2022 has been an exceptional year for the Galbally Pearses club. Today’s victory over favourites Edendork in a pulsating encounter in the LCC intermediate championship is surely the icing on the cake.
Both sides were intent in making their stay in the second grade as short as possible and the quality on show for the large crowd was top drawer.
Edendork decided to play with the wind but it was Galbally who opened the scoring through a Conor Donaghy free. Conn Kilpatrick played a pivotal role in the opening ten minutes of the game. Firstly in opened his side’s account, moments later he forced Ronan McGeary into a fantastic save as he blasted his shot towards goal. Despite having plenty of possession Edendork were guilty of several misplaced passes in the final sector, however Galbally will be grateful to Marc Lennon who made several important interceptions . Against the run of play Conor Donaghy kicked a fine score to nudge the victors ahead.
Edendork eventually found their range and in emphatic style. Points from Harry Og Conlon, Daire Conway, Ben Cullen, Darren McCurry and Conlon again saw them race into a 6-2 lead as the game entered it’s second quarter. Worryingly for Edendork they were not to score again in the half, despite creating chances. It was Galbally who dragged themselves back into the contest. Two Conor Donaghy frees were sandwiched between an excellent Sean Murphy point.
There was more drama deep into injury time, a misplaced pass while Galbally were deep inside Edendork territory was pounced upon, the ball was transferred to Darren McCurry who fed the in rushing James Fearon but his goal bound effort was expertly dealt with by Ronan McGeary..
Half time Edendork 0-6 Galbally 0-5.
As Cathal Forbes threw the ball in for the second half, no one could have expected the goal fest which was to follow, as both sides threw off the shackles and slugged it out like a heavyweight boxing match.
Galbally showed their intent from the restart Daniel Kerr converting a side line kick from a difficult angle. Minutes later the first goal was to arrive. Sean Murphy was fouled while shooting and the referee awarded a penalty. Conor Donaghy blasting his shot to the net. The momentum was now with Galbally a Liam Rafferty shot for a point cannoned of the upright before the large Galbally support claimed a second penalty for a foul on Kerr but play was waved on.
Niall Morgan got Edendork’s opening score of the half on 40 minutes converting a huge free from beyond the 45m line. A Darren Mccurry free was to drop short but the Galbally defence were delighted to scramble it clear.
As the half passed it’s mid point Enda McGarrity smashed a huge effort over the bar and the lead was back to three. That was all to change minutes later.
A long ball was hoisted towards the Galbally goals, Morgan deflected the ball into Harry Og Conlon’s path initially he mis controlled but regain his composure to fire past McGeary. Two minutes later it was to get even better for the St Malachys. Stephen Corr’s long ball was fielded by Niall Morgan, still with plenty to do he stepped inside his marker and rifled past McGeary. 48 minutes were on the clock and the score board read 2-7 1-7 in Edendork’s favour.
Galbally needed a response. With eight minutes remaining Daniel Kerr won a long delivery but was forced away from goals, turning he picked out Liam Rafferty inside the 13m line, crucially Rafferty took a half step to avoid the block and plant a shot beyond the reach of Mark McReynolds.
With the game edging towards extra time, man of the match Conor Donaghy took the game by scruff of the neck, a point from play followed by two frees and another point from play as the game entered injury time brought his tally to 1-8.
Three minutes were indicated but Edendork keep trying to force a goal. Morgan made an excellent catch but was crowded out of danger by a posse of galbally defenders. The drama wasn’t finished in the final minute Harry Og Conlon got his second goal as he forced home from close range. Edendork had one last chance, winning the kick out they tried to engineer a score but the move broke down and referee Cathal Forbes sounded the final whistle, bringing to an end an absorbing tussle.
Injured captain Aidan Carberry raised aloft the Paddy Cullen cup and signalling Galbally’s return to senior ranks and an encounter with Derry champions Glenullin, in the Ulster Intermediate championship. For Edendork they have to prepare for a play off meeting with Gortin, and another opportunity to regain senior status.
Galbally: Ronan McGeary, Marc Lennon,Conor Quinn, Connor Donnelly, Sean Wylie, Christopher Morris, John Hetherington, Enda McGarrity (0-1) & Cormac Donnely, Barry Carberry Liam Rafferty (1-0), Ronan Nugent, Daniel Kerr (0-1), Conor Donaghy (1-8), Sean Murphy (0-1)
Subs Mark Donnelly for Carberry, Blaine Nugent for Murphy
Edendork Mark McReynolds, Donal Maneely, Jack Donnelly, Ben Cullen (0-1), Neil Kilpatrick, Luke Ferguson, Conn Kilpatrick (0-1) & Harry Og Conlon (2-2), Daire Conway (0-1) , Darren McCurry (0-1), James Fearon, Conor Cullen, Niall Morgan (1-1), Stephen Corr.
subs: Stephen Gervin for Donnelly, Christopher McCurry for Gervin