If it was difficult to gauge exactly how good Ballinascreen were after their third round stroll against Steelstown, there can be no more question marks after they dismantled a fancied Dungiven outfit.
Dungiven may have been poor but ‘Screen were superb.
There were six different scorers for the Straw side in a first half blitz which yielded 1-8 to Dungiven’s 0-2. The sides looked as even as expected and, for the first 10 minutes, an intriguing tactical battle ensue. But when Dungiven hit their trademark long balls into the forward line, they found everything coming right back out. The dominance of Michael McShane, Philip McGlade, and Dermot Scullion was probably the winning of the game because, before long, Emmett McKeever’s side started to run it and found the maroon jerseys even happier to close them down that way.
A turn-over in the Dungiven forward line was punished by the opening goal, Sean Woods switching play to Benny Heron who sidestepped his marker and buriedthe ball low in the net.
Gavin Kelly then hit a point with a lovely strike before Mickey McBride burst through and fisted over. Just to top that, Dermot McBride burst his lungs to turn McShane’s catch on the edge of the square into a Heron point. At 1-8 to 0-2, the ‘Screen men were cheered down the tunnel.
And, when Benny Heron caressed an audacious outside of the boot shot over from the left wing right after the restart, Boyle’s men had their foot on the gas. They kept possession when they had to and nothing wasted. Heron looked to be shooting but pulled back and made room for himself before hitting a shot that deceived Farren and rifled beneath the bar.
When Kevin Johnston saw his penalty stopped by JP McConnell after the keeper had dragged Marty Mccloskey to the floor all fight went out of Dungiven and they fell flat. Mark Craig did try to lift his team with two scores but when Eunan Murray beat Farren for the goal of the game, cutting in from the left and hammering to the near bottom corner, Dungiven were humbled and ‘Screen had announced themselves to the county as genuine contenders.
Ballinascreen: JP McConnell; Phillip McGlade, Michael McShane, Dermot Scullion; Ronan Devlin, Dermot McBride, Kieran Conway (0-2); Mickey McBride, Phillip Bradley (0-3, 1f); Paul Woods, Benny Heron (2-2), Carlus McWilliams; Seamus Bradley, Gavin Kelly (0-1), Eamon Murray (1-0). Subs - John Scullion for G Kelly 47 mins; Gary Conway for M McShane 53 mins; Paul Burns for P Bradley 55 mins; Emmett McKillion for E Murray 57 mins; Johnny McKee for P Woods 57 mins
Dungiven: Kevin Farren; Martin McCloskey, Mark Craig (0-2), Gavin McLaughlin; Liam Hinphey, Paddy Kelly, James McNicholl; Kevin Johnston, Sean O’Kane; Kevin Hinphey, Darrell O’Kane (0-2, 2f), Kevin Boyle; Ryan McElhinney (0-1), Donal McGilligan (0-2), Fergal McGuigan. Subs - Eoghan Quigg for Kevin Hinphey 38 mins; Davie McLaughlin for M McCloskey 38 mins; Cathal Grieve for R McElhinney 41mins; Stephen McGuigan for L Hinphey 45 mins; Padraig McCloskey for S O’Kane 51 mins
Barry Cassidy, Bellaghy