by Brendan O’ Neill
South West Antrim U14 Football League
St. Joseph’s Glenavy V St. Comgall’s Antrim
Going into this game the Glenavy team had unbeaten record and were determined to keep it that way. However they knew the Antrim team were no push overs and were going to give them a real physical battle. The team rotation policy of the Glenavy coaches say many players in unfamiliar positions and a few others rested but the coaches had great confidence in the players stepping up.
Five unanswered points two from Darragh Armstrong, two from Rory Nelson and the pick of the bunch from lightning quick Shay O’Neill, seemed to give the Glenavy men confidence but this was soon to change as the Antrim Full forward struck two quick goals and a point to level the game.
An excellently work move seen Conall Hanna fire the ball past the Antrim keeper to restore Glenavy’s lead. This was followed by a well taken point by Midfield giant Chris Beaumont.
A beautifully taken penalty by Matthew Lawler followed by another individual goal by the same player saw the half finish 4-5 to 2-1 in favour of the Chapel Road men.The Antrim team were not finished and started the second half with more determination and even more physicality. Changes made at half time for the Glenavy team saw Darragh the Dodger Doherty take up position between the stick where he was kept busy in the first 5 minutes, making two excellent saves and just failing to reach another powerful shot from the accurate boot of the Antrim 14 who had completed a hat-trick. However this was to be his last score as the Fighting Fit Finn Malley took up a man to man marking role snuffing out the Antrim. Antrim scored two more points to bring their final tally to a hard earned 3:3 but at this stage they seemed spent.
Glenavy seized the opportunity to run at the Antrim team moving the ball quickly through the ranks, holding on when under pressure and tackling tenaciously when the ball was lost. (skills taken straight from the Practice Ground) The lighting speed and awareness to the Timmy The Tank Hunnyford proved unstoppable and although not getting on the scoreboard himself he was involved in everything, from defence to attack. A goal and two points from Shay O’Neill, further points from Darragh Armstrong and Chris Beaumont and two more from Matthew The Mauler Lawler brought Glenavy’s Winning total to 5:12 to 3:3. An excellent win for the Glenavy men but one that they would be quick to admit was very hard fought for and not total reflective of the hard fought entertaining game.