O’Loughlin Gaels corner-forward Fergal Brennan attempts to fend off the challenge of Mooncoin’s Aidan Doyle. Picture: Willie Dempsey
A commanding first half display proved critical as O’Loughlin Gaels overcame Mooncoin in round four of the Michael Lyng Motors Intermediate hurling league on Sunday afternoon.
The O’Loughlin’s second string side led from the get-go with Sammy Johnson’s opening minute goal giving them a big advantage.
Mooncoin have certainly impressed since their return to this level of hurling and Adam Croke and Pa Walsh bagged second goals but with the O’Loughlin’s pair of Eddie Kearns and Alex Sheridan also netting, the city side were able to keep their noses in front.
Johnson’s early goal put O’Loughlin’s into a decent position as he ran straight down the middle of the Mooncoin defence and although Killian Hogan knocked over three points in response, Alan Geoghegan’s side still led 1-4 to 0-3 at the halfway mark of the opening half after Fergal Brennan, Jamie Ryan and Dacel Fwamba all found the target.
Mooncoin hit 10 wides in total during that opening half and that carelessness in front of goal certainly showed as they trailed by six at the half-time interval.
Billy Leydon contributed four points for O’Loughlin’s in that second quarter as they led 1-11 to 0-8.
Billy Leydon and John Fitzgerald swapped points at the beginning of the second half before Pa Walsh pounced for a badly needed Mooncoin goal.
Martin O’Neill and Kevin Crowley then followed up with points and by the 40th minute, only a point separated the sides.
The teams then shared efforts before O’Loughlin’s scored 1-3 without reply between the 46th and 51st minutes.
Alex Sheridan struck for 1-1 in that spell while Johnson also got two points as O’Loughlin’s crept away on the scoreboard.
A crazy couple of minutes then followed with three goals in five minutes as Adam Croke found the net twice for Mooncoin either side of an Eddie Kearns effort.
That Kearns goal maintained the O’Loughlin’s advantage as they held on to secure the win.
For O’Loughlin’s their victory started in defence. Their full back line was very solid throughout, with special mention to corner backs Ronan Buckley and Jack Lawlor who hurled an ocean of ball. Their centre back, Ben Leydon, also played a captains role, orchestrating the game from there.
Also, the O’Loughlin’s goalkeeper Declan Murphy was a key factor in their victory, his accurate puck outs proving pivotal. The midfield pairing of Matthew Russell and Jamie Ryan were dynamos and really drove things on for O’Loughlin’s.
Sammy Johnson’s scores were decisive, especially in the second half when Mooncoin were staging a comeback. Billy Leydon was coolness personified while Alex Sheridan made a major impact when he was introduced.
For Mooncoin, Adam Croke was on fire all day and was more than a handful for his markers.
Pa Walsh fought throughout for his team. Killian Hogan continues his immense improvement this year, being involved in many good passages of play and scores for Mooncoin.
Martin O’Neill showed how good a hurler he is, defending to the death while also popping up for a score when needed.
Cormac Daly and Paul Henebery were also solid throughout, while Muirtín Gannon hurled an ocean of ball from midfield.
Teams and Scorers
O’Loughlin Gaels - Sammy Johnson (1-3); Billy Leydon (0-6, 0-3 frees); Alex Sheridan (1-2); Eddie Kearns (1-0); Fergal Brennan (0-3); Jamie Ryan, Gary Kelly (0-2 each); Dacel Fwamba, Matthew Russell (0-1 each)
Mooncoin - Adam Croke (2-4); Pa Walsh (1-2); Killian Hogan (0-4, 0-1 frees, 0-1 65); Martin O’Neill (0-3); John Fitzgerald, Paul Henebery, Kevin Crowley (0-1 each).
O’Loughlin Gaels - Declan Murphy; Jack Lalor, Jamie Young, Ronan Buckley; Oisín Murphy, Ben Leydon, Evan Walsh; Matthew Russell, Jamie Ryan; Kevin Murphy, Billy Leydon, Dacel Fwamba; Fergal Brennan, Sammy Johnston, Gary Kelly.
Subs: Alex Sheridan, Eddie Kearns.
Mooncoin - Eoin Purcell; Aidan Doyle, Cormac Daly, Sean O’Dwyer; Martin O’Neill, Paul Henebery, Jim Delahunty; Muirtín Gannon, Kevin Crowley; Adam Croke, John Fitzgerald, Ciarán Quilty; Lee Treacy, Pa Walsh, Killian Hogan.
Subs: Mark Kearns, Stephen Crowley, Kieran Dillon-Dunphy.
Referee - Vivienne Holmes
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.