19 October 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard


CASTLEBLAYNEY are Minor Football champions for the first time since 2004 after they finished well to win a keenly-contested Maguire Transport MFC Division One Final against Monaghan Harps at Clones before the senior decider last Sunday.
Midfielder Barry Hanratty was the driving force of this win for Castleblayney, particularly when the game was in the melting pot, while David McMahon, Aaron and Ronan McNamara, Fergal Malone and Aidan McElroy also made valuable contributions. The Harps had good performances from full-backs Pauric Murphy, Niall Treanor and Mustafa Gamal, as well as half-back Michael Galligan, but Foentjies and Fearghal McMahon were their only forwards to score.
Castleblayney took little over a minute to take the lead with a point from play by Ronan McNamara, who had been well-placed by a free from Barry Hanratty, who then won a 25-metre free for David McMahon to convert. Aaron McNamara added a good point from play, but Monaghan Harps got off the mark on seven minutes when Fearghal McMahon got on the end of a Michael Galligan free to open their account.
The Harps took the lead after ten minutes when Kevin Loughran launched a high ball in to the edge of the Blayney square, where Carl Foentjies met it with a clever punched effort into the bottom corner of the net. That had the Harps ahead for all of three minutes until Hanratty burst through to fire over the equaliser, before a long ball from Fergal Malone fell kindly for Cormac McNally, who drilled a low shot wide. Kevin Mackin edged Blayney ahead after good work by David McMahon and Aidan McElroy, but Benin Devlin and Kevin Loughran combined to create a fine point for Fearghal McMahon at the other end.
Fearghal McMahon followed that up by tapping over a 20-metre free for a foul on Shane Loughran and winning a 30-metre free which Galligan converted to double the Harps’ lead, but Aidan McElroy landed a well-taken point from out on the left wing to keep Blayney in touch. They would have led at half-time but for an amazing double-save by Harps goalkeeper Ryan Shields, who first parried a fisted effort after an Aaron McNamara ’45 dropped in dangerously before quickly picking himself up to make a spectacular stop from Hanratty’s rebound shot. That sent the Harps in at half-time leading by 1-4 to 0-6.
A well-taken point by Kevin Loughran gave …

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