Worthwhile outing for Steelstown youngsters

February 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Steelstown 2-4 Séan Dolan’s 1-9

A YOUTHFUL Steelstown outfit took to the complex on Saturday for what proved to be a tight challenge game with city rivals, Séan Dolan’s.

With one eye on Sunday’s Ulster League opener with Slaughtneil, Hugh McGrath and Emmett Wray used the opportunity to explore the full depth of their squad as they fielded a young line-up.  And Eddie Friel.

Against a full strength Creggan outfit, Brian Óg’s were slow out of the blocks and found themselves penned in their own half for the vast majority of the opening 10 minutes.

Dolan’s were gifted a fortuitous lead when a scaling high ball dropped beneath the posts and squirmed away from the grasps of ‘keeper Eoghan Heraghty.

It wasn’t until they were four to the worse did Steelstown respond.

Paul Ferris, fresh from amassing 1-5 against Derry minors last week including a 0-3 cameo against Colmcille, continued his prolific scoring exploits for the senior side.

The U17 – lined out a centre half forward – finished gloriously from a quick counter attack when he dummied inside his marker before hammering a thunderbolt to the top left corner.

But the blue jerseys were still under pressure with the experienced Dolan’s central three of Ciaran Wilkinson, Alan Grant, and Paul Loughrey dominating under the kick out.

Indeed, it was only some staunch defending by the overworked back line which kept the opposition at bay.  Young James Jackson made his senior debut at corner back and took to the task seamlessly as he pestered red jerseys all afternoon with typically tight marking.

Cathal Meehan manned the full back line in the centre with a strong performance whilst Tiarnan O’Kane continued to shine in the other corner.

Steelstown struck again when Ferris laid in Doherty to finish low and the Ballyarnet men took a one point lead in at the break.

However, the Division Three men continued to seize control in the middle third and matters were left to the solid Oran Sweeney and the ever-running Brian Devine to reinforce the defence.

Last year’s junior all-star, Caolan McCosker, chipped away at the scoreboard with that trademark left foot of his and a tiring Steelstown outfit were relying on Ferris to pull them out at the other end off either foot.

But it was Dolan’s who finished strongest as the Óg’s pack sank deeper and deeper into their own 45’ and Paul Loughrey followed up on Oran Cassidy’s white flag to see out what was a knife-edge encounter.

A good, physical battle with moments of brilliance sent the Steelstown management home relatively satisfied but the outing was somewhat marred with the injury to promising minor James Corry who had to come off early in the first period with a bad blow to the ribs.

Steelstown: Eoghan Heraghty; Eoghan Mag Uiginn, Cathal Meehan, James Jackson; Tiarnán O’Kane, Oran Sweeney, Ciaran Rigney; Eoin O’Hare, Eddie Friel; Brian Devine, Paul Ferris (1-4), Conán Doherty (1-0); Niall Doherty, Brendan Doherty, James Corry

Subs: Shane O’Connor, Eoin Casey, Lee Casey, Michael Doherty, James Devine, Andy Sammon