BRESLIN SHIELD SPONSORS
The destination of the Breslin Cup and Shield are down for decision this weekend and both finals throw up interesting pairings and look difficult to predict. In the Cup final, set for All Saints Ballymena on Sunday at 11.00am, Con Magee’s Glenravel take on Sean Stinson’s. Both sides sit mid-table in section 1 of the U16 league, Sean Stinson’s on 8 points from 9 starts while Glenravel are just a place behind them on 6 points from 8 starts when the league tables were published last week so little appears to separate them on league form.
In their semi-final games Sean Stinson’s perhaps took the bigger scalp when they defeated league leaders, St. James’ Aldergrove. The scores were tied on eight separate occasions in an intense but highly skilful game of football. Aldergrove battled superbly in the closing stages and had chances at the death to draw the match but Stinson’s and midfielder Oisin Doherty in particular turned the screw when it mattered the most. Aldergrove only managed one more score when they were reduced to 14 men but it was only in the last five minutes that Stinson’s opened any sort of meaningful advantage and scored five of the last six points to seal their spot in the Breslin Cup Final.
David McNicholl; James Lennon; Kevin O’Kane; Shane McGuigan; Ruairi McAleese; Ruairi McGuigan; Patrick Dougan; Oisin Doherty (0-6, 4 frees); Connor Marron; Conor Paul Crossey (0-4, 1 free); Ruairi Hagan (0-1); Dylan Hawksford; Aidan McAleese (0-1); John O’Kane (0-2); Jack McAleese.
In the other semi-final the young Con Magee’s were equally impressive in beating St. Mary’s Aghagallon. Glenravel booked their place in the final thanks mainly to their first half dominance which saw them go in at half time leading by 1-6 to 0-0. During the second half Agahallon got themselves back into the game but they had left themselves just too much to do and the home side steadied the ship in the final quarter to book a final spot against Sean Stinson’s.
Glenravel 1-10 Aghagallon 1-04
Glenravel were on top from the start and an early point from play by Sean McKay followed by one from a free from Rian Lennon gave them an early cushion. McKay hit his second in the sixth minute and Lennon followed suit two minutes later to put them four clear. Aghagallon were making very little impact on a solid Glenravel defence but though they had lots of possession it was a further thirteen minute before the home side raised their next flag from an Eoin Hynds free. Daragh Donaghy finished off a good move with a Glenravel point on 26 minutes before Sean McKay finished the half with a sweetly taken goal to give his team a 1-6 to 0-0 half time lead. Aghagallon fared a bit better in the second half but were unable to make any real impact on a Strong Glenravel side who will go into Sunday’s final with a lot of confidence. Both sides have put indifferent league form behind them and appear to be peaking at just the right time for Sunday’s final in Ballymena and there appears to be little between them.
Glenravel: Ruairi McCloskey, Declan McCloskey, Fintan Leech, Sean McKay, Eoin Hynds, Declan McAuley, Bobby Jack Carey, Christopher Laverty, Shane O’Boyle, Darragh Donaghy, Sean McCusker, Rian Lennon, Jude Scullion, Cathal Hynds, Callum Higgins.
Breslin Shield Semi-Final
Good Luck to the Stinson’s
The Shield final throws together another interesting pairing and looks equally hard to call. All Saints, Ballymena are playing their football in section 1 of the league while Sunday’s opponents ploy their trade in section 2. The Ballymena side have struggled in section 1 of the league and currently sit bottom of that section but they have saved their best for the knock-out Shield competition.
In the semi-final they travelled to Dunloy who are sitting top of section 2 and produced their best display of the season
Dunloy 3-04 All Saints 1-15
All Saints made all the early running, moving the ball round intelligently and were 6 points to no score up after 15 minutes and at this early stage of the contest they looked like running away with it. Dunloy weathered the early storm however and ever so slowly began to get a foothold in proceedings, finding the All Saints net twice to leave it level at half time 2-01 to 0-07.
Spurred on by this success Dunloy took the lead in the second half and still led the contest with 10 minutes remaining but the visitors finally regained the initiative and strong pressure resulted in them gaining a penalty, after a foul on Saint’s full-forward Conor O’Rawe.
The All Saints bench held their breath and Aidan Scullion held his nerve scoring against Dunloy goalkeeper Paudie McGilligan (who had looked unbeatable all evening), and kept his side in the game at times, to go a point up, This goal lifted the performance of All Saints’ and although Dunloy tried their best to come back, the Slemish Park side pulled away in the closing minutes to win by five.
For All Saints centre half back Conall O’Neill; both Matthew Corr and Jake White at midfield; and Oisin Connolly were best on the night but much may ride on whether Conor Stewart will be available for selection.
All Saints: Ryan Mark: Ronan McKillop, Rory McAllister, Eamon McDonnell: Conall Killough, Conall O’Neill, Kevin Brady: Jake White, Jack Agnew: Kieran O’Boyle, Oisin Connolly, Aidan Scullion: Charlie Metrustry, Conor O’Rawe, Ruairi Campbell.
In the other Shield semi-final St. Joseph’s Glenavy entertained St. Mary’s Rasharkin, both sides playing in section 2 and the Dreen side pushed them hard in an eight goal thriller.
Glenavy 5-10 Rasharkin 3-12
Glenavy emerged as victors in a thrilling Breslin Shield semi-final . Visitors Rasharkin opened smartly and went 2 points up in the opening five minutes but points from Feargal Henry and James Mulholland levelled the scoring before Feargal Henry put Glenavy a point ahead.
It was Rasharkin who were to enjoy the better of the exchanges during the next ten minutes as they hit 1-1 without reply and In what was turning into a great game of end to end football they should have gone further ahead but a great save from Glenavy keeper Tiarnan Lees denied the lads from Dreen with 19 minutes gone. The Chapel Hill side looked in a bit of trouble when they trailed 1-8 to 0-5 at half time .
Six down at the break the St. Mary’s looked to be in the driving seat but Glenavy started the second half on the offensive with Feargal Henry getting a goal in the first minute before following it up in the 35th minute with another goal and a point to leave the scores level at 1-9 to 2-6.
It was still anybody’s game as James Mulholland pointed in the 43rd minute to level the scores at 1-10 to 2-7. They finished strongly however and Callum Crighton, who had shone all night played in substitute Darragh Armstrong who scored a match changing goal. Feargal Henry followed with two more goals to stun Rasharkin and Glenavy went on to win by six points and book a place in Sunday’s final in Moneyglass.
Glenavy team: Tiernan Lees: Finn Stott, Jack McCann, Lorcan O’Neill: Cal Burke, Oliver Brankin (c),Matthew Magee: Chris Grant, Anthony Gallagher: Anthony O’Hare, Fergus Henry, Lorcan Nelson: James Mulholland, Paddy O’Leary, Callum Crighton. Subs: Connor Adams, Darragh Armstrong.
Scorers: F Henry 4-4, J Mulholland 0-3, D Armstrong 1-2 A O’Hare 0-1.
Again I’m going to sit on the fence in predicting a winner. Will the experience of playing in section 1 give All Saints the edge and will they be able to contain Glenavy’s scoring talisman Fergal Henry? Another good game looks in prospect and hopefully football will be the real winner.