Carrickmore 3-9 Moy 0-9
Goals proved the difference at Plunkett Park on Saturday as record O’Neill Cup winners Carrickmore made it through to another senior championship final at the expense of gallant Moy, writes Kevin Kelly.
Nine points may have separated the sides at the final whistle but that doesn’t do justice to a Moy side who only trailed by the minimum margin with ten minutes left to play. Crucially, they failed to register in the closing stages, a goal from county attacker Mark Donnelly giving the winners a much-needed cushion before an injury-time major by Paul McAleer gave St.Colmcilles a flattering winning margin.
It was nip and tuck throughout the first half, the sides locked together on four points with the interval approaching.
That’s when two key moments arrived as Moy teenager Declan Conroy shot wide when in the clear and minutes later Martin Penrose found the net at the other end for a four point interval advantage.
Carrickmore built on that lead to go six clear but Moy hit back, the superb Sean Cavanagh leading the way, and it took a brilliant save from Plunkett McCallan to deny Conroy a goal, the Carrickmore custodian into a recordbreaking 13th senior championship final next weekend.
The winners had good performances by Colm McGurk, Conor Gormley, Mickey Donaghy, Ronan Mullan and Martin Penrose while Moy were best served by Eunan Deeney, Sean Cavanagh, Colm Cavanagh and Kris Kavanagh.
It was Moy who made the brighter start as they raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the eighth minute with all but one of those four scores from halfbacks - Deeney, Donaghy and Jack Kelly.
By the end of the opening quarter Carrickmore were back on level terms with Mark Donnelly and midfielder Niall Loughran supplying the points.
Penrose then edged Carmen in front for the first time when he cut in from the right wing past two challenges before landing a superb score.
A Sean Cavanagh free levelled matters before Conroy had that goal chance in the next attack but he screwed his shot past the right hand post. Carrickmore made good their escape and after Penrose had converted a free via the post the county attacker took a pass from Barry Daly and showed his blistering pace to get away from the Moy defence before finishing in style to the bottom right hand corner of the net.
McAleer fisted the opening score of the second half but Moy replied with an outstanding effort from Sean Cavanagh from out on the left wing.
In the 10th minute of the half McCallan thwarted Conroy with the alert McGurk clearing the rebound of the line. county team-mates Penrose and Cavanagh traded scores from frees before theMoy man made it a one point game with the score of the day after driving through the heart of the Carrickmore defence.
Sixty seconds later though Carrickmore got in for a crucial second goal when Mark Donnelly traded passes with Barry Daly before shooting past Barry Gribben.
Centre back Deeney had a 45 disallowed for a square ball infringement while Carrickmore added points from Ruairi Loughran and Penrose to go six clear.
Moy weren’t finished yet with Sean Cavanagh having a shot blocked on the line by McGurk while his brother Colm had a penalty appeal waved away.
There’s certainly no doubt that a goal at that stage would have set up an interesting finish to the game.
However, instead it was Carrickmore who sealed their passage through to the decider when Penrose and Caolan Daly combined for McAleer to grab their third major.
The league title may have been deemed out of bounds for the Carrickmore c lub this season but that appears to have enabled them to keep a firm focus on the top trophy and now it’s just an hour away.