All County Football League Division One
St Galls 0-12 v 1 – 09 Portglenone
Nothing could separate these two teams at Milltown Row after an entertaining hours football on Sunday evening. The teams last met in a highly charged championship encounter in Corrigan Park last summer when the citymen emerged winners, albeit pushed to the limit on the day by the emerging South west side.
Both teams have a new management in place. Sean Kelly has taken over the St Galls reins, and Jude Donnelly is at the helm for Casements. Ironically the sides meet once again in the preliminary round of this year’s championship and both these wily characters had more than one eye on that.
The early exchanges were evenly rewarded with points from St Galls Niall O Neill, Mickey Pollock and Andy Mc Clean, these being matched with minors from Gerard Mc Aleese (two) and Corey Mc Laughlin. The latter caught the eye several times, noticeably when he fetched high above all others and delivered an inch perfect forty yard pass to bustling Dermot Mc Aleese who despatched the ball past St Galls custodian Chris Kerr for an excellent goal, helping to push Casements to a four point lead at the short whistle.
Sean Kelly was forced to dig a bit deeper, and responded by introducing Ciaran Mc Gourty, and Sean Burke. The effect was noticeable. Brendan Bradley had been well curtailed throughout by Ronan Delargy, but the county man did keep the scoreboard ticking over with four well taken free kicks, as the home side reduced the deficit. Unfortunately for Portglenone the normally reliable Paddy Kelly was off the mark too many times from his placed ball efforts, and in the end this was a major difference between the sides.
With a quarter to go Kevin Niblock entered the fray, but his influence was curtailed by impressive defending from Casements full back Aidan Mc Kee, but it was an indication that Sean Kelly was digging deep to get something from the match as it entered its final conclusion, with Jude Donnelly replying by throwing Mark Mc Aleese into action. The hits were a bit harder and referee John Moran was busy trying to keep a lid on the matter, with Niall Delargy and Mickey Pollock having a non stop duel of their own. Terry O Neill lifted the home support when he stuck over a point near the end to put St Galls in front for the first time but with a minute left Paddy Kelly redeemed himself by thumping over a sixty yard free from his hands to level matters up once again.