Murphy saves the day with late point for Coolera/Strandhill
Belfry Senior Football Championship Group 2 Rd 5: Coolera/Strandhill 0-13 Drumcliffe/Rosses Point 1-9
Niall Murphy won't be the most popular man with those affiliated to Eastern Harps this week, after the Coolera/Strandhill forward's late winner against Drumcliffe/Rosses Point demoted Harps to a relegation play-off.
Knowing that defeat would sentence them to a tussle with Molaise Gaels, Coolera's star man emerged from the bench to strike in the third minute of injury time, meaning Harps finish bottom of group 2.
Drumcliffe now face the arduous task of taking on holders Tourlestrane in the quarter-final, while Coolera progress to play Tubbercurry.
As the final score suggests, this was a closely fought contest.
Barry O'Mahony had Coolera ahead with his two scores to Paul Logan's third minute point when Niall Colleary grabbed the day's only goal on the quarter hour.
Mark Horkan and Kieran Lynham played their part before Colleary fired past Keelan Harte in the Coolera nets, right footed from the angle.
Coolera then hit their opponents with five scores without reply as John McPartland's men took their foot off the gas.
Mark McCallion and Karol O'Neill white flags from the angle, with the breeze, the highlight for the Red and White.
The teams were level at 0-8 to 1-5 courtesy of more impressive kicking from both O'Mahony and Logan, when Drumcliffe were reduced to 14.
Niall Canning issued his second yellow on 39 minutes for persistent fouling.
Coolera almost made the advantage pay off instantly, only for Drumcliffe goalkeeper Ronan McCormack to pull off an impressive save from a goal-bound effort from McCallion. Colm Parke slotting over on the rebound.
The sharp shooting Logan sent over two quick-fire scores, one from play and one from a free to turn the tables in Drumcliffe's advantage at 1-7 to 0-9 with eleven to go.
But O'Mahony struck back in that particular battle with two scores of his own in as many minutes. Coolera leading by a point once again.
Drumcliffe kept the board ticking over however. Logan and Steven Regan firing over.
While Coolera's McCallion elected for the point in a goal-scoring situation to even things up.
McPartland's men too were found wanting in front of the posts at times.
Logan hit their fifth wide of the second half and twelfth of the afternoon two minutes into injury time at the end of the game with the teams level.
The crowd at Scarden were trying to work out what a draw would mean for the final group table at this stage. But the maths weren't required when that man Murphy struck what was a left-footed winner on 63 minutes after patient play in front of the Drumcliffe posts.
Coolera/Strandhill: Keelan Harte; Enda Mitchell, Gary Cawley, Mark Comerford; Sean Murphy, Conor McDonagh, Adam Higgins; Barry Doyle, Kevin Banks; Colm Parke (0-1), Keelan Cawley (0-1), Peter Laffey; Barry O'Mahony (0-6) (0-1f) Mark McCallion (0-1), Karol O'Neill (0-2). Subs used: David McGee, Niall Murphy (0-2).
Drumcliffe/Rosses Point: Ronan McCormack; Aaron McCormack, Ciaran McLoughlin, Tom Armstrong; Sean Power, Neil Ewing, Jude McGarry; Mark Horkan, Cian Lally; Jamie Gillen, Niall Canning, Steven Regan (0-1); Paul Logan (0-7) (0-4f), Niall Colleary (1-1), Kieran Lynham. Sub used: Brian Monaghan.
Referee: Ronan Hynes (St Farnan's).