Carrickcruppen 2-13 St Paul’s 3-12
Carrickcruppen and St Paul’s squared off in a goal-feast on Sunday afternoon, with the Lurgan men just edging through the titanic tussle.
It was a game neither team deserved to lose. Carrickcruppen will be kicking themselves as they had enough chances to get something from the contest.
They led for the majority of the sixty minutes, and their response to the three St Paul’s goals was outstanding.
Carrickcruppen didn’t trail the game from the fifth minute to the seventeenth of the second half and the goals were crucial in guiding the victors over the line.
Andrew Murnin started on the edge of the square and it was the big full forward who opened the scoring with a point off his left boot.
Eoin McConville was a worthy scoring partner to Murnin, and he opened his account with a pointed free three minutes in.
Carrickcruppen got off the mark with Aaron Anderson getting a score before the game got its first of five goals.
Anderson saw his initial shot on goal turned away by Ciaran Fox, the St Paul’s keeper, but John McCullough was on hand to guide the ball into the net.
‘Cruppen continued with their scoring spree and Stephen Loughran along with Eoin Woods stretched their lead to five points.
St Paul’s did fight back with McConville slotting over three scores (two frees), but Carrickcruppen matched his return through Blaine Hughes (two frees) and Eoin Woods.
Andrew Murnin grabbed his second before ‘Cruppen were reduced to fourteen men, for ten minutes, as Stephen Loughran picked up a black card.
The sides traded scores in the final moments of the half, Peadar Nash claiming two St Paul’s, while Richard Keenan knocked over two frees to give Carrickcruppen a 1-8 to 0-8 half time lead.
St Paul’s got back on level terms early in the second half when Ryan Lawless netted following an Andrew Murnin pass across the face of the goal.
A huge Jack Cunningham catch from the resulting kick out gave ‘Cruppen possession and they were back on top with a well taken Stephen Loughran goal.
Blaine Hughes fired over a long range free, as the sides continued to land heavy blows on each other in search of a knockout punch.
Murnin was the man on the ball and again he squared it across to the edge of the square. Like the first goal Lawless was on hand and hit his second goal in five minutes.
The youthful ‘Cruppen side once more responded brilliantly with Richard Keenan making a huge catch, followed by a brilliant Adam Matthews score.
The Camlough men picked up another black card midway through the second half and St Paul’s began to push on for the finish line.
Peadar Nash and Eoin Woods traded scores before St Paul’s missed a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Lawless, in search of the hat-trick, raced through on goal, but Blaine Hughes’ righthand upright came to the rescue and kept ‘Cruppen ahead.
Charlie Harte reduced the gap before St Paul’s finally found the third goal they had been searching for, and this one put them in front.
Eoin McConville got on the end of the move to drive the ball into the net and suddenly the Lurgan men held the initiative, 3-10 to 2-11.
Bill Geoghegan’s men tagged on two points during an exciting conclusion with Keenan landing both scores.
McConville kept the St Paul’s noses in front before Murnin worked some of his magic and hit a beauty with the final action of the game.
‘Cruppen perhaps showed a bit of inexperience during the final exchanges but pushed St Paul’s all the way.
The Lurgan men find themselves in the Intermediate semi-final and they will face Tullysaran for a place in the showpiece.
Clan na Gael 2-13 Clonmore 0-9
When the half time whistle blew, Clonmore were well in the game as they as they had fought off a five-point deficit to trail by one.
Four points in the dying minutes of the half brought Clonmore back into contention when it seemed the game was slipping away from them.
But Clan na Gael proved much too strong after the restart. Two goals at either end of the half allowed the Lurgan men to push on to claim a ten-point win.
The underdogs almost got off to the perfect start after winning the throw in. Cathal McCann raced forward from wing half back and should have opened the scoring.
McCann only had one thought on his mind, and with the goal a likely outcome, Ryan Magennis pulled off a huge save in the first minute.
Clans claimed the opening five scores of the contest, with James French hitting the first two, one off either foot.
Niall Henderson, Ronan Austin and Stefan Campbell all grabbed impressive scores and it seemed that Clan na Gael were already home and hosed.
Clonmore did offer stiff opposition, for the rest of the half at least, rattling off six of the next eight points.
Paul O’Donnell got Seamus McCallan’s men off the mark in the thirteenth minute before a Ryan O’Hagan free doubled their tally.
Ronan Austin and Stefan Campbell matched the Clonmore efforts with a point each, either side of the water break before Clonmore found their groove.
Shane Maguire knocked over two great scores while Sean Quigley, who’s pace and direct running style caused the Clans problems, and Raymond McBennett both got on the score sheet.
This fired Clonmore right back into contention and brought a bit of a spark to the game as only one pointed separated the sides at the break, Clans ahead 0-7 to 0-6.
Any chance of a shock result was well and truly dismissed within the first fifteen seconds of the second period.
Diarmaid Marsden’s men did what Clonmore couldn’t do after winning the throw up in the first half, worked the ball forward and hit the net.
Possession found its way to Michael Toland, a late inclusion in the starting line-up, and Toland’s shot on goal was deflected by Mark Lyttle, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the game’s opening goal.
Clans tagged on a further three scores, McPartlan (2) and Campbell widening the margin to seven points.
Brendan Donaghy swung over an inspiration score, followed by a Ryan O’Hagan free as Clonmore set about mounting a comeback.
But their two points were soon cancelled out as McPartlan and Henderson kept the scoreboard ticking over.
James French launched a high ball to the edge of the square and McPartlan captured possession, swivelled onto his left foot and planted home another goal.
French concluded the contest with his third point, seeing Clan na Gael well ahead by the time the final whistle sounded.
Clonmore gave it their all but Clans just had too much on the day and they will now face Keady in the Championship semi-final.
Belleek 2-15 Dorsey 1-8
Belleek now find themselves preparing for a Junior Championship semi-final after seeing off rivals Dorsey on Sunday.
The sides were evenly matched during the opening exchanges, with the score tied at four points each at the first water break.
Belleek returned to the field all guns blazing and rattled off a quick-fire 1-4 to take control heading into half time, leading 1-8 to 0-4.
Dorsey did close the gap midway through the second period, rattling the net through Steven Lavelle to leave it 1-10 to 1-7.
Belleek drove on however and pushed for the finish line, outscoring the opposition 1-5 to 0-1 in the final ten minutes.
A converted penalty put the game well out of reach for Dorsey and the victors now face another derby tie as they meet Newtown in the last four.