LOCC Solicitors Antrim Intermediate Football Semi-final
St Enda’s 2-10-1-04 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass
By Kevin Herron at Hannahstown
St Enda’s booked their place in the final of the Intermediate Football Championship after stepping up through the gears in the second-half at Hannahstown and out scoring Moneyglass 1-05-0-01.
The game certainly won’t be remembered as a spectacle as blustery wind on the Black Mountain made conditions difficult. Conan Lyttle drew first blood with a St Enda’s goal just shy of the 12th minute mark but Moneyglass fought back and levelled late in the half through Conaill Prenter.
Two late points edged St Enda’s ahead at the break but the Hightown side were much too strong in the second period and sealed the win late on as Eoin Nagle capitalised on a defensive glitz in the Moneyglass defence to rifle to the net and set-up an all Belfast affair in the Intermediate final against Gort Na Mona.
St Enda’s approached as overwhelming favourites to make the decider against Gort Na Mona who lay in wait – however St Ergnat’s hit the front as Kevin Marron switched the play to Colum Duffin who in turn picked out Conaill Prenter to pop the ball over the bar.
Donal Walsh levelled the game just before the 10 minute mark with a high punt that sailed between the posts and two minutes later the Hightown Road side hit the opening goal.
Mark Carey’s kick was gobbled up by Conan Lyttle who burst away from immediate danger and picked his spot low in the bottom left corner past Carey to give his side a 1-01-0-01 lead.
Ruairi Scott converted a 45’ to increase St Enda’s lead just past the midway point in the half – though Liam Brady converted a free in response for St Ergnat’s.
St Enda’s missed a glorious chance to hit the net for the second time on the 20th minute – a slip in the Moneyglass defence allowed Donal Walsh a sighting of goal, but the corner-forward dragged his shot wide and Ergnat’s were off the hook.
Scoring was at a premium in a defensive opening half hour. Conor Boyd reduced the deficit to two with a converted free though Odhran Eastwood responded from a similar scenario.
Sixty seconds from the half-time interval Moneyglass fought back and levelled – Dermot McErlean was a constant headache for the St Enda’s defence in the opening half hour and the corner-forward shot across the face of goal where Conaill Prenter was unmarked and Prenter saw his shot deflected past Paddy Flood to level at 1-03-1-03.
The Glengormley men responded before the break however and points from Eoin Nagle and Donal Walsh edged St Enda’s 1-05-1-03 ahead at the interval.
Moneyglass were playing with a strong wind advantage in the second half hour and narrowed the deficit to the bare minimum three minutes after the restart through a converted Liam Brady free.
St Enda’s hit back through a third point from corner-forward Donal Walsh and thereafter the Glengormley club remained in the driving seat.
Substitute Kristian Healy fisted the ball over the bar 13 minutes after his introduction and again the scores dried up but on 51 minutes Eoin Nagle received a cut-back from the by-line and replicated Healy’s score with a fist over the bar.
Nagle then made it back to back scores after twisting, turning and crucially firing over to give his side a 1-09-1-04 lead.
Moneyglass were running out of ideas and with three minutes left they pressed the self destruct button – substitute Ryan Boyd’s attempted pass to back to keeper Mark Carey was seized upon by Ruairi Scott who saw his shot parried by Carey, however Nagle picked up the loose ball and rifled in at the near post to end the game as a contest at 2-09-1-04.
Odhran Eastwood finished the afternoon’s scoring with his second converted free but his side were forced onto the back foot in injury-time.
Substitute Jack McCoy saw his effort come off the large post and Dermot McErlean’s follow-up was turned behind by Paddy Flood as Moneyglass pressed.
A high ball into the St Enda’s box then caused pandemonium and Donal Laverty saw his shot blocked. A close in free was awarded and St Enda’s packed the goal line with McErlean’s hooked shot averted from danger.
In the end St Enda’s superiority was evident and they deservedly booked their place in an eagerly awaited decider with Gort Na Mona in two-weeks time.
St Endas: P Flood, C Eastwood, M McNamee, C Jennings, C Lyttle (1-00), J McAuley, C McAuley, P Curran, J Maskey, E Gibson, R Scott (0-01 45’), O Eastwood (0-02f), D Walsh (0-03), P Healy, E Nagle (1-03). Subs: K Healy (0-01) for E Gibson (31 mins), C Morgan for D Walsh (38 mins), M Morgan for P Curran (61 mins).
Moneyglass: M Carey, M Neeson, T Duffin, S Kelly, P Mackle, C Boyd (0-01f), P McCormick, C Duffin, N Boyd, K Marron, G Murray, F Duffin, D McErlean, L Brady (0-02f), C Prenter (1-01). Subs: R Doyle for L Brady (41 mins), J McCoy for G Murray (51 mins), R Boyd for C Prenter (55 mins), J Weir for R Doyle (black card sub: 57 mins), D Laverty for F Duffin (60 mins).
Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)