AN EXPERT DISPLAY OF MARKSMANSHIP from the Seán Mac Cumhaills midfielder Ciaran Matthewson spurred his side on to an opening day win in the championship over reigning holders Burt on Saturday evening in Mac Cumhaill Park.
Sean MacCumhaill’s 0-19 Burt 1-12
Conditions turned very wet midway through the first half but the unerring accuracy of Matthewson from frees was unhindered. Burt started the game the more dangerous of the sides and points from Kieran Brady, a free from Ronan McDermott and a fine score from Joe Boyle had the visitors 3 points up before the fifth minute.
Mac Cumhaill’s first score was to come from a finely struck 65’ from Matthewson but Dara Grant and Ronan McDermott, reliable on free duty all evening, would add another two scores to race out to a 4 point lead.
A long range shot from Mathewson would put score number two up for the home side and with points from Barry McGranaghan and Jamie De Ward the home side were warming to the contest.
Corner forward Grant once again made use of good work from the Burt side in possession to put point number 7 over for his side but it would be Mac Cumhaills who would go on to have a fine return of 4 unanswered scores to draw level.
Three points from Matthewson, 1 from play and 2 placed frees along with excellent scores from Chad McSorley tied proceedings. McDermott converted a superb side-line cut and also caused the Mac Cumhaill’s rear-guard some difficulties in the goalmouth area when there was a scramble for loose possession but the home side held tight.
However, this work was to be undone a few short moments later when patient build-up play from the visitors worked the ball into a dangerous area and despite the initial shot being blocked from Kevin Glenn, the Burt man reacted the quickest to raise a green flag.
Dara Grant, from play and Mathewson free, traded scores before half time and both sides went in at half time out of the heavy rain with the goal separating the two sides. The away team were 1-9 to 0-9 up at the break.
Mac Cumhaills came out the second half a team possessed and would hit 6 scores, 5 from Matthewson, and a score from Paddy Hannigan in a frenzied 10 mins of hurling to put the home side 3 points up before Burt could reply.
That reply came on 44 minutes when Ronan McDermott converted a placed ball however Burt had other chances from frees either side of this but failed to raise a much needed white flag.
Midway through the second half a point from play from Matthewson restored the lead to 3 and moments later Jamie De Ward’s finely executed run into the Burt goal area saw him get his second point of the evening.
Burt found their chances hard to get in the second half with Mac Cumhaills determined to see out the game with the win. Points from Joe Boyle and McDermott took the deficit down to 2 points and with less than 10 minutes remaining the game was in the balance once more.
A missed free from McDermott and 65’ from Boyle could have drawn the game level. A point from Fintan Griffin and a mammoth score from Matthewson well inside his own 65’ ensured it was Seán Mac Cumhaills who would take the 2 championship points on the night.
Seán Mac Cumhaills: Del Laverty, Anthony Patton, Justin McGhee, Conor Foy, Bernard McMenamin, Gavin Browne, Chad McSorley (0.1), Ciaran Matthewson (0.13, 8f, 2 65’), Conor Griffin, Jamie De Ward (0.2), Paddy Hannigan (0.1), Barry McGranaghan (0.1), Robbie Geoghegan, Fintan Griffin (0.1), Dean Hannigan. Subs: Dean O’Donnell for Justin McGhee, David White for Dean Hannigan
Burt: Paul Burns, Brandan McBride, Martin McGrath, Ciaran Bradley, Darren Gallagher, Christopher McDermott, Johnathan Downey, Joe Boyle (0.2), Kieran Brady (0.1), Oisin Kelly, Kevin Glenn (1.0), Eanna McLaughlin, Johnathan McGrath, Ronan McDermott (0.6, 6f), Dara Grant (0.3). Subs: Sean McBride for Johnathan McGrath
Referee: James Connors (St. Eunans)