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Maghery 1-06 - Pearse Og 0-10 SFC Semi Final

13 September 2007

Saturday evening past brought to an end Maghery's 2007 Championship campaign. Beaten by a point by a lively Pearse Ogs team, in what was a very disappointing display by the Mc Dermotts, the match was played out in front of a large gathering at Davitt Park, Lurgan.

Ogs opened the scoring with a point after 4 minutes of play, before Stephen Cusack put the ball between the posts and over the bar for the loughsiders first score just a minute later. Ogs next score should really have been a goal, but the ball blazed over the bar to put the city men a point ahead again; 0-02 to 0-01.

Pearse Og added another point to their tally before Maghery were awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute. A fine opportunity for Conor Forker to put the McDermotts ahead and shake his team up and into championship mode. But Forker fluffed the chance and the scoreboard registered a point instead of the much needed and much preferred 3-pointer.

Over the next 7 minutes Maghery hit wide(16th min) after wide(18th min) after wide(20th min), and were most wasteful in possession. In comparison, Pearse Ogs kicked over a 15 yard free to increase their lead to 0-04 to 0-02, and when a goal seemed on, Maghery were lucky to have veteran Eamon Toye on full alert at full back. Having a great game, Toye put in a tremendous block to keep the ball out of the blue and yellow nets and Maghery in the chase.

Stefan Forker wided 2 more 45 yard frees approaching the interval and Ogs had a point disallowed. And so the teams retired at half time as they were, Pearse Ogs with 4 points to their credit and Maghery with 2.

On resumption of play Pearse Ogs increased their advantage with 2 more points. Then Maghery's Eamon Robinson kicked in a high ball towards the Ogs goalie, and when McKinney was adjudicated to have stepped behind the white line with the caught ball, the McDermotts were awarded a goal.

Again Maghery supporters hoped this might be a catalyst for their team to get into the game, a game a lot of  the players seemed to have forgotten to turn up for. Unfortunately this was not meant to be, Maghery just couldn't get their game together and Ogs scored 2 further points over the next 6 minutes, extending their lead to 3 points with the match entering its final quarter.

The Lavery brothers, James and young David, combined well to send the latter through for an excellent point, but this was promptly negated with an Ogs point from play a minute later. Eamon Cusack then stepped up for the loughshore men with a great point from out on the side-line, but then Pearse Og also stepped up to send over another.

With the score 0-10 to 1-04 in Ogs favour, county star James Lavery sent over a point from way out field to reduce the deficit to 2. Seamus Forker then sent in another long range kick but it hung wide and still there remained 2 points between between town and country. With Maghery beginning to dominate proceedings, too little too late, big James Lavery sent over another inspirational point, and so with the minimum in it, Maghery went searching for that all-important, and unfortunately for us, all-elusive, equaliser, with time tick-tocking quickly away.

The McDermotts got their chance in the 58th minute when the man-in-the-middle awarded a free to the blue and yellow outfit, 40 yards out from the Pearse Og goals. Stefan Forker stepped up to the mark, but unfortunately his effort went wide and Maghery's championship run was surviving on borrowed time.

The Maghery boys got one last chance at attack, but when the Ogs defence came away with possession, the long whistle sounded, and that was that, over and out for Maghery.

While it's easy to be critical when a team under-performs, it must be remembered that these players did not go out on Saturday evening to play badly. Maghery as a team just never got it together, they never got going, just never clicked. It's very disappointing, of course, for everyone associated with the club, but no-one could be more gutted than the players, who have given much time and great efforts to promote Maghery GAC on the playing fields around the county.

While a draw result might have cheered us in the end, it must be said that really Pearse Og were the better team on the night and deserved winners, and Maghery Sean McDermotts wish them all the best of luck in the forth-coming County Final.

To make sure and sign off on a positive note, Maghery were best served by whole-hearted performances from Eamon Toye and James Lavery in particular, while David Lavery, Kieran Rafferty and Conor Mackle showed well.

As we all know, championship football requires a huge team effort and accurate scoring, but this just didn't materialise for the McDermotts in this semi-final fixture. But indeed that's football. It's disappointing, yes. But it's also history – and that's where it belongs. We need to shake this defeat off and continue to move forward. Hard luck, Maghery. Some day…


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