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Craigbane 0-11 Coleraine 2-13

THE three McGoldrick brothers Colm, Cairan and Barr combined to score a total of 2-10 between them as Coleraine came from behind to score a comfortable away win over Craigbane.

Coleraine made a dreadful start to this game, four points behind after scores from a Gavan Conwell free, two Blaine Gormley frees and a David Lowry score in as many minutes.

There was fair bit of aggro in these opening minutes and Coleraine’s Colm Hanlon was shown a red card in the 5th minute.

Richard Carey and Ciaran McGoldrick from a free cut the lead to 0-04 to 0-02 but Rory Moore added a fifth point for the home side. Colm McGoldrick and Declan Mullan narrowed the gap to the minimum before Barry McGoldrick pointed a ‘45’ for 0-05 each in the 23rd minute.

Gavan Conwell put Craigbane back in front but Ciaran McGoldrick then rattled the bar before Richard Carey picked up the ball on the rebound and pointed for 0-06 each. Then Declan Mullan won a ‘45’ and Barry McGoldrick pointed the free for a 0-07 to 0-06 interval lead.

Ciaran McGoldrick extended the lead with two pointed frees, Colm McGoldrick scoring the first of his two goals in the 35th minute from a Sean Paul Henry pass. Two mores converted frees from McGoldrick put seven between the sides before judo McLaughlin and Gavan Conwell from a free cut the advantage to 1-11 to 0-09 six minutes from time. Ciaran McGoldrick pointed his sixth free but points from Blaine Gormley and Cathal McLaughlin kept Craigbane in touch.

However, they ove rcommitted in the final minutes and Colm McGoldrick punished then with a goal and a point.

The Craigbane scorers were Blaine Gormley 0-04, Gavan Conwell 0-03, David Lowry, Rory Moore, Jude McLaughlin and Cathal McLaughlin 0-01 each

The Coleraine scorers were Colm McGoldrick 2-02

Ciaran McGoldrick 0-06 frees, Barry McGoldrick 0-02 ‘45’s’, Richard Carey and Declan Mullan 0-01 each

Lavey 1-08 Dungiven 0-12

A Sean Conway goal in the 10th minute gave Lavey an early lead but, although Dungiven scored three points on the trot for 1-01 to 0-03 they could only muster one more point before half time with Darrel O’Kane (3) and Ryan McElhinney on target.

However Lavey had a couple of points from Colm Murphy and one each from Anthony McGurk, Kevin O’Neill, Caolan O’Boyle and Damian Shivers to take a 1-06 to 0-04 lead to the break.

At that stage there looked only one winner as Lavey were in control in all areas and looked certain to add to Dungiven’s woes in the second period.

However, Dungiven came out and blitzed the home side in the third quarter with two points each from Ryan McElhinney and Fergal McGuigan and one from James McNicholl to level at 0-09 to 1-06.

Caolan O’Boyle put Lavey in front from a free but Darrell O’Kane again tied the scores. However O’Boyle edged the home side ahead with another free, 1-08 to 0-10 but O’Kane and McGuigan pointed frees to give Dungiven a one point lead and victory.

Caolan O’Boyle had a chance to snatch a dramatic late winner when one on one with keeper Kevin Farren but he dragged his shot the wrong side of the post.

The Lavey scorers were Sean Conway 1-00, Caolan O’Boyle 0-03, Colm Murphy 0-02, Anthony McGurk, Kevin O’Neill and Damian Shivers 0-01 each

The Dungiven scorers were Fergal McGuigan 0-04, 0-02 frees, Darrel O’Kane 0-04, Ryan McElhinney 0-03 and James McNicholl 0-01

Glenullin 0-08 Slaughtneil 1-12

Glenullin have one of the tightest defences in the first division but they failed to win enough ball around the middle third against a solid Slaughtneil team and were well beaten in the end. The game again highlighted the skill of eighteen year old Gerard Bradley who scored five of the Slaughtneil points with four coming from play.

A Paul Bradley goal midway through the first half was the decisive score of this game, Glenullin’s defensive screen unable to prevent the major. However the home side lacked penetration and they were only able to score one point from play and that came from Eoin Bradley who played alongside his brother Paddy in the inside line that did not see enough ball.

Patsy Bradley and Paudie McGuigan gave Slaughtneil control in the middle of the field and they made good use of their possession to build a 1-06 to 0-04 interval lead with Chris Bradley 0-02, Paul Bradley 0-02 frees, Conan Cassidy and Karl McKaigue got their scores.

