Kelly Stone Ballymoney Laverty Cup Semi Final
All Saints Ballymena 4-12 Sean Stinsons 0-9
By Brendan McTaggart
All-Saints progressed to the Laverty Cup Final with a 15 point victory over Sean Stinsons on Tuesday evening. Five points separated the sides at the short whistle but the Ballymena men stepped up another gear at the restart. A ten minute hat trick from Bailey McNeill, helping All Saints to score 3-2 in the same time was met with just a single white flag from Sean Stinsons and the Ballymena side were in cruise control for the final quarter.
Sean Stinsons started the match brightly and through Paddy Graffin and Ronan Kelly scored the first two points of the match inside three minutes of the first whistle. A long range point from All Saints midfielder Ryan McGarry got his side off and running but two further scored from Kelly (one free) gave the home side a three point advantage by the tenth minute.
All Saints kept in touch with the accurate free taking of Lorenso Dawkins and they had taken the lead by the 20th minute thanks to the Ballymena half forward. Dawkins scoring four points unanswered, three from placed ball.
The first sniff of a major came after 21 minutes, Kavan Kennan twice denied by Patrick Dougan from close range but the All Saints finished the half superbly. Jamie McLarnon scored his first free of the match to reduce the deficit to the minimum but 1-2 in the closing stages from All Saints, the goal coming from Cory Little, put the Ballymena men into a strong position for the second half.
Ten Minute Hat-Trick
It was a close and competitive first half with All Saints only pulling away in the closing stages, after the restart the visitors turned the screw and were clinical in front of the posts with Bailey McNeill doing the damage. A Dawkins free from wide on the left was dropping short but McNeill timed his leap to perfection and punched the ball to the back of the net after three second half minutes. His second goal came under similar circumstances, this time a long ball from deep and McNeill jumped between Dougan and Ruairi McGuigan to punch the ball into the Stinsons net for his second and All Saints third goal. His hat-trick was complete in the 42nd minute when he pounced on a loose ball after Dougan denied Conor Stewart. McNeill’s first effort was blocked but while lying on the turf, he managed to squeeze the ball over the line.
It was ten minutes that took the game away from Sean Stinsons as All Saints controlled the remainder of the game. The home side never lay down and in Oisin Doherty and Ronan Kelly they always posed a threat but All Saints were too strong all over the pitch, the midfield duo of Kavan Keenan and Ryan McGarry in particular impressing while sweeper Shea O’Brien and McNeill were also standout performers.
They now progress to the Final where they will meet Glenavy with the St Joseph’s men defeating last year’s Laverty Cup winners Dunloy in Tuesday’s other Semi-Final. Leading by five points at the half way point, 3-6 to 3-1 and despite a better showing in the second half, the Cuchullains lost their grip on the Cup with Glenavy running out winners by a score line of 3-10 to 3-7. Thomas and Anthony Gallagher shinning for the victors while Seann Elliott’s first half hat-trick was in vain for the Cuchullains with Callum Scullion also impressing in midfield.
Aaron Montgomery; Matthew Downey; Cormac Lennon; Padhraig Magill; Eoin Walsh; Rhys O’Mullan; Ryan McKennna; Kavan Keenan; Ryan McGarry (0-2); Lorenso Dawkins (0-6, 5 frees); Cory Little (1-3); Conor Stewart (0-1); Bailey McNeill (3-00); Shea O’Brien; Rían McCann
Patrick Dougan; Christie Convery; Brian Lewis; Cormac Mooney; Ryan Convery; Declan Dobbin; Harry Lennon; Ferghal O’Kane; Paul McAleese; Oisin Doherty; Ciaran Lynch; Paddy Graffin (0-1); Conor-Paul Crossey; Ronan Kelly (0-4, 1 free); James McLarnon (0-4, 3 frees)
Referee: Paul Burns (St Comgalls)