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Bors overcome Annaduff to secure senior status

posted 25 Sep 2017, 02:38 by bornacoola leitrim
Senior Championship Relegation Final

Bornacoola 2-12 Annaduff 2-10 

Once again (as last year) on the weekend of the Glasgow Derby, it was the Dromod Derby that attracted all of the local attention as Annaduff were the opposition in last Sunday morning’s Senior Championship Relegation final in Cloone. And just like last year, after a close contest it was the Bors who survived with Senior status intact on a 2-12 to 2-10 scoreline in front of a large crowd.

The game was packed with drama from the very first minute when the Bors had the ball in the net although the score would be chalked off by referee Brendan Sammon for an alleged infringement on the Annaduff keeper. However, this early intervention was a sign of the Bors intent and early points from Ollie Vaughan and Damian Moran helped the team to settle. 

Annaduff though grew into the game as the first half wore on and appeared to have taken a grasp of proceedings when they led by 0-5 to 0-3 after 19 minutes as their forward line moved the ball impressively. The Bors finished the half by far the stronger though as a number of good scores, including a couple of long distance frees from Damian Moran, ensured it was the men in Black and Amber who entered the dressing rooms a point in front, 0-7 to 0-6. 

The decisive period of the game was probably the first ten minutes of the second half as Bornacoola dominated possession and scored 1-3 without reply. The goal came from a Damian Moran break, through the heart of the Annaduff defence; his initial shot was blocked, but rebounded to the County star and he steered the ball into the Annaduff net to open up a four point lead. This was extended to seven by the 38th minute and Bornacoola appeared on the road to victory. 

However, full credit to our neighbours who rallied admirably and two points followed by a goal of their own from Gavin O Brien in the 42nd minute narrowed the gap to 1-10 to 1-8 as the Bors momentarily eased off. We appeared to have steadied the ship when re-establishing a 3 point lead with ten minutes to go before the Duff struck for goal again – a 45 metre free, crashing off the upright and into the grateful arms of Alan Glancy who finished to the net. The teams were now level and it appeared we would be in for a grandstand finish.

But it was the Bors who struck next – a Damian Moran free was batted out by the Annaduff defence and Sean Mc Keon was on hand, with a little help from Ronan Mulligan, to finish to the Annaduff net and. The expected onslaught from Annaduff never really materialised as the remainder of the game was played in the Annaduff half and although the losers did add a point late on, it was the Bors who enjoyed the vast majority of the chances in the last ten minutes while controlling possession comfortably. However, a series of wides ensured the margin of victory would only be two points.

Yet this was enough to ensure Bornacoola remain in the Senior Championship for their 21st consecutive year in 2018 (Annaduff will play Intermediate next year). Four of Sunday’s team – Michael Duignan, Shane Conroy, Mark and Gary Mc Closkey – have been there for the entire journey and all four played vital roles on Sunday. 

Defensively, after a shaky start, Bornacoola gradually got on top of a lively Annaduff forward line. Led by the excellent Jason Conroy and Conor Mc Cauley (who was black carded in the second half but also scored a point), the experience of Damian Mc Guinness and Shane Conroy was vital in steadying the ship particularly in the first half. Brian Duffy (who scored a great first half point) and David Mulligan were their usual reliable selves and their pace was crucial at various times in the game as both grew in confidence as the game developed. 

One of the key contributors to the victory was Bornacoola dominance at kick-out time and it was here that Michael Duignan and Gary Mc Closkey shone. Up front, Damian Moran was a constant thorn in the Annaduff side right from the throw in and during the period in the second half when Annaduff were beginning to get on top, his presence as an out ball for the Bors was vital.

Another to shine was Philip Howard – he won a huge amount of possession at kick out time and was central to absolutely everything Bornacoola did and his enviable endeavour typified the Bornacoola approach. 

Ollie Vaughan got through a world of hard work and used his strength well in winning frees, while the foot passing of Sean Mc Keon was at its usual high standard stretching the Annaduff defence at crucial times and of course it was his touch to the net for the second goal that would prove decisive in the overall context. 

Brian Conroy worked tirelessly throughout, most especially when moving to wing back to replace the tiring Weasel while Ronan Mulligan will reflect on this game as his most impressive of the season. 

From the bench Liam Mulligan continued his excellent year, Trevor Howard’s point to steady the ship following Annaduff’s second goal was a really important score while the fresh legs of Mervyn Howard and Kevin Mulligan added impetus to the Bornacoola attack in the closing stages. 

Finally a word for the two Declan’s who have pulled off yet another great escape – both men know survival is an achievement for Bornacoola annually at this stage in our history and both men manage to have the Bors psychologically right for the big fight every year. Well done to them and to the entire panel on retaining Senior status for another year. 

Team and Scorers on Sunday were: Mark Mc Closkey, Brian Duffy (0-1), Conor Mc Cauley (0-1), David Mulligan, Damian Mc Guinness, Jason Conroy, Shane Conroy, Gary Mc Closkey, Michael Duignan, Philip Howard (0-1), Sean Mc Keon (1-0), Ollie Vaughan (0-1), Brian Conroy, Damian Moran (1-7) and Ronan Mulligan. Subs used: Liam Mulligan, Trevor Howard (0-1), Mervyn Howard and Kevin Mulligan.