SUB Conan McElduff belted over a late equalising point to preserve Carrickmore’s interest in the Senior Championship as they secured a 0-11 apiece draw with Edendork at Healy Park tonight in a high-octane quarter-final.
Typical of the resilience and character which is symptomatic of Carmen down through the decades, they refused to throw in the towel despite trailing by two points in the closing stages.
Martin Penrose swung over a 45m free to draw them to within one, before McElduff kept his nerve to bang over a brilliant leveller near the close.
There was still time on the clock for Edendork to almost nick it but Niall Morgan’s 45m free just dropped short into the grateful clutches of Carmen keeper Jack McCallan to ensure both teams must go again in a replay.
The sides were level seven times during an absorbing first half, with the likes of Tiarnan Murray and Martin Penrose catching the eye in attack for Carmen, and current Tyrone star Darren McCurry slotting over some lovely Edendork scores at the other end.
The St Malachy’s also went closest to hitting the back of the net, when midfielder Conn Kilpatrick cracked a venomous 20 yarder off the underside of the Carrickmore crossbar in the 23rd minute.
It also required a brilliant save from Edendork keeper Niall Morgan to deny Penrose a goal from point blank range as the action ensued at a breathless pace with the emphasis of both teams on open, expansive football.
The action was somewhat more scrappy on the resumption with scores harder to come by but it seemed that a couple of classy McCurry points would see St Malachy’s through to the last four, only for Carrickmore to dig deep late on.
Meanwhile in Friday night’s curtain raiser, the Rock progressed to their third Junior Championship Final in five seasons with a hard-fought 1-13 to 0-11 victory over Eskra.
Livewire corner forward Liam Nugent was the star of the show for the victors, registering nine points on the night, including eight sparkling efforts from open play.
Eskra got off to an excellent start with fine points from Shane Hackett and Niall Marlow, but when Enda Mallon then cracked home a super goal, it gave the Rock an advantage that they were never to relinquish.
They held a double scores lead, 1-7 to 0-5 at half-time and though Eskra to their credit kept chipping away in the second half (reducing the deficit to two points at one stage) Rock came on strong again in the closing straight with that man Nugent spearheading their attacking assault.
They will now meet the winners of the other Junior semi-final, Kildress or Killeeshil, in the County decider on Sunday October 6th.