All County Football League Division 2
Pic Elaine KellySt. Ergnat’s 2-9 Naomh Éanna 1-19
St. Enda’s travelled to Moneyglass on Sunday knowing that anything less than a win would rule them out of any chance of promotion for another year while the Marion Hill side would ensure promotion should they claim both points.
On a day when many relegation issues across the divisions were sorted out, this game took on a different significance for both sides. Moneyglass have been the surprise packet in Division 2 this year, predicted by some as potential relegation candidates before the season began given the fact that they had lost a number of players through retirement and emigration.
St. Enda’s on the other hand, were tipped for many for promotion and they started their league campaign well before faltering with a home loss to All Saints in round five and when St. Ergnat’s travelled to Hightown in late June and came away with a 3-17 to 1-15 victory it was the South West side who had firmly established themselves as promotion contenders.
This game lived up to the billing as right from the throw in Niall McKeown, wearing number 19 and playing at midfield field, launched the first attack., Moneyglass were playing at home and in a must win match looked sharp and focused. Play swung from end to end during the opening exchanges before Dónall Walsh opened Naomh Éanna account, with a point.
From the resulting kick out Niall McKeown’s fielding provided Naomh Éanna with a platform to launch another attack. He found Odhrán Eastwood who was fouled as he broke forward and up stepped keeper Paddy Flood to take the free, but it tailed wide for Naomh Éanna’s first wide.
The home side’s kick-outs , were proving problematic as they struggled to gain possession, and Joe Maskey playing at Left half back for the visitors laid the ball to Kristian Healy and after beating the keeper, the ball rebounded from the crossbar with Gerard Crossey first to react but he put the chance wide with the goal at his mercy.
St. Enda’s pushed forward again and Odhrán Eastwood extended their lead from a free before Liam Brady opened the St. Ergnat’s account from another free to the delight of the home support. Things were livening up and in the ninth minute Naomh Éanna moved the ball quickly and the strong running of Kristian Healy paved the way for their third point as they continued to enjoy the better of the opening exchanges.
Moneyglass replied with McErlain closing the gap to the minimum as the Hightown side responded through Odhran Eastwood but again the Moneyglass response was immediate and this time Seanchann Duffin made no mistake.
It was end to end stuff as Ciaran Thompson edged St. Enda’s two in front and Donal Walsh added another as they enjoyed a period of supremacy but on 20 minutes the Marion Hill side were right back in contention when they struck with the game’s first goal to draw level.
A minute later Odhran Eastwood restored the visitors lead from a free but Moneyglass responded once more and Patrick McCormick raced through for an excellent point to tie the contest once more. Odhran Eastwood, from another free edged Naomh Eanna ahead again but the home side were beginning to enjoy quite a bit of success and that man McCormick raced through for an excellent goal to put them ahead with a minute remaining to half time. A minute later Moneyglass were on the attacked again and a third goal looked on, but for the intervention of corner back Niall Heatley who got in a vital tackle.
Still it looked good for the South West side as they headed to the dressing room 2-5 to 0-8 ahead but it was perhaps premature to uncork the champagne. The second half of this game would be different for a number of reasons, the superior fitness and experience from the bench would contribute, but the dismissal of Pat McCormack would prove a loss that Moneyglass could not overcome.
Stevie O’Connor replaced Ruairí Scott in the St. Enda’s attack with Peter Healy coming in for Niall Heatley but the game was delayed due to a serious injury to Kristian Healy early in the second half with Michael Morgan replacing the injured player.
When play resumed Eastwood was at it again, punishing another indiscretion by the home defence to close the gap to two and when Gerard Crossey followed with another there was just one between the sides.
The momentum appeared to be with the Glengormley side once more as Philip Curran levelled the contest and as the intensity of the contest increased Damian Gault received an injury which saw him replaced by Michael McNamee.
Midway through the second half Odhrán Eastwood added his fifth free of the day to edge the visitors in front but St. Ergnat’s continued to look dangerous on the break and only some last ditch tackling deprived them of a third goal.
With the contest tied at 2-6 to 0-12 it still looked anybody’s game but a foul on Mickey Morgan paved the way for that man Eastwood to split the posts again but with three minutes remaining the sides were level but it was the visitors who found the extra gear as the clock ticked down.
Gerard Crossey, Philip Curran (0-2) and Stevie O’Connor added points and when Gerard Crossey fired home a late goal it was as good as over. The home side had a last chance to salvage something from the game when they were awarded a penalty but Paddy Flood dived to his right to save.
Ryan Doyle for Moneyglass and Stevie O’Connor for the visitors exchanged points and Liam Brady sent over a late consolation score for the home side as referee, Barry Coyle brought proceedings to a halt.
Victory for Naomh Éanna in a must win match and with two games remaining it leaves the finish to Division Two very interesting. Moneyglass remain a point ahead of Sunday’s opponents but St. Enda’s have a game in hand. St. Ergnat’s are set to travel to Tir Na nOg on the 23d of August while St. Enda’s have a couple of tricky home fixtures against St. Brigid’s and Glenavy. Watch this space!
Pic by Elaine Kelly
Naomh Ergnat’s Moneyglass Mark Carey
- Kevin McPeake
- Tiernan Duffin
- Seán Kelly
- Pádraig McCormac
- Miran Neeson
- Pádraig Mackle
- Niall Boyd
- Ryan Doyle
- Seanchann Duffin
- Paul Tohill
- Dermot McErlain
- Gavin Duffy
- Liam Brady
- Conaill Prenter
- Paddy Flood.
- Ryan Kennedy
- Damien Gault
- Niall Heatley
- Joe Maskey
- James McAuley
- Conan Lyttle
- Philip Curran (0.03)
- Niall McKeown
- Ciaran Thompson (0.01)
- Odhrán Eastwood (0.02, frees 0.05)
- Kristian Healey (0.01)
- Ruairí Scott
- Gerard Crossey (1.3)
- Dónall Walsh (0.02)
Stephen O’Connor (0.02)