Clarkes set for title?
Dungannon knew it was ‘put up or shut up’ time when they travelled to Roughan on Saturday in a bid to rescue a season which promised so much until they again suffered two unexpected defeats inside a week. And the Clarkes lads delivered in style when they ended the only unbeaten club record in Ulster with a sensational win over championship finalists Brackaville, writes Kevin Kelly.
With so much at stake in Saturday’s top of the table clash, it was easy to see why both teams began tentatively. The early throw-in time allowed a huge crowd to travel to Fr O’Brien Park in anticipation of an exciting game and they certainly were not disappointed by the fare on offer.
The home side opted to play against the breeze in the first half and with fifteen minutes on the clock and Dungannon struggling for scores this looked like a good decision.
The teams were level 0-1 apiece following points from Patrick Quinn and Sean Corr, while Brackaville were enjoying most of the possession as the visitors were finding scores and chances hard to come by.
A neat passing move twenty minutes in saw Che O’Donnell release Sean Mc Nally who finished low to Darragh Begley’s right for a fine goal. Peter Muldoon responded with a point for the visitors before corner forward Joe Rafferty restored Brackaville’s three point lead.
However, the Clarkes hit a purple patch just before the break with points from Adam Mallon and Patrick Quinn and a converted penalty from dual star Keifer Morgan to send them in at the break leading 1-4 to 1-2.
An Adam Mallon point in the opening minutes of the second half gave Dungannon the start they wanted as they moved three ahead. The game was then halted for quite a while following an injury to Conor Gillis and this led to eleven minutes of additional time at the end of the second half.
The injured centre back was replaced by Ciaran Gervin and the young sub made an instant impact with a point from his first touch. He had the sides level two minutes later with his second point of the game midway through the half.
Dungannon continued to work hard but their cause was not helped by a second yellow for wing half forward Conor Mc Nulty which left his team with a mountain to climb.
However, Shay McKeown’s team dug deep and with Adam Mallon and Kiefer Morgan on fire they reached thirty three minutes one point ahead. It was then that the excitement really began. Brackaville corner forward Che O’Donnell received a harsh second yellow card to leave both teams on fourteen men each.
This was followed by a flurry of scores that saw Marty Gervin and Paddy Gervin draw their side level three times as the game reached forty minutes.
With added time reaching eleven minutes it seemed the game was destined for a draw but Dungannon pushed forward one last time.
A quick free found Dominic Hand in space fifty yards out from the Brackaville goal- and the match-winning chance was on. Kicking into the wind, Hand landed a massive point, which was a fitting end to what had been a very exciting and entertaining game. Hand was the hero and the Clarkes moved four points clear at the top of the table.
Now, with the crucial benefit of the head-to-head win which comes into play if the teams are tied on points after the programme is completed, it really is Dungannon’s title to lose!
Brackaville: Damian O’Neill, Sean Anderson, James McIlvenna, Peter O’Hagan, Tomas Corey, Conor Gillis, Darren Hughes, Rian McHugh, Martin Gervin, Sean Corr, Micky McGeary, Sean McNally, Che O’Donnell, Ciaran Gervin, Joe Rafferty. Subs: used: Paddy Gervin, Ciaran Gervin, Connor McStravock, Gary Ferguson.
Scorers: Martin Gervin 0-3, Ciaran Gervin 0-3, Sean McNally 1-0 and Paddy Gervin 0-1, Sean Corr 0-1, Joe Rafferty 0-1
Dungannon: Darragh Begley, Matthew Mc Swiggan, David Walsh, Christopher Bullock, Christopher McKenna, Peter Muldoon, Colm Corrigan, Padraig McNulty, Jonathan Toal, Adam Mallon, Declan Treanor, Conor McNulty, Keifer Morgan, Patrick Quinn, Dominic Hand. Subs used: Stephen Mc Kenna, Sean Burns,
Scorers: Adam Mallon 0-4, Keifer Morgan 1-1, Patrick Quinn 0-3, Peter Muldoon 0-1, Dominic Hand 0-1
Referee: Francie Gallagher, Trillick
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Weather for Dungannon
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South