Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship (quarter-final)
St Gall’s 3-11 Casement’s Portglenone 1-08
A virtuoso performance from full forward Mickey Pollock and his personal haul of 2-06 saw St Gall’s advance to another senior championship semi-final at the expense of a disappointing Casement’s at Corrigan on Saturday evening.
For a brief spell early in the game Portglenone threatened but when Pollock struck with the first of his goals early in the game the Bannsider’s challenge began to lose momentum before finally fading out.
The Portglenone men had gained back to back league wins over the Milltown Blues this term but although some had felt that Jude Donnelly’s charges were more than capable of a repeat showing in the championship the youthful Bannsider’s had little answer to a well organised St. Gall’s led by the excellent Pollock.
Pollock helped himself to a couple of goals in the opening period to ensure his side held a 3-05 to 1-04 interval advantage and although Jude Donnelly’s charges did their utmost to bridge the gap in the second period the former All Ireland champions stood firm in defiance.
Casement’s did strike first with an opening minute point but such advantage was not to linger as the lively Michael Pollock set about his work to grab an early point to equalize and he followed with a 5th minute goal to see his side take a lead which they were not to surrender.
Casement’s worked hard to contain Pollock but with little success and lady luck smile on the lively full forward when he found the net again in the 12th minute as keeper Brian McManus lost sight of his lofted effort.
A long range effort in search of a point eluded the grasp of the Casement’s net minder and ended in the net to leave the Casement’s with a mountain to climb even at this early juncture of the game.
Prior to Pollock’s goal the South West side had struck with back to back Michael Hagen points that had hinted at better to come from the Portglenone men but they suddenly found themselves 2-01 to 0-03 behind.
With the South west side halted in their track St Gall’s regained the initiative as Terry O’ Neill came in from the right hand side to deliver between the posts after taking up a short Kevin Niblock delivery.
Michael Pollock added another from a 30 metre free after the advancing Sean Kelly was fouled and when corner back Tomas O’ Ciaran moved up-field to fist between the posts the gap had widened to 2-04 to 0-03 and Portglenone were beginning to struggle.
They continued to battle however and indeed well served by the direct advances made by Ciaran McKenna and the endeavours of corner forward Michael Hagen they did gain reward in the 23rd minute as the latter nipped in to send to the back of the net.
The Bannsider’s were looking better and seemed to have found their feet but St Gall’s were not about to linger for long on the back foot and their reply was quick in coming.
Pollock collected a ball which he had no right to win and made his way on the end line to provide an inch perfect cross for the advancing Kevin Niblock to forward to the back of the net.
Niblock added a point shortly after and although a point from the hard working Gerard McAleese was the last score of the period Casement’s were seven in arrears at the break with the Milltown men taking respite at 3-05 to 1-04.
Casement’s started the second half with an early score as Conal Delargy despatched a left sided free between the posts but they did not make capital from early endeavours as a couple of further efforts went astray.
Play proceeded to the other end and a foul on the advancing Aodhan Gallagher was punished as Michael Pollock added to his personal tally with another point secured
Casement’s replacement Coary McLaughlin announced his arrival to replace the stricken Shane Delargy who had been forced out with a shoulder injury, when he collected a 42nd minute point but back came the Milltown men and a trio of unanswered Michael Pollock points saw them in the calm waters of security at 3-09 to 1-06 with the end in sight.
Casement’s battled to the end but the experience gained on their many excursions down the championship trail meant that the St Gall’s men were not about to allow any recovery.
Caolan Tierney and Dermot Mc Aleese raised back to back white flags, but in the event that was to prove their lot and a late Ciaran McGourty point ushered St Gall’s over the winning line to set them up for a semi-final meeting with the winners of Lamh Dhearg and Cargin who meet today (Sunday in Creggan).
St. Gall’s: Chris Kerr, Tomas O’ Ciaran (0-01), Andrew Mc Clean, Colin Brady, Jackson Mc Greevey, Sean Kelly, Ryan Irvine, Kevin Niblock (1-01), Aodhan Gallagher, Ciaran Mc Gourty (0-01), Eoghan Mc Cabe, Conor Stinton (0-01), Niall O’ Neill, Michael Pollock (2-06), Terry O’ Neill (0-01)
Shane O’ Hagen for T O’ Neill
John Mc Caffrey for T O’ Ciaran
Conor Burke for J Mc Greevey (black card)
Anto Healey for N O’ Neill
Casement’s: Brian Mc Manus, Ryan Mc Guigan, Shane Delargy, Jonny Convery, Ronan Delargy, Ciaran Mc Kenna, Adrian Mc Kee, Niall Delargy, Dermot Mc Aleese (0-01), Gerard Mc Aleese (0-02), Caolan Tierney (0-01), Michael Hagen (1-03), Paddy Kelly, Conal Delargy (0-01)
Coary Mc Laughlin for S Delargy
BJ Donnelly for G Mc Aleese
Ryan Kelly for P Kelly
Stephen Kelly for C Mc Laughlin (black card)
Patrick Graffin for C Tierney
Referee Karol Doherty (St Mary’s Rasharkin)