Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship
Magheracloone 1-9 Clontibret 0-11
Magheracloone avenged last year’s cruel SFC final defeat to Clontibret by edging this quarter-final by a single point in Inniskeen on Saturday. A goal by Paul Jones just before half-time proved crucial for Magheracloone as they advanced to another semi-final, once again overcoming the absence of Tommy Freeman, who is still in America despite rumours to the contrary. Damien Freeman continued his prolific form for Magheracloone by scoring six points, while Paul and Michael Jones, Paudie Finnegan, Gavin Doogan and James Ward also played key roles. Conor McManus starred for Clontibret, but he lacked support up front, despite the best efforts of John Paul Mone at midfield and Colin Duffy in defence.
A point from a free by Damien Freeman got Magheracloone off to a good start and although David Savage equalised for Clontibret, Peter Tuite got forward to restore the Mitchells’ lead. A brace of points by Paudie Finnegan put Magheracloone two up, before Clontibret wasted a couple of goal chances – the first when Darach Mooney’s pass evaded Dessie Mone and the second when Paul McGuigan dragged a shot wide. The defending champions did draw level through a pair of well-taken points from play by Conor McManus and a point by McGuigan, before edging ahead for the first time when McManus won and scored a 20-metre free. Damien Freeman responded with two 20-metre frees, both after he had been fouled, although Savage linked up with Vincent Corey to level it up. McManus converted a 25-metre free for a foul on McGuigan, but a flowing, length-of-the-field move started by goalkeeper Shane Duffy and also involving David Freeman, Peter Tuite and Paul Farnan created a fine point for Damien Freeman which brought Magheracloone back on terms. They struck for the only goal of the game in first-half injury-time when a Damien Freeman free dropped dangerously at the edge of the square and fell for Paul Jones to crash to the net. That gave Magheracloone a three-point lead at the end of an entertaining half on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-7.
McManus swung over a good point to get Clontibret up and running in the second half, after he had been well-placed by Dessie Mone and he closed the gap to the minimum when he tapped over a 13-metre free after Gavin Doogan had been penalised for over-carrying. Damien Freeman took a pass from Niall Babington and fisted over the bar to get Magheracloone’s first score of the second half in the 15th minute, but McManus kept Clontibret in touch with another fine finish after a one-two with Rodney Gorman. A close-range free by Damien Freeman, after a foul on Paudie Finnegan, re-opened the two-point gap and the in-form forward had a chance to kill the game off late on, but he blazed his shot high and wide. Clontibret had a last-gasp opportunity to pull the game out of the fire when Gorman was fouled just outside the square, but Vincent Corey’s shot at goal from the resulting free fizzed over the bar. Clontibret’s defeat not only ended their reign as county champions but it also means they are absent from the SFC semi-finals for the first time since 2004, while Magheracloone can look forward to playing Scotstown in the semi-finals for the second year in a row in three weeks’ time.
Magheracloone: S Duffy; M Jones, P Ward, J Kieran; David Freeman, J Ward (Capt.), P Tuite; G Doogan, P Farnan; N Babington, P Jones (1-1), G Finnegan; F Kindlon, Damien Freeman (0-6, 4f), P Finnegan (0-2).
Subs: N Tuite for David Freeman (H-T), K Rudden for Kindlon (49 mins), C Burns for G Finnegan (59).
Clontibret: P McElroy; M Corey, C Greenan, C Duffy; C Boyle, D Mooney, D Carragher; JP Mone, E Greenan; V Corey (Capt., 0-1f), Paul McGuigan (0-1), David Savage (0-2); R Gorman, C McManus (0-7, 3f), D Mone.
Subs: F Mone for Savage (52), R Murphy for McGuigan (inj., 54).
Referee: G Treanor (Truagh).