by Terry Cormican
South West Antrim Laverty Cup Semi-Final
Glenavy 3.10 v 3.07 Dunloy
Cuchullian’s travelled to Glenavy as Laverty Cup holders but after an excellent game returned home empty handed. This game provided both sets of supporters some anxious moments as both sides fought for a win.
The visitors got the perfect start with a goal from the impressive Seaan Elliott after twenty seconds play. From the kick-out Jack Hill got possession and quickly passed to Thomas Gallagher who had the sides’ level with just a minute gone. The home side was getting the better ball around midfield and targeting Thomas Gallagher at full-forward. The exchanges between the full-forward and full-back were one of the highlights of the game. Malachi Doherty pointed a free to put his side in front before Pearse O’Neill stole forward and took a pass from Aodh O’Neill and rattled the Dunloy net to put his side four up.
With free flowing football from both sides scores were going to come and once again with a swift move from defence Seaan Elliott received the ball and gave the home keeper no chance with a bullet shot to the net. Thomas Gallagher pointed for the home side before the speedy Elliott got through for another goal to put his side one up but Glenavy’s Orin McGarry pointed a beauty to bring the sides level.
On twenty five minutes Declan Smith had Dunloy’s first point but Malachi Doherty brought the sides level when he pointed a free from an acute angle. With the home support behind them Glenavy began getting the better of their tight marking opponents and with a move that started from the home keeper Jake Nelson was carried on by Jack Hill who got the ball to Thomas Gallagher who coolly placed the ball beyond the visitors keeper. Thomas Gallagher and Jack Hill then added points to leave the halftime score Glenavy 3.06 v 3.01.
Now facing a seven point deficit the North Antrim side really put it up to the division one side. Scores were becoming harder to with both defences putting in an enormous amount of work on an extremely hot evening. Anthony Smith got on the scoreboard with a point quickly followed by a Thomas Gallagher point but Sean Elliott pointed to leave five between the sides.
St.Joseph’s were dealt a blow when the lost their influential midfielder to a black card but they responded well as Fergal Henry doubled his scoring when he took a point while under pressure. Cuchullian’s were now getting to grips with midfield and from two excellent possessions Declan Smith added points but Aaron McGarry stopped the rot with an excellent score. With time running out Dunloy threw everything into their attack which was blocked on several occasions by a resolute defence. Anthony nd Declan Smith did get through for points to leave a nail biting finish with the home side three up, and there was jubilation for the home fans as their young team reached the final for the first time in five years.