Forkhill 0-12 Derrynoose 0-11
Forkhill secured their place in the Junior Championship Final with a hard-fought one-point win over Derrynoose on Saturday evening.
The South Armagh men were deserving winners on the night, but they struggled to shake off a determined Derrynoose outfit.
Jemar Hall was the difference between the sides and the star performer on the pitch, finishing with a personal tally of 0-7.
Tony Canning did a great job in defence, holding Conor McNally scoreless from open play, but it was Davey McCreesh that caused the most problems for the Forkhill rear-guard.
His two early scores were matched by Hall during the opening five minutes, but Forkhill should have been ahead only for a miskicked effort on goal from Stephen Sheridan.
Cormac Toner and Darren King, who was later sent off for picking up two yellow cards, doubled Forkhill’s advantage.
Derrynoose came flying back, slotting over the next three scores, McCreesh claiming two, keeping his shot accuracy at 100%.
Cormac Fox also broke through for a great score, swinging the ball over with his left foot after a good interception in defence from Paddy Kelly.
Hall closed the distance and his contribution in the second quarter saw Forkhill take the lead by the halfway mark.
His blistering pace really caught the eye, as he swung over three scores (two frees), with a McNally pointed free Derrynoose’s only reply.
This put Forkhill ahead by the minimum of margins by the time the half time whistle sounded, winning 0-7 to 0-6.
McNally did level the game three minutes after the turnaround, again slotting over from a placed ball effort.
Cormac Toner and McNally (free) traded scores, before a brace from Hall, two glorious efforts, put his side two to the good.
McNally posted another from a free while McCreesh ensured his side stayed in touch, levelling the game 0-10 apiece.
Shea Coleman drove over a score to give Forkhill a lead they would not surrender, and Cormac Toner added to their tally.
The game could have been gone from Derrynoose, but a save from keeper Stephen McArdle meant they remained in the hunt.
Darren King then picked up his second yellow card of the evening and with a man advantage, Derrynoose now went about getting a goal.
The opportunity never presented itself and although they tagged on a score through Shea McNaughton, it wasn’t enough to get something from the game.
Forkhill were full value for their victory and now head into the showpiece as favourites to claim the title.
They await the winners of the second semi-final between Belleek and Newtown to see who they face in the showpiece.
The telling statistic from an attacking point of view shows both sides shot accuracy from the ‘scoring zone’.
Forkhill landed all six of their efforts, while Derrynoose only scored once from their six eight shots in round the ‘D’.
Forkhill Scorers: Jemar Hall (0-7), Cormac Toner (0-3), Darren King (0-1), Shea Coleman (0-1)
Derrynoose Scorers: Davey McCreesh (0-5), Conor McNally (0-4), Cormac Fox (0-1), Shea McNaughton (0-1)
St Paul’s 1-15 Tullysaran 2-10
You couldn’t have wished for a better start than the one Tullysaran got on Saturday night as they faced St Paul’s for a place in the Intermediate decider.
After five minutes, the O’Connell’s men had already rattled the net twice and looked sure to cruise to the final.
But St Paul’s fought back, and bar the first ten minutes of the game, were the better team on showing and grinded out an impressive two-point win.
The match was only sixteen seconds old when James Madden opened the scoring, but Andrew Murnin replied with a score from an advanced mark.
Tullysaran looked sharp early on, and a failed one-two between Gavin Conlon and Brian Kelly saw the ball spilled inside the six-yard box.
Young Mark McKeever walloped the ball from the deck past the St Paul’s netminder and handed his side a three-point lead.
The margin stretched to six with the next attack, Matthew Kernan bursting forward this time to bury the ball into the corner.
The sides traded scores for the rest of the opening quarter, with Murnin, Ryan Lawless and Daniel McDonald matching scores from Eddie Mallon, Mark McKeever and Eoghan Daly.
St Paul’s dominated the score board after the water break, outscoring their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 to get back to within a point.
Peadar Nash was responsible for three of the scores (two frees), while Joseph Fitzsimmons and Lawless added points, with Mallon providing Tullysaran’s only response.
This left Tullysaran just one point to the good at the interval, 2-5 to 0-10, and despite the early suggestion of a walkover, we had a game.
Lawless was superb from centre half forward and his score five minutes into the second period levelled the contest.
Eddie Mallon pounced on a short kick out at the other end of the field and despite rounding the keeper, couldn’t find the net to put his side ahead.
Eoghan Daly did slash over a score but once again the Lurgan side fought back through an Aaron Rodgers goal.
An intercepted ‘back-pass’ from Andrew Murnin sent through Rodgers, who had one thing on his mind, and his three-pointer gave St Paul’s the lead for the first time.
Mark McKeever notched one back for Tullysaran, but Rodgers recorded his first point of the evening to keep his side ahead.
Gavin Conlon (free) and Peadar Nash (free) traded scores, as did McKeever and Rodgers, before Eoin McConville stretched the St Paul’s lead to three.
Tullysaran went in search of a goal, and nearly had one when McKeever’s punched effort was cleared from the line by Declan Magee, with Ciaran Fox saving the rebounded shot.
Kevin Corrigan did tag on another for Tullysaran, but they couldn’t do enough to get back on level terms.
Both sides were reduced to fourteen men for the final moments of the contest, with Niall McPartland and Eoghan Daly both seeing red.
St Paul’s will now be preparing for an Intermediate Final while Tullysaran’s winter will be filled with the regret of what could have been.
The Lurgan men now await the challenge of either Clan na Gael or Keady in the Championship Final.
St Paul’s Scorers: Aaron Rodgers (1-2), Ryan Lawless (0-4), Peadar Nash (0-4), Andrew Murnin (0-2), Eoin McConville (0-1), Daniel McDonald (0-1), Joseph Fitzsimmons (0-1).
Tullysaran Scorers: Mark McKeever (1-3), Matthew McKernan (1-0), Eoghan Daly (0-2), Gavin Conlon (0-2), James Madden (0-1), Eddie Mallon (0-1), Kevin Corrigan (0-1).