Thornton Roofing O'Cahan Cup Semi Final

29 April 2012
Kickhams Creggan 0-10
Casements Portglenone 0-9

Kickhams Creggan book their place in decider
Friday 20th April 2012
Kickhams centre forward Tommy McCann fisted a high ball over Casements crossbar four minutes from time to send Creggan into the Thornton Roofing O’Cahan Cup final. Having been a point down at the halfway mark the Lough shore side took control for much of the second period to go from one down to lead by two with some good performances. Casements played with a never say die attitude, for much of the game, finished with a late rally to draw level seven minutes from time, but McCann’s flick over was enough to clinch victory in front of a sizable crowd at Slemish Park Friday past.

Both these clubs were forced to field under strength teams in this tie, Creggan having ousted Moneyglass and Ahoghill in their previous outings were without the services of vice captain Oran McCann, Conor McCann, County star Ricky Johnston and the Dougan brothers Mark and Adrian the latter unfortunately on the long term injury list. On the other hand Casements who received a bye in the first round of this competition easily disposed of Aghagallon by ten points to qualify them for this semi final birth, they were missing their influential central defender Niall Delargy.

Cuchullians Dunloy clubman Stephen O’Boyle was the man in the middle for this semi-final, he swiftly got proceedings underway on a perfect evening for football. 

Both these sides started nervously and each had gilt-edged chances to make an impression on the scoresheet right for from the off. Stephen O’Boyle had no hesitation pointing to the penalty spot after five minutes when Creggan’s Lee Martin was fouled inside the square by Casements defender John Kearney. Hugh McNulty’s effort was brilliantly saved by Portglenone keeper Brian McCann and the rebound volleyed wide, much to the delight of the Casement sub bench. It wasn’t until the sixth minute before Creggan corner forward Lee Martin started the scoring with a fine effort from a very acute angle. 

The penalty kicker redeemed himself somewhat, when he doubled his side’s lead after he won himself a free two minutes later, McNulty made no mistake from the set piece. Casements wing half forward Paddy Carey opened his sides account when Dermot McAleese was hauled down by full back Sam Maguire. Phelim McCloskey pointed to level matters a minute later when he found himself of the end of a perfect through ball from Mark McAleese.

Creggan made a lot of the running midway through the half and dominated the middle section, this paid dividends when Lee Martin pushed his side into the lead from a free after fifteen minutes. The same player dispatched another free when Fintin Burke was upended going through the Casement backline. Paddy Carey tapped over to leave the minimum between the sides when Creggan defender Dan Maguire held onto possession too long. Portglenone’s Owen Kelly split the posts after twenty three to level proceedings for the second time, but the Lough shore men responded almost immediately when Lee Martin cracked over the score of the game, an impressive forty five yard free out on the wing from the sod.

Portglenone finished the half strong when they drew level once more on the thirtieth minute through Gerard McAleese, the Bannsiders would see themselves go in at half time with a one point advantage after the experienced Owen Doherty engineered a brilliant move to raise the white flag. Half time score line Casements 0-6 Kickhams 0-5.

The second half was only a minute old when Creggan’s Martin Johnston watched his twenty five yard strike sail over Brian McCann’s crossbar to level matters for the fourth time. Lee Martin added another to push Kickhams noses in front once more but back came Casements; Owen Doherty was to fire over another point in the fourth minute with thanks to Gerard McAleese who was instrumental in this move. Creggan when added yet another candidate to their ever increasing injury list, centre back Charlie Delvin retired with a nasty shoulder injury and was replaced by Cathal Small.

A lot of possession was squandered with bad passing and poor decision making as the wide count grew, much to the frustration of both management teams. The momentum of the game swung to Kickhams when Tommy McCann gave his side the lead midway through the half and when Lee Martin took his return to six, Creggan looked to be on their way with ten minutes on the clock. However, Casements weren’t reading the same script; Gerard McAleese broke away and cleverly chipped over after twenty two minutes of the second half. The same player tapped over a simple free when younger brother Dermot was dragged to the ground. These teams looked inseparable as the fixture was all square for the sixth time and a draw looked most probable with four minutes remaining.

Kickhams maintained possession well in the closing attacks and when midfielder Aidan McKeown’s shoot dropped to the edge of the square, Tommy McCann flicked over what would be the winning score four minutes from time. The many travelling Creggan supporters rallied behind their side as both teams frantically seeked possession in the closing stages but time ran out for the Bannsiders who can take great credit for a gutsy performance. Creggan will now progress to the South West Senior Football Championship final in June to face the winners of Erins Own Cargin and St.James Aldergrove.    

Brothers Sam & Dan Maguire, Austin McAteer, Dermot McCann, Oran McLernon, Hugh McNulty Tommy McCann, Aidan McKeown and Lee Martin where the pick of Kickhams as Casements can feel proud of the efforts of Brian McCann, Mark McAleese, Owen Kelly, Declan McErlaine, Paddy Kelly, Philip McCloskey, Owen Doherty, Gerard and Dermot McAleese.  

Kickhams Creggan: Peter McCann, Declan McCann, Sam Maguire, Paddy McLernon, Austin McAteer, Charlie Devlin, Dan Maguire, Dermot McCann (Capt) and Aidan McKeown, Fintin Burke, Tommy McCann (0-2), Martin Johnston (0-1), Oran McLernon, Hugh McNulty (0-1) and Lee Martin (0-6).

Subs: Peter McCollum, Cathal Small and Tiernan McLernon

Casements Portglenone: Brian McCann, Aidan McKee, Tony Convery, John Kearney, Mark McAleese, Owen Kelly (0-1), Declan McErlaine, Paddy Kelly and Marty McCarry, Philip McCloskey (0-1), Owen Doherty (0-2), Paddy Carey (0-2), Gerard McAleese (Capt)(0-3), Damien Dillon and Dermot McAleese

Subs: Kieran McKenna

Referee: Stephen O’Boyle (Cuchullians Dunloy)

Match Report from the County Antrim Post