Harps 0-11 Erne Gaels 1.7.
The Harps claimed our club’s fifth championship on Sunday, and had to show the resolve of a great team to take the result in a tough final ten minutes. The lads have now added the achievement of back to back titles to their list and yesterday showed why they are a serious team: when the going gets tough, the lads dig it out.
Derrygonnelly held the upper hand for most of the first half, with Erne Gaels, perhaps understandably, reluctant to go for it very much in an attacking sense. Ryan Jones drove through for our opener, followed by a good Wardy score from play in the fifth minute, before Seamus Ryder had Belleek’s opener, followed by Barry McCann fisting a point in the 9th minute to level. Wardy and Leigh worked an opening for the ageing veteran himself to stick over, followed by a nice Garvan Jones free from the right. Ryder had a free, Wardy had a good score from play, and Neil Gallagher had a clinker of a score from the right. He has had a fine season, under the radar. 6-3 was about right. The quality of play wasn’t great. Erne Gaels commitment to closing down space with bodies created plenty of turnovers and slowed down play. They were working very hard indeed. We were possibly a bit reliant on Leigh and Wardy to make things happen, but they were definitely up for that task.
Erne Gaels started the second half up the field, and converted two frees through Seamus Ryder and Ryan Lyons. Foss had a few bits of good ballwinning under high ones before that man Wardy saw us two clear again with his fourth score of the day, followed by a Deccy Cass point to lift the crowd. But the Belleek lads had a great spell and rattled us big time! A Ryder free, a Ryder point deflected over by a brilliant Dermott Feely save (crucial moment!), and a Ryan Lyons goal as he got on the end of a break ball around the square to put them one up entering the last ten minutes! Time to show the character: Leigh Jones from a free, Leigh Jones from play and in the 28th minute, Deccy Cass, one of our greatest warriors, cuts in from the right to bang over the winner. We were secure in possession for the last few minutes, with usual suspects Ryan and Conall working the ball well, and after three minutes of injury time the New York Gold Cup was on the way back to Harpland! A hard game, joyless enough for neutral spectators no doubt, but compelling as Erne Gaels went toe to toe with the Harps, and came up just short. They will have to look at their approach after the goal, but had a number of decent performances through Seamus Ryder and Brian Mullin for instance, yet Derrygonnelly had possibly more contributors overall, including replacements like Mo Cassidy. Leigh was awarded man of the match, and it would be hard to argue with that, for his ball carrying, scoretaking and intelligent link play marked him out all day. Wardy must have pushed him close, but it is great to see the MoM title is back in Boho where it belongs (ahem). As usual, nobody even notices how well Mickey Jones plays and he is such a leader in our team nowadays. Elsewhere, honourable mentions go to Conall Jones, for his most disciplined hardworking performance of the season and Jedi Knight Peggy Obi Five Kinobe Feely for that save!!
Right, this is our fifth go at the Ulster Club, and we've very little to live up to so far. It’s time we showed that we’re a serious club. The next step awaits. Well done lads!