Belnaleck 1-09 Derrygonnelly 1-12

Derrygonnelly Harps made it two wins on the bounce in SFC Group A with a hard fought three point victory away to Belnaleck on Sunday.

With the advantage of the breeze in the first half, Derrygonnelly went in at the break with a six point lead but Belnaleck rallied and a converted Garvan Quigley penalty had the gap back to a single point with ten minutes to play.

However, the Harps used all their experience and know how to turn the game back in their favour in the closing stages as they hit three points in a row to eventually run out 1-12 to 1-09 winners.

That ability to see out the game after coming under pressure delighted Harps joint manager Mick Glynn.

“The game was there to win for either team with 10 minutes to go following the Belnaleck goal and I was pleased that our players regained control and saw the game out,” he said.

Next up for Derrygonnelly is a meeting with Erne Gaels on Saturday evening in Garrison. Both sides have already secured their place in the knockout phase of the competition but this will decide whether that is at the quarter final or semi-final stage. Glynn though feels that their will be an element of neither side wanting to show their full hand on Saturday.

“As Erne Gaels and ourselves have already qualified for the knockout stages of the championship Saturday’s game will have an element of shadow boxing about it,” he added.

The defeat leaves Belnaleck with one point from their two games and manager Colm Bradley feels that they have to take the lessons from this game moving into a crucial game against Teemore this Saturday in Derrylin.

“We got a tough lesson from Derrygonnelly,” said Bradley. “There was 15 minutes in the first half where we didn’t do what we were supposed to and they punished us. We left ourselves with too much to do and although we did a lot well too, we have to learn from these games. And that starts this week.

“Teemore will be delighted with a winner takes all game this weekend and we have to be ready for the battle that is coming. There is no point in feeling sorry for ourselves at this stage, we have to stand up and be counted now,” he said.

Belnaleck did start the game well with Darragh McGurn opening the scoring after carrying the ball from deep inside his own half before slotting over and this was followed by a neat point by Conor McAuley to make it 0-02 to 0-00.

However, Derrygonnelly, with the breeze at their backs, stormed right back into it with the only goal of the game. Shane McGullion slipped the ball to Ryan Jones and he powered straight through the centre of the Art McMurroughs defence before planting a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Garvan Jones and Bryan Owens then traded points, Jones lofting over after good work by Leigh Jones while Owens clipped over a free after Ciaran McBrien was fouled.

Derrygonnelly though started to take control of the game after this as they rattled off six points in a row in move seven clear.

Leigh Jones was influential for Derrygonnelly and he was fouled for a free which Connor McGovern popped over before Ryan Jones landed a fine effort from distance to make it 1-03 to 0-03 by the midway stage of the half.

Leigh Jones then teed up Conal Jones and although his shot came back off the crossbar a free was awarded for foul in the build up which McGovern converted.

Young attacker McGovern then knocked over a good point from play and slotted over another free - again after Leigh Jones was fouled - while Garvan Jones popped over a lovely point from the right to make it 1-07 to 0-03.

Belnaleck had the last say of the half as Caolan Owens tapped over after a great pass from McBrien but at the interval the visitors led 1-07 to 0-04.

As they did in the first half, Belnaleck knocked over the opening two scores of the second through a Bryan Owens free and a fine effort from play by Conor McAuley but Derrygonnelly replied through a Stephen McGullion point to leave five in it.

Two excellent points from McGurn though reduced the deficit to three points as the contest entered the final quarter.

A Conal Jones point from a free put Derrygonnelly four ahead once more but then came the Belnaleck penalty. McGurn was pulled back as he contested a high ball and referee Barry Monaghan awarded the spot kick which was finished with aplomb by Garvan Quigley to leave it 1-09 to 1-08 with ten minutes left on the clock.

The Harps though remained composed and they went on to control things over the latter stages of the game. Garvan Jones slotted over a good free into the breeze and he repeated the dose soon after to put the away side three up.

Aidy McKenna then took a nice score after a patient build up to put four in it and although McGurn rattled over a late free for Belnaleck, it wasn’t enough as Derrygonnelly finished up 1-12 to 1-09 winners.