McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final
Carrickmacross 1-11 Corduff 1-7 1/10/11
Carrickmacross are back in senior football after they beat neighbours Corduff in the McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final at O’Neill Park, Clontibret on Sunday. 2010 JFC winners Corduff were unbeaten in 15 championship games before Sunday, but they were always up against it facing a Carrick team who were determined to secure a quick return to the top flight. Carrick took charge of the game from the start, with the help of a fortunate goal from Mark Downey, and they never let it slip. Corduff, whose goal came from substitute Shane Malone late on, were fortunate to be within four points at the end, as their forward-line didn’t get going and they managed just two scores from play.
Corduff played a defensive system in an effort to stop Carrick’s dangerous forwards, but Stephen Gollogly, Seán and Mark Downey and Andrew Callan hit 1-8 between them, among seven Carrick scorers. At the other end, Mark McNally did an excellent man-marking job on Keith McEnaney, while Peter O’Hanlon and James Conlon got through a lot of work around midfield. Corduff enjoyed plenty of possession, thanks to the work-rate of the likes of Declan Larkin and Shane McNally Jnr., but they hit 13 wides and Martin Mills was the only one of their forwards to make a real impact.
Going into the game as underdogs, Corduff needed to at least keep it tight in the early exchanges, but disaster struck in the fourth minute when they allowed a Mark Downey sideline kick go all the way to the net. Goalkeeper Jason Hand got Corduff off the mark with a Cluxton-esque 50-metre free, but Stephen Gollogly won and scored a 30-metre free to restore Carrick’s three-point lead, before setting up Andrew Callan for a well-taken point – the game’s first score from play.
Hand converted a ’45 to keep Corduff in touch, but Gollogly tapped over a 20-metre free after he had been fouled, before Mark Downey linked up with Neil McEnaney for a good point from play. Martin Mills won and scored a 25-metre free for Corduff just before half-time to reduce Carrick’s lead to four at half-time: 1-4 to 0-3.
Carrick hit four unanswered points in the third quarter – the first two coming from 25-metre frees by Callan and Gollogly; both after the free-takers had themselves been fouled. Conor McEnaney opened up a seven-point gap after a pass from Seán Downey, who added a point after a well-worked move involving Mark Downey, Peter O’Hanlon and Callan. Corduff finally got their first score from play through Mills on 49 minutes, but Seán Downey kept Carrick in control after he got on the end of a pass from O’Hanlon.
Keith McEnaney and Raymond Byrne tapped over 20-metre frees for fouls on Shane Malone and Mills, but O’Hanlon kicked a good score to keep Carrick in control. Good approach play by Gollogly created a point for Gary McEnaney, which restored the Emmets’ eight-point lead, although Keith McEnaney got a point back from a close-range free following a foul on Martin McDermott. Mills had a shot turned around the post by Carrick keeper John O’Connor after he had kept a wayward John McEnaney effort in play, with the following ’45 by Hand falling for Mills, whose shot was again saved by O’Connor – only for Malone to find the net from the rebound. Corduff’s late flourish almost brought another goal deep into injury-time when Shane McNally Jnr. broke forward, but his shot was well blocked by John McNally.
Carrickmacross captain James Conlon accepted the Paddy O’Rourke Cup from county board chairman Paul Curran after the game, while his team-mate Stephen Gollogly took the Man-of-the-Match award. Carrick now go into the Ulster IFC, where they will play the Tyrone champions on October 30.
Carrickmacross: J O’Connor; O McNally, M McNally, J McNally; D Finnegan, G McEnaney (0-1), N McEnaney; J Conlon (Capt.), P O’Hanlon (0-1); J McGeown, S Gollogly (0-3f), C McEnaney (0-1); A Callan (0-2, 1f), M Downey (1-1, 1-0 s-l), S Downey (0-2).
Subs: E Sherry for C McEnaney (44), R McMahon for N McEnaney (55), R Gollogly for Callan, S Mulholland for S Downey (both 60).
Corduff: J Hand (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45); B Woods, C Brennan (Capt.), G Mee; G King, S McNally Snr., S McNally Jnr.; D Larkin, C Connolly; J McEnaney, M Mills (0-2, 1f), R Byrne (0-1f); C McEnaney, K McEnaney (0-2f), P Keenan.
Subs: C Marron for C McEnaney (44 mins), S Malone (1-0) for King (47), M McDermott for Brennan (54).
Referee: X Coyle (Tyholland).