Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh enjoyed one of the finest days in their recent history when they edged a very close and exciting Senior Hurling county final to defeat their great rival Carrickmore Eire Og by the narrowest of margins.
In one of the best games of championship hurling played in the county for years the young Eoghain Ruadh side struck the winning score four minutes into injury time to seal the win. It was fitting that the winning score came from the stick of Damian Casey who accounted for seven of his side’s fourteen points and was outstanding throughout the tie.
The match opened brightly with both sides trading scores and by the ninth minute Eoghain Ruadh had opened up a two point( 0-04 to 0-02) lead following scores from Casey (0-2), Kiefer Morgan and Mark Winters. Carrickmore however rose to the challenge and with Paul Hughes in fine form and Aidan Kelly showing great accuracy from placed balls they edged 0-5 to 0-4 ahead with twenty minutes on the clock.
Both defences were very much on top with Leigh Moore in particular outstanding for Eire Og. Indeed Eoghain Ruadh switched three different players onto him in an attempt to curb his influence but the defender continued to be the dominant player on the pitch.
Two frees from Casey put Dungannon back in front and with half time approaching it looked as if the challengers would go into the break on top.
However, Eire Og centre forward Gary Fox struck a fabulous shot to the net deep in injury time enabling his side to reach half time 1-5 to 0-6 ahead.
The second half continued in much the same light as the first with little between the sides throughout but it was Eoghain Ruadh who were beginning to boss the play.
With Stephen Donnelly, Paul Lavery and Ryan Winters leading from the front the Dungannon forwards were beginning to enjoy a good supply of possession. Tiernan and Kiefer Morgan and Casey struck over fine points to put their team three ahead fifteen minutes in the second half played.
Eire Og were struggling to get scores and made several changes as they sensed their title was slipping away. Sean Og Grogan and Martin Grogan hit points to narrow the gap to one but Cathal McErlean responded in kind for Dungannon.
The pace and the quality of the hurling increased as both sides went for the win. Further points from Paul Hughes and Conor Grogan drew the sides level with thirty minutes gone and a draw looked inevitable. However Kiefer Morgan thought he had won it for Eoghain Ruadh when he managed to find the net following a deft flick and finish which sent the Dungannon supporters wild.
Eire Og refused to give up the ghost and deep in injury time levelled the game following a goalmouth scramble which saw Ryan Mc Kernan force the ball over the line. Just when it seemed the game would end in a draw there was one final twist. Eoghain Ruadh launched a last attack and Casey popped up with the winning score to end Eire Ogs hopes for three in a row, the Benburb Cup back in Dungannon.
Dungannon: John Devlin, Conor McNally, Ruairi Devlin, Ryan Winters, Padraig McHugh, Stephen Donnelly, Paul Lavery, Martin Devlin, Mark Winters, Tiernan Morgan, Damien Casey, Barry Winters, Kiefer Morgan, Brian McGilloway, Michael Maneely. Sub - Cathal McErlean for Mark Mc Elroy
Scorers – Damian Casey 0-7, Kiefer Morgan 1-3, Mark Winters 0-1, Tiernan Morgan 0-1, Barry Winters 0-1, Cathal McErlane 0-1
Carrickmore: Conor McElhatton, Damian Maguire, Brendan Begley, Liam Armstrong, Sean Pol Begley, Martin Grogan, Ciaran Hughes, John Kerr, Aidan Kelly, Dermot Begley, Gary Fox, Bryan McGurk, Leigh Moore, Paul Hughes, Sean Og Grogan. Subs - Tony Hughes, Ryan Mc Kernan, Conor Grogan
Scorers – Aidan Kelly 0-5, Gary Fox 1-0, Ryan McKernan 1-0, Paul Hughes 0-2, Martin Grogan 0-1, Sean Og Grogan 0-1, Conor Grogan 0-1
Mickey McCarron, Fintona