Chapel Hill Men Climb to the Summit of Division 2

01ACFL Division 2

St.Bridgid’s  2.10 v 1.16 St.Joseph’s

Glenavy travelled to Musgrave Park knowing a win would secure the Division 2  league title and with six of the normal fifteen missing for a variety of reasons success didn’t look too bright. The six players that came in did an excellent job however and jelled into the system of play very quickly. A heavy shower just before throw in left an excellent pitch very slippery which resulted in players slipping at crucial moments and both sides deserve great credit for the standard of play and the art of score taking served up on the night.

Alex Gallagher got the visitors going with a pointed free quickly followed by cousin Owen splitting the sticks for an excellent point but back came the city side with three minors from Jack Dowling, Ronan McGrady and Peter Lundy to put their side in front. Alex Gallagher and Ronan McGrady exchanged pointed frees as play swung from end to end during the opening exchanges.

The first goal of the game arrived when county player Patrick Gallagher lobbed the ball into the square for brother Dominic to send the visiting supporters into high spirits when he pounced and scored what turned out to be a crucial goal.

Back came the lads in white and blue with some excellent play which was rewarded with points from James Smyth and Ben Leonard to level the scores. The experienced Michael McCourt got his side back in front with a point from play and a pointed free as the Chapel Hill side responded again. The hard working midfielder Ciaran Loney broke through for a well worked point and Fergus Cunningham put his side four in front with a point from out near the sideline.

Glenavy were dealt a blow when they lost their influential full forward Dominic Gallagher with hamstring trouble to be replaced by brother James. Against the run of play St.Bridgid’s put a move together which caught the visitors defence flatfooted for Peter Lundy to bury the ball in the Glenavy net to leave the score 1.07 v 1.06  in Glenavy’s favour as the halftime whistle sounded.

From the throw-in the ever reliable Michael McCourt pointed a long distance free but this brought about a fight-back from the Musgrave Park men as first Ronan McGrady pointed a free and from the kick-out county player Jack Dowling gained possession before placing the inrushing Ronan McGrady who gave the keeper no chance. McGrady followed from a pointed free to put his side three ahead and the momentum was with the city men at this stage.

This Glenavy team is made of stern stuff however and responded to the knockback with seven unanswered points. Owen Gallagher added two followed by Niall McCann, (good to see Niall back after his shoulder injury at the start of the season) Ciaran Loney, Owen Gallagher, Niall McCann again and Michael McCourt to put the league leaders four ahead.

St. Brigid’s tried to respond again as Ronan McGrady had a point from play and one from a forty-five to complete his sides scoring but the final score of the game fell to the evergreen Michael McCourt who struck with a late point to conclude the scoring.

St.Brigid’s threw everything into attack in the closing stages but the orange men’s defence stood firm and referee Barry Coyle blew the full time whistle to the delight of the players and supporters who had travelled to see another piece of history being wrote in the annals of the Chapel Hill club. Its twenty five years since St. Joseph’s last won division two but this side looks well equipped for the rigors of Division 1.

 

Glenavy: Gerard Hamilton, Martin Nelson, Conor Hamill, Johnny Phillips, Sean McGirr, Patrick Gallagher (C), Ryan Phillips, Peter Traynor, Ciaran Loney, Michael McCourt, Owen Gallagher, Alex Gallagher, Niall McCann, Dominic Gallagher (James Gallagher 20m), Fergus Cunningham.

 

St.Brigid’s: Stephen Morrisey; Finn McKernan; Ryan Daly; Niall George; Michael Cummings; Conor King; Barry McMahon; Cathal Conway; Jack Dowling:  Fergal Hegarty; James Smith; Peter Lundy; Ethan Carlton; Ronan McGrady; Andrew Sweeney.

 

Referee: Barry Coyle St. Paul’s

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