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Redcastle edge out Greencastle in Ballybrack thriller 01.03.12
Jackie Crossan Premier Division

Greencastle...2
(Murphy 2)

Redcastle...3
(Murphy, Faulkner, Curran)

Report: Inishowen Independent.

Greencastle now look certain to face the drop back to the First Division after finishing on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline against local rivals Redcastle United following a pulsating clash at Chapel Lane on Sunday.
Eunan McDaid’s men came from behind twice before James Curran smashed in a vital late winner to lift Redcastle six points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining.
United took the lead after half an hour when talented striker Brendan Murphy fired in a stunning acrobatic volley for one of the best goals ever seen at Ballybrack.
The visiting supporters had hardly got their breath back when another Murphy, this time Danny, had lashed in a leveller for Greencastle after the Redcastle defence failed to deal with Jack Keys’ free-kick from the right.
Long-serving defender Cathal Faulkner then poked Redcastle into a second-half lead, latching onto Liam Davenport’s free-kick.
Within a minute Greencastle were level once more when lightning Danny Murphy added to his tally, skipping clear following Sean Cavanagh’s intelligent headed flick before sidefooting past McCole in the visitors’ goal.
With the game up for grabs in the final quarter it was James Curran who stepped up to the plate with one of Redcastle’s most vital goals of the season.
Around fifty supporters from Foyle Park who had made the trip six miles north celebrated a crucial win on the far touchline while Greencastle players and fans trudged home in the rain. They are now staring firmly down the barrel of a Division One return later this month.
John Logue will feel that his team just about deserved all three points in a feisty encounter that spilled over into pushing and shoving match near the end with both teams lucky not to receive a red card each after hands were raised in anger.
Greencastle though will feel a bit aggrieved that they left another game empty handed despite a pretty positive showing. In fact for long spells in both halves Greencastle looked the more threatening team with Danny Murphy playing his best game of the season, complimenting Sean Cavanagh and David Houston in attack.
Redcastle too have a talented Murphy and Brendan rarely puts in a bad shift for the cause. With Colm McLaughlin and Gavin McCauley anchoring centre midfield, they relied on wingers James Curran and Paul McGowan to provide occasional sparkles with veteran Terry McColgan leading the line up front.
A defender with a penchant for goals, Cathal Faulkner, as ever, was solid and his partnership with Seamus Doherty at the back is getting better by the match.
Sunday’s game provided a typical snapshot of Greencastle’s season: competitive for long periods but without any reward in the end.
Few teams in Inishowen could afford to lose players of the calibre of Michael Barr and Matthew Henry and hope to compete at the same level. And try as Greencastle might they have been unable to fill that vacuum.
The Foylesiders have a number of talented young players like players like Houston and McQuillan with the experience of Gill, Cavanagh and Jim Doherty and face a year of rebuilding in the First Division next season.
Sunday’s game began as it finished. End-to-end and impossible to predict. Greencastle midfielder Eunan Hegarty ran unchallenged before shooting wide from 25 yards. Minutes later Colm McLaughlin was off target for Redcastle from a similar distance before Brendan Murphy chested down superbly but mis-hit his shot through to home keeper Tom Houston.
Greencastle frontman Sean Cavanagh then headed a Charlie Gill free-kick wide before Redcastle created the game’s clearest opening.
Tom Houston was quickly off his line to brilliantly thwart Brendan Murphy after Terry McColgan’s astute touch but the ball ricocheted in the direction of Redcastle winger James Curran, who drilled over with the Greencastle keeper scurrying back and the goal gaping.
That near-miss sparked the Ballybrack men into life once more and Ryan McClenaghan brought a great save from Redcastle keeper McCole after a fantastic cross-field pass from David Houston.
Brendan Murphy then fired over from the edge of the area before McCole dived bravely at the feet of Sean McQuillan after a fine run through the centre by the Greencastle man.
As the match clock ticked to thirty minutes elapsed Redcastle made the breakthrough. James Curran found Brendan Murphy who saw a first shot well saved by Houston before he swivelled and fired in a quite sumptuous bicycle kick into the top corner. Murphy had been lucky that the ball came straight back at him but the way he reacted to guide it in on the volley was top drawer.
The visitors’ lead lasted less than a minute before Danny Murphy rifled in an equaliser from ten yards after the Redcastle defence failed to deal with Jack Keys’ long delivery.
Greencastle could have ended the half in front but Michael McCole made a great stop to thwart Murphy after Sean Cavanagh’s clipped pass.
The second-half was equally as exciting as the first but produced less clear cut opportunities.
Redcastle striker Terry McColgan drilled an early effort wide before McCole raced from his line to collect the ball with Murphy sniffing a Greencastle second.
With a little over an hour gone Redcastle hit the front again. Pushed forward for a free-kick, centre-half Cathal Faulkner swept in after the Greencastle defence was unable to clear Liam Davenport’s floated ball into the box.
Much to the dismay of the visiting bench, the home team were level again within sixty seconds. Racing clear onto a Sean Cavanagh headed, Danny Murphy kept his cool, confidently stroking past McCole from fifteen yards.
Redcastle were the better team for the final fifteen minutes with two Marty Byrne free-kicks well saved by Tom Houston before James Curran smashed in a winner from 20 yards after the mother of all scrambles on the edge of the Greencastle box. Desperate home defenders spurned three chances to clear before Curran rifled in through a crowd.
Greencastle almost snatched a late, late leveller but Danny Murphy’s header crashed off the post after Jack Keys’ cross.
The Ballybrack men now face a huge local derby against Moville Celtic this Sunday while Redcastle also face local rivals, Quigley’s Point in another key outing with United needing one more win to secure their Premier Division status.

Greencastle: Tom Houston, Jack Keys, Liam Kelly, Sean Cavanagh, Eunan Hegarty, Jim Doherty, Sean McQuillan, Charlie Gill, David Houston, Ryan McClenaghan, Danny Murphy. Subs: Kieran Diver, Kevin McLaughlin, Paddy McClenaghan.

Redcastle United: Michael McCole, Liam Davenport, Marty Byrne, Seamus Doherty, Cathal Faulkner, Gavin McCauley, James Curran, Colm McLaughlin, Brendan Murphy, Terry McColgan, Paul McGowan. Subs: Liam McLaughlin, Kevin Toner, Lee Mullan, Shane McGilloway.

Man of Match
For Greencastle Sean Cavanagh and David Houston caught the eye in attack while Sean McQuillan provided an occasional flash of excellence. Redcastle relied on another fine performance by Cathal Faulkner and Brendan Murphy, two players who would walk onto any team here. The award though goes to Greencastle forward Danny Murphy who was a handful all afternoon and scored two fine goals.

Key Moment
Hard to look past James Curran’s late winner as being the game’s most crucial moment. The young winger fired through a crowd to ensure three most vital points for John Logue’s men. Danny Murphy’s late header that crashed off Michael McCole’s post was also a pivotal second in a game when the outcome remained in doubt until the final whistle.

Ref Watch
Gerard O’Kane is an excellent referee. Was fair to both teams and let the action flow as much as possible. A number of players were lucky not to incur O’Kane’s wrath late on when hands were lifted in anger during an unsavoury melee. The man in the middle decided to keep his cards in his pocket however and signalled the end of the game a minute later.

For full coverage of all your weekend sport, read the Inishowen Independent.
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