Ahoghill Still Hanging in There

ACFLDivision 1PJ O'Connell who's late point earned Ahoghill a share of the spoils against St. Teresa's.JPG
Despite predictions of relegation by some pundits St. Mary’s Ahoghill are still hanging in there with hopes of survival in Division 1 and they certainly have shown in recent weeks that they won’t go down without a fight. Somewhat unfortunate to lose by a point to bottom club, St. Paul’s on Sunday they were again made to battle all the way on Wednesday night when St. Teresa’s visited Clooney.
Points from Donal Graham and Dan O’Neill in response to similar scores from Liam Gault and Matthew Mallon for St. Teresa’s had the sides level as they battled for supremacy on a surface made treacherous by the heavy rain that fell a couple of hours before throw in.
Despite the conditions both teams were giving it everything as the visitors fought to hold on to their top spot in section 2 of the league but any notions they may have held of an easy night in Ahoghill were soon dispelled as St. Mary’s battled hard for every ball.
The Glen Road side moved ahead with a point from Eoin Gault in the 14th minute but Ahoghill were back on level terms, two minutes later when Gerard Graham split the uprights. Scores were hard to come by as stout defending by both defences coupled with the difficult conditions curtailed clear cut opportunities.
The visitors edged ahead once more through Niall McCann but Fionnbar O’Neill responded with a good point for St. Mary’s and at half time the teams were tied at 0-4 each with all still to play for in the second half
Ahoghill were first out of the starting blocks on the restart when Neil ‘Boris’ O’Neill sent over a great point in the opening minute but the visitors were quick to reply when Paul McGoldrick responded at the other end with two minutes of the new half gone.
It was end to end stuff as the wet and cold supporters of both sides warmed to the action with Eamon Brady for St. Mary’s and Eoin Gault exchanging further points to leave the sides level once more before the home side hit a purple patch that suggested they were taking control.
Points from Thomas McGlone and Gerard Graham saw them move two clear after 36 minutes but they were unable to add to that lead as the visitors soaked up the pressure before hitting back with points from Mallon and Gault to square the contest once more.
Things got even worse for the Clooney side when John Mallon put St. Teresa’s ahead with time almost up but Ahoghill showed their undoubted fighting spirit as they came back to gain a share of the spoils with a PJ O’Connell point in injury time to keep their Division 1 hopes alive.
This draw leaves the Ahoghill side level on eight points with St. James’ Aldergrove but the Crumlin side have played a game less with St. Paul’s, who gained a point against Rossa on Wednesday night, a point further back.
St. Mary’s face Rossa next Wednesday night in Clooney and if they can get something from that game then their fate might well be sealed when they travel to Crumlin to face Aldergrove ten days later.
Aldergrove themselves face a tough visit to Portglenone on Monday week and ironically St. Mary’s biggest rivals could do them a massive favour while St. Paul’s could yet climb of bottom spot if they were to gain a win over St. James two days later.
Whatever the positions of these sides at present the ACFL Division 1 looks like going right down to the wire with Cargin topping the tables on 23 points while their neighbours Creggan sit closely behind on 22 points and St. Galls ready to pounce as they have come with a great run on 21 points.
At the other end it looks like any two from three with St. Paul’s, Ahoghill and St. James looking like providing the two from three that will make the drop but Casements could yet get pulled into the relegation dog fight but should gain the necessary points to keep them


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