Mullahoran through to Ulster final after marathon against Banagher

Story by Paul Fitzpatrick

Saturday, 17th November, 2018 7:31pm

Mullahoran through to Ulster final after marathon against Banagher

The captains before the throw-in.

Banagher 0-19
Mullahoran 1-16

Paul Fitzpatrick
at the Athletic Grounds

Mullahoran went through to the Ulster Club IFC final this evening after a two and a half hour epic against Derry's Banagher.
The sides were level after normal time, extra time and 'extra' extra time and the match went down to a free-taking competition.
In the end, Cormac O'Reilly had the kick to win it and he managed it to seal the Dreadnought's passage to the provincial decider.
Banagher were the better side early on but Mullahoran hung in there thanks to a goal from Philip Brady and carried a one-point lead in with them at the interval.
By the midway point in the second half, that had been extended to four but the Derry champions reeled off four in a row and eventually forced a brilliant equaliser from Tiernan Moore in a thrilling, frenetic final 10 minutes.
Mulahoran had a goal chance within 20 seconds but Paul Brady was thwarted, with Enda O'Reilly converting the resulting free.
Banagher then kicked three excellent points in a row from Brian Og McGilligan, Mark Lynch and Moore before the Dreadnoughts struck for a superb goal, Killian Brady and Cormac O'Reily combining to release Philip Brady for a close-range left-footed finish.
Banagher pinned the Cavan side back and profited with two quick points but Mullahoran found their stride and kicked two quality scores from PP Galligan and the excellent Enda O'Reilly.
They would add a free from Cormac O'Reilly to go in 1-4 to 0-6 ahead at the break and with Banagher having lost Ciaran Lynch to a red card (yellow followed by a black), things looked promising for Seanie Smith's men.
Derry county star Mark Lynch levelled matters on the restart with a free but Mullahoran could have struck for a crucial second goal in the 38th minute, Philip Brady denied by an incredible save from impressive Banagher goalkeeper Darrell McDermott.
However, 18-year-old Cormac O'Reilly did nail the resulting 45 and Mullahoran kicked on with two more points in quick succession from Enda O'Reilly and, after a terrific turnover from Paul Brady, another from youngster Gavin Brady.
And when Philip Brady curled in a beauty with the left foot, the Dreadnoughts were 1-8 to 0-7 ahead with 14 minutes of normal time remaining.
Banagher, though, dug deep and would register four in succession from the lively Tiernan Moore, Mark Lynch (now at full-forward), Peter Hagan and Conor Feeney.
Mullahoran, who were guilty of sitting back a little too much during this bright Banagher spell, began to go for it again and had several good chances in the closing stages but couldn't convert.
Enda O'Reilly slotted over the lead point in the 58th minute after Philip Brady broke the ball down to Cormac O'Reilly but the leveller fell to that man Tiernan Moore, who conjured a magical point from the right wing to force extra time.
And in the first period of that, Mullahoran began to look leggy. While they took the lead through Enda O'Reilly, Enda Muldoon's troops landed a hat-trick of scores from Tiernan Moore, Peter Hagan and Gavin O'Neill to move 0-15 to 1-10 ahead before sub Shane Sheils pulled back a crucial left-footed point to leave one in it at half-time in extra time.
The second half saw Banagher push for a goal, with Sean Briody saving acrobatically from Feeney, diverting his shot on to the crossbar.
Philip Brady, back on the field, kicked a great point to level it with five minutes left but Mark Lynch, from 45 metres, and then a fisted Shane Farren point made it 0-17 to 1-12 with three minutes to go and that seemed to be that.
But Mullahoran's famed battling spirit came to the fore again as Paul Brady won a free which Enda O'Reily converted. Paul then fielded and looked ste to hit the net but was denied by a spectacular block. All seemed lost but, with the clock showing 10:58, Philip Brady somehow held his nerve to squeeze in a left-footed point from a tight angle to force extra extra time.
In the opening passage, Tiernan Moore looked sure to bag a goal but Sean Briody again saved brilliantly as the frantic nature of proceedings continued. Mullahoran then capitalised on the space as the game became understandably ragged and kicked two fine scores from Sheils and Philip Brady to lead by two but Banagher again came back with Shane Farren forcing a shoot-out.
And once there, Mullahoran made no mistake - Enda O'Reilly, Fionan O'Reilly, Gavin Brady, Philip Brady and Cormac O'Reilly all scored, with Banagher missing one. And that - eventually! - was that.

See this week's print issue for more.



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