Desertmartin will meet Dolans in the final of this year's Junior Football Championship.
Junior Semi Final
IT will be back-to-back finals for Desertmartin as they dismissed the challenge of Craigbane at
Ballinascreen on Saturday. They now take on surprise team Dolan’s in the final.
In a first half that incubated a slow-burning, physical encounter, Desertmartin probed at a hard-hitting Craigbane screen but managed to snipe three points before the first water break.
By half time the holders had stretched their lead to six points, but looked already home and dry, and so it proved as they cantered off out of sight in the second half.
Although Craigbane started the second period brightly, the Desertmartin waves continued to come at them and by the time Eunan McElhennon netted his 42nd minute goal, they led by ten points.
St Joseph's had two men dismissed in the final quarter as the south Derry side cruised into their second junior final within the same calendar year.
The game's early stages were marked by lateral hand passing as the teams settled into their formations, the positioning of which looked ominous for Craigbane.
Brian Rainey and Gregory McGovern decamped to their respective sweeper roles as Desertmartin set
their attacking line outside the Craigbane 45 and looked for openings.
Their first one arrived on three minutes when former county minor Lachlan Murray cut in from the left and fired over from distance to break the deadlock.
Another bout of keep-ball followed, punctuated only by Craigbane fouls, with a number in quick
succession from John Kerlin drawing howls of protest from the Desertmartin bench.
Half back Ryan McEldowney's incisive run through the St Joseph's defence resulted in Desertmartin's
second point, before Lachlan Murray wriggled into his space to make it 0-3 to 0-0 at the water break.
It took a further four minutes following the restart for the scoreboard to be troubled, Lee Moore
shimmying inside and pointing wide on the left flank on 20 minutes.
Lachlan Murray provided an immediate response for the holders, before a foul on a marauding Eunan
McElhennon allowed Gavin McGreevey to slot a free to extend the lead to four points.
McElhennon cut through again on 27 minutes, this time halted by a huge hit from the Craigbane defence, but referee Sean Curran allowed play to continue and Oran Kelly pointed the advantage.
The game's first yellow card for Conor McLaughlin drew ironic cheers from the Desertmartin line, before Enda McGuckin rounded off the first half scoring with a neat 31st minute point.
Craigbane made three changes at the break, with Noel Reilly, Cahir O'Kane and Oisín McCloskey
coming in, and started the second half well with point from a Lee Moore free wide on the left.
It was quickly cancelled out as Gavin McGreevey finished another pacey Desertmartin attack, but a long distance effort from Niall Cartin on 33 minutes closed the gap to five points.
Craigbane then had a big opportunity to leave just one score between the sides on 36 minutes.
A high ball landed in the arms of Lee Moore on the edge of the square, but a diving block from corner
back Conor Monaghan saw the ball out for a 45.
The kick allowed St Joseph's another go, as the scuffed effort again fell to Moore, who flashed a shot
narrowly wide of Chrissy Scullion's posts.
That, though, was as good as it got for Craigbane. Desertmartin added another two points in response; an Enda McGuckin free and Lachlan Murray's third of the afternoon.
They then hit St Joseph's with a piece of individual brilliance that sealed the contest on 42 minutes.
Eunan McElhennon picked the ball up on his own 45, before pressing the throttle, gliding and jinking past defenders for 70-odd yards and rolling the ball coolly past Paul Sharkey into the Craigbane net.
Another McGreevey free left Desertmartin leading 1-11 to 0-3 at the water break, and the champions
followed the restart with a quick point from substitute Declan Murray to extend the lead.
A 52nd minute Lee Moore effort was scrubbed out within 60 seconds by another score from Eunan
McElhennon and a Lachlan Murray free, before Craigbane's only scoring threat was sent off.
An exchange between Lee Moore and a Desertmartin defender left the latter on the ground holding his face, and the former making his way off the pitch towards the dug out.
After consultation with his linesman, Sean Curran issued a red card to Moore, by this stage sat in the
Craigbane dug out.
Moore was joined just minutes later by half time substitute Cahir O'Kane, who was shown a second
yellow in the dying seconds of the game.
Tensions threatened to boil over on the sounding of the final whistle, with a number of players
expressing forthright opinions in the middle of the pitch.
Desertmartin though, were wise to usher their players away from any disagreement, and walked off a
wet Dean McGlinchey Park full value for their 13-point win.
A late injury to corner back Ryan McGuckin may be the only blemish on an otherwise clinical,
Sean Dolan's await the champions in the final, as Desertmartin bid for back-to-back junior championship titles and the opportunity of a tilt at the Ulster championship.
DESERTMARTIN: Chrissy Scullion, Ryan McGuckin, Conor Shiels, Conor Monaghan, Eunan
McElhennon (1-2), Dermot Breen, Ryan McEldowney (0-1), Oran Kelly (0-1), Paul McGovern, Gavin
Donnelly, Aidy Trainor, Enda McGuckin (0-2, 0-1f), Gavin McGreevey (0-3, 0-2f), Lachlan Murray (0-5, 0-2f), Gregory McGovern.
SUBS: Ryan Henry for Enda McGuckin (45), Declan Murray for Oran Kelly (45), Paul McCrystal for
Lachlan Murray (blood sub – 48), Paul McCrystal for Gavin McGreevey (50), Ryan McElhennon for Ryan McGuckin (55).
CRAIGBANE: Paul Sharkey, Oisín O'Donnell, Rory Moore, Naoise Ó Mianáin, David Lowry, Adrian
Devine, Conor McLaughlin, Jude Óg Moore, John Kerlin, Niall Feeney, Christopher Lowry, Fearghal
Mortimer, Niall Cartin (0-1), Lee Moore (0-3, 0-1f), Brian Rainey.
SUBS: Noel Reilly for John Kerlin (HT), Oisín McCloskey for Adrian Devine (HT), Cahir O'Kane for Niall
Feeney (HT), Ryan Mortimer for David Lowry (36), Fintan Lynch for Niall Cartin (47)
REF: Sean Curran (Faughanvale)