Doyle 'screamer' sends Ballinascreen through against Bellaghy

O'Neill's Derry Senior Football Championship

Saturday, 5th September 2020, 9:14 pm
Updated Saturday, 5th September 2020, 9:28 pm
Benny Heron hit 0-03 as Ballinascreen defeated Bellaghy in Celtic Park.

Ballinascreen 1-12, Bellaghy 0-09

Ryan Doyle's 'Goal of the Championship' contender put the seal on Ballinscreren's impressive six point victory over a Bellaghy side who never recovered from a slow start in Celtic Park.

Doyle's magnificent strike only 19 seconds into the second half established 'Screen an advantage that Bellgahy never looked capable of closing. Liam Bradley's men had sprung from the blocks to establish a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by and whilst a late Bellaghy brace reduced the half-time deficit to three points, Doyle's brilliant goal undid all their good work.

With Anton Kelly out to the middle for the second half throw-in, Screen won possession. The big full forward was moving toward his more familiar advanced role when he suddenly found himself in space and able to feed the ball through to Conor McGovern who moved it on to Doyle. The half-back still had plenty to do but strode forward before unleashing a fierce strike from 25 yards that flashed over Bellaghy keeper Peter Stuart and into the net off the underside of the crossbar for a 1-6 to 0-3 lead.

It was a moment of real quality in a game that was high on intensity but lacking quality on the ball at times in difficult conditions. Ballinascreen's counter attacking style, with Carlus McWilliams superb in the sweeper role, gave them the upper hand against a Bellaghy attack that lacked ideas and eventually ran out of steam.

The star performers were all in the 'Screen defence, Michael McShane and Ciaran Doyle water tight and with plenty of cover in front of them. 'Screen left Kelly inside on his own but with John Paul Devlin buzzing around in support and Benny Heron knitting the play together with any number of will runners joining attacks if turnovers were won.

And in those opening stages they won plenty, constantly channeling the Tones' attack into defensive numbers before springing forward with the ball.

Devlin got the game's opening score on two minutes and was an ever available outlet even if his shooting let him down at times. Shane Mulgrew added a free seven minutes later before grabbing his second shortly after with a lovely finish following another turnover inside their own half.

Christopher Downey finally got Bellaghy on the scoreboard 11 minutes in but the Tones were struggling to make any real inroads in the attacking third.

A fisted point from Niall Doyle was the safe option when 'Screen might have had a goal opportunity but further points from Heron and Ryan Doyle had them in control at 0-6 to 0-1 with 24 minutes on the clock.

Bellaghy did rally somewhat to finish the half strongly, Ruairi McElwee scoring a mark before Kealan Friel pointed a lovely score off his left foot to bring it back to three points as the sides turned around at half-time.

Any thoughts of a Bellaghy comeback were hit hard by that Doyle goal which left 'Screen in game management mode and they were comfortable for the remainder of the game, even if they needlessly invited Bellaghy on to them at times.

The Tones improved after the break, twice bringing the deficit back to two points but they could never get closer and seldom looked like getting the goal that would have brought them back into the game.

As the half wore on, McWilliams became more prominent and was the launching pad for numerous 'Screen breaks as Bellaghy's challenge petered out. Just as his first point had opened the Tones scoring, Downey's 54th minute effort rounded off their championship challenge with Bellaghy not managing a score in the final six minutes of normal or three additional.

In the end, Ballinascreen progressed with plenty to spare and if their defensive unit maintains this level of performance, not many will want to meet them.

Ballinascreen scorers: Ryan Doyle (1-1), Shane Mulgrew (0-3, 2f), Benny Heron (0-3, 2f), John Paul Devlin (0-1), Niall Doyle (0-1), Carlus McWilliams (0-1), Philip Bradley (0-1), Ruairi McWilliams (0-1)

Bellaghy scorers: Christopher Downey (0-2), Ruairi McElwee (0-4, 2f, 1m), Kealan Friel (0-1), Lorcan Spiers (0-1), Declan Cassidy (0-1)

Ballinascreen: Niall McGlade, Michael McShane, Ciaran Doyle, Ronan Devlin, Ronan Murphy, Carlus McWilliams, Ryan Doyle, Paul Burns, Niall Doyle, Noel Rafferty, Shane Mulgrew, Conor McGovern, Benny Heron, Anton Kelly, John Paul Devlin. (Subs) Philip Bradley for A Kelly, 39mins; Ruairi McWilliams for R Murphy, 45mins; Dermot McBride for C McGovern 57mins; Gary Conway for N Rafferty, 58mins; Ronan McKenna for JP Devlin, 53mins;

Bellaghy: Peter Stuart, Ronan McFaul, Gerard O'Neill, James Diamond, Conleth McShane, Ryan Lee, Declan Cassidy, Kealan Friel, Christopher Downey, Karl McCallion, Eoghan Brown, Conor Quinn, Peter Cassidy, Paul Cassidy, Ruairi McElwee. (Subs) Lorcan Spiers for K McCallion, HT; Frankie Donnelly for P Cassidy, 46mins;

Referee: Damian Harkin (Slaughtmanus)