Cullyhanna reach last eight

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cullyhanna 2-12 Whitecross 2-07
CULLYHANNA will face Armagh Harps in the Armagh Senior Club Championship at the weekend following their win over Whitecross on Sunday.
Played in extreme windy and driving rain conditions in Crossmaglen, Cullyhanna trailed the St Killian's side 0-03 to 1-06 at the break but they dominated the second half.
Whitecross were reduced to 14 men only three minutes into the second half after Neil McSherry received a second yellow card, and they struggled for scores thereafter and actually failed to score from play in the last 30 minutes.
But St Killian's got off to a brilliant start and grabbed a goal and point within the first three minutes. Aidan Finnegan slotted over and then Barry McKeown spotted the keeper off his line and cheekily lobbed into the top corner.
Ciaran McNulty and Conor Malone tagged on further points but crucially Whitecross failed to do enough when they dominated. Too many long-range efforts drifted wide and many passes were over-cooked, although the wild wind and slippery conditions didn't help.
Both sides had chances to score but both kicked wide before points from Colm O'Hanlon and Malone gave Whitecross an eight point lead but Cullyhanna replied with a Shane Conlon free and Pearse Casey converted 45' to close the gap at the break.
As expected Cullyhanna started the second period like the proverbial house on fire and two points in as many minutes from Eugene Casey and Pearse Casey made their intentions clear.
On 33 minutes Whitecross suffered a blow when after a wrestle on the ground Neill McSherry was the only player carded, which was a second yellow.
Young Aidan Nugent and Eugene Casey kept the scoreboard ticking over and on 40 minutes Shea Hoey powered with pace along the game-line and with Whitecross men chasing he fisted across goal for Jason Duffy to palm home to give Cullyhanna the lead.
Mark Shields then converted a 45', which was a great kick to level the scores but young Aidan Nugent showed class with three points in a row. The hits went in hard and the game had it's casualties with Mal Mackin and Ciaran McKeever limping off.
Black cards were firmly kept in the pocket but when Declan Lennon made a perfectly time tackle to pop the ball from Jason Duffy's grip, the referee, who was behind play, awarded a penalty. Aodhon Conlon tucked his kick away his spot-kick to give Cullyhanna a commanding six point lead. Whitecross tried to engineer scores as Cullyhanna defended in numbers and were prepared to take black cards, even if none were given. And with five minutes to play Conor Malone's free dropped into the net to leave a goal between the teams.
But Cullyhanna weren't going to be caught and former county man Sean Connell and young Nugent (free) wrapped the game up.
Conditions meant that neither side was going to be able to play to their strengths but while Cullyhanna were deserved winners, they will need to improve if they are to get the better of Harps at the weekend. Whitecross' season is over but with senior divisional status secured, last year's Intermediate champion can be reasonably pleased.
Cullyhanna scorers: Aidan Nugent (0-4, 2f), Jason Duffy (1-0), Aodhan Conlon (1-0, pen), Pearse Casey (0-4, 45', 1f), Eugene Casey (0-2), Shane Conlon (0-1, f), Sean Connell (0-1).
Whitecross scorers: Conor Malone (1-2, 1-0f), Barry McKeown (1-0), Neill McSherry (0-1), Kieran McNulty (0-1), Ryan McSherry (0-1), Aidan Finnegan (0-1), Colm O'Hanlon (0-1), Mark Shields (45').


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