Disastrous second half for Buncrana as they fail in Ulster Junior Championship final


Disastrous second half for Buncrana as they fail in Ulster Junior Championship final

Buncrana's bid to become the third Donegal team in succession to lift the Ulster junior championship title was crushed on Saturday evening at Omagh's Healy Park.

Blackhill Emeralds 1-11
Buncrana 0-9

Despite leading by 0-8 to 0-5 at half time against Monaghan champions Blackhill Emeralds, the Inishowen outfit produced a disastrous second half display, registering just a single point on the scoreboard against Blackhill's goal and six points.
It was an agonising reversal of fortune for Malachy McCann's players, who looked to have one hand on the trophy after sailing into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with just 15 minutes on the clock.
But an astute tactical move by Blackhill at this point to deploy a sweeper effectively neutralised the scoring power of big forwards John Campbell and Ryan Bradley, and suddenly it was the 2016 beaten finallists who were dominating the game, racking up a run of scores to come to within a point with 25 minutes played.
Buncrana rallied in the closing stages of the first half, however, with two points from Campbell and a soaring 40 yard effort from Darach O'Connor seeing them hit the dressing room three points to the good.
But the second half was horrendous for the Donegal champions, with a physically imposing Blackhill dominating possession and scoring five unanswered points to take a 0-10 to 0-8 lead.
It took 22 minutes for Buncrana to trouble the scoreboard - another sublime effort from O'Connor-- but this was to be their one and only score of the second half.
O'Connor had a great shot at goal saved brilliantly by Blackhill 'keeper Michael Shevlin, but chances were at a premium because of the stalwart defending of the Monaghan men.
Despite more than eight minutes of injury time played, Buncrana simply couldn't find a way through.
Two points down and needing a goal, Buncrana were woefully exposed at the back, and Blackhill sealed victory in the dying seconds when they broke and Tommy Geehan struck the back of the net to see them run out the 1-11 to 0-9 winners.
Also late on Buncrana lost Darach O'Connor to a red card.

BLACKHILL EMERALDS: Michael Shevlin; Ryan Courtney, Donal Courtney, Thomas Courtney; James Daly, Shane Courtney, Anthony Courtney; Hugh Byrne (0-1), Dermot Daly (0-2, 2f); Philip Donnolly, Gerard McArdle, Tommy Geehan (1-2); Paul Finnegan (0-2), Ciarán Courtney, Michael Geehan (0-2). Subs: Andrew Burns (0-2 ), Stephen Courtney

BUNCRANA: Sean Parker; JP McKenna, Aedan Stokes (0-1), Conor Grant; William McLaughlin, Bruce Waldron, Odhran Doherty; Matthew Mulholland, Caolan McGonagle (0-1, '45'); Oisin O'Flaherty, Darach O'Connor (0-2), Ryan Bradley (0-1), Oisin Doherty, John Campbell (0-3,2f), Jack O'Loughlin (0-1). Subs: Noel McLaughlin, Ben Bradley, Ryan McElhinney.

REFEREE: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)

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