Moneymore ease past Claudy in Intermediate Championship
M&L Intermediate Football Championship
MONEYMORE were comfortable winners over Claudy in this first round Intermediate championship clash at Lissan on Sunday.
It was their first win over the North Derry side in the last five meetings and on the way were impressive enough to suggest that they will have a big say in the final destination of the championship cup.
It was their fifth win in five outings this year and some of their long serving crew show little signs of slowing down.
Key to that is the form of Paudie O'Neill. A quick look at the scorers shows 1-04 beside his name, but his performance was about so much more than that.
During a first half in which Moneymore played with the gale force breeze that blew almost across the field and made it desperately cold, he came out alongside Mark O'Neill, Christy Young and Richard Scullion and acted almost as a fourth midfielder. And he caught everything.
With the suspended Marty Donaghy watching over the wire, there was a huge chunk out of their young forward line.
However, Kerrigan's replacement Paul White had as big an impact on the second half as anyone in blue, while Darrell Devine tried his best to carry the can.
Moneymore kept possession. They kicked very few balls away in the second half. Johnny Taylor and Adie Gavin got forward in support of the attack and they kept the ball moving around the yellow jerseys until they worked themselves into a position to take a score.
They dropped just two efforts into Claudy 'keeper Aidan McLaughlin's hands in the second period, the second of which saw Stephen O'Neill put him and all in the net, although it was rightly disallowed by Martin McErlane.
But at half time, it did look as though their return of eight scores from 17 good chances would come back to haunt them. They were aided by having two very good free takers, with Paudie (right footed) and Stephen O'Neill (lefty) accounting for five of their eight first half points.
Claudy had a good spell midway through the half that brought them their goal, and they would have been confident going in four behind at the break,
They never got started in the second half. Gavin Carlin and Owen McGahon, who was eventually replaced, found it tough going against Moneymore's big midfield diamond, while they also lost Paul McLaughlin to another injury with 18 minutes to go.
Claudy were kept at arm's length for the first 20 minutes of the half and finished off in the final ten. Despite two excellent scores from Paul White, Moneymore still led by two after 53 minutes.
And then Paudie O'Neill got the goal his, and Moneymore's, performance deserved. He had the pace and strength to throw off the challengers and instead of sticking with his initial thought of fisting it over the bar, he cut inside and lashed it low beyond Aidan McLaughlin.
The two point gap became five and the contest died. Claudy tried to speed it up but Moneymore slowed it down.
Four league wins on the bounce and now a good championship result against a decent, if inexperienced, Claudy side has the big guns looking over their shoulder and just wondering how tough an opposition Moneymore really are.
But as McGuckin admits, their league position doesn't paint a true picture of their start to the season. Two of their four wins came at the expense of the two promoted teams, and they've yet to meet any of the big guns.
Moneymore: Stephen Barker; Kevin Vallely, Ryan Barker, Gareth O'Neill; Johnny Taylor, Paul Scullion, Adie Gavin; Richard Scullion (0-01), Mark O'Neill (0-02); Barry O'Neill (0-01), Gerard Diamond, Christy Young; Stephen O'Neill (0-04, 0-03f), Paudie O'Neill (1-04, 0-03f), Niall Hegarty
Subs: Stephen McKeever for B O'Neill (46), Barry Doherty for N Hegarty (51), Paul McIvor for G Diamond (61)
Claudy: Aidan McLaughlin; Ciarn Hargan, Martin Burke, John Enda Burke; Barry Murphy, Gavin McLaughlin, Gareth McCloskey; Gavin Carlin, Owen McGahon; Niall McGonigle, Peter Murphy, Paul McLaughlin (0-01); Darrell Devine (0-03, 0-02f), Aaron Kerrigan, Shea Kerrigan (1-00)
Subs: Paul White (0-02) for A Kerrigan (22), Cahir Clyde for N McGonigle (35), Brian Burke for O McGahon (39), Christy Wood for P McLaughlin (42), Connor Johnson for P Murphy (56)