point in the 2nd minute of the second half. Niall Grimley also continued his great form from free kicks with another huge effort before Aron McKenna chipped over a point to see his side take a two point lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Tony McClelland powered through from his midfield position to cut to deficit to one but Niall Smith got his first score of the game to regain a two point lead for Madden. Jason O’Neill knocked over another free before Liam Doyle swung over an important score to level the game heading towards the final 10 minutes.
Madden would once again put themselves two points ahead and in pole position to make the last four but some wasted opportunities in front of goal and Granemore’s never say die attitude saw an exciting finale to the game. McKenna and Niall Grimley hit one apiece to send their side two up with four minutes of normal time left on the clock.
Tony McClelland work tirelessly to keep Granemore in the contest and his brilliant point with the outside of his right boot closed the gap to one before Louis Hughes opened his account to tie the sides with the game now entering additional time. Ciaran Boyd made an instant impact off the bench and the substitute grabbed the final score to send Granemore into the semi finals with one point to spare.
Granemore Scorers: Liam Doyle (0-3), Jason O’Neill (0-3), Tony McClelland (0-2), Cathal O’Hare (0-1), Louis Hughes (0-1), Ciaran Boyd (0-1).
Madden Scorers: Niall Grimley (0-5), Aron McKenna (0-4), Niall Smith (0-1).