GAA: Greencastle hang on for first senior championship win

Greencastle's John McCullagh is pursued by the Eglish defence.
Greencastle's John McCullagh is pursued by the Eglish defence.

Greencastle 2-9 Eglish 1-11-

Eglish will rue a raft of missed chances as Greencastle secured their first ever senior football championship win with a single point to spare at Galbally.

Eglish hit twelve wides, two in injury time as they pressed the Greencastle side all the way in a pulsating last quarter which saw them outscore the winners 1-3 to 0-1. The game had a pedestrian look early on but an Eglish penalty made for an exciting climax.

Paraic Martin cues up a shot for Eglish.

Paraic Martin cues up a shot for Eglish.

There was little between the sides in the opening thirty minutes, Eglish had dominated the midfield exchanges while the stop start nature of the tie made for frustrating watching at times.

It was Greencastle who went in with a healthy lead after some fine long range point scoring from Cahir McCullagh and a goal from corner forward Mark Carson.

McCullagh and Peter McCann exchanged early points before Barry McGarvey and Chrissy Gillen opened the gap with two long range points for Greencastle.

Mc Cann turned over a difficult free against the breeze but they failed to build on that with McKenna and Matthew Jordan hitting wides.

Bustling McCann added his third point as he collected from Phillip Barker’s pass before John McCullagh left two between the sides again before two superb long range points from Cahir McCullagh opened the gap to four.

In between those scores Emmett McKenna saw his goal chance skid well wide after a good move, he should have done better while Mark Carson needed no second invitation at the other end just before the break. Cahir McCullagh and John McCullagh combined to squeeze the ball to Carson who drilled the ball to the top corner.

A rejuvenated Eglish with the wind at their back rattled over three points unanswered in the opening six minutes but a flash of brilliance from Chrissy Gillen undone that good work, McCullagh put him through and he rattled home a goal to leave six between them. Cahir McCullagh increased the lead to seven.

There was a twist though, Paul Mason latched on an Eglish point and a dubious penalty call by referee Shane Meehan was dispatched to the Greencastle net by Mark Donnelly with 15 minutes left.

Further points from Ciaran Colton, Emmett McKenna and Peter McCann for Eglish left for a tense climax, Greencastle’s response was a Shane McCullagh point with one between the teams.

In the dying minutes Eglish pressed for an equaliser but they failed to deliver as both McKillion and then McCann saw efforts curl wide.