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Ulster Club Championship: Dawson demands more as bigger battles lie ahead for Burren

By John Campbell

Burren 1-12 Coleraine 0-5: There is no substitute for experience. Surprise Derry champions Coleraine Eoghan Rua discovered this to their cost in the demanding Ulster Club championship arena yesterday when St Mary’s Burren carried too much power, panache and penetration in a quarter-final tie.

They may still be big fishes in the Derry pond, but the Ulster series waters tend to be more turbulent and Coleraine’s physical shortcomings and inability to breach a coherent Burren defence with any regularity on an immaculate surface at Pairc Esler Newry contributed to their short-term stay in the competition.

Burren manager Frank Dawson was cautious in dispensing praise afterwards and perhaps understandably so given that Crossmaglen Rangers, already favourites for the provincial crown, will now confront his charges in next Sunday’s semi-final at Casement Park.

“While I felt that winning the Down championship title for the first time in 13 years would help to give this present Burren side extra confidence going into the Ulster Championship, when you are taking on Crossmaglen you are facing a side steeped in tradition,” said Dawson.

“I’m pleased things worked out against Coleraine, but there are still areas of our game that we can improve on and hopefully we will do that next Sunday.”

Coleraine confined their most cohesive effort to the first-half. With Niall Holly and Barry McGoldrick providing the driving force they plundered a 0-3 to 0-1 lead before Burren found their bearings.

When they did, the impressive McGovern cousins Eamon and Conal each bagged a brace of scores with Sean Murdock piloting over a free to complement his earlier score from play.

That left the Down champions with a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage at half-time before the wheels came off the north-west team wagon.

A litany of errors on their part helped to smooth the path for Burren in the third quarter and when Eamon McGovern landed two more scores with James McGovern and Murdock also on target, Burren ascended to a rather higher plateau.

Declan Rooney was a tower of strength in the engine-room, Daniel McCartan was majestic at full-back and Kevin McKernan alleviated danger time and time again as Burren’s three senior citizens stamped their imprint forcibly on the proceedings.

And when Sean Murdock drilled in the only goal of the game in the 55th minute this merely emphasised Burren’s total dominance and diminished the impact of McGovern’s dismissal in the 58th minute.

“It’s great to be going into an Ulster semi-final,” added Dawson.

Burren: C Murdock (0-1, free); Ciaran McGovern, D McCartan, R McGovern; K McKernan, Chris McGovern, G McCartan; A Higgins, D Rooney; Conal McGovern (0-2), J McGovern (0-1), E McGovern (0-4); S Murdock (1-3, 0-2 frees), E Toner (0-1), A McArdle. Subs: Ryan McGovern for Chris McGovern (half-time), Eoin McCartan for S Murdock (59 mins). Yellow cards: S Murdock (1 min), Toner (12 mins), Eamon McGovern (21), Rooney (55). Red card: J McGovern (58 mins).

Coleraine: R McGeough; A Rafferty, C Mullan, C Trolan; C Lenehan, B McGoldrick (0-4, 0-3 frees), M Mearns; S P Henry, N Holly; R Carey, S L McGoldrick, D Mullan; Ciaran McGoldrick (0-1), Colm McGoldrick, G Bradley. Subs; M McTaggart for Lenehan (Half-time), P Daly for Henry (47 mins), H casey for Bradley (49 mins). Yellow cards: B McGoldrick (20 mins), Trolan (28 mins).

Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan).

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