Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship
St Mary’s Aghagallon 3-10 St Teresa’s 2-12
By Geordie McGuckin
Late points despatched firmly between the posts in added time by Gareth Magee gave Aghagallon victory over luckless St Teresa’s in a hugely entertaining senior championship encounter at Chapel Hill Glenavy on Sunday evening. St Teresa’s seemed to be on their way to the quarter finals when late replacement Darren Mc Cann completed a well laid approach with a cool headed finish in the 59th minute to give his side back the lead. However the youthful Aghagallon men were not finished and when they returned to the offensive back to back points delivered from placed efforts in the 61st and 63rd minutes snatched the verdict and earn themselves a glamour tie against champions Cargin in two weeks’ time.
This was the last tie to be decided as last year’s Intermediate champions Aghagallon lined out against St Teresa’s in favourable conditions and on an excellent sod. Little separated the sides in the opening phase and it was end to end stuff with a score at one end ensuring quick reply at the other. Gareth Magee and Ruairi McCann raised white flags for Aghagallon to give them an early cushion but Jay Mallon responded with back to back free kicks for the men from the Glen Road.
Phil Maguire’s 13th minute point earned the city men advantage but not for long as Aghagallon’s Shane Russell’s lob ended in the back of the net a minute later to give his team a two point cushion. The end to end activity continued as St Teresa’s wing half back Eoin Gault strode forward on the left side to deliver a crisp cross the way of Niall Mc Cann to drill to the back of the net as the pendulum swung back in the Belfast men’s favour. They gained composure following the Mc Cann goal and pinching a couple of points in addition they had opened a four point advantage, 1-06 to 1-02 by the end of the opening quarter.
The end to end theme established from the outset was to continue as Aghagallon came back with points from Shane Russell and Gareth Magee, and profiting from the quick delivery and the domination of inside forward Ruairi Mc Cann they were back in front again in the 23rd minute.
Mc Cann, quick off the mark and strong in possession was found well with a well directed Pat Brannigan delivery and when he found corner man Des Marshall in space he found the St Teresa’s net to put his side back in front.
The Glen road men did not linger long in arrears as points from Eoin Gault and Jay Mallon in reply to another Gareth Magee effort saw them on terms and when it looked as if the sides would enter the break all square a superb solo approach by Paul Mc Goldrick was to change such notion.
The centre back made a slick solo run leaving several trailing in his wake in added time at the end of the first half to send across the face of the goals into the arms of the awaiting Aaron Thompson who despatched to the back of the Aghagallon net to send his side in at the break with a 2-08 to 2-05 advantage.
The Glen road men added to their lead early in the second period as Liam Gault sent between the posts, but St Mary’s, utilising the quick delivery system again to the optimum, saw Oisin Lenaghan deliver to the ever available Ruairi Mc Cann who rounded his marker and fired to the net to reduce the deficit to the minimum.
Points by Anto Taylor and Jay Mallon sent St Teresa’s three point clear again by the 40th minute and although Aghagallon kept in close contact and remained snapping at their heels the experience of the Belfast side ensured they remained in front.
Philly Maguire was pulling the strings in the central zone and as time ticked away they seemed more than capable of keeping their youthful opponents at bay
A long-range Ryan O’ Neill free in the 57th minute saw St Mary’s draw alongside, but when late replacement Darren Mc Cann finished a flowing movement with a well taken point in the 59th minute the more street wise St Teresa’s looked in charge. Aghagallon were not finished yet however and back they came with late points from frees by the impressive Gareth Magee to edge back front in injury time. St Teresa’s had time for one more attack as they tried to salvage a game they had looked likely winners of for long spells and a long delivery into the danger area saw Liam Gault rise to fist the ball towards goal, only to see it trickle wide of the far post. It was hard on the Belfast men but Aghagallon showed great resilience when it was really needed in those tense final minutes to etch out a 3-10 to 2-12 win and book a place in the quarter finals.
Gavin O’ Neill, Michael Mc Kenna, Michael Mc Stravick, Paul Mulholland, Aaron Shanks, Ryan O’ Neill (0-01), Pat Brannigan, Eunan Walsh, Caolan Farr, Shane Russell (1-02), Gareth Magee (0-06), Ciaran Brady (0-01), Ruairi Mc Cann (1-02), Oisin Lenehan, Dessie Marshall (1-00)
Dan Donnelly for E Walsh (inj)
A Mulholland for M Mc Stravick
Ruairi Lenehan for D Donnelly
Jack Lenehan for A Shanks
D Mc Alornan for D Marshall
Conal Hanna, Matthew Mallon, Sean Devine, Eoin Gault (0-01), Ryan Mallon, Paul Mc Goldrick, Colm Mc Goldrick, Philip Maguire (0-01), Stephen Carey, Liam Gault (0-02), Jay Mallon (0-04), Conor Mallon, Jay Mallon (0-04), Aaron Thompson (1-00), Anto Taylor (0-02), Niall Mc Cann (1-01)
Eoin Connolly for S Devine
Darren Mc Cann (0-01) for A Thompson
K Hamill for C Mallon
Referee K Doherty (Rasharkin)