Ardboe 1-15 Cookstown 1-11
It was a case of what might have been for Cookstown on Sunday afternoon as they fell to a strong Ardboe side in Fr Peter Campbell Park.
The Fr Rocks will rue the early dismissal of centre half back Barry Hughes after just seven minutes as Ardboe made their numerical superiority tell with a four point victory.
The Ardboe men proved too strong for Cookstown at midfield and this strenth gave their attack the perfect platform to outgun the Fr Rocks.
Cookstown were clearly up for the game and raced into a three point lead after just five minutes.
Ryan Pickering had dropped into the heart of the Cookstown defence and played as a sweeper helping to deny Ardboe in the early moments.
James McGahan opened the scoring from play with just over a minute of the game played and a foul on Connor Mullan a couple of minutes later allowed Owen Mulligan to extend the advantage.
With the momentum behind them full back Stephen Monaghan raced forward from the back and got on the end of a well placed Shea McGarrity pass to fire over, giving Cookstown players and fans alike the belief that a shock might be on the cards.
However, Cookstown’s hopes took a severe dent, when after seven minutes referee Eamonn McHugh, following consultation with linesman Paul Mallon, gave a straight red card to Barry Hughes.
This rocked Cookstown and gave Ardboe the boost they needed. They began to grow into the game, kicking five points in as many minutes.
Shay McGuigan, Tommy McGuigan, Nishy O’Neill and two Kyle Coney efforts put the loughshore side into control of the game.
Cookstown got a much needed point in the 16th minute of the half, Owen Mulligan pointing after a foul on McGahan.
Brian McGuigan responded almost immediately for Ardboe but wing back Connor O’Hare got forward for the Fr Rocks to once again narrow the gap.
The Fr Rocks might well have taken the lead when Jason Quinn fed Brian Mulligan, but Mulligan could only shoot straight at Conor McGrath in the Ardboe goal.
A minute later Cookstown got their goal, Quinn finding Mulligan in front of the Ardboe goal, and Mulligan this time found James McGahan who dispatched his shot brilliantly into the corner of the Ardboe goal.
With just a couple of minutes of the half remaining, Ardboe won a penalty after Marty Rea in the Cookstown goal pulled down Tommy McGuigan.
Rea somehow avoided a black card and made amends diving low to the left to deny John McConville’s penalty.
Tensions rose on the field before half time, with scuffles breaking out, Shay McGuigan and Ruairi Mullan both receiving yellow cards.
Four minutes into the second half and the one point Cookstown lead had become a two point lead for Ardboe. Indeed, only Cookstown player to touch the ball in the opening four minutes of the half was goalkeeper Marty Rea as Nishy O’Neill and Shay McGuigan kicked Ardboe ahead.
An Owen Mulligan free helped narrow the gap but Ardboe extended their lead once again, with corner forward Mick Hagan scoring two neatly taken points from play.
Rea got down smartly to save a Shay McGuigan shot on goal from 30 metres out, before Kyle Coney stroked over a beautiful point from distance.
Cookstown were tiring and Ardboe dominant and John McConville got his name among the scorers with a fine effort of his left foot. Cookstown needed a goal but all they could muster was two Raymond Mulgrew points from play.
Hagan responded for the Rossa before John McConville got on the end of great team move to put the game beyond doubt.
Jason Quinn picked up a straight red card after an altercation with Brian McGuigan in the build up to the goal.
Cookstown did kick three late points, two from Connor Mullan and one by Mulgrew.
Ardboe advance to now to meet Moy in the quarter-final.