Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship
Emyvale 2-9 Toome 1-11 3/7/11
Emyvale became the first team to qualify for this year’s JFC semi-finals when they battled past Toome in an entertaining game in Clontibret on Sunday. After an evenly-matched first half, a brace of goals by Daniel McMahon gave Emyvale a six-point lead midway through the second half, but Toome hit back to score 1-5 in 12 minutes, while conceding just a point, to edge ahead with just three minutes left. Emyvale hit the last two points, though, to secure victory in an exciting finish.
McMahon was the main man up front for Emyvale, while Brendan McKenna and James Bellew did well in midfield and Ciarán Connolly and Emmet Colleran were sound in the full-back line. Gary Wilson, Shane Moore, Gavin Flanagan and Stephen Lambe led the way for Toome, who could still have a big part to play in the championship.
Martin McAree won and scored a 30-metre free to get Emyvale off to a positive start and James Bellew doubled their lead when he fisted over after good work by Patrick McCarron and Daniel McMahon. Gary Wilson linked up with Alan Lambe to kick a fine point and get Toome off the mark and they drew level in the 13th minute when Gavin Flanagan sent over after a quickly-taken free by Stephen Lambe. Brendan McKenna and Ciarán Connolly combined to create a point for Colm McKenna and Emyvale restored their three-point lead when Bellew got on the end of a Seán McMeel cross to fist over for the second time.
McAree converted a 40-metre free after Jason Murphy had been penalised for over-carrying, but Wilson kept Toome in touch after a Flanagan free dropped short. Wilson turned provider for Flanagan to fire a goal attempt inches over the bar and Wilson was again involved in creating a goal chance for Cormac Quinn, only for the full-forward to fire wide, leaving Emyvale ahead by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time.
Gary Wilson got the first point of the second half with a fisted effort after a cross by Liam McCooey, but Emyvale got the first goal of the game when Daniel McMahon made a great catch from a Brendan McKenna and outpaced his man before firing past former Emyvale goalkeeper Glenn Murphy. Toome had a couple of chances to hit back, with both falling to full-forward Cormac Quinn, but his first shot was saved by Emyvale keeper Matthew McAree and his second was blocked by Emmet Colleran. Flanagan tapped over a 13-metre free after Connolly had touched the ball on the ground, but Emyvale pulled away as Cillían McCarron gave the first glimpse of his searing pace when his run set up an opportunity for McMahon, who was tripped by Damien Wilson in the square. McMahon coolly slotted the penalty into the net to open up a five-point gap, which quickly became six when Colm McKenna tagged on a point.
Toome got back into the game when Cormac Quinn finally scored the goal he had been threatening, as he turned the ball home after a Gary Wilson centre. A point from play by Shane Moore brought Toome back to within two, before Flanagan and Martin McAree swapped points from frees, following fouls on Flanagan himself and Daniel McMahon. Stephen Lambe’s influence on the game was growing and he created the next two scores – the first a well-taken point by Flanagan, quickly followed by a Liam McCooey effort – before Moore linked up with sub Tony McMahon to edge Toome ahead for the first time. McCarron kicked a point at the end of another surging run through the Toome defence to bring Emyvale back on level terms and they retook the lead when Martin McAree won and scored a 20-metre free, with the foul earning Aidan McDonnell a second yellow card. The 2009 JFC winners held on to repeat their county final win over Toome from that year and book their place in this year’s last four. Toome, who saw the county’s last remaining unbeaten run ended in this game, can join them in the semis if they beat Aghabog in the back door.
Emyvale: Matthew McAree; C Connolly, E Colleran, K McKenna; S Downey, D McKernan, G Devlin; J Bellew (0-2), B McKenna; Patrick McCarron, S McMeel, C McKenna (0-2); D McMahon (2-0, 1 pen), R McHugh, Martin McAree (Capt., 0-4f)..
Subs: C McCarron (0-1) for P McCarron (36 mins), G McKernan for C McKenna (47).
Toome: G Murphy; J Murphy, S McCooey, D Conlon; F Quinn (Capt.), A McDonnell, S Moore (0-2); S Lambe, A Lambe; P Kelly, G Wilson (0-3), D Wilson; G Flanagan (0-5, 2f), C Quinn (1-0), L McCooey (0-1).
Subs: R Fee for Conlon (38), T McMahon for A Lambe (43)
Referee: D Lynch (Killeevan).