Gaels stand tall to seal a final chapter
Burren 1-8 - Eastern Gaels 2-8
Debutants Eastern Gaels have powered into the Kukri Ulster Club Minor Football final after a tight battle with Down champions Burren, the Cavan titleholders edging through on a 2-8 to 1-8 scoreline.
The game was played in miserable conditions but Gaels managed to reach the decider against four-in-a-row chasing Watty Grahams from Glen in Derry.
After only five minutes, Gaels suffered a severe setback when Ruadhan McDonnell was black-carded and in the 45th minute midfield partner Thomas Galligan was stretchered off.
For the remainder of the game, Burren, 2-7 to 0-6 down at the time, battled bravely and were rewarded with an injury-time goal but ultimately it wasn't enough.
Gaels roared into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after seven minutes, the goal coming after a deflection from a Paul Leddy kick. Burren took time to get to grips with the situation but, over the closing 20 minutes of the first half, fought bravely.
Points in the 10th and 17th minutes from Ryan Traenor closed the gap a little but then Gaels' Thomas Galligan raced through to fire home and put his side 2-3 to 0-3 ahead 10 minutes from the break, at which point Gaels led 2-5 to 0-5.
They continued to look the more impressive side in the second half but Burren played some determined football and the loss of both big midfield men showed in Gaels' play and they were confined to just three more points.
Shane Murdock grabbed a goal in injury-time but it wasn't enough to stop Gaels reaching the final on a 2-8 to 1-8 scoreline.
Eastern Gaels: J Smith; B Lake (0-1), C Brady, J Halton; D Buckley (0-1), D Wilson, S Moynagh; T Galligan (1-0), R McDonnell; D Brady, P Leddy (1-1), K Galligan (0-2); O Pearson (0-3), R Fitzpatrick, P Donohoe. Subs: D Owens for T Galligan (44). Black card: R McDonnell (5), R Coyle on.
Burren: C Burns; P Hagan, P Kelly, C Fitzpatrick; S Fagan, C Cox, A Fitzpatrick; T Byrne, D O'Neill; R McGrath, K Murdock, S Murdock (1-0); D Murdock (0-1), R Traenor (0-6, 4f), L Kerr (0-1). Sub: R Fegan for A Fitzpatrick (21), S McArdle for L Kerr (50).
Referee: M McErlane (Ballinderry).