Antrim Junior Football Championship – Quarter Final
Con Magees 3-10 Pearses 2-5
Pics and report by John McIlwaine
A fine individual scoring display by left half forward Josh McKeown which yielded a goal and six points, helped Con Magees Glenravel to a 3-10 to 2-5 victory over Pearses in Saturday’s Junior Football Championship quarter final at Quinn Park, Ballymena on Saturday. McKeown was the main scoring threat for the Glenravel men, hitting 1-3 in a dominant first half, on a day when Pearses luck deserted them completely. In corner forward Liam Deegan the North Belfast men had a player who didn’t deserve to be on the losing team. He tortured and teased the Glenravel defence throughout the game as he scored all if his team’s 1-5 and had a little more luck been on his side he could well have doubled that tally.
Josh McKeown opened the scoring for Con Magees inside a minute with a point from play, but Deegan soon had Pearses back on terms with a neatly finished point from the right wing. McKeown put his team back in front on five minutes and he struck a telling blow a minute later when he raced through to pick up a pass from Martin McCarry and blast the ball home from the edge of the square. It all seemed plain sailing for the Glenravel side at this stage but when Pearses went straight up the field Daniel Magee rifled a ball off the underside to the Glenravel crossbar it was a stark warning to them just how big a threat their opponents posed. The ball was eventually scrambled away but Deegan reacted quickest to gain possession and sent the ball over the bar. A minute later Deegan soloed in along the endline and found full forward Daniel Magee on the edge of the Con Magee square but the full forward elected to catch the ball instead of palming it to the net, and again an opportunity was lost.
Glenravel took further control of the game on thirteen minutes when good work in the right corner by Aidan O’Donnell created the opportunity for Declan Traynor to fire home his team’s second goal and though Deegan came back with two more points in the 14th and 20th minutes Glenravel finished the half strongly with two points from Conor McNeill and one from Josh McKeown to lead by 2-6 to 0-4 at half time.
When McKeown opened the second half with an early points the Con Magees were nine ahead and apparently coasting but when Pearses were awarded a free on the winners 13 metre line, and the Glenravel players were contesting the referee’s decision, Liam Deegan reacted brilliantly and fired a bullet of a shot high into the top corner of the net to cut the gap back to six. McKeown and Deegan exchanged points to keep the gap at six before a Conor McNeill point and a cleverly taken goal from Aidan O’Donnell all but wrapped up the Glenravel win. They could never quite relax however as Deegan came close to grabbing goals on two more occasions, shaving to the outside of the posts when from frees with the goalmouth lined. As it turned out he was to remain scoreless during the final quarter, but it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying and the Con Magees defenders will be hoping they don’t meet a player with such flair when they meet O’Donnell’s in the semi-final in two weeks’ time.
Shaun O’Boyle, Neil McCafferty, Paul McCurry, Michael Laverty, Gareth McKeown, Niall Swann, Mark O’Connor, Conor Carey, David Higgins, Conor McNeill, Kieran McKeown, Josh McKeown, Declan Traynor, Martin McCarry, Aidan O’Donnell.
Subs – Ciaran O’Connor for McCafferty; Sean Paul McKenna for O’Donnell; Brian O’Neill for McKeown; Conleth O’Loan for Traynor.
Eamon McKenna, Luca Giannetto, Thomas McFarlane, Aodhan McCavanagh , Patrick Nolan, Aidan Bannon, Naoise O’Cullín Mac, Ciaran Magee, Cormac O’Neill, Oisin Grew, Piaras Donaghy, Conal Campbell, Liam Deegan, Daniel Magee, Darren O’Neill.
Referee – Brendan Toland