LOCC Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship
St Enda’s 2-08-1-04 St Pauls
By Kevin Herron at Chapel Hill
St Enda’s had enough in the tank to see off St Pauls in a game that will quickly be consigned to the history books following a 2-08-1-04 win at Chapel Hill this afternoon.
Both sides slow approach play and patience did little to set the pulses racing – St Enda’s were 0-05-0-02 to the good before the opening goal arrived courtesy of Ruairi Scott’s palm to the net early in the second-half.
St Paul’s briefly rallied and appeared to set up a grandstand finish as Damian Martin fisted to the net a minute into injury-time. The Hightown Road men failed to panic though and secured the win thanks to a second from Scott deep into additional time to set up a quarter-final clash with Davitts.
Frank Fitzsimons side were favourites to progress to the last eight at the expense of St Pauls who suffered back to back relegations following a derby defeat against Sarsfields last mid-week.
St Enda’s made the brighter start at Chapel Hill and led through Ciaran O’Neill’s point – Odhrán Eastwood then robbed Niall Peoples of possession and fed Ruairi Scott who popped the ball to Donal Walsh for number two inside the first five minutes.
Micky-Joe Cooper got St Pauls off the mark with and halved the deficit with a converted 6th minute free – despite Odhrán Eastwood responding through the same scenario St Paul’s trailed 0-03-0-02 at the midway point in the half after Stephen Rooney and Conor McCartan linked up to find Liam Carland whose excellent long range shot dropped over the crossbar.
That was to be St Paul’s last point of the opening half-hour – St Enda’s restored their two-point lead for a third time as Sean Bradley was adjudged to have pushed Conor Morgan in the back and Eastwood converted the resulting free for his second in the space of five minutes.
The first goal chance of the game arrived with the game 22 minutes old, though Conor Morgan could only palm a hanging ball to the back post into the side netting and wide of Kiefer Toolan’s goal.
Two minutes into first-time injury-time St Enda’s stretched their lead to three after Joe Maskey picked out Donal Walsh in space and the corner-forward conjured up his second point of the half to ensure his side led 0-05-0-02 at the end of a dull first thirty minutes.
Five minutes into the second period the opening goal arrived at Chapel Hill – the large post denied St Enda’s a sixth point of the game and Ciaran O’Neill got to the loose ball first and fisted the ball to Ruairi Scott who palmed to the net unmarked to give Enda’s at 1-05-0-02 lead.
St Paul’s responded positively through a Patrick Copeland point ten minutes into the half and Niall Peoples then converted a free to close the gap to four by the midway point in the second period, 1-05-0-04.
Both sides continued to persist with a patient approach in attack and this did little to excite either support – the game did remain in the balance nonetheless.
It took St Enda’s 23 minutes of the second period before they hit their opening point; once more patience was the key as Peter Healy curled the ball over the bar at the end of a string of passes that eventually broke St Paul’s defensive system.
Odhrán Eastwood appeared to seal victory for St Enda’s with a third converted free on the stroke of full-time – though there was to be late drama at Chapel Hill.
Two minutes into an additional five St Paul’s set-up a grandstand finish as substitute Paddy Doyle picked up the loose ball and floated it back into the danger area where Damian Martin was lurking to fist the ball over the head of Paddy Flood and into the net to put three between the sides, 1-07-1-04.
St Enda’s weren’t about to panic though and a fisted point from Cormac Morgan was followed by a second goal with the final move of the game – Odhrán Eastwood switched the play to scorer of the first goal Scott who burst forward and shot past Kiefer Toolan to double his tally for the afternoon and ensure his side would run out 2-08-1-04 winners at the end of a largely forgettable afternoon at Chapel Hill.
St Enda’s: P Flood, C Jennings, M McNamee, C Eastwood, C Lyttle, J McAuley, C McAuley, P Curran, J Maskey, C Morgan, R Scott (2-00), O Eastwood (0-03f), D Walsh (0-02), P Healy (0-01), C O’Neill (0-01). Subs: G Crossey for D Walsh (42 mins), C Morgan (0-01) for C Morgan (48 mins), R Kennedy for C McAuley (57 mins).
St Pauls: K Toolan, K Gallagher, S Bradley, P Copeland (0-01), A Kavanagh, D Burns, C Hughes, L Carland (0-01), D Martin (1-00), J Duffy, S Rooney, N Peoples (0-01f), J Farrell, C McCartan, MJ Cooper (0-01f). Subs: C McLarnon for A Kavanagh (40 mins), P Doyle for MJ Cooper (45 mins), M Connelly for C McCartan (48 mins).
Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)
Pic by John McIlwaine