Lochside Garage

Gaels seek Ulster final glory

Enniskillen Gaels celebrate victory over St Eunan’s of Donegal

Enniskillen Gaels dominated Donegal champions St Eunan’s in Belfast last Saturday to book their place in the Ulster Club minor championship final.
The Brewster boys gave notice of the sort of quality they had when they trounced the Cavan champions Ramor United in the quarter-final. Last Saturday’s result proved that was no flash in the pan as the Gaels were by far the better side over the 60 minutes.
“A lot of people probably thought Ramor weren’t that strong, but I thought we played exceptionally well last week,” said Enniskillen manager Brendan Dooris.
“It was a completely different game this week. Semi-finals in competitions tend to be quite tense dour struggles and I think that the two teams today were fairly evenly matched. It was all about who managed the conditions best and I think we did that. It’s pretty blowy up here and awkward to play in.”
The Fermanagh lads victory was built on a powerhouse first half display where they dominated play against a strong breeze and went in leading 1-5 to 0-6, a Calum Jones goal the score separating the sides.
“Our first half performance in particular was exceptional,” said Dooris. We won a lot of possession and retained the ball well.
“The goal was very fortuitous, not something you often see at this sort of level, more like an u14 game. But it happened and we’ll take it. You need a bit of luck in these things and in the past the luck has gone against us.”
After the sides exchanged two smash and grab goals, the second half was a tensely fought affair. Enniskillen hit the net first through Matthew Dixon, but moments later Louis Hasson had cancelled that out with a goal up the other end.
“I thought we’d kick on, but we made the wrong decisions near goal a couple of times,” said Dooris. “We weren’t calm enough. Hopefully we’ll put that right because chances can be few and far between at this level.
“We leaked a goal other end and we knew it was important not to give them a second goal. It would have given them the momentum. Thankfully the boys kept things tight enough. St Eunan’s were struggling to get the ball into their forwards in the second half.”
Dooris might have chalked up his sides’ first goal to luck, but there can no doubting the Gaels are in an Ulster final because of more than dumb good fortune. They have spent the long months since winning the Fermanagh title in July tuning themselves for the Ulster series. They want this one bad.
“There’s a big fitness level required for this competition,” said Dooris. “We’ve been involved in this competition a few years now and it just gets better and better. You can see the dedication young lads put into it.
“There’s a lot of them giving up an awful lot of time. Our corner back Jack O’Hare was supposed to be away on a cruise today with his mother and father, but he stayed to play in the match.”
Another encouraging aspect for Enniskillen was the fact that the semi-final saw different players stepping up to the mark across the pitch from those who carried the battle forward against Ramor.
“Probably the only player who could say he matched his performance from the week before was Ronan Beattie. I thought he was exceptional today again, He scored an absolutely magnificent point half way through the second half. His level of performance has been superb.
“The two boys in midfield won an awful lot of ball for us, particularly Brandon [Horan] in the first half, his fielding was magnificent.”


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