South West Antrim U12 Shield Semi-Final
Rasharkin 4-03 Glenavy 4-08
Glenavy travelled to Dreen for this semi-final having been beaten in the league fixture at Chapel Hill a few weeks ago by 8 points so the home side should have started as favourites in this play-off encounter. However an injury to Rasharkin’s midfielder Cormac McMullan in the last week’s league fixtures deprived the Dreen side of this influential player and meant this game would be an evenly balanced affair.
Few could have predicted the blistering start that the visitors made as Glenavy came fast out of the traps and were 3-3 to no score up after 10 minutes to shock the home side. Rasharkin clawed their way back into the game however with two goals before half time, both involving John Paul Hasson. The first goal was a high ball in to the full forward, after good link play by Daniel Doherty, Ciara O’Boyle and Oisin Casey. Hasson fielded well, turned his man and rifled to the net. The second was a penalty which Hasson won as he was about to pull the trigger. Up stepped Oisin Casey who sent the Glenavy keeper the wrong way as he calmly placed his shot in the corner of the net. This gave the Rasharkin lads some hope with the half time score Rasharkin 2-0 Glenavy 3-4.
The second half started like the first with Glenavy on the front foot, but they couldn’t make it count on the score board. Rasharkin weathered the early onslaught and hit back with another goal from John Paul Hasson to edge them ever closer and a couple of pointed frees, one from Casey and one from Doherty cut the deficit even further.
Again Glenavy showed their determination responding well with a few more excellent points to keep the opposition at arm’s length but at the other end the Chapel Hill side had their keeper to thank as he pulled off a couple of fine saves to keep the home team at bay as they tried their best to narrow the gap as the clock ticked down.
The pressure paid and the Dreen team eventually got their fourth goal of the evening with five minutes remaining to give them another glimmer of hope. It wasn’t to be as it was Glenavy who then took over once more to put the game beyond doubt with a goal and a point in the last few minutes of the game to win by five and deservedly claim a place in the U12 shield final.
Glenavy will play Dunloy in that Shield final after Dunloy defeated Creggan in the other semi-final on a score line of 4-9 to 1-1.
In the shield plate semi-finals St Comgall’s edged past Sean Stinson’s at Portglenone by a single point to reach the final. They will now play Tir na nOg, who defeated Clan na Gael in the other semi-final.