Milford managed to preserve their status in the senior football as they soared to an impressive win over Burt at O’Donnell Park on Saturday.
Milford 2-9 Burt 0-07
By Shaun Keenan at O’Donnell Park
The win means that Milford has managed to maintain their senior championship status for 2019 while Burt, who have played senior football for the past two years, will drop down to intermediate next year.
It was an impressive performance by Milford, who played some attractive football in front of a large crowd in Letterkenny.
Scoring two goals through Kane Barrett and Cathal McGettigan, three free-kicks and seven scores from open play, Milford bossed the game from start to finish, hardly giving Burt a sniff.
Milford, who were tipped at the start of the year to be one of SFC’s quarter-finalist, opened the scoring after 12 seconds by the way of Luke Barrett, who found a fine opening before guiding a well-constructed point over.
They could’ve found themselves with a four-point lead following a feeble kick-out by Burt goalkeeper Calvin Gallagher but he eventually managed to deny Barrett with a superb save.
However, Burt didn’t waste any time in their response levelling the scoreline through Dara Grant, but it was their defence who was making life unmanageable at times.
Milford squandered a second opportunity at goal when Gary Merritt was clean through but his shot sailed wide of the post and another great opportunity for three points went begging.
After 11 minutes, Luke Barrett capitalised on a Burt mistake, collecting possession and kicking for another pristine point to restore Milford slender lead.
Two points from Joe Boyle, who was the shining light for Burt going forward, was enough to get a total of three points on the board for Manus McGowan’s side – but it was all in vain as Milford responded with two quickfire scores of their own.
Cathal McGettigan’s sumptuous shot from distance and a well-placed free-kick was enough to extend Milford’s lead to two points for the first time in the relegation playoff.
McGowan’s side was leaving a bunch of space in the middle of the park for Milford to operate with and they paid a price for their sloppiness.
Gary Merritt managed to wrestle off the incoming Burt defenders, showing great persistence, adding a brilliant score beyond Gallagher.
Boyle was just about keeping Burt in the game, he was prolific when they needed it most – keeping his nerve with another accurate free-kick seven minutes from half-time.
From open play, the Milford defence where excellent, making a number of important challenges to break down the Burt attack time and time again.
The first goal of the game should have come for Milford through McGettigan just before the interval – but his connection from a long ball punted into the box was put just wide – making it three chances at goal missed for Milford in the first period.
By the skin of their teeth, Milford squeezed over another point through Luke Barrett to give them a 0-07 to 0-04 lead at the break.
In the second half, Milford took real charge and their dominance was personified with two snappy goals and another point to start the half.
It essentially killed Burt’s hope of any sort of comeback – Cathal McGettigan opening up a four-point lead quite comfortably it must be said.
After 35 minutes, Milford scored a splendid first goal through Kane Barrett, who made amends for his earlier blunder, put through by an outrageous Dara Black flick and he made no mistake.
It went all downhill for Burt quite quickly, Milford adding their second and all but securing their status for senior football status for next year.
Milford’s talisman on the day was McGettigan, he was everywhere across the pitch – a superb performance scoring five points on the day – and he topped it off with a brilliantly worked goal and well-placed point from range.
It was everything Burt’s performance wasn’t – skilful and immaculate.
In the last ten minutes, a Dara Grant point and two Joe Boyle free kicks narrowed the scoreline by eight points but the game was all but finished.
An extra layer of gloss was added when Barrett inflicted more misery upon Burt in the final minute, adding a delightful score to Milford’s tally before the final whistle.
Milford: Caolan McGettigan; Ronan Docherty, Sean Black, Conor McNulty; Gary Merritt (0-1), Paddy Peoples, David Curley; Joey Cullen, Luke Barrett (0-2); Cathal McGettigan (1-5, 2f), Christopher Barrett, Kyle Black; Darragh Black (0-1), Kane Barrett (1-1,1f), Tony McNamee.
Subs: Ryan McMahon for K Black 45; James Doyle for C McNulty 54; Kieran Sheridan for Tony McNamee; Peter Curran for C Barrett 57.
Burt: Calvin Gallagher; Michael Doherty, Stephen O’Donnell, Michael McHugh; Sean McHugh, Ciaran Finn, Darren Gallagher; Stephen Gillespie, Ronan McDermott; Daire Grant (0-2), Tom Doherty, Joe Boyle(0-4, 3f); Mickey McCann, Ciaran Dowds, Conor Harkin.
Subs: Martin Donaghy for C Finn 37; Kevin Glynn for Michael McHugh 45; Sean O’Donnell for S Gillespie 52;
Refree: Michael McShane (Kilcar).Tags: