NEFL – Bellurgan pip Quay to Cup final place as Glenmuir seal promotion to the second tier

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Quay Celtic 1

ellurgan United 2

Bellurgan are proving dark horses as they mount a strong finish to a season in which they toiled against relegation. But, after warding off relegation, they are through to the Cup final, and, who knows, they could end up victorious in a competition in which they have been knocking on the door over recent seasons, and have an impressive record in over the years.

In contrast it has been a terribly disappointing end to their first season back in the top grade which promised so much for Quay. They were beaten in the final of the Kilmessan Shield a few weeks prior to this semi-final tie on Friday night on their home ground at Clancy Park.

It offered a great opportunity to erase the memory of that disappointment, and they got off to the ideal start going ahead after two minutes when Thomas Daly struck the Bellurgan net.

But they failed to build on it with the Peninsula team taking just two minutes to equalise, with the veteran Owen Armstrong pouncing to equalise when player/manager Alan O’Connor headed a cross against the home ’bar.

Goalkeeper Eddie Maguire emerged as perhaps Quay’s best player on a night when their free-scoring forwards Thomas Daly and Terence Kelly struggled to repeat their form over the course of the season.

Daly notched 24 goals in 22 games, and Kelly bagged 22 in 20 outings. However, they both missed glorious opportunities in the second half to haul Quay back on terms.

On the other hand, O’Connor, who proved quite a handful for the Quay defence, might have notched a hat-trick, only for the heroics of McGeough.

Armstrong netted his second and what proved to be the decisive goal just before the break, when a cross by Joe Quinn resulted in a scramble in the home penalty box, and he applied the all important touch.

Quay enjoyed a good spell in the second period but were not able to avail of the scoring chances that came their way. O’Connor could have increased the winners winning margin and substitute Stephen Finnegan had an effort cleared off the home goalline by a defender.

Quay Celtic: Eddie Maguire, Chris Clarke, Seán Mathews, Kian McEvoy, Dillon Cahill, Oisín McCumiskey, Conor Murphy, Brian McGuirk, Dylan O’Hanlon, Terence Kelly, Thomas Daly. Subs: Adam McKenna, Aaron Mackin, Graeme Stevens.

Bellurgan: Seán McGeough, Owen Traynor, Mario Kolak, John Smith, Joe Quinn, Conor Watters, Joe Needham, Tadhg O’Connor, Owen Armstrong, Emmet Rogan, Alan O’Connor. Subs: Luke Higgins, Seán McEvoy, Stephen Finnegan.

Glenmuir 4

Virginia 0

Glenmuir secured promotion and a place in the First Division next season with a clear-cut 4-0 win in their refixed final game with Virginia on Friday night.

The league switched the game to the MDL after the lights at Glenmuir Park were deemed not fit by referee Brian Murphy to stage it a fortnight ago when both teams were prepared to play the game.

The Dublin Road outfit needed the points to finish runners-up to entitle them to automatic promotion, and this was the pleasing outcome from their perspective to fulfil their ambition for the season.

Manager Pádraig Gollogley commented afterwards that he was delighted for his players in accomplishing this feat, and it was a fine achievement.

Victory was fairly straight forward once the victors went ahead in the opening ten minutes. Conor Maguire finished off a superb team move when he got on the end of a fabulous through ball by Stephen McDonnell and slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Kevin McArdle made it two nil a few minutes from the break when Stefan McKevitt picked him out with a fine pass and he lashed the ball into the top corner of the net.

McKevitt was involved again in the build up to the winners third goal when he combined with Robert Kilgallon to put McDonnell in possession and the latter’s first time pass set up Tomiwa Osho to increase their lead, and effectively secure the points with five minutes gone in the second half,

Kevin McArdle scored with the last kick of the game to crown an emphatic victory for Glenmuir.

Glenmuir: David McKenny, James Callan, Ciarán Walsh, Edgar Bitanis, Chris Stewart, Stefan McKevitt, Robert Kilgallon, Stephen McDonnell, Conor Maguire, Kevin McArdle, Tomiwa Osho. Subs: Ronan Molloy, Mark Molloy, Kyle Watters, Daniel Brogan, Éanna McArdle.

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