Keady (Armagh) 2-10 Aghadrumsee 1-15

Aghadrumsee secured their place in the semi-final of the Ulster Club Junior Football Championship where they will meet Limavady with a deserved two point victory over Armagh champions Keady in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies came into the game as underdogs but a strong first half display with the breeze at their backs laid the foundations for the victory.

Despite conceding two goals in the first period, the St Macartans went in at the break with a five point advantage, 1-11 to 2-03.

Keady did hit back in the second half and with the game in the closing moments they had cut the gap back to a single point.

However, Eddie Courtney rattled over a free in added on time to leave the Fermanagh outfit two point winners at the final whistle.

Aghadrumsee manager Colum Monahan was delighted with his side’s performance on the day.

“I think we were the better side over the hour and deserved to win. You work on things all year on the training ground and when you see them coming off in a match situation at this time of the year it is very pleasing. I thought some of our play was excellent, especially in the first half and in the second half the boys dug deep to get the result,” he said.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the performance from Monahan’s point of view was the reaction to Keady’s two goals.

“When they got their first goal we went straight down and got a goal ourselves but we were disappointed to concede a second then. I think there would have been a time when maybe Aghadrumsee would have let the heads drop after that happened but to the boys credit they kicked on again and that was very pleasing,” he added.

Limavady now await for Aghadrumsee in the semi-final and Monahan says that it is going to take another big display if they are going to make it into the final.

“I had watched Keady in their final and I knew that we were going to have to be at our best to beat them and we are going to have to perform at the same level again if we are to make it to the final,” he commented.

The game was tit for tat in the early stages with Conor Corvan opening the scoring for Keady before Dale Crudden responded for Aghadrumsee.

Ryan Donnelly nudged Keady back ahead before Eddie Courtney, who finished the game with 0-06, landed his first point of the day to leave it 0-02 apiece.

From this though Aghadrumsee pushed on and Darren Kearns and Dale Crudden made it 0-04 to 0-02 before Stephen Flynn registered a point from play and one from a free to put his side four points in front by the 12th minute.

There then was a flurry of goals as Donnelly netted for Keady to cut the Aghadrumsee lead to a point only for the St. Macaratan’s side to go down the other end and Crudden hit the net.

However, Keady quickly responded and when Sean McCabe goaled for them it made it 1-06 to 2-02.

Aghadrumsee though put this setback behind them and two fine Courtney points followed a Flynn point from play to push the Fermanagh side into a four point lead.

Donnelly did knock over another free for Keady but Aghadrumsee finished the half on top and Courtney converted a free before captain Eugene Kearns got forward to add on a point as the Magpies went in with a 1-11 to 2-03 lead at the break.

Keady had the breeze in their favour in the second half and Odhran Fullerton clipped over the opening point of the period although Aghadrumsee replied with Darren Kearns sending over a point before Flynn fisted over to make it 1-13 to 2-04 by the 36th minute.

However, this was followed by a good spell by the Armagh side as they hit the next four points to close to within two.

Martin Cunningham, Nathan Greene, Ryan Donnelly and Martin Toner all tagged on points to make it 1-13 to 2-08.

Aghadrumsee though were able to find a response when they needed it and Courtney hit his side’s first point in 19 minutes to put them three up with five minutes left on the clock.

Back again came Keady and Fullerton rattled over two points in quick succession to leave the minimum dividing the sides.

Aghadrumsee however were not to be denied and Courtney fired over a free in added on time to seal a two point victory and a place in the Ulster semi-final.