Saints Edge Through in Epic Seven Goal Thriller

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Breslin Shield Final

All Saints 4-13  Glenavy 3-15

All Saints Ballymena are this year’s Breslin Shield Winners. In a titanic battle in Moneyglass on Sunday evening they hung on to deny a brave Glenavy in a game that had more twists and turns than a corkscrew.

The Ballymena side looked like running away with the contest early on as they raced into a 3-3 to 0-2 lead and their supporters might have been forgiven for thinking the game was already over at this stage but the Chapel Hill side staged a remarkable come-back to reel in the All Saints lead.

All Saints took control from the throw in and points from Jake White and Ruairi Campbell in response to one from Fergal Henry saw them hit the front after seven minutes play. Jake White then raced through again before setting up Campbell for the opening goal of the game and from the resulting kick-out the same player intercepted before racing in for a second.

Aidan Scullion added a goal and a point to make it 3-3 to 0-1 after 12 minutes and at this stage it looked like a complete route for the Slemish Park side but Glenavy survived the early onslaught and slowly began to get a foothold in the game .

Callum Crighton began the fight back with a goal in the 19th minute and as the Chapel Hill side grew in confidence Fergal Henry began to stamp his class on proceedings. The big number 11 struck three points, one from a penalty that sailed over off the crossbar, with Oisin Connolly replying with a point for the Ballymena side but the momentum was now very much with St. Joseph’s.

Now well on top around mid-field the boys in Orange pressed forward once more and a fisted goal from Matthew Horner, another from Aodh O’Neill and points from O’Neill and Henry saw them head for the dressing room 3-6 to 3-4 ahead after completing an unbelievable turn around.

LOOKED SHELL SHOCKED

All Saints looked shell shocked but whatever was said to them in the dressing room seemed to steady them as they returned for the second half. They were now battling again for possession and Oisin Connolly got them on their way with an early point.

Fergal Henry responded with a fisted point before Aidan Scullion hit back with a great point direct from a ‘45’ as play swung from end to end and fortunes swung too and fro. Ruairi Campbell looked to have placed Conor O’Rawe for an All Saints goal but his fisted attempt was cleared off the line as the pace of the game increased.

The Ballymena side looked set to score again but their insistence on going for goal was being thwarted by a resolute Glenavy defence and St. Joseph’s soaked up the pressure before responding with a good point from Anthony Gallagher to move three ahead again after 11 minutes.

Glenavy continued to press and Matthew Horner rose to fist over and might have had a goal as they threatened to take control. Aidan Scullion, who’s place kicking was exceptional throughout the game replied from a 20 meter free and Jake White sent a first time ground shot screaming over as the eventual winners responded once more.

It was now end to end stuff in a compelling contest as the irrepressible Scullion brought matters level again from a couple of well struck frees but again the Chapel Hill side responded with a point from Fergal Henry after Jason Givens in the All Saints goals brought off a splendid save to deny Matthew Horner.

The Glenavy side continued to press but the Ballymena defence, which had looked so vulnerable throughout the game were now getting closer to their men and putting in telling tackles and the Slemish Park side struck with a deadly counter attack as Aidan Scullion raced in for their fourth goal.

Crighton and Henry responded with points for Glenavy with Scullion again easing the pressure with an All Saints point with three minutes remaining and it was still anyone’s game at this stage and when Fergal Henry and Chris Grant struck with late points the sides were level for the umpteenth time.

The momentum now looked to have swung again in favour of Gavin Phillips side but from the resulting kick-out Jake White rose to make a terrific catch before placing that man Scullion for an excellent point that was to prove the match winner.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Those who paid in at Moneyglass for this game certainly got value for their money. This was a great advert for attacking football. Forget about defensive coaching manuals. It seemed at times that both management teams had torn up the coaching books as their sides went head to head in an effort to outscore the other.

It’s a pity there had to be a loser and this game could have gone either way and perhaps a draw would have been a fair result but on the night All Saints had a match winning place kicker in Aidan Scullion and it was perhaps fitting that he should get the score that decided the fate of the Breslin Shield.

Both sides were laced with skilful players and I have a feeling these two side will have more big battles in the future and both sides were a credit to their managers, All Saints for keeping going when things looked bad and Glenavy for the sporting manner in which they accepted defeat.

All Saints: Jason Givens: Ronan McKillop, Rory McAllister, Conall Killough: Kevin Brady, Conall O’Neill (Captain), Luke Mulholland: Jake White, Oisin Connolly: Conor O’Rawe, Kieran O’Boyle, Aidan Scullion: Charlie Metrustry, Ruiari Campbell, Angus Steele. Subs: Ciaran Campbell, Jack Donnelly, Sean Hasson,

Glenavy: Conor Jones: Lorcan O’Neill, Jack McCann, Darragh Doherty: Cal Burke, Chris Grant, Anthony O’Hare: Finn Malley, Anthony Gallagher: Matthew Horner, Fergal Henry, Callum Crighton: Lorcan Nelson, Aodh O’Neill, James Mulholland. Subs: Rory McCann, Sean McCambridge, Darragh Armstrong, Patrick O’Leary, Matthew Magee.

Referee: Kevin Parke (St. Enda’s)

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