Belnaleck 0-12 Enniskillen 1-07

Two Darragh McGurn frees deep into injury time sent Belnaleck through to the Intermediate Championship final following a tight and intriguing encounter against Enniskillen in Kinawley on Sunday evening.

An Eoin Beacom free for Enniskillen as the clock ticked into the 60th minute had levelled things up but McGurn held his nerve to land two frees as Belnaleck progressed through to a first Intermediate final since 1974.

And, in the end it was a deserved victory for the Art McMurroughs. They had played with the advantage of the breeze in the first half but failed to make that tell on the scoreboard as the sides went in level at the interval.

Indeed, they looked to be in real trouble when Richard O’Callaghan volleyed to the net early in the second half to put the Gaels into a three point led, 1-06 to 0-06.

However, over the remainder of the contest Belnaleck’s defence were on top as they continually turned over possession while they also dominated the exchanges in the middle of the park with Dwayne McNulty a key figure in that area.

And McGurn showed nerves of steel as he landed his side’s last four points from frees to seal their place in the decider.

Belnaleck manager Colm Bradley had expected a tight game from the outset.

“It was a savagely tough game and we knew it was going to be. We have played Enniskillen three times this year and the aggregate score is all square, so it shows how closely matched both teams are. I thought the young players on view for both teams were excellent and shows the sort of talent that there is in the county,” he stated.

For last year’s Junior champions to make the Intermediate final shows they are clearly moving in the right direction but Bradley is acutely aware that they could still finish the season empty handed if they are to lose the final and also their Division Two semi-final against Teemore.

“Obviously we are very pleased to reach a final. It is a sign of progress but we can’t get carried away with things either. It is one game and the reality is that our season could still end with us having nothing to show for it. We must push on now and make sure we have no regrets,” he added.

Belnaleck played with the breeze at their backs in the first half but it was Enniskillen who opened the scoring as Conall Quinn slotted over.

McGurn opened his account for the day with a free but the Gaels got their noses back in front as Conor Watson clipped over following good work by Brandon Horan.

The Art McMurroughs though enjoyed the better of things over the next period with Ciaran McBrien levelling things up before Peter Monaghan scored a terrific individual point to put them ahead for the first time.

When Sean Lewsley then fired over it put Belnaleck into a 0-04 to 0-02 lead by the 10th minute although Eoin Beacom answered with a free for the Gaels.

Enniskillen were guilty on a number of occasions of running the ball into traffic in front of the Belnaleck goal and losing possession with the physicality of the Che Cullen, Lee Cullen and Kane Connor proving hard to break through as .

However, they did have a couple of goal chances but both Johnny Cassidy and Michael Dooris fired wide.

Bryan Owens did restore Belnaleck’s two point lead but Enniskillen finished the half the stronger and Beacom knocked over two frees to tie things up before Owens and Paddy Reihill traded points to leave it level at the break.

The breeze died down in the second half but Enniskillen got off to the perfect start when O’Callaghan volloyed home after a suring run by Cassidy. This though was to be Enniskillen’s only score in the opening half an hour of the second half as Belnaleck fought back.

Che Cullen and Conor McCauley pointed to bring them back to winthin a point before McGurn drilled over a 45 to tie up the contest after Gaels goalkeeper Chris Breen had saved from Monaghan.

Another McGurn free with four minutes to go put Belnaleck ahead but Beacom replied from a free to leave it 1-07 to 0-10.

Belnaleck though were not to be denied and McGurn slotted over a free from the right to put them one up and he made sure of the result with another free to lave it 0-12 to 1-07 at the final whistle.