Augher on the verge of return to senior league football

Sean Hackett scores Augher's second goal. INTT3412-712DCA
Sean Hackett scores Augher's second goal. INTT3412-712DCA

Intermediate promotion playoff

Augher 2-11 Strabane 0-10

Augher stand only sixty minutes away from a return to senior football after they emerged comfortable seven point winners over Strabane in this Intermediate league promotion play off encounter at Loughmacrory on Saturday afternoon, writes Kevin Kelly.

The crucial spell in the game arrived between the 35th and 45th minutes as the St.Macartans reeled off 1-6 without reply to end the game as a contest. Prior to that scoring burst there was only two points between the two sides and while the Sigersons landed the final four points of the contest it only served to put a slightly better look on the scoreboard at that stage.

Augher had the wind at their backs in the first half and they made a cracking start with full forward Sean Hackett reacting first to a Jamie Donnelly shot that had come back off the post to send the ball to the net inside the first minute. John Paul Gallagher then got Strabane up and running with a well struck free off the ground but a superb brace from distance from Jamie Donnelly helped to continue Augher’s good start to the contest.

Aaron McLaughlin and Dylan Arnold had Strabane points with Liam Connolly coming forward from defence to register for Augher. In the closing stages of the half Ruairi McElroy and Donnelly had points for their respective sides and it was that early goal that still separated the two sides on the turnaround, 1-5 to 0-5.

Midfielder Roarty had the opening score of the second half for Strabane but that was as good as it got for them as Augher hit that purple patch to seize control of proceedings.

Hackett began it all of with a point from play and after Donnelly had converted another two frees the former struck for his second goal of the afternoon. A mix up in the Sigersons defence in the 40th minute saw Hackett capitalise to finish soccer style to the back off the net. The superb Donnelly then hit a wonderful point with the outside of his boot before Declan Connolly and Hackett added to their lead.

Augher failed to score in the final quarter but it didn’t matter as the damage had been done by then. Strabane substitute Adam McGinley ended his side’s barren spell before full forward John McLaughlin got his name on the score sheet with two successful frees. A minute from time centre half back Gallagher concluded the scoring with a “45” but its Augher who extend their season after a fine display.

Augher – Chris Holland, Colin McKenna, Damian McKenna, Emmett Neeson, Finbar McQuaid, Paul Treanor, Liam Connolly, Aidan Cassidy, Darragh Donnelly, Francis McMeel, Jamie Donnelly, Declan Connolly, Kevin Hackett, Sean Hackett, Frank McElroy. Subs – Aidan McElroy for Kevin Hackett, Raymond McElroy for McQuaid, Patrick Treanor for Paul Treanor, Stephen McCaffery for McMeel, Rory Cassidy for Liam Connolly

Augher scorers – Sean Hackett 2-3, Jamie Donnelly 0-6, Liam Connolly 0-1, Declan Connolly 0-1

Strabane – James O’Reilly, Malcolm McCool, Ryan McElroy, Ben McGillion, Liam McGillion, John Paul Gallagher, Ryan O’Kane, Gerard McCrossan, Paddy Roarty, Aaron McLaughlin, Warner Mullan, Michael Etherson, Ruairi McElroy, John McLaughlin, Dylan Arnold. Subs – Adam McGinley for Arnold, Conor McLaughlin for McCool

Strabane scorers – John McLaughlin 0-2, Paddy Roarty 0-2, John Paul Gallagher 0-2, Aaron McLaughlin 0-1, Ruairi McElroy 0-1, Dylan Arnold 0-1, Adam McGinley 0-1

Referee – Cathal O’Hagan, Brackaville