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Did Eskra Leave it Behind? Maybe Not!
Low scoring club championship games in Tyrone have become somewhat the norm now. Many people before this afternoon’s Power NI Intermediate Championship final predicted a close enough game between Cookstown and Eskra despite the fact that the Fr Rock’s men were the warm favourites going into the game. This was a real war of attrition. The match ups in the games really cancelled each other out. Niall McGinn kept James McGahan quiet throughout the hour while Ryan Pickering did a decent job on Peter Hughes.
Cookstown managed to carve out a three point lead by the short whistle with James McGahan kicking their only point from play. He also converted a free while the other two scores came from Owen Mulligan placed balls. Eskra looked very unsure of themselves throughout the first half and they struggled to overcome a very comfortable looking Cookstown defence. The Emmetts did squander a half decent goal chance as Shane Hackett fired over the bar following a mistake from Cookstown full back Stephen Monaghan.
After the break Eskra were very much the team on top. However their wastefulness in front of the posts cost them dearly. Over the course of the sixty minutes they shot 16 wides to Cookstown’s 7. It was only in the last fifteen minutes that Eskra really got their shooting boots on. Paul Meegan and Ryan Gartland fired over points from play while Peter Hughes converted a free and Cormac Arkinson got the equalising score following an Owen Mulligan point from a free. In the closing minutes Eskra had several chances to win the game but some good defending from Cookstown and a huge slice of good luck saved them after Niall Marlow looked like he had been fouled twenty metres from goal.
Is it a case of Eskra being so close to causing an upset and leaving it behind or, having kicked sixteen wides, with a bit more accuracy the next day winning the replay with a bit to spare? Eskra and Cookstown have more questions to answer. Friday night next should go some way to answering those.