SFC: Ramor end 24-year wait for final berth

September 24, 2016

Lavey's Gerard Smith and Damien Barkey of Ramor have a tussle for possession in the SFC semi-final at Breffni Park

Ramor United 2-10
Lavey 1-10

Ramor United stayed on course for their first senior championship title in 24 years tonight as they held off Lavey's brave bid at Kingspan Breffni Park.

The Virginia men never trailed in this full-blooded semi-final clash, finding the net after seven minutes through Jack Brady and hitting it again via Kevin Mulvany five minutes before half-time to lead by four at the break.

Chris Conroy (1-3) was a large part of the reason why Lavey were still in contention at the start of the second-half and they lived on the edge with goal chances going by the wayside for their opponents throughout the second-half.

In fact, Ramor should have been out of sight come the final quarter but Kevin McDonnell's men got inspired by a hat-trick of points from midfielder Paul Gilcreest and made a late assault which very nearly saw them snatch a draw at the death, but Ramor instead held on for a final date with neighbours Castlerahan on October 9th.

Lavey were fortunate to avoid a disastrous start which saw Aaron Brady tipping the ball over his own crossbar as James Brady looked to fashion an early goal for Micheál McDermott's charges.

Brothers James and Jack Brady sent over points to have the town side up by three after five minutes and although Gerard Brady came up with a brilliant response for Lavey they'd end up conceding that early goal which had them facing an uphill battle.

Some good work from Stephen Monaghan around the centre left possession with Adrian Cole and he fed Jack Brady off his shoulder for the Cavan forward to take off from the right half-forward position and smash a brilliant finish beyond 'Lavey keeper Conor Martin.

To their credit, the New Inns men recovered well with Ray Cullivan's fine point being backed up by a Chris Conroy goal which saw the corner-forward fisting Shane Tierney's short effort past Aaron Farrelly.

Conor Bradley (free) and Cathal Maguire restored Ramor's three-point advantage but the game really should have been all square by the 17th minute when Tierney had the opportunity for his side's second goal but somehow sent a four-yard effort wide off the outside of the post.

It was a let off for Ramor and they produced some brilliant patient build-up play to supply Mark Magee for their sixth point of the night, which Cullivan cancelled out.

The favourites landed another hammer blow five minutes from the break, as James McEnroe found space down the right flank and crossed with a fist-pass to Mulvany and Ramor's no 15 made no mistake in dispatching past Martin.

Two Conroy frees closed the half at 2-6 to 1-5 and Ramor should have had their third goal in opening seconds of the resumption but instead had a mis-placed effort from Cole at full-forward.

Ramor boss McDermott sent on Simon Cadden - goal hero from their quarter-final win over Kingscourt - and Killian Maguire for the start of the second-half and the latter paid immediate dividends with a long range point three minutes in.

Gilcreest sailed over a gem in response but Lavey were still living dangerously and perhaps would have been shut out but for Cole having another goal effort diverted over by Martin's finger tips.

James Brady - Ramor's livewire in the corner - upped his side's advantage to six on 42 minutes but the bad news was they'd lose centre-back Brian O'Connell to a black card three minutes afterwards.

Having struck five wides over the third quarter, Lavey found their scoring touch again with the superb Gilcreest landing sorely needed back-to-back points prior to a Conroy free which left the margin at only three with 10 minutes to go.

Somerville fisted over to give the men from Dolan Park some breathing space again and the closing stages wouldn't have been as tense had Cole not been smothered so quickly by Martin just as the Ramor full-forward pulled the trigger.

Darren Jordan finished over a wonderful team move by Lavey a minute from regulation to ensure what must have been five unbearable minutes of injury-time for both sets of supporters.

The black and whites bombarded the Ramor goal until the very end and came agonisingly close to finding the net with the game's last effort, but it flew just wide of Farrelly's far post as the Virginia men held on for a decider with their neighbours on October 9th.

Ramor United: Aaron Farrelly; Micheál Smart, Damien Barkey, James McEnroe; Mark Magee (0-1), Brian O'Connell, Eoin Somerville (0-1); Stephen Monaghan, Shane Gaffney; Cathal Maguire (0-1), Conor Bradley (0-1, 1f), Jack Brady (1-1); James Brady (0-3), Adrian Cole (0-1), Kevin Mulvany (1-0). Subs: Killian Maguire (0-1) for S Monaghan (HT, inj), Simon Cadden for K Mulvany (HT), Adam O'Connell for B O'Connell (47mins, b/c), Jack Doyle for A Cole (56), James Bradley for James Brady (60).

Lavey: Conor Martin; Darren Monaghan, Fergal Smith, Joey Jordan; Stephen Jordan, Aaron Smith, Gerard Smith (0-1); Ray Cullivan (0-2), Paul Gilcreest (0-3); Darren Jordan (0-1), Finbar Jordan, Darragh Conaty; Shane Tierney, Karl Duke, Chris Conroy (1-3, 3f). Sub: Ollie Smith for D Conaty (55mins).

Ref: Padraig Sheridan (Ballymachugh)

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