All-Britain Junior Football quarter final
Thomas McCurtains: 2-08
Hugh O’Neills: 0-06
By Martin Mannering at Pairc na hEireann
If ever a scoreline failed to reflect the pattern of a game then this was surely it. It seems bizzarre to think that Hugh O Neills had the bulk of possession throughout the first half yet only managed to register a solitary point.
McCurtains won the tie by a comfortable margin in the end but they did so without ever getting near their best. The Yorkshire side almost got off to a dream start when Tom Duffy and Brian Lane combined to put Eoin Murray clean through on goal but he blazed his shot across goal and wide.
Instead the opening period almost became a nightmare as Niall Collery and Brian Hourihane put the Londoners two points up. Eight minutes in and Hourihane got forward again and was instrumental in creating an opening for Conor Murphy who fired past Lorcan O Hara.
O Neills reacted admirably and dominated around the middle but a combination of woeful shooting and excellent defending by McCurtains full back line kept the scoreboard blank.
The wides mounted up and when they did get close they were repelled by Paudi O Shea, Kevin Dellahunty and Richie Ellis. It took O Neills a full twenty seven minutes to register their only score of the half when Eoin Murray finally found his range.
Mc- Curtains fared no better in a forgettable first half with that eighth minute goal being their last score of the period.
The London side got a dream start to the second half when Niall Collery breached the losers defence for a first minute goal but again O Neills responded admirably as Brian Lane, Connor Reid and a Tom Duffy free brought the gap back down to four.
It was as close as it would get, Connor Murphy and Eoin Murray exchanged points before a Collery free and a Thomas Clark effort stretched the lead to six.
The Yorkshire lads continued to push forward but as before poor shooting and poor decision making in the final quarter scuppered their chances.
Murray did add one more point for his side but McCurtains consolidated and fired over three late points courtesy of two Collery frees and a fine effort from Caoimhin Joyce.
Thomas McCurtains will go into their semi final knowing that a repeat of this showing will not be good enough but also knowing that have a lot more in their locker.
THOMAS MCCURTAINS: Conor Mullernon, Paudi O’Shea, Kevin Dellahunty, Richard Ellis, Mark McGinn, Brian Hourihane (0-1), Thomas Lynagh, Stephen Quinn, Thomas Clark (0-1), James Searson, Michael O’Leary, Niall Collery (1-4), Gerry Flynn, Conor Murphy (1-1), John Winters SUBS: Tom Keane for Brian Hourihane, Darragh Moriarty for Richie Ellis, Liam Sweeney for Thomas Lynagh, Caoimhin Joyce (0-1) for Conor Murphy, Sean Murphy for Mark McGinn
HUGH O NEILLS: Lorcan O Hara, Fergal McGrenaghan, Sean Cafferkey, James Mone, Denis Durkin, Kevin Curran, Tom Clancy, Fergal Griffin, Connor Reid (0-1), Gary Kennedy, Eoin Murray (0-3), Peter Manton, Tom Duffy (0-1), Brian Lane (0-1), Michael Donnelly SUBS: Cormac Curran for Gary Kennedy, John Keane for Tom Clancy, Alan Doherty for Michael Donnelly, Owen O Boyle for David Durkin, Chris Spence for Brian Lane, David Kelly for Tom Duffy
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