St Patricks battle past 14 man Ardoyne

Antrim Junior Football Championship

St Patrick’s Lisburn 0-12 Ardoyne Kickhams 0-10

A strong second half display by St Patrick’s Lisburn saw them book a place in the semi-final of the Junior Football Championship at the expense of Ardoyne in Friday night’s quarter final at Woodlands. Trailing by two at half time the Lisburn men were a more assured side in the second half against 14 men Ardoyne and after drawing level just two minutes after the restart they pushed on to edge a hard fought battle.

Ardoyne had much the better of the first half and Cormac Mullan gave them the lead with an early point from a 45 and they had chances to add to their tally but some wayward shooting let them down. St Patrick’s drew level on seven minutes when centre forward Francis McMeel sent over a free but Jim Og McAuley put Ardoyne back in front and a great point from a narrow angle from corner forward Barry McKervey put them two clear in the 12th minute. However the Belfast men received a bad blow in the 15th minute when McKervey received a straight red card, a blow that put them under severe pressure. After the sending off St Patrick’s came back to level with points by John McMullan on 20 minutes and Francis McMeel on 21 but Ardoyne regained their composure and Kevin Lynch and Cormac Mullan put them two clear as the game entered first half injury time. Eoin Fay pointed for St Patricks to close the gap to the minimum but there was still time for Cormac Mullan to hit a magnificent point from the acutest of angles on the right to give his team a 0-6 to 0-4 half time lead.3

St Patrick’s came flying out of the traps and the start of the second half and points from McMeel and Eoin Fay brought them back level by the 37th minute. Cormac Mullan restored the Kickham’s lead on 39 minutes and after McMeel had brought St Patrick’s level again the Ardoyne centre forward once again gave his team the advantage. However being a man short was starting to take its toll as the gaps began to open up for St Patrick’s and after hitting three bad wides they made amends when Conor Dixon and Eoin Fay fired over to give them a one point lead by the 50th minute. A fantastic pointed free off the ground from 40 metres by Ardoyne’s Cormac Mullan put his team back on terms with eight minutes still to play but St Patrick’s were gaining and egde and points from Martin Kennedy and Josh McMullan put them two clear by the 55th minute. As the game entered injury time there was some anxious moments for the St Patrick’s fans as another Mullan free dropped in around the square and Ardoyne’s full back Gerard McFarlane and midfielder Gary McKernan rose, though it was unclear which one of them flicked the ball inches over the bar. The gap was back to one by the door was closed on Ardoyne when McMell pointed a free at the other end, but there was still another anxious moment for the Lisburn fans when Ardoyne full forward Ciaran McNeill came close to grabbing what would have been a match winning goal but Peter O’Neill in the St Patrick’s goal stayed strong to seal his team a semi-final spot

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