GAA: Ardboe hold off spirited Eglish fightback

Ardboe's Kyle Coney was in good form at the weekend.
Ardboe's Kyle Coney was in good form at the weekend.
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Eglish 2-10 Ardboe 2-13

Ardboe held off a spirited Eglish fightback to take home the league points in an entertaining clash at Fr Connolly Park on Sunday afternoon.

Two goals in the first half for the Rossas saw them build up a comfortable lead. However they took their foot off the gas slightly going into the final quarter, and Eglish almost came back to take something from the game.

The win sees Ardboe take their points tally to seven points from five games, whereas Eglish still have just the solitary victory so far in the season.

Eglish opened the scoring with midfielder Emmet McKenna on target from a free, with Ardboe responding with a Kyle Coney free of their own.

The home side were playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half, and they added further scores from Matthew Jordan and Sean McKillion.

Ardboe’s Michael O’Neill then struck for the first of his two goals, and three more frees from the trusty left boot of Coney moved the Loughshore side into the lead.

Tyrone minor David Mulgrew was also on target for the visitors until O’Neill struck for his second major. Jordan landed his second point before the accurate Coney brought the half to a close with a long range point.

Eglish came out after the break the stronger, with full forward Peter McCann tapping over a free before lively substitute Mark Donnelly also splitting the posts from the edge of the ‘D’.

The space was beginning to open up across the field, and Ardboe were next to strike as Marty McKeown foraged forward to get on the end of a move and knock over a point. Mark Donnelly’s industry at the other end won him a free, and the same player made no mistake from the placed ball.

The Rossa’s moved up a gear with Mick Hagan and O’Neill bringing the Ardboe total to 2-9.

Eglish responded again however, with McCann on hand to send over a neat point from the right hand wing, before Hagan added a hat trick of points for Ardboe as they looked to be coasting to victory.

Eglish were not to go down without a fight, and they put the pressure on Ardboe when Emmet McKenna took advantage of hesitation in the Ardboe backline to strike for goal from a free kick with ten minutes remaining. Several minutes later the hosts struck again, this time McCann finding room to blast into the far corner of the goal.

Towering midfielder Philip Barker was now operating at full forward, and his physicality was causing all sorts of problems for the Ardboe backline. McCann again was the man on target with two more points as the lead was now cut down to two.

As the game entered the final few minutes, Hagan landed a long range free from the wing to leave a goal between the sides.

There was a final moment of drama, as Emmett McKenna went for broke with a 14 yard free at the death. His shot cannoned off the post as referee Shane Dorrity whistled for full time, Ardboe hanging on to win 2-13 to 2-10.