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Moy men earn Ulster glory at the first attempt.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Moy men earn Ulster glory at the first attempt. thumbnailMOY are the new Ulster champions, and they’re not finished yet.

A narrow victory over Rostrevor in the final at the Athletic Grounds landed a second major trophy of the season, and now they go on to represent Tyrone in the All-Ireland Club Intermediate Football Championship series.

Moy...0-9
Rostrevor...0-8

They had just a point to spare in the end, but the margin was irrelevant once the final whistle sparked scenes of joy at the Armagh venue.

Four Sean Cavanagh points and two each from Harry Loughran and Eunan Deeney helped Moy shade a tight and tense decider, after they made it through the final nerve-shredding moments against their 13-man opponent.

Moy's joint manager Audi Kelly was not surprised that Rostrevor made life difficult for his in-form attackers by giving them extra man-marking attention.

"We knew that was going to happen. It's a final. They had done a lot of work on us, we had done a lot of work on them," he said.

"That early part of the game, we looked a wee bit nervous. It took us a while to get settled into the game, but we had ten minute spell at the end of the first half that brought us right back into the game and gave us the platform to go on and do the business in that second half."


And he admitted he had some anxious moments in the closing stages when his players defended a one point lead by attempting to hold possession deep in their own half.

"Nathan Brady (goalkeeper) seemed to be on the ball a lot, but fair dues to them, when the pressure was coming on, they kept the ball really well, and we got over the line, which is the main thing.

And he hailed the performance of his defence, in which Niall Conlon was a colossus.

"Niall, Tommy McNicholl, Paddy Mackle, the boys in the full back line were superb, because they had two absolutely brilliant players that were inside, and they kept them really quiet, so all credit to them." Now Moy go through to contest an All-Ireland semi-final in January, but preparations for that can wait.

"That's for another day, we'll enjoy this for the next couple of days." Kelly feels the club's resurgence this season has helped unite the community.

"There's probably people out on that pitch today that haven't seen Moy playing in long and many's a year, but what this journey has done, it has pulled everybody together.

"It has brought guys that played ten of fifteen years ago, it's brought them back into the club, and it's a wonderful sight to see that out on the pitch today."


Loughran was tightly marked by Jonathan Connolly, and although he got away from his man to shoot a delightful opening score in the second minute, he struggled to get the sort of space in which he has prospered throughout the season.

And after soaking up a spell of pressure, the Mourne men countered for Piaras Kane to take Christopher Magee's pass and slot over the equaliser.

Caolan Mooney nudged them in front from a free, and they went three clear when midfielder Conor Magee was on the end of another breakaway move after they turned over possession.

Loughran won the free that Sean Cavanagh converted to narrow the gap in the tenth minute, but the Down champions were soon back on the attack, profiting from the long range place-kicking of their goalkeeper.

Jonathan Parr stepped up to send two 45 metre frees sailing between the posts, and at the end of the opening quarter, Rostrevor led by 0-5 to 0-2.

Niall Conlon displayed courage and strength at the heart of the Moy defence, coming back stronger after two big hits that earned bookings for both of his assailants, but the Tyrone champions were still susceptible to those pacey Rostrevor breaks.

Thomas Conlon pushed forward to send Loughran in for a crack at goal, but before he could get his shot away, he was denied by a brilliant challenge from Damien Magee.

And at the other end, Conlon put in a huge tackle to sop Kane in his tracks.

The balance was beginning to swing in Moy's favour, and having gone 17 minutes without a score, they kicked the last three points of the half to go level.

Cavanagh converted a couple of frees, and skipper Eunan Deeney inspired the troops with a well taken score, as the sides went in at the break level on 0-5 each.

There were some bad-tempered exchanges as the players left the field, and they clashed again prior to the start of the second half, but referee Niall McKenna soon restored order.

Moy continued where they had left off at the end of the opening half, and they made it six points on the spin with three more, including another Cavanagh free.

A classic breakaway move showcased the speed of Loughran, as he linked with Ryan Coleman to sprint in for a point, and Colm Cavanagh's trojan work paved the way for Deeney's second as they went ahead by 0-8 to 0-5 by the 39th minute.

Conor Magee's second booking saw Rostrevor reduced to 14 men on 50 minutes, and they dispensed with Christopher Magee's role as sweeper to go in search of the vital scores.

They narrowed the gap with the point of the game from Mooney, but suffered a further blow with a second dismissal, James Rice also receiving a second yellow card.

Nevertheless, Mooney continued to threaten, and when he landed a 58th minute free, just a point separated the sides.

With a two-man advantage, Moy opted to run down the clock, taking risks with their possession game, and almost losing the ball in critical areas, but they managed to hold out to claim the provincial prize.

Meanwhile, Rostrevor manager Shane Mulholland reflected on missed opportunities as his day ended in despair and disappointment.

"We'll rue the last 17 minutes of the first half, for we were 5-2 up, and we missed two chances to make it 7-2," he said.

"We knew against the Moy we would need to take all our chances today. So back at 0-5 each at half-time, we were disappointed.

"We lost or discipline with two fairly rash tackles, and we had been talking about keeping our discipline in the lead-up to this game.

"With 13 men, at that point we just had to dispense with the sweeper and push up. We were going to lose the game nobly or we could win the game.

"In the second half too, we were lacking that wee bit of composure. We've got to learn from those things, and I think they will." And he always felt that it would be difficult to sustain the level of intensity his players brought to the contest in the opening 20 minutes.

"It is difficult, but we knew we had a decent bench too, so we emptied the tank in the middle eight, and got legs on. But the game plan was to be three up going into the last fifteen minutes, not three behind, because we could have soaked it up and hit them on the counter.

"That's what we had hoped to do, but to give credit to the Moy, they dug in and they showed their mettle as well.

"We had talked about no regrets, but I think we're going to have one or two, and that's the worst thing."


Teams and scorers:

Moy - Nathan Brady; Patrick Mackle, Tomas McNicholl, Thomas Conlon; Mark Gribbin, Niall Conlon, Eunan Deeney (0-2); Colm Cavanagh, Tom Loughran; Declan Conroy (0-1), Harry Loughran (0-2), Adam Currie; Ryan Coleman, Sean Cavanagh (0-4), Conall Duffy.

Subs - Emmet Rafferty for Currie, Diarmuid McKeown for Duffy, Patrick Lavery for Conroy, Karol McQuade for Deeney, Aaron Donaghy for T Conlon.

Rostrevor - Jonathan Parr (0-2); James Rice, Darren McElhinney, Jarlath Connolly; James Donaghy, Niall Farrell, Jonathan Connolly; Caolan Mooney (0-4), Conor Magee (0-1); Brian Keenan, Shaun Parr, Damian Magee; Conor Doyle, Piaras Kane (0-1), Christopher Magee.

Subs - Joe Morgan for Doyle, Jordan Fegan for N Farrell, Conor Fegan for Keenan, Aidan Clarke for C Magee.

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