Over the hour Paddy Bradley (4) and Ruairi Boylan (3) scored from frees, with Chris Bradley 0-03, 0-01 free, Padrig Kelly and Enda McKaigue scored for Slaughtneil in the second period.

The Glenullin scorers were Paddy Bradley 0-04 frees, Ruairi Boylan 0-03 frees and Eoin Bradley 0-01

The Slaughtneil scorers were Paul Bradley 1-03, 0-02 frees, Chris Bradley 0-05, 0-01 free, Conan Cassidy, Karl McKaigue, Padrig Kelly and Enda McKaigue 0-01 each

Banagher 5-22 Kilrea 1-02

This game was even beyond the realms of farce as Kilrea fielded a reserve team against Banagher obviously saving their players for the championship but it did no favours to teams like Greenlough and Glen teams capable of catching Banagher in the relegation situation.

Banagher did their hopes of avoiding the relegation play offs with this emphatic victory over a Kilrea side that was without any of their 24 man championship panel on show.

Banagher were able to field their strongest team this season and they tore the depleted Kilrea fifteen to shreds at Fr. McNally Park, with Mark Lynch top-scoring on 2-06, with nine different players contributing on the scoreboard.

Oisin McCloskey opened the floodgates with the first goal, Mark Lynch getting the second as Banagher raced away to a 2-13 to 0-01 interval lead.

The home side racked up the scores in the second half as they sought to improve their score difference in case that came into operation in the relegation zone.

Oisin McCloskey scored his second goal of the game, and his team’s third, to continue five goal rout, with Conor Lynch getting the fourth and Mark Lynnch netting a penalty for the sixth.

The Banagher scorers were Mark Lynch 2-06, 1-00 pen, 0-04 frees, Conor Lynch 1-03, Oisin McCloskey 2-00, Padhraic Murphy 0-04, Gavan O’Neill 0-03, Eunan Murphy 0-03, P.J. McCloskey, Peter O’Kane and Gary Lynch 0-01 each

The Kilrea scorers were Declan McAlary 1-01, Eamon Quinn and Fergal Rainey 0-01 each

Slaughtneil 1-09 Loup 2-08

Slaughtneil lost this mid week clash to an ever improving Loup team but with their place in the top three almost booked they will not be too worried by the result as they were without a number of first team players.

Loup made the perfect start with a Conor McVey goal inside a minute and stretched into a 1-03 to 0-01 lead before Slaughtneil got a grip on the game.

In the opening half Jim Kelly pointed a free in his 0-02 total, with Seamus Gillen, Ronan Bradley and Chrissy McKaigue also contributing to their 0-05 tally. Anthony O’Neill 0-02, Gavan Mallon and Brian Doyle got the Loup points as they took a 1-04 to 0-04 interval advantage.

Three minutes into the second half Brian Doyle netted for 2-04 to 0-05 but Anthony O’Neill scored three points in the second half to take Loup to victory, Gavan Mallon adding a second. Jim Kelly pointed three frees, with Se McGuigan grabbing a point before Chris Bradley scored a 58th minute goal to give Slaughtneil a glimmer of hope. However time ran out and Loup picked up the points

The Slaughtneil scorers were Jim Kelly 0-05, 0-04 frees, Chris Bradley 1-00, Se McGuigan, Seamus Gillen, Ronan Bradley and Chrissy McKaigue 0-01 each

The Loup scorers were Anthony O’Neill 0-05 Brian Doyle 1-01, Conor McVey 1-00 and Gavan Mallon 0-02

Steelstown 2-11 Ballinascreen 2-07

Hugh McGrath believes that Steelstown have now lost the ‘surprise factor’, after his team met Ballinascreen in a prelude of this week’s Championship clash in Foreglen.

The City secured a vital victory in their battle against relegation on Saturday, digging deep to pull ahead of Ballinascreen in the final ten minutes of a frantic encounter to secure two much-needed points.

With Banagher easily seeing off Kilrea, the win takes on more importance, with Glen and Greenlough now adrift at the bottom. And with Craigbane losing to Coleraine, there are now three teams tied on eight points ahead of the bottom two, meaning there is still plenty of work to be done at Steelstown if they are to stay away from that dreaded relegation play-off.

But he will also know that his team are fitter than Ballinascreen, the last ten minutes showing as much, as the team in blue grew strong whilst those in maroon wilted.

And the Steelstown manger will be urging his team to avoid the basic errors that very nearly turned this into another disappointing day at the office for the home team.

