Irelands lay down a loud early marker
DUNDALK Young Irelands justified their favourites tag for Christy Bellew glory after they cruised to an emphatic victory over Stabannon Parnells on Saturday evening in the Grove.
After 22 minutes, the marauding Dean Maguire scored his second goal of the opening half, to give the Dundalk side a lead of 2-4 to 0-2 and effectively put the game beyond Stabannon who were outplayed by a superior Young Irelands side.
Adrian O’Donoghue’s were dominant in al sectors in that opening half and but for a high first half wide tally of eight, they could have been even further out of sight by the interval.
The Young Irelands were 1-4 to 0-1 ahead after 15 minutes with that goal coming from Maguire, while Aidan Sheeky landed the pick of the scores from distance. Maguire, Cian O’Nairaigh and Cian O’Donoghue all found their range too.
And once they found their shooting boots the outcome of this match was never in doubt. An Aaron Murray point, two scores from Cian’s brother Jordan O’Donoghue as well as that second green flag for Dean Maguire gave the Dundalk side a commanding lead at the break.
The tireless Daniel Bannon (0-2) and David Cluskey were the sole responses for Ollie McDonnell’s side. With Mark Savage operating as a sweeper and Derek Maguire touching the ball 23 times over the 60 minutes, the Young Irelands were in the driving seat from start to finish.
Parnells struggled to make any inroads into the Young Irelands half as they only had the ball in the oppositions half of the pitch 12 times compared to Young Irelands’ 20 in the first period. To add to their woes, Stabannon also lost full back Sean Halpenny to a black card in that opening 30 minutes.
The second half had an air of inevitability about it with the rampant Young Irelands scoring another two goals through full forward Sean McLoughlin and Cian O’Donoghue. Stabannon keeper Anto Byrne also produced a superb save to deny McLoughlin in that second half. Dean Maguire fisted over the bar and then set up Aidan Sheeky for his second point.
However, worryingly for the Dundalk side, Dean Maguire was replaced a few minutes later due to injury with Jordan O’Donoghue deputising as free taker. O’Donoghue scored 0-3 points in that second half with the excellent Cian O’Nairaigh helping himself to another point while corner back Stephen Bellew also found the range before the final whistle.
Daniel Bannon grafted hard for the Stabannon cause as his scores put a little respectability on the scoreline while Aonghus Giggins (2 frees) and the hardworking Colm Giggins also raising white flags for Parnells but there is no doubt about who the superior team were as Young Irelands showed why they are one of the favourites to go all the way in this Junior championship.
A cause for concern for Adrian O’Donoghue’s side will be losing Dean Maguire to that injury and their tally of 13 wides over the hour converting 18 from 33 scoring attempts.
Cian O’Donoghue scores the fourth goal for Dundalk Young Irelands during their JFC Group A match against Stabannon Parnells at The Grove, Castlebellingham.