All County Football League Division 1
St. Teresa’s 2-13 Casement’s 2-10
Casement’s Portglenone travelled to Belfast tonight knowing that a win would probably secure them a place in the top six when the league splits after Sunday’s round of games but they suffered a three point defeat at the hands of a determined St. Teresa’s side who climb two places up the table by virtue of this win and are now just a point behind the South West side.
It started well enough for the visitors who took the lead after five minutes when Fergal O’Kane set up Niall Delargy for a simple tap in goal but three minutes later St. Teresa’s Darren McCann raced through the heart of the Portglenone defence to fire past Ryan O’Neill and give his side a lead they were never to lose.
The early exchanges were fairly even with Niall McKeever making a number of excellent marks and the visitors did create a number of promising attacks but were unable to produce the necessary finish, often too elaborate in their play.
St. Teresa’s on the other hand were playing a much more direct brand of football with Aaron Thompson causing massive problems with his power and strength on the edge of the square and it was Thompson who struck the Glen Road side’s second goal in the 15th minute to put them very much in the driving seat.
By half time St. Teresa’s led by 2-6 to 1-3 with Anton Taylor and John Mallon getting two apiece and the other two coming from the impressive Thompson. Paddy Kelly replied from two pointed frees for Casement’s Niall Kelly getting their third on 30 minutes and at this stage the visitors looked to have a lot to do if they were to turn this one around.
Portglenone began the second half with Niall McKeever now positioned on the edge of the square and they opened brightly enough when Cory McLaughlin sent over in the 4th minute but this score was quickly cancelled out as John Mallon replied from a 6th minute free.
Conor Mallon extended the St. Teresa’s lead before Niall Kelly responded from an 8th minute free following a foul on Niall McKeever. McKeever was now proving the focal point of the Casement’s attack and the visitors were launching high balls into the big number 14 who was fielding nearly everything that came his way but was then crowded out often at the expense of a free.
And on each occasion Niall Kelly stepped up to convert as Portglenone attempted to eat into the St. Teresa’s lead but the home side were always able to find a response with John Mallon, Anton Taylor and Aaron Thompson on target at the other end.
The visitors cause wasn’t helped by a number of injuries and particularly one to debutant, Fergal O’Kane and another to Cory McLaughlin who was starting to have an influence around midfield and had made a couple of excellent catches but as the Ports began to apply a bit of sustained pressure for the first time things threatened to boil over.
St. Teresa’s soaked up the pressure and with two minutes of normal time remaining they were handed the opportunity to put the contest to bed when they were awarded a penalty but Brendan Bennett’s spot kick sailed over the bar for a point.
Still this score put the Glen Road side seven in front and they began to play possession football but there was still a considerable amount of stoppage time left as Portglenone came with a late surge with Michael Hagan pointing in the 32nd minute and when Niall McKeever bundled the ball over the line in the 35th minute there was just three between the sides.
Unfortunately McKeever clashed with St. Teresa’s keeper Conall Hamill in an over exuberant celebration and after consulting with his umpires referee Brendan Toland issued him with a red card. The final minutes saw St. Teresa’s manage possession and run down the clock and this win now sees them move above Aldergrove and Rossa and into 8th place in the table.
This Sunday’s fixtures in the final round of games before the split take on extra significance with Portglenone travelling to Aldergrove, Aghagallon making their way to Shaw’s Road to take on Rossa and St. Teresa’s facing the most difficult of the three when they travel to Toome to meet the league leaders, Erin’s Own.
A win for Portglenone (By my calculations) would still ensure them the sixth spot by virtue of their head to head win over Aghagallon. Should the Casement’s lose and Aghagallon win then they would secure the coveted sixth spot but a defeat for both and a win for St. Teresa’s would see the Glen Road side in pole position.
St. Teresa’s: Conall Hamill: Ryan Mallon, Sean Devine, Matthew Mallon: Eoin Gault, Colm McGoldrick, Eoghan Hamill: Darren McCann, Stephen Carey: Brendan Bennett, John Mallon, Conor Mallon: Niall McCann, Anton Taylor, Aaron Thompson. Subs: Colm McGoldrick for Eoghan Hamill.
Portglenone: Ryan O’Neill: Ryan Convery, Ronan Delargy, Michael Kelly: Shane Delargy, Mark McAleese, Michael Kelly: Corey McLaughlin, Fergal O’Kane: Michael Hagan, Niall Delargy, Aidan Kearney: Kieron McKenna, Niall McKeever, Paddy Kelly. Subs: Ronan Kelly for Fergal O’Kane, Mark Graham for Cory McLaughlin, Niall Kelly for A Another
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lamh Dearg)