Galbally crowned U21 champions

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Galbally crowned U21 champions thumbnailCelebration time for the Galbally U21s.

GALBALLY are the new Tyrone U21 football champions, following their victory over Loughmacrrory in an entertaining decider at Healy Park.

Galbally 2-12
Loughmacrory 1-13

The Pearses led from start to finish, but they had to dig deep to shake off a stubborn Lough side, who battled right to the end but fell just short.

Goals from Daniel Kerr and Liam Rafferty proved vital for the men in blue as they held out for a two points success.

Kerr was the creative force which gave Galbally 1-1 in the opening five minutes. First he sent Ronan Nugent in for the opening point, and a neat pass provided the space for Liam Rafferty to pick his spot in the bottom corner of the net, and the Pearses were off to the perfect start.

Loughmacrory crafted a goal chance moments later when Nathan Kelly sent Cathal Donnelly in, but Enda McAleer pulled off a brilliant save, diving low to his right to push the ball round a post.

The men from the Lough did open their account with a Cathaoir Gallagher free in the seventh minute, but it was the Pearses who looked the more accomplished in the way they contested possession and moved the ball with purpose, and they responded immediately with a superb Kerr score.

The St Teresa's were growing into the game, with Cathal Donaghy, Pauraic Meenagh and Conall Grimes emerging as key figures, and they close the gap through Gallagher and Donaghy, who converted a free.

But Galbally tightened up at the back, with Darragh Corrigan and Conor Quinn getting in some telling challenges, and they swept forward again, hitting a couple of excellent scores through Liam Rafferty and Enda McGarrity, while Conor Donaghy converted a free as they moved into a five points lead.

Back came Loughmcrory again, holding possession and working the ball patiently as they probed for openings, and they got themselves right back in the game.

After Colm Logue had slotted over a point, they scrambled home a 22nd minute goal, Gallagher getting the vital touch from close range after the Pearses defence had failed to clear.

Now just a point separated the sides, and it was closely contested right to the end of the half, with Mark Donaghy pushing Galbally into a two points lead in stoppage time, 1-7 to 1-5 ahead at the break.

Rafferty's fine fetch from Cormac Donnelly's delivery saw him fire over a point straight after the restart, and as they continued to press, Antoin Fox defended superbly to keep them out.

And the St Teresa's countered for Colm Logue to slot over two points and cut the deficit back to a single point.

Donaghy and Gallagher traded scores, and as play swung from end to end, and the Pearses had another golden goal chance when Kerr sent Rafferty in, but Oisin O'Kane rose to the challenge with an excellent save.

Galbally full back made a couple of vital interventions as Loughmacrory countered, setting his side on the counter-attach which ended with a Kerr score.

The Lough were still very much in contention, but just couldn't get themselves level, and as the game entered its final quarter, they still trailed by two.

And Galbally made their move at this crucial stage of the contest, with Kerr darting through the middle to rifle home a terrific goal for a six points advantage.

Loughmacrory still believed they could turn the game around, and out-scored their opponents by five points to one in the remainder of the contest, with Gallagher, Shane Grimes, Aodhan Donaghy and Cathal Donaghy all hitting the target, but they were unable to break through for the goal they so badly needed.

Despite losing Seamus Og Mulgew to a second booking and Darragh Corrigan to a black card, the Pearses held out to clinch the title.


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