McAleer on Fire as Saints break losing streak with draw against Gort na Mona

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All Saints Paddy McAleer

Gort Na Mona 1-11 All Saints 2-8

County player Paddy McAleer was on fire as All Saints Ballymena ended their recent losing streak in Belfast on Sunday. Saints travelled to Gortnamona knowing that they had been consigned to a place in the bottom six, but they showed great fight in the second half to halt the run of four straight defeats and come away with a share of the spoils.

This game was very tight in the opening stages as both teams adjusted to the tight pitch but both managed to exchanges points in the opening eight minutes with Sean McVeigh opening the scoring for Saints with a long range effort before the home side levelled. The home side then got on top of the game and had Saints pegged back in their own half for long spells of the first half as they opened up a lead of 1-5 to 0-1 with 18 minutes played with the major coming from a penalty kick.  Saints were really struggling to get a foothold in the game and it took two close range frees from both Patrick McAleer and Emmet Killough cutting the deficit to five points.  On the stroke of half time Saints put together their best passage of play in the game when Sean McVeigh and Ciaran McGarry exchanged passes before the former slipped in Ciaran McLarnon, he after beating his man squared the ball unselfishly to Ciaran McGarry who palmed home to send the visitors in at the break only two points down.

The goal at the end of the first half should have spurred All Saints on but it was the Turf Lodge men who got the first score of the half straight from the throw in.  Two points from Patrick McAleer, one from a placed ball got Saints back to within a point, but again the home side stretched away as substitute Niall Enright showed his prowess in front of the post scoring two points to open up a three point lead once again.  Saints looked rattled once again and Gortnamona capitalised on this to give themselves a four point advantage going into the last quarter of the game.  Saints then were sparked into life when they got their second goal of the game when a shot from Brendan McDonnell looked to be dropping into the keepers hand but the alert Patrick McAleer rose above the keeper to find the net and make it a one point game.  McAleer was now a constant thorn in the Gorts side as minutes later he drew the game level with his fourth point of the game before team mate Connell Lemon broke clear only for his shot to rise above the bar to give his side the lead for the first time since the opening minutes.  The home side did not lie down and levelled the game again through Niall Enright with only three minutes on the clock.  The game could have gone either way now and All Saints looked to have snatched the win as the game went into stoppage time as Patrick McAleer weaved through the home defence before firing over with his left foot, but Gortnamona were not to be denied as they broke up the field and kept the ball well before working a scoring chance for Niall Enright who made no mistake to ensure the game finished level at 1-11 to 2-08.

Saints were left to rue a lacklustre first half performance as they failed to win for the fifth consecutive game, but they can take great positives from the game with Patrick McAleer finding his scoring boots hitting 1-5 on the day. Teenagers Brendan McDonnell and Rhys O’Mullan both performed well on their senior debuts and both will be hoping to get more game time as Saints try to put the disappointment of the first half of the season behind them after the split.









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