Minor crown heads to Belleek

winning gaels team   bmcb 58

ON TOP… The winning Erne Gaels team

Erne Gaels 3-10  
Derrygonnelly 2-10

A goal, their third of the evening, flicked home by centre half forward Darragh Dolan in the dying moments delivered the minor championship A title to Erne Gaels in what had been a rousing contest played on a splendid Brewster Park.

It was an electric finale to a tussle which had served up rich entertainment all the way through from what had been an explosive start.

That explosive start had seen both teams raid in for a goal inside the opening two minutes and with a handful of points immediately added on, the tone for the remainder of the game had been set.

The scoring bonanza didn’t quite maintain that initial sizzling pace, the sides reached the break with Erne Gaels leading by 2-4 to 1-4, but the quality of the game hadn’t dipped.

And over the second half the sizeable attendance was to be captivated by a see saw struggle between two well matched sides.

The lead over those closing thirty minutes was to be exchanged on a number of occasions but when Derrygonnelly struck for a goal and a point inside sixty seconds on the threequarter mark, the initiative appeared to have edged in Derrygonnelly’s favour.

But Erne Gaels were to produce a resolute final quarter effort and in the end it was the Belleek side who were to poach the crucial late scores that got them over the winning line.

A dramatic finish to a pulsating tussle, one of the best minor deciders of recent seasons.

Within seconds of the throw in the game detonated into life with a penalty goal hammered home for Erne Gaels by full forward Shane Rooney who had been hauled down.

No time for Erne Gaels however to celebrate this tonic start as their defence was promptly sliced open by an incisive Derrygonnelly raid and Colm Jones ripped a shot into an unprotected Belleek net.

Within another three minutes three points had been fired over, two for Erne Gaels one from the elusive Rooney and Rory McGarrigle, the Harps responding with a shot from Nathan Jones.

Things did settle down somewhat after that blitz of scoring but the game was to stay finely pitched with neither side able to establish any period of command.

A worrying aspect for Erne Gaels however was their slipshod short passing which regularly had possession handed over to the opposition.

In mid half Derrygonnelly clawed back to parity with good scores taken by Garvan and Leigh Jones and they began to shade the possession but they were unable to translate that into scores, just one more point to be collected prior to the changeover.

Erne Gaels on the other hand were to snap up a second goal, a trifle fortunate perhaps as a spilled ball fell kindly for them and Darragh Dolan stabbed home. In fact Dolan might well have nabbed another goal but his fly kick clipped back off the upright.

Erne Gaels a goal to the good heading into the second half and they resumed on a positive note with the opening two points, Shane Rooney hitting a placed kick, Rory McGarrigle converting from open play.

But there was no question of them being able to totally dictate and a committed Derrygonnelly struck back with perhaps their most forceful spell of the game.

Points from Colm and Garvan Jones had them hot on the heels of the leaders and they then grabbed their second goal, Oran McBrien coming in onto the end of a centre from the left wing to fist home at the post.

Garvan Jones rifled over a levelling point in the very next attack and the game was heading into a frantic finale.

Shane Rooney who had led the Belleek line with drive and purpose edged his side ahead, Garvan Jones who was equally purposeful for the Harps levelled and over the next ten minutes it was score for score.

Colin Jones with two for Derrygonnelly, Luke Ryder and Shane Rooney for Erne Gaels as the teams slugged it out in a grandstand climax.

A draw now looking quite probable but there was to be a matchwinning score and it fell to Erne Gaels.

A long ball punted in from midfield cleared the Derrygonnelly full back line and in the chase into the open space, Darragh Dolan won the race with  Jack Kelly to flick the ball over the advancing keeper.

The issue not quite decided with a couple of minutes left on the clock. Derrygonnelly made an all out effort to recover and they launched a series of attacks but Erne Gaels doggedly defended and a levelling goal chance never popped up.


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