LAST Friday (22nd July) Ardglass travelled to play at Ballykinlar GAC for two finals and came away with both trophies in the Ballykinlar GAC annual Connolly Cup event. In the senior section there were eight teams competing.
On the finals night, first up was the Ardglass U-14’s who had disposed of St John’s in the semi-final with Ronan Crangle scoring 5-5, in the final of the Damien McCashin Shield.
The Ardglass juniors faced a strong Loughinisland team and came away with a nine point victory with a hat trick of goals from Mark Magennis and some outstanding saves from Darren Ross in goal. Captain Caelan O’Shea steered the team to victory with as stylish display of sevens football from his full back position.
In the second game the Senior team captured the Connolly Cup for the seventh successive season, they faced a resolute Drumaness team who battled to the end and where unlucky not to win as Ardglass held on for a one point victory. Liam Mullan was deservedly the Player of the Tournament for the second time in three years for his excellent attacking style.
Ardglass 0-18 Drumaness 1-14
The Connolly Cup cracker was an excellent game of football by both teams. The match opened up with Drumaness picking up three quick points against the Connolly Cup holders by Donal Kennedy, Gary Murdock and Phil Rogan. and they looked the more determined of the sides.
For five minutes Drumaness were all over Ardglass until Player of the Match Liam Mullan unleashed a long left footer over the Drumaness posts. This woke up the slumbering seasiders and Ardglass pushed play into the Drumaness half. The Ardglass midfield at this stage started to dominate the game and were instrumental in collecting most of the Drumaness kick outs.
The keenness of the Ardglass players grew and Neil Taggart made an excellent pass to Sean Paul Halpen at ten minutes who took his first point well.
Young Chris Armstrong too was having a good game and took a point from play. He followed up again from gaining possession and running in shooting from 15 yards to put Ardglass in the lead for the first time is this see-saw match.
Drumnaness replied with three points with Liam Mullan clawing one back from a free as his side fought back. But there were signs Drumaness had different ideas and their resurgence paid off with a G Murdock free from 30 yards.
Armstrong struck again and was having a good run looking confident and could have been a contender for Player of the Match. But as Drumaness hit back defender david Pullen took down Drumaness’ Brian McIlmurray and the free was converted to a point by Willie Magoran.
But again the irrepressible Liam Mullan came back with his left foot for a point and soon after Michael Rainey made a great run through the Ardglass defence for a point. It was real end to end play.
The Ardglass passing looked sharper and better co-ordinated allowing them to cut into Drumaness and McIlmurray was penalised by a foul on Michael Magee which brought the score to Ardglass 0-6 Drumaness 0-9 at the interval.
The second period started with Michael Magee converting a long free. Then Donall Kennedy took a run at Ardglass finding his way through the defence and shot for a point over the bar. But Michael Magee in pressing forward earned another free and a point.
Mullan was finding space to play the ball well. But it was Magoran who scored next for Drumaness. Michael Magee then made a quick tackle and had possession running forward and launching over the posts.
Drumaness had tightened up their ball catching from kick outs and generally they performed better in midfield. But as the tension in the close game mounted, Ardglass defender James Telford received a red card for a high tackle on Brian McGivern.
Ardglass centre half Ciaran Dorrian then made an important interception and took the ball up field to collect another vital point for Ardglass to level the match once again.
It was Ardglass pride versus Drumaness determination and it made a very entertaining game. Donal Kennedy made a great turn and struck for a long distance point only again to be matched by Chris Armstrong. Then Sean Paul Halpen who had worked well through the whole game levelled one again. And Armstrong again scored close to goal in a bit of a mellie.
It was the left footer from Michael Magee that put Ardglass on the road to the Connolly Cup yet again.
But it was Ardglass sub Damien Milligan who received a pass from Neil Taggart to Michael Magee that nailed the Connolly Cup. He ran in well by-passing the defenders to kick the ball well between the posts for a point as the final whistle was approaching.
The last challenge by Drumaness produced a goal by Phil Rogan but it was a good effort just too late. Drumaness lost by a point and in a close fought match it will be difficult to determine where the difference in the two teams really was on the night. But somebody had to win!
Ardglass team: Mark Armstrong, David Pullen, Ritchie Fitzpatrick, Shane Taggart, Sean Paul Halpen, James Telford, Owen Curran, Michael Magee, Liam Mullan, Ryan Curran, Ciaran Dorian, Chris Armstrong, Barry Kearney, Neil Taggart, Christopher Deegans.
Drumaness Team: Gary O’Hare, Ryan Connolly, Conor Deegans, Mark Rainey, Paul Gilchrist, Conor Murdock, Brian McGivern, Michael Rainey, Brian McIlmurray, Ryan Murdock, Phil Rogan, Gary Murdock, Willie Magoran, Donal Kennedy, Patrick Rice.
The Final Results.
|Mon 11th July|
|Tues 12th July|
|Thurs 14th July|
|Fri 15th July|
|Mon 18th July|
|Tues 20th July|
|Connolly Cup Final|
|Fri 22nd July|
|Mon 19th July|
|Wed 21st July|
|Fri 22nd July|