Football: Monaghan double secures the points for Magherafelt Sky Blues

Ben McErlain, who scored the last minute winner to secure a 3-2 win over Ballymoor.

Ben McErlain, who scored the last minute winner to secure a 3-2 win over Ballymoor.

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A quick second half double from ‘Rossi’ Monaghan secured three points for the Blues against Dunloy.

The first half began with both teams trying hard to gain the upper hand but the game was mostly confined to the midfield area with neither defence being stretched.

However as the half progressed the Blues began to get the upper hand and after 25 minutes Monaghan had a wonderful chance but headed straight at the keeper.

Five minutes later Hassan combined well with Monaghan and went one on one with the keeper who produced two fine saves to deny him the opening goal.

The Blues defence were playing well and restricted Dunloy to one speculative shot which Crozier saved well. The Blues couldn’t make their superiority count and the half ended 0-0.

The Blues began the second half well but were stunned when after 11 minutes Dunloy took the lead with a wonderful effort from 30 yards which gave Crozier no chance.

The Blues responded immediately and scored a minute later when a poor clearance fell to Monaghan who rifled it to the net. 20 minutes in Monaghan scored his 2nd when he latched onto the ball after Hassan had hit the bar. Dunloy tried to get back into the game but the Blues backline were superb and were never breached.

With 10 minutes left the Blues were reduced to ten men when S O’Neill got his second yellow but the Blues showed tremendous character to protect their lead.

The Blues played well and dominated for much of the game with Hassan in particular having a great game but he was just eclipsed by Darren O’Neill who picked up the Blues man of the match award.

Team: Crozier, Bradley, Badger, O’Kane, Conor Monaghan, Hassan, Monaghan, McGuckin, D O’Neill, Devlin. Subs: S O’Neill, McAlynn, Stewart.

Magherafelt Sky Blues U11 2

Bertie Peacock Youths 3

Magherafelt Sky Blues U11 had their first return match of the season against a Bertie Peacock Youths team that had inflicted their biggest defeat.

Bertie Peacocks started the stronger and within four minutes man-of-the-match Callum Lagan had pulled of two great saves. Sky Blues slowly started to come into the game and on 6 minutes Michael McKay shot narrowly wide from a Lorcan Bradley pass.

Callum Lagan again came to the Sky Blues rescue with another fine save with 12 minutes on the clock. This was a good spell for both teams but they came up against two keepers on top form.

Sky Blues finally broke the deadlock on 17 minutes. A long throw from Callum Campell, who was captain in the absence of Dan Higgins, sent Michael McKay through on goal and he slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Bertie Peacocks got a deserved equalizer five minutes later with a goal similar to the Sky Blues first.

With half time looming, Matthew McMenemy’s left foot free kick was sailing into the top corner but the Peacocks defender stretched out his arm to save giving the Sky Blues a penalty. Lewis Francis stepped up and scored from the spot keeping his run of scoring in every match going.

The second half started frantically with both teams having chances. Callum Lagan again kept the Sky Blues in front with two more fine saves.

Michael McKay had a shot saved by the Peacocks keeper before Caolan Mac an Fhirleighinn fired home the Sky Blues third from a Lorcan Bradley cross five minutes into the second half.

The pace of the game never let up and some good defending by Lewis Fancis and excellent saves in the 40th and 43rd minutes from Callum Lagan kept the Sky Blues in front.

Bertie Peacocks finally beat Lagan after 46 minutes with a volley into the top right corner but on 50 minutes Michael McKay scored his second of the match as he picked the ball up from the keeper, raced through and calmly passed the ball into the Peacocks net.