County vice-chairman Terry Reilly presents the Minor B Football Championship Cup to Sarsfields captain Niall Ferris. Pic by John McIlwaine
Antrim Minor B Football Championship final
Sarsfield’s 2-10 O’Donovan Rossa 1-10
Sarsfields won the Minor B Football Championship when they held of a late rally by Rossa in Saturday’s final at Hannahstown. Played in persistant rain Sarsfields led throughout the game, but it was two goals direct from 45s in the opening quarter that were to prove decisive in the end. The key scores came in the 8th and 11th minutes from Calvin McCurry, both kicks going all the way to the Rossa net through a packed goalmouth. They gave the Stewartstown Avenue boys a decided edge and pushed them eight clear by half time. They held the lead quite comfortably until the final quarter when Rossa eventually started to make some inroads on the lead. A goal five minutes from time from full forward Liam Carr left just a goal between the sides but Sarsfields held on to capture the win.
Rossa got away to a good start when Carr grabbed his team’s first point and when the elusive Eoghan McMenanamin added a second the Shaw’s Road boys were looking strong. However when Sarfields opened their account with a goal direct from a 45 by Calvin McCurry all was to change. They added points through Tomás Skillen and Caolan McKenna to go a goal clear, and when McCurry grabbed his second goal from a 45 three minutes later the Paddies were in control as they raced to an eight point lead at the break. (2-6 to 0-4)
If Rossa were to get back into the game then they needed a good start to the second half, and when Eoghan McMenamin got the first score of the new half they must have felt a comeback was possible. However Sarfields soon settled and when team captain Ferris added an excellent point on the turn the pressure was eased. The Paddies managed to keep their opponents comfortably at arms length for the next fifteen minutes, but slowly Rossa were edging their way back and they came close to grabbing a goal when half back Cormac McGettigan just missed the target from a narrow angle.
The tide was beginning to turn a little however and Rossa hit four points in a seven minute spell through Eoin O’Neill, Liam Carr, Michael McEnhill and Kevin McEnhill in reply to just one from Sarsfields midfielder McKenna, and when Liam Carr fired the ball to the net with five minutes of normal time remaining it was game on again.
The Sarsfields fans must have been worried at this stage, but to their credit the team knuckled down in the last few minutes. It was backs to the wall stuff during a hectic finish but the young Paddies held out for a deserved win.
SARSFIELD’S: S Saunders; P McPeake, C Kennedy, M Ferris; L Mitchell, E Mervyn, C McCurry (2-1, 2-0 45s); C McKenna (0-2), R McShane (0-1); D Flynn, D Gorman (0-1), R Lambe; T Skillen (0-3), J Savage, N Ferris (0-2). Subs: J McNally for D Flynn (HT), M Johnston for N Ferris (56).
ROSSA: R Martin; E Trainor, P Cullen, O May; D Magee, C McDonald, C Mc Pathalain; C McGettigan, E O’Neill (0-3); D Murphy, E McMenamin (0-3), K McEnhill (0-1); M McEnhill (0-1), L Carr (1-2), C O’Neill (0-1). Subs: J McGurk for D Magee (35), P Moyes for C O’Neill (35), D Maher for E O’Neill (55).
REFEREE: Charlie Hemsworth (St Paul’s)