“We get frustrated when we make simple errors and we made a huge amount of them in the first half,” he explained afterwards. “We’re in a position where we’re threatened with relegation but we have played some super football this year.

“It’s just small pieces of inexperience where errors creep into the game and that’s the difference between the top teams and the bottom teams. If we can get the error count lower we’ll be pushing to stay in this division

“The early ball in is something that’s talked about quite a lot in GAA with blanket defences but it works. If it is played in early and it’s caught first time it’s very hard to get the defenders back.”

It took Stephen Cleary only 40 seconds to make his mark in this game, intercepting a pass from Heron before charging 40 metres to hook the ball between the posts. Heron made amends moments later with his first score but the drama was just beginning to unfold.

A significant breeze was making its way around Pairc Bhrid and that worked in the hosts favour just five minutes in, Stephen Cleary’s free kick dropping short, but with goalkeeper Danny Devlin hesitating, Stephen McCauley simply jumped up and punched the ball into the net.

A double from Eunan Murray quickly brought Ballinascreen back into it, and with Martin Dunne’s kick outs only finding the opposition, the hosts were under growing pressure, Gary Conway’s shot unfortunate to stay out as it struck the post and rebounded to safety.

An Aidan Cleary point came from good pressure but Ballinascreen were now using the wind in their favour, Heron pointing from distance before a hopeful free into the vicinity of Dunne was allowed to bounce over the goalkeeper and between the posts as the game levelled at 1-2 to 0-5.

Another Cleary free was quickly snuffed out by another beauty from Heron, and the visitors went into the lead for the first time just before the break, Ciaran Conway scoring after collecting a pass from Murray.

That left ‘Screen leading by 0-7 to 1-3 at the break.

With their ears ringing, Steelstown emerged for the second period more focused and enjoyed a blistering start with three unanswered scores, Brian Scallon, Stephen Cleary and a monster score from Ryan Devine putting the hosts back into the lead.

It seemed as if Heron’s luck was out in the second half as he shot three successive efforts wide. Frustrated by that, he took the direct route, running unchallenged at the Steelstown net before exchanging passes with Eunan Murray before drilling the ball low past Dunne into the net.

Mickey McKinney levelled the game once again and the teams were tied at 1-7 apiece heading into the final ten minutes.

It was here that Steelstown took the game by the scruff, hitting 1-04 in five minutes to leave Ballinascreen dazed.

Shane O’Connor showed great determination to get the ball to Cleary and as the Steelstown forward bore down on goal, he was sandwiched, fouled twice in one movement and the result was a Brian Ogs penalty.

Cleary dusted himself down and hammered the ball into the left corner of the net an victory was in Steelstown’s sights.

That goal worked wonders for the hosts, and with confidence coursing through each of their players, they blitzed Ballinascreen, Aidan Cleary, Mark Foley, Mickey McKinney and Gary Cunningham all hitting the target in an unforgettable spell.

Ballinascreen did their best to make a fight of it, and Benny Murray scrambled the ball into the net in the last minute.

But the gap was too wide and Steelstown hung on for what could prove a huge win.

The Steelstown scorers were Stephen Cleary 1-03, Stephen McCauley 1-00, Mickey McKinney and Aidan Cleary 0-02 each, Ryan Devine, Brian Scallan, Gary Cunningham and Mark Foley 0-01 each

The Ballinascreen scorers were Benny Heron 1-03, Benny Murray 1-00, Eunan Murray 0-02, Kieran Conway and Gary Cunningham 0-01 each

Steelstown

Martin Dunne, Mickey McKinney, Kevin Lindsay, Tony Ling, Shane O’Connor, Neil Forrester, Conan Doherty, Ryan Devine, Paul O’Hea, Brian Scallon, Stephen Cleary, Aidan Cleary, Gary Cunningham, Stephen McCauley, Liam Heffernan.

-Michael Moore for Conan Doherty (30)

-Mark Foley for Brian Scallon (44)

-Dan Jackson for Paul O’Hea (30)

-Chris Beales for Liam Heffernan (60)

Ballinascreen

Danny Devlin, Philip McGlade, JF Bradley, Dermott Scullion, Mickey McShane, John Scullion, Kieran Conway, Dermot McBride, Benny Murray, Gary Conway, Eamon Murray, Emmet McKillion, Benny Heron, Gavin Bradley, Eunan Murray

-Gavin Kelly for Gavin Bradley (30)

-Philip Bradley for Gary Conway (42)

-Mickey McBride for Eamon Murray (47)