Clarkes remain unbeaten but sail close to the wind!
Dungannon maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the season with a hard fought victory over Aghaloo at a windy O’Neill Park on Sunday.
The Clarkes had built up a commanding lead in the first period but a flurry of points and a Ruairi McGlone goal midway through the second half set up a nervy finish for the Dungannon men which was only allayed when Keifer Morgan slotted over a free in the last minute of normal time.
Patrick Quinn gave Dungannon a lead which they would never relinquish in just the first minute of the match. Matty Walsh quickly doubled the Clarkes’ advantage with a great shot from distance after he dashed onto a searching pass by Keifer Morgan in the wide open space on the left hand side. Morgan continued to be a thorn in Aghaloo’s collective side throughout the first half, dropping deep into the midfield to get his hands on the ball and giving great service to Quinn and Walsh up top.
The swirling wind was playing havoc with Chris Dynes’s kick-outs and Dungannon might have extended their lead if they had capitalised on the great possession provided by the midfield duo of Padraig McNulty and Jonathan Toal. First, Quinn hit the upright before both Walsh and Adam Mallon sent shots wide in quick succession.
The O’Neills hit back on ten minutes with a free by Gerard McCaughey, but that proved to be the climax of their first half efforts as the Clarkes opened up a eight point gap.
A shot from Aghaloo’s John O’Neill hit the bar and David Walsh was able to clear to the brilliant McNulty who worked the ball to Morgan in space. He didn’t need a second invitation to shoot and bisected the posts with a great dig.
The subsequent kick-out was claimed cleanly by Declan Treanor and he read the wind brilliantly to unleash a howitzer into the Aghaloo area. Patrick Quinn out-jumped the last defender and smashed the ball past Dynes and into the goal to make it 1-3 to 0-1 with 13 minutes on the clock.
Aghaloo worked their way back into the game but their men up front could not shake the attentions of the Dungannon defenders to get a shot away. Chris Bullock was especially good in this period making four critical interventions to snuff out any danger. To make matters worse for the O’Neills a break up field saw Treanor point though Mallon let the Aughnacloy men off the hook when he went for power with only the goalkeeper to beat and missed the target entirely. The men in green would live to rue the seven wides that they accrued in the first thirty minutes.
Nevertheless, a point by Matthew Walsh and a converted free by Mallon sent Dungannon into the break with a commanding lead.
The Clarkes’ dominance seemed to have the game in their grasp with two quickfire points in the first two minutes of the restart. First, Quinn added to his haul straight from the throw in when Toal forged his way up field before finding the point-taker with a deft pass.
McNulty went wide after fielding the kick-out but Colm Corrigan made no mistake when he fielded the next clearance by the Aghaloo netminder, punched through the half back line and punched over the bar.
McCaughey sent over another free to double his team’s score but, the O’Neills continued to shoot themselves in the foot when they got themselves in the position to score, often letting simple passes drop short or go awry and handing possession back to Dungannon, much to the chagrin of the vocal travelling support.
Indeed it was the Clarkes who hit back with another point from Quinn. The energetic Morgan got the ball out wide on the right hand side and sent his marker the wrong way as he bore down on goal. Slipping an attempted tackle he made a blind pass to pick out the tall full forward who turned on a sixpence and thumped over the bar.
It was Dungannon’s last point for 23 minutes as Aghaloo finally got to grips with the wind and rain which poured over the O’Neill Park stand. McCaughey was switched back to the full forward line and was employed as a target man, garnering plenty of opportunities as his team-mates played ball after ball into the danger area from distance.
McCaughey made it 1-9 to 0-3 on seven minutes with a brilliant take in the air, a swivel and a shot. The Aughnacloy men continued to press and with 14 minutes on the clock they got a goal which their dominance deserved; great link up play by Brian McKenna and Kevin O’Gorman opened up the Dungannon defence allowing McKenna to slip the ball to Ruairi McGlone to drive home with a powerful low shot.
Suddenly, Aghaloo were back in the game and McCaughey slotted over his fourth point of the game. Goalscorer McGlone then added a single-pointer when he got on the end of a Brian McKenna shot which rebounded off the upright.
Dungannon were struggling and could not get a hold on the ball for more than a couple of phases before they turned the ball over to the opposition.
With 50 minutes gone in the game, Darragh Begley was called upon to make a fantastic save from the pumped up McGlone. McCaughey was unable to convert the 45 and a few minutes later Mark McCormack compounded the miss by failing to knock over a point when he was under no pressure.
Nevertheless, McCaughey put his team within three points of Dungannon with another free.
The Clarkes were in disarray but Keifer Morgan was able to arrest the decline when he burst into open space and picked out McNulty with a delightful pass with his left foot and send the big midfielder in on goal. He made no mistake and, with time running out, slotted over the bar to all but win the game for Dungannon.
A strong run by Sean Molloy was only stopped with a foul and Morgan again pointed to put five points between the teams.
To their credit, Aghaloo kept going forward and a Niall Henderson point made it 1-11 to 1-7 but the last word went to Dungannon with Toal getting a point - just reward for a great midfield display in tough conditions.
Dungannon - Darragh Begley, Matthew McSwiggan, David Walsh, Chris Bullock, Peter Muldoon, Dominic Hand, Stefan McKenna, Padraig McNulty, Jonathan Toal, Colm Corrigan, Declan Treanor, Adam Mallon, Matthew Walsh, Patrick Quinn, Keifer Morgan. Subs - Sean Molloy for McSwiggan, Stephen Kelly for Mallon, Chris McKenna for Matthew Walsh, Shane Corrigan for Colm Corrigan.
Scorers - Patrick Quinn 1-3, Matthew Walsh 0-2, Keifer Morgan 0-2, Adam Mallon 0-1, Declan Treanor 0-1, Colm Corrigan 0-1, Padraig McNulty 0-1, Jonathan Toal 0-1
Aghaloo - Chris Dynes, Brendan Halligan, Martin McCarron, Mark McCormack, Shea Loughran, Gerard Daly, Ruairi McGlone, John O’Neill, Damian McCaughey, Niall Henderson, Brian McKenna, Kevin McGee, Neil Morrison, Gerard McCaughey, Kevin O’Gorman. Subs - Stephen Donnelly for McGee
Scorers - Gerard McCaughey 0-5, Ruairi McGlone 1-1, Niall Henderson 0-1
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Weather for Dungannon
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west