A point by Burren's star forward Sean Murdock three minutes from time gave them victory over a gallant Bryansford side in this pulsating encounter in Newry yesterday.
In a game of high drama, excellent football and some brilliant scores, Burren just about deserved their victory. They played cool, calm and well-balanced football and had in Murdock the scoring star on view. He lobbed over nine of their points, with five coming from frees. But this was no one-man performance. Burren had strong defenders in Kevin McKernan, Dan and Gerard McCartan and Ronan McGovern, while Declan Rooney and Alan Higgins just edged Conor Gribben and Joe Ireland at midfield.
Murdock got good support in attack from Eamon Toner and James McGovern. The Bryansford defence throughout played well with strong displays from Philip Bonny, Luke Howard and Stephen Toner while in attack Danny Savage, Kalum King and Chris McGovern worked hard.
The game was just 40 seconds old when King flicked an Ireland lob to the net. However, almost immediately Burren half-back Gerard McCartan raced through the static Byransford defence to shoot to the net. Points were exchanged before Chris and Ciaran Brannigan shot Bryansford ahead. Burren regained the lead midway through the half with three points from Murdock and they held on to lead by 1-7 to 1-5 at half-time.
Savage, Gribben and Chris Clarke put Bryansford ahead again before Murdock levelled from a free after 10 minutes.
It was point for point over the next 12 minutes before Bryansford struck a purple patch with three Savage points to lead by 1-13 to 1-11 with seven minutes left. But Burren were not to be denied and fought back brilliantly. Rooney lobbed over a point and McKernan fisted over to level the game before Murdock sent over the winning point. In the final minute of the three added on, Bryansford's Savage saw his brilliant effort agonisingly come back off the post as Burren held out for victory.
Scorers -- Burren: S Murdock 0-9 (0-5f), G McCartan 1-0, E Toner 0-2, K McKernan, D Rooney, J McGovern 0-1 each. Bryansford: D Savage 0-4, K King 1-1; Chris Brannigan (0-1f), C Gribben, C Clarke 0-2 each; Ciaran Brannigan, C Maginn 0-1 each.
Burren -- C Murdock; Ciaran McGovern, D McCartan, R McGovern; K McKernan, Chris McGovern, G McCartan; A Higgins, D Rooney; Conal McGovern, J McGovern, E McGovern; A McArdle, E Toner, S Murdock. Subs: E McCartan for E McGovern, D O'Hare for J McGovern.
Bryansford -- P Travers; J Megorrian, P Bonny, S Toner; L Hanna, A Shields, D McKibben; J Ireland, C Gribben; C Clarke, C Maginn, Chris Brannigan; Ciaran Brannigan, K King, D Savage. Subs: T Hanna for Chris Brannigan, N Murray for C Clarke.
Ref -- C Reynolds (Downpatrick).