Grange vs Clann Eireann
Clann Eireann 0-12
Clann Eireann 0-12
Grange progressed to the final of the T-Met Intermediate Championship despite the best efforts of Ryan Henderson and Clann Eireann. The former Senior County player, who won an All-Ireland U21 title in 2004, scored 0-8 of his side’s 0-12.
However it was Grange’s McKenna Brothers who stole the show. Miceal and Cathal playing integral parts in their side’s victory at the Athletic Grounds.
Grange’s Miceal McKenna opened the scoring with a well taken point after 14 seconds.
Cathal McKenna then did well to beat his man and get goal-side before hitting the post in an attempt at goal but then took his point within the same attack stretching Grange’s lead.
Several missed chances for both sides were then followed by Ryan Henderson’s first of the evening. A free after a foul on James McDaid.
Another brace of points for the McKenna brothers helped Grange extend their lead until the ball was played into Henderson who, with the goal at his mercy, blazed over the bar.
A further 2 points from Henderson brought the game level until county midfielder, Ethan Rafferty, gave a quick-fire exhibition in long range shooting.
Firstly he hit an effort from play, hammering it over from well beyond the 45. Then the Grange man set his sights with a free kick off the ground about 55 yards outs.
Two tremendously impressive scores.
Henderson & Miceal McKenna traded points either side of wides for both teams meaning Grange led 0-7 to 0-5 going into the second half.
Both sides made changes during the break but it was Miceal McKenna who started the second half just how finished the first with another point.
Ethan Rafferty then went on a powerful run down the left flank, carving his way through the Clann Eireann defence and rifling a left footed shot past the keeper, only to be denied by goal saving heroics from Clann Eireann Full-Back Shea Heffron.
Heffron somehow managed to catch the ball in his chest whilst diving on the line, making sure he didn’t only block the initial effort on goal but denied any opportunity for a follow up score. A great piece of defensive play.
Cathal McKenna popped over another minimum score to put 4 between them but that man Henderson added to his own tally before Declan Leatham got on the score sheet.
Cathal then sent over a free for Grange to restore their 3 point advantage.
Further Grange wides were followed up by 2 points from play for Ryan Henderson either side of a Paul McKenna free which brought the sides level for the second time.
Miceal McKenna then put the men in Green & White back in front before another Paul McKenna free for Clann Eireann levelled matters once again.
Grange replied with their next attack and it was Miceal McKenna again who had his team in the ascendency with another fine score.
Just as swiftly as Grange retook the lead they were pegged back. Clann Eireann’s Wing Half Back Declan Leatham getting his second of the evening making it all square at 0-12 apiece.
A ruckus on the sideline held up play for several minutes and when the dust settled referee Tony O’Hare showed a red card to at least one of the Grange subs bench.
After that it was all Grange. They got another brilliant point from Cathal McKenna before second half substitute Mark Toal showed great composure beyond his years to rifle the ball right footed across the ‘keeper into the far corner sending the Grange crowd into raptures.
The night was capped off when another second half sub, Ryan Kieran, took his point beautifully in added time to seal a historic win for An Gráinseach.
The rural club now face another Lurgan based opponent, league champions St Paul’s, in the T-Met Intermediate Final on Sunday 12th October.
Clann Eireann: S. Corry, D. France, S. Heffron, A. Kelly, D. Leatham (0-2), D. McKernan, D. Heaney, M. Beattie, P. McKenna (0-2, 2f), J. McDaid, C. Bell (c), R. Henderson (0-8, 2f), M. Moore, J.Magee, C. McCaffrey.
Subs Used: M. Lynas for M.Moore, B McCarron for J.Magee.
Grange: D. O’Hagan, K. Rafferty, A. Nugent, P. Rafferty, J. Kerr, S. McAneney, C. O’Hagan (c), C. Nugent, E. Rafferty (0-2, 1f), C. Toal, M. McKenna (0-6, 1f), Eoin Rafferty, C. McKenna (0-5, 1f), B. Rafferty, M. Magee.
Subs Used: C. Rafferty for A. Nugent, M. Toal (1-0) for K. Rafferty, Eoin Rafferty for R. Kieran (0-1).
Article BY Colm McGleenan
PHOTOS BY John Merry