AIB Ulster Intermediate Hurling Final
St Galls 2-12-0-11 Keady, Lamh Dhearg
By Kevin Herron at Pairc Esler
St Galls claimed their first Ulster Intermediate Hurling title since 2009 with a 2-12-0-11 win over Keady, Lamh Dhearg at Pairc Esler this afternoon.
CJ McGourty hit the opening goal five minutes before the half-time break and despite losing Jackson McGreevy to a second yellow card inside the first ten minutes of the second-half, the Milltown side remained on the front foot and a second goal from substitute Sean McAreavey ensured the title would be heading for Milltown Row this evening.
St Galls made the brighter start at Pairc Esler – taking the lead inside of three minutes through corner forward Mark Napier.
Although Paul Green levelled the game up two minutes later the Milltown side were 0-03-0-01 ahead by the 10th minute through scores from Carl Stewart and Jackson McGreevy.
Keady levelled for a second time with back to back points from centre-half forward Conor Corvan and the sides traded further scores through CJ McGourty (free) and Paul Breen – both sides then missed from the placed ball as Corvan (65′) and CJ McGourty (free) were off target.
Corvan atoned for his miss on 22 minutes as he gave the Armagh champions the lead for the first time in the game – converting a free to edge his side 0-05-0-04 ahead.
Six minutes before the break St Galls hit the front for the fourth time and crucially the opening goal of the game.
CJ McGourty burst through towards the post and was hooked – but the corner-forward was able to untidily convert at the second time of asking, beating Joby Burke to give St Galls a 1-04-0-05 lead.
Conor Corvan watched in frustration as his free hit an upright and drifted wide in the aftermath and just before the break CJ McGourty converted from a similar scenario to send St Galls in 1-05-0-05 ahead at the interval.
St Galls increased their lead four minutes after the restart through a converted Tomas O’Ciarain free, though Conor Corvan held off pressure and responded at the other end.
On 38 minutes St Galls were awarded a free after a foul on Jackson McGreevy – already on a yellow-card McGreevy took his protests too far and replacement referee Colin Murray gave the number seven his marching orders.
CJ McGourty converted the resulting free with Paul Green quickly responding at the other end to leave it 1-07-0-07 after 40 minutes.
McGourty (free) and James King traded further points and just after the midway point in the second-half St Galls were denied a second goal.
Substitute Sean McAreavey saw his low drive parried to safety by Joby Burke and the Keady goalkeeper needed to react quickly and avert the danger with CJ McGourty lurking in close proximity.
Ciaran McGourty edged St Galls four points to the good with twelve minutes remaining and four minutes later the Milltown men sealed their win with the second goal.
Six minutes after being denied by Joby Burke it was Sean McAreavey who rifled home the second to move St Galls 2-09-0-08 ahead and surely on their way to their first Intermediate crown since 2009.
Conor Corvan responded for Keady once again but the Armagh champions were in urgent need of a goal.
They found it difficult to negotiate a way through a strong St Gall rear-guard and it was the Milltown men who found the next two scores – CJ McGourty conjured up an outstanding point off the back foot and Tomas O’Ciarain converted his second free of the half.
Stephen Renaghan and Corvan (free) responded in turn although it was O’Ciarain who finished the scoring with a late free to ensure that St Galls ran out 2-12-0-11 winners.
St Galls: C McGreevy, S Morrison, J McDaniel, A Hannaway, N O’Neill, S Burke, J McGreevy (0-01)J Hopkins, C Stewart (0-01), C Burke, K McGourty (0-01), T O’Ciarain (0-03f), C McGourty (1-05,0-04f), A Gallagher, M Napier (0-01). Subs: S McAreavey (1-00) for M Napier (31 mins), P McCaffrey for C McGreevy (31 mins), A Healy for J Hopkins (46 mins), M Donnelly for S Burke (62 mins).
Keady, Lamh Dhearg: J Burke, L McKee, N Green, B Breen, O Keenan, J King (0-01), E McDonnell, D McKenna, S Reenaghan (0-01), P McCormack, C Corvan (0-06, 0-01f; 0-01 65′), J Havery, P Breen (0-01), P Green (0-02), J Corvan. Subs: J Shortt for D McKenna (33 mins), M McDermott for E McDonnell (39 mins), O Fullerton for J Harvey (50 mins).
Referee: Barry Winters (Tir Eoghain) replaced by Colin Murray (An Dun)