Grange get grilled by Galbally

Grange 1-5 Galbally 0-16

This wasn’t a day to remember for the Grange and certainly not the way they would have wanted to finish the year but Galbally were just too strong for them from the get go in Crossmaglen on Saturday. The Tyrone Champions had built up a six point lead before Grange got off the mark and it could have been a whole lot more.

Galbally were guilty of some poor shot selection and could have made the final margin a whole pile bigger if they had of finished off one of their several goal chances throughout the game. It was the Grange who raised the only green flag of the contest, a 63rd minute consolation goal from Ben Toal.

The game was just 14 seconds old when the first score came and Galbally really set the tone as they won the throw in and drove straight through the Grange defence with Daniel Kerr blasting the ball between the posts. Kerr was again on target before Declan Murphy handed his side a three point lead four minutes in.

The margin could have been a much bigger as Liam Rafferty, wearing number five but playing at wing half forward, saw his effort on goal strike the side netting and wide. Galbally continued their blistering start with Sean Murphy (2) and Rafferty putting their men six points ahead, with Enda McGarrity having a hand to play in two of their final three points.

Grange eventually got up and running in the 14th minute as Cathal McKenna broke his sides’ deadlock with a great individual score. Galbally replied instantly and a fabulous catch from Cormaic Donnelly sent the Tyrone men off on another attack which once again ended with a Sean Murphy score.

Grange soon got their second point when Brendan Rafferty’s brilliant cross-field ball found his brother Colm who drove the ball over the bar. Galbally dominated the final proceedings, as they had been all through the opening 30 minutes, with the final three points from Enda McGarrity (2) and Conor Donaghy to give them a commanding 0-10 to 0-2 lead.

Liam Rafferty pushed Galbally further in front as he tapped over an easy free in the first minute of the second period while Grange replied superbly with two points on the trot. Substitute Odhran Rafferty opened his account while Miceal McKenna also found his range to cut the deficit to seven.

Galbally continued to create goal chances but failed to hit the target, the closest they came was when Sean Murphy fired the ball past the keeper but the covering Padraig Rafferty was on the line to clear the ball. Galbally would have to settle for another point and Murphy made no mistake this time when presented with the opportunity.

Justin Kieran set up a Miceal McKenna point while Galbally hit five unanswered scores with McGarrity, Sean Murphy (2) and Declan Murphy all raising white flags. Liam Rafferty, just as he had done in the first half, found himself one-on-one with the keeper once again and this time David O’Hagan pulled off a fantastic save to deny another goal chance.

Ethan Rafferty powered through the Galbally defence to send through Ben Toal, and his sweet strike found the back of the net and saw the game end Galbally 0-16 Grange 1-5. While the Grange will be disappointed with their performance they can be proud of their year, capturing their first Armagh Intermediate title in 26 years and entering the senior division for 2020 in style.

Grange Scorers: Ben Toal (1-0), Miceal McKenna (0-2), Cathal McKenna (0-1), Colm Rafferty (0-1), Odhran Rafferty (0-1).

Galbally Scorers: Sean Murphy (0-4), Enda McGarrity (0-3), Conor Donaghy (0-3), Declan Murphy (0-2), Daniel Kerr (0-2), Liam Rafferty (0-2).