Sarsfield’s ease into quarter-final berth

Antrim Junior Football Championship

Sarsfield’s 2-16-0-03 O’Donnell’s

By Kevin Herron at St Teresa’s

Sarsfield’s strode convincingly into the last eight of the junior football championship after a 2-16-0-03 win over fourteen man O’Donnell’s at St Teresa’s this evening.

Already trailing 1-03-0-02 after Connor Laverty’s goal O’Donnell’s chances of causing an upset were dealt a blow when centre-half back Caiomhin Doherty was dismissed for an off the ball strike.

Division three champions Sarsfield’s never looked back afterwards and James McMenamin’s early goal in the second-half opened the floodgates which led to an eventual nineteen point win for the Stewartstown club.

The game was billed as the potential tie of the round which pitted the top two sides in Division three.

Sarsfield’s were victors when the sides met only a few weeks back, but it was O’Donnell’s who took an early lead at St Teresa’s through Ciaran McKissock’s point.

Thomas Doherty levelled for Sarsfield’s and corner-forward Gary Lennon put the Stewartstown men in front, however Patrick Meenan levelled the score at 0-02-0-02 with seven minutes on the clock.

The opening goal arrived a minute later, Sarsfield’s wing half forward Connor Laverty was recipient of a simple through ball and Laverty surged forward and picked out the corner of the net with a low drive past Conor Walsh to make it 1-02-0-02.

Doherty increased Sarsfield’s lead with his second point of the evening as the Stewartstown men began to turn the screw. Their chances of progressing were further enhanced midway through the half when O’Donnell’s centre-half back Caoimhin Doherty appeared to strike out off the ball and after consulting with his umpire, referee Colm McDonald showed Doherty a straight red card.

Kevin McKernan converted the resulting free to open his account for the evening and two further scores within a minute would follow from the number nine as Sarsfield’s began to flex their muscles.

McKernan was denied a fourth successive score by the woodwork and the game entered a bit of lull before Gary Lennon found the final score of the half with 26 minutes gone to give his side a 1-07-0-02 lead at the interval.

Sarsfield’s picked off where they left off before the break as Kevin McKernan stroked over the first point of the second-half.

With two minutes on the clock Sarsfield’s effectively ended any slim chances of an unlikely O’Donnell’s fight back when Gary Lennon played in James McMenamin whose side footed first time shot found the corner of the net to make it 2-08-0-02.

Kevin McKernan kept the scoreboard ticking over and brought his tally to the evening to seven with successive points from play and a converted free to make it 2-11-0-02.

In between McKernan’s three points O’Donnell’s would raise their only white flag of the half through a converted Ciaran Ferran free as the Whiterock men were continually kept on the back foot.

James McMenamin added to his goal with a fine point which just tailed inside the large post and two points from corner-forward Niall McAlea made it 2-14-0-03.

Sarsfield’s emptied their bench late on and substitutes Niall McDonald and Conor Glenholmes made the desired impact both landing points to wrap up a comfortable victory for the Stewartstown club who advance to play Ardoyne in the quarter-final next Friday evening.

Sarsfields: M Brady, T Doherty (0-02), C Murray, M McPolin, N McKenna, D McKernan, A Brady, S Walsh, K McKernan (0-07,0-02f), C Laverty (1-00), J McMenamin (1-01), J Daniels, G Lennon (0-01), D McGuinness, N McAlea. Subs: K McGuinness for J McMenamin (54 mins), N McDonald for S Walsh (54 mins), D McKernan for Daniel McKernan (54 mins), R Hughes for T Doherty (54 mins), C Glenholmes for N McKenna (54 mins).

O’Donnell’s: C Walsh, C Doherty, C Walsh, M Walsh, J Rafferty, S Seawright, K Kennedy, L Bracken, C Ferran (0-01f), C McKissock (0-01), F McNerney, P J Meenan (0-01), G McParland, J McDonnell, J Toner.

Referee: Colm McDonald (St Galls)




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