Late surge sees Glenavy edge out Con Magees

Glenravel 0-10   Glenavy  1-08

With a gale force wind blowing straight down Fr Maginn Park this match was never going to be about free flowing football. Instead it was about who would make fewer mistakes over the hour and who could marshal the elements better playing both with and into the strong breeze. For three quarters of the match that was the home team but in a three minute spell at the start of the final quarter Glenavy battled their way back thanks to a goal and two points to gain a lead they would retain to the final whistle.

Playing into the wind, Glenavy opened the scoring with a well taken point after 30 seconds when Fergal Green arrowed over with the outside off his right boot. Aiden O’Donnell equalised for the home team when his wind assisted shot went over from a central position 50 yards out. Two minutes later Josh McKeown slotted over to edge the home team in front but his was followed by a seven minute period without a score as both teams struggled to retain possession as the wind wreaked havoc on any plans for possession football. Alex Gallagher broke the deadlock with a free on 11 minutes to level the game and a further scoreless 10 minutes ensued until Glenravel started to get their act together with points from Josh McKeown on 20  minutes, a monster point from Conor Carey and finally David Higgins pushed Con Magees into a 0-05 to 0-02 lead. Alex Gallagher got one back for Glenavy on 24 minutes to narrow the gap but Josh McKeown popped over the final point of the first half to leave the home team leading on double scores 0-06 to 0-03 at the break, but was it going to be enough for the Glensmen given the strength of the wind they would be playing into in the second half?

Glenravel did start the second half well and should have had a few scores in the opening minutes but some wayward shooting let them down. Josh McKeown settled things a little with his 37th minute free and Aiden O’Donnell stretched the lead to five points with a point from play on 40 minutes. Glenavy full forward Patrick Gallagher and Josh McKeown traded points on 41 and 44 minutes to leave Glenravel leading again by 5 on a 0-09 to 0-04 scoreline and seemingly in control of the game. However Patrick Gallagher had other ideas and he restored some confidence in the Glenavy support when he slotted over two points in the 46th and 48th minute to reduce the gap to three points. Glenravel won the next kick out but Glenavy managed to turn over possession and a couple of slick hand passes later the ball fell to Alex Gallagher after being spilled on the goal line by a defender and the corner forward blasted to the net from two yards out to level the game with ten minutes remaining. That goal was a real sucker-punch to the Glenravel men who had largely been in control of the game up to that. Glenavy were now in the ascendancy and winning more and more possession. Patrick Gallagher put them into the lead for the first time since the opening minute with a long range effort on 52 mins before Fergal Green doubled that lead straight from the resulting kick out. Josh McKeown reduced the deficit to one with a free three minutes form the end but that proved to be the final score of the match with Glenavy winning by a point 1-08 to 0-10. 

Glenravel will definitely look back on this one as one that got away. In control for three quarters of the game only to be reined in and overtaken in the final quarter. This is their second single point defeat of their 3 match Division 2 campaign so far and it was Glenavy’s second one point victory, their third match being a one point defeat. On such small margins survival will be decided. 

GLENRAVEL: Shaun Burns, Aiden McCafferty, Paul McCurry, Michael Laverty, David Higgins (0-01), Niall Swann, Declan McAuley, James Duffin, Conor Carey (0-01), Josh McKeown (0-06, 3f), Declan Traynor, Aiden O’Donnell (0-02), Sean McKay, Conor McNeill, Kieran McKeown

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