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Harps Annex Championship to Complete Double
LCC Tyrone JFC Final
Stewartstown 2-12 Aghaloo 0-12
Stewartstown Harps secured LCC Tyrone Junior championship at the expense of a gallant Aghaloo side at O’Neill’s Healy Park.
Whirlwind starts at the beginning of each half was the foundation for their deserved victory and in the process completing a league and championship double.
From the throw in, Stewartstown won possession and a long ball from Devlin was poked home soccer style by Shea O’Neill with just 12 seconds on the clock.
Despite playing against the breeze Aghaloo recovered well with points from Tiarnan Donnelly and a Niall McElroy free. McElroy nearly engineered a goal chance in the 7th minute however he lost control of the slippy ball.
Play was halted in the 9th minute when Shea Burke picked up a nasty injury which required several minutes of treatment before he was helped from the field.
Gareth Devlin who was to play a pivotal role in the Harp’s victory opened his account with a 16th minute free. McElroy converted his second free of the contest before Conor Quinn came from corner back to kick a fine score.
By the 24th minute the game was level the lively inside duo of Donnelly and McElroy both registering from play.
Stewartstown were now exerting pressure on the Aghaloo kick out and were rewarded with points from midfielder Stephen Talbot and Gareth Devlin. This proved to be the final score of the half. Stewartstown leading 1-4 0-5.
The Stewartstown team talk had the desired effect, again winning the throw in Macauley Quinn stormed through the middle to score a great point. With Aghaloo continuing to struggle to retain their kick out, the Harps extended their advantage with scores from captain Mark Rooney and Garth Devlin, their fifth in succession.
To their credit Aghaloo responded a brace of scores from Donnelly and a free from McElroy reduced the margin to 2, with twenty minutes remaining. However disaster was to strike for the men on the border when Dan Lowe received the final pass from his cousin Theo, following an excellent five man passing to punch to the net.
The reliable McElroy converted a free but this was cancelled out by a Gareth Devlin score as the game entered it’s final quarter. Ruairi McGlone punched a high ball over the ball and when Niall Henderson pointed from long range just a kick of the ball separated the sides with 51 minutes played.
Devlin scored from a mark to settle Stewartstown nerves, quickly followed by a Tiernan Rush score when he elected to tap over, after being played through by a lovely Dan Lowe pass. A sixth point from man of the match Gareth Devlin eased the Harps further clear. Dan lowe then converted a free after he had been fouled by Caolan Boyle who was to receive a black card for the offence.
Although Aghaloo launched several high balls into the scoring zone a goal line clearance from Macauley Quinn and a great save from Greg Kelly ensured a clean sheet. Ruairi McGlone was to receive a red card deep into injury time. Niall McElroy tapped over a free but it was mere consolation, as referee Cahal Bell sounded the final whistle.
Mark Rooney raised aloft the Pat Darcy cup to loud cheers, some from Strabane Sigersons as the Harps’ victory ensured a return to intermediate football. For the Aghaloo men they must regroup and focus on the play off route to also return to Intermediate football.
Stewartstown – G Kelly, J Park, D Devlin, C Quinn 0-1, K Robinson, M Rooney 0-1, T Rush 0-1, S Talbot 0-1, S Burke, G O’Neill, M Quinn 0-1, C Devlin, G Devlin 0-6, S O’Neill 1-0, D Lowe 1-1. Subs – F O’Neill, E O’Donnell
Aghaloo – N McKenna, D Muldoon, R McGlone 0-1, G Daly, P McGeary, G O’Gorman, E Ward, J McGlone, S Douglas, E McGarrity, C Mullen, N McElroy 0-6, N Henderson 0-1, T Donnelly 0-4. Subs – M McCormack, C Boyle
Referee – Cathal Bell (Killeeshil)