Intermediate and Junior Championship Match Reports

Keady 2-16 Ballyhegan 0-9

Keady sent out a warning of intent to the remaining teams in the Intermediate Championship with a ruthless display against Ballyhegan.

By the half time break, the eventual winners had built up a nine-point lead with their first half goal the major difference.

The three-pointer came just moments after the water break when goalkeeper Paudie Donnelly came forward to slot home from the penalty spot.

The sides were tied during the opening eight minutes, both reams hitting 0-2 apiece. Conor Corvan and Conor Hughes saw their scores matched by James McCormack and Paul Courtney.

Keady shot ahead with a strong purple patch just before the water break, hitting four points to Ballyhegan’s one.

Conor Hughes stroked over a free while two Ryan Donnelly efforts came prior to a Eugene McDonnell point.

Patrick Marley attempted to halt the momentum with his first score, but the goal ensured Ballyhegan were fighting an uphill battle.

Sean McCabe raced through on goal and was fouled within the small square, leaving Donnelly with the chance to hit the game’s opening goal.

Keady followed up with the last three points of the half coming through Odhran Fullerton (2) and Shea Harvey to lead 1-9 to 0-3 at the break.

Conor Hughes got the second period off to a flyer with three scores, while James McCormack replied with two points of their own.

Dean Nugent and Sean McCabe kept the scoreboard ticking over before Shea Harvey put the game beyond doubt.

The wing half back burst forward into the attacking half of the field and his first shot forced a brilliant save from Jonny McKeever, but Harvey was on hand to tap-in the rebound.

Ballyhegan did tag on a few scores in the last ten minutes when the game was well out of their reach.

Conor Hughes did slot over a further score while James McCormack never gave up and hit an exceptional point just before the end.

Keady now find themselves in the hat for the semi-finals and await Sunday evenings draw to find out who they play.

Tullysaran 2-17 Sarsfields 1-9

For anyone seeing this score-line for the first time, the full time score and winning margin may come as a huge shock.

But for those in attendance at Saturday evenings quarter final, they will be anything but surprised with the result.

Tullysaran were by far and away the best team on show and blew their opponents away with their work rate and drive.

Sarsfields simply didn’t rise to the challenge presented to them and couldn’t match the energy Tullysaran brought to the game.

For sixty minutes, the High Moss men chased shadows as Tullysaran lay down a serious marker that the other Intermediate teams will surely take note of.

From the very first whistle, Tullysaran raced into the lead and kept in front for the remainder of the tie.

Gavin Conlon, who hardly missed with his trusty left-foot, opened the score with two pointed frees before Mark McKeever stretched the lead to three.

Sarsfields final got off the mark in the tenth minute, James McAlinden firing over from long range with his sides first shot of the evening.

Conlon turned provided as he fed Patrick Comiskey, who laid the ball off the Mark McKeever and the youngster struck his second.

Eamon McGeown cut the deficit to two with a brilliant catch and mark, but Tullysaran’s work rate soon got its reward.

Turlough Lardner constantly drove at the Sarsfields defence all evening and his shot just dropped short of the target.

Full-forward Patrick Comiskey was on hand to punch the ball to the net and Tullysaran suddenly found themselves five points to the good.

The sides traded scores as James Madden, Eddie Mallon (free) and Gavin Conlon’s (45) points were all matched by Caolan Skelton, Michael Stevenson and Paul McGeown (free).

McGeown did tag on another before the short whistle sounded, making it a four-point game and ensuring his side were still in touch. Tullysaran ahead 1-7 to 0-6.

The second period started the same way as the first. With a Gavin Conlon score. Only this time the hard-working half forward found the net.

Patrick Comiskey overloaded possession to Conlon and although the keeper caught a touch on the shot, it wasn’t enough to prevent Tullysaran’s second major.

Sarsfields could have had a three-pointer of their own but for a brilliant Sean Black save denying anyway back for the Lurgan men.

Turlough Lardner got his first of two, split by a Sarsfields brace. Michel McKenna eased over a 45 while Eamon McGeown pointed after making a huge catch at full-forward.

Eddie Mallon and Caolan Skelton exchanged points while Tullysaran kept the scoreboard ticking over with Eoghan Daly and Mark McKeever raising white flags.

Sarsfields eventually found the net with Eamon McGeown guiding the ball over the line but Tullysaran replied with the final four scores of the game.

Daly got his second while Mallon, Conlon (free) and Brian Kelly all registered scores to see Tullysaran ahead at the final whistle 2-17 to 1-9.

Not only did many people tip Sarsfields to win this game, they were the favourites to win the Championship overall.

Tullysaran showed on Saturday evening that they belong at this level and if they continue to perform as they did, they will take serious stopping.

Derrynoose 3-12 Crossmaglen IIs 1-5

Derrynoose lay down a serious marker for the remainder of the Junior Championship with a quality performance on Saturday afternoon.

This game was hyped as the game of the week and it was anything but, with the Rangers hardly fit to lay a glove on Brian Hamilton’s men.

The game was essentially over by the water break as Derrynoose stormed ahead during the opening minutes and never looked back.

Conor McNally displayed his awesome talent throughout and had a hand in almost all of his sides scores.

It was their deadly forward who earned a penalty inside the first four minutes of the game when his driving run was halted inside the box.

Davey McCreesh stepped up to smash the ball past the onlooking net-minder, but he needed the aid of the crossbar to see it over the line, twice.

McNally chipped over a free before Conall McNally, playing wing half forward, gave Derrynoose a 1-2 to 0-0 led at the water break.

Derrynoose incredibly turned Cross over 10 times from the Rangers 11 possessions, with Cross getting one shot away before the water break.

Thanks to BMAC Performance Analysis for providing the stats and graphs!

Cross did get off the mark through a Shane McConville free, but any chance of a comeback was dealt a major blow.

They were soon down to fourteen men as Jamie Carlisle was sent to the line for two bookable offences.

The Crossmaglen headache just got worse as Conor McNally performed an outstanding piece of skill, flicking the ball up to his chest before squaring the ball across the box.

Sean Lennon was on hand to palm the ball into the net and Derrynoose followed up with two more points, both frees from the boot of McNally.

Crossmaglen pulled back a goal when a brilliant block in midfield set off an attack, ending in Ruairi O’Neill sliding across to kick in Rory O’Connor’s missed shot.

This saw Cross close the gap to six with the half time whistle blowing just after the green flag was raised, the score 2-4 to 1-1.

The second half was just fifteen second old when Derrynoose put the result beyond doubt with their third goal of the game.

The Cross defender misjudged a high ball which fell into the hands of McNally. The attacker powered towards goal and hit a rocket into the top corner.

The sides exchanged score with two Callum Kieran points (one free) matched by two Conor McNally points from the dead ball.

Aaron Fox drove over a monster score while Stephen Keenan got on the score sheet just before the second halves water break.

McNally executed a wonder free, kicking with the outside of his right boot to curl the ball over the bar from his wrong side.

Kieran and Paul McKeown get the scoreboard ticking over before Sean Lennon raised another white flag for Derrynoose.

Lennon also tagged on the final point of the day, following a Davy McCreesh score to end Crossmaglen’s involvement in this year’s Championship.

Derrynoose’s performance may have pushed them into the favourites to lift the trophy and no team will be looking forward to playing them for the remainder of the campaign.