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McGoldrick sparkles to lead Coleraine to glory

Newry Shamrocks 0-11 Coleraine 1-16

Sean Leo McGoldrick
Sean Leo McGoldrick

By Liam Tunney

A Sean Leo McGoldrick-inspired Eoghan Rua saw off the determined challenge of Newry Shamrocks to seal the Ulster JHC title on Saturday afternoon in Dungannon.

The centre-forward hit 0-11 of his side's total in an irresistible performance that will no doubt have piqued the interest of Derry senior manager John McEvoy as he looks to finalise his squad for the 2020 season.

Despite being reduced to 14 men early in the second half, the Shamrocks rallied to reduce the gap to just three points but composed game management in the closing stages saw Eoghan Rua hit a further 1-2 to ensure the Ulster JHC title returned to the Bannside after a four-year hiatus.

Artie McGuinness traded early scores with Niall Holly and Ruairi Mooney as both teams engaged in a full-blooded opening period before Conor McPolin gave his side an unlikely lead with an 11th-minute free.

McGoldrick's first of the day levelled matters before the Eoghan Rua talisman hit a further brace to open up a two-point lead, but Newry reeled them in once again as points from McPolin and Eoin McGuinness saw them restore parity.

The game continued to ebb and flow and McGoldrick traded points with McPolin, but an excellent Ronan Sheehan save at the feet of Mooney proved the catalyst for a five-minute period in which Eoghan Rua strengthened their hold on the game.

A further Sean Leo McGoldrick brace and points from Dara McGoldrick and Tomas Magee left the shell-shocked Down champions trailing by four at the break having gone toe-to-toe with the Oak Leaf men for 25 minutes of the opening half.

The Shamrocks rolled the dice by moving McGuinness to full-forward at the start of the half, but their plans were in tatters when the Armagh forward was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Barry McGoldrick.

The card came between a McGoldrick brace that left the Derry men with a commanding 0-12 to 0-6 lead, but Newry adjusted well to being reduced to 14 men and a neat Niall Lennon point was followed by an Artie McGuinness brace as the underdogs cut the deficit to just three points with seven minutes to play.

With the threat of a grandstand finish in the air, Eoghan Rua remained composed and displayed solid game management to finish the job. After Mooney and Sean Campbell traded points, Sean Leo hit two of his own, the second a superb finish under pressure from the left.

Dara Mooney added the final flourish by latching onto brother Ruairi's pass, rounding Ronan Sheehan and rolling the ball home to start the celebrations.

After the Derry champions celebrate their win, attention will turn to an All-Ireland quarter-final meeting with John Mitchel's of Birmingham as they look to go one better than their 2016 All-Ireland final defeat to Glenmore of Kilkenny.

Eoghan Rua scorers: Sean Leo McGoldrick (0-04, 0-05f, 0-02 - 65s), Dara Mooney (1-00), Ruairi Mooney (0-02), Tomas Magee (0-01), Niall Holly (0-01), Dara McGoldrick (0-01).

Newry Shamrocks scorers: Artie McGuinness (0-03f, 0-02 - 65s), Conor McPolin (0-03f), Sean Campbell (0-01f), Niall Lennon (0-01), Eoin McGuinness (0-01).

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