Clan na Gael move past championship derby date for Intermediate progress

Taking a break from the fun at the recent Sarsfields summer camp.INLM36-182
Taking a break from the fun at the recent Sarsfields summer camp.INLM36-182

Clan na Gael moved through to the next round of the Intermediate Championship when they defeated Lurgan neighbours St Peter’s on Sunday during a gripping clash.

The depleted Blues looked off the pace at the end of the first half but in the second period they registered 1-9 to 0-3 on the path to victory.

The turning point came when Clans forward Niall McCann rose to knock home a long delivery from the effective Mel Patterson 12 minutes after the break.

At that stage, the Blues had been trailing by five and the goal - followed by four frees from Laurence McGuinness - set the Clans up for a five-point victory.

St Peter’s had the Clans on the back foot for most of the first period and when Niall McConville struck his fourth of five points on 42 minutes, the North Street side looked to be in control,

Clan na Gael supporters would have been apprehensive in the lead-up to the game, considering the squad was missing key men including the top scorer.

St Peter’s looked organised in the opening exchanges and when Gavin McCormack hit his side’s sixth point on 19 minutes the Clans looked to be in trouble.

Earlier, the Whites scores by Conor Clarke, the sublime Robbie Geary, McConville at the double and a strike from Danny McNally helped to boost confidence,

The Clans - despite being outplayed by their Lurgan opponents in the first period - were still in touching distance at the break as points from Daurmaud O’Hagan, McGuinness and a nice Ciaran McKendry effort on 30 minutes ended the half.

Before McCann’s crucial goal on 42 minutes, the Clans had produced with the best move of the game - which came from Patterson following superb approach play.

There was little doubt about the highlight of the game’s final quarter - four times Blues centre-half McGuinness split the posts from long-range set-pieces against the wind as the Whites wilted, struggled to attain first-phase possession and missed crucial scores with time running out.

Clan na Gael, considered an improving side, finished the stronger - an Intermediate title would guarantee their place in the top-flight next season but for the moment they will be looking no further than the next round. For St Peter’s - Sean O’Neill, Geary and Ciaran McCavigan enhanced their reputations but the Clans - who had O’Hagan, McGuinness and Patterson in exceptional form, were overall the better